Superb Piece on Myths About AI and Chess

I’m thrilled by this review (and the existence of its subject) for a number of reasons.

First off, I referred to this very topic in a (dare I say) prophetic post early in this blog.

Second it busts forever more the bogus reputation of chess as a game that favors brilliant minds. I grew up soaked in this hooey, which I noticed was most loudly pronounced by chess nurds (which I forgave because almost all of them were stomped like insects in other aspects of their social and intellectual lives). But I also suffered from it because I was lousy at chess (“not really so smart, huh?”). By struggling unsuccessfully to get better, I did come to appreciate that the game had its appeal and virtues, but I’ve never heard them articulated as well as Master Kasparov does here.

Finally I get the thrill of a chill by confirmation, once again, that too many people prefer zippy bullshit to the truth.

End of a TV Era

The last boxlike TV set I will ever own has just been hauled away by trash collectors. My family’s first set, about 60 years ago, had a screen about a third as big and tried very hard to be a boxlike piece of furniture.

I did not see the haul happen, but don’t care I did not get to say goodbye. Damned set had become a pain in the vacuum tube when it was evident we couldn’t get rid of it easily. Nobody wanted a boxlike TV even as a donation.

Movies Ain’t What They Used To Be …

Of the 25 top-grossing films of the 21st century so far, 20 have been visual-effects showcases like “Avatar,” “The Avengers” and “Jurassic World.” (The other five were entirely animated, like “Frozen.”) — New York Times Magazine

I adored animated features as a child and was enormously gratified when they re-found big-hit audiences with Who Framed Roger Rabbit? But I honestly wish there was more variety in movie smashes nowadays. More hints of theater. More emphasis on inspired writing. More grownups less all-ages.

(But like I say, at least the seating has never been better.)

My Fondest Memory of CNN

I got the flash when everybody else did — the Gulf War start in 1991. Sure, CNN had been around in the ’80s, but whenever I tuned in, it suggested a dozy news-radio station. The quality of the reporting and the vitality of the channel as a whole went way up.

How the exciting have fallen.

Cable news is rightly damned for their ruinous decline into reporting as entertainment click-bait shouting match. All I will say — and its not really a defense — is that the basics of what CNN used to do best would now be available on everybody’s smart phone.


“Trump Knows You Better Than You Know Yourself”

I agree this is an incredibly important article and must be read. Makes sense of several key mysteries — including how Trump won without spending bupkiss on standard advertising. And indeed, the creepy icing on the freaky cake is that the article has not yet been officially translated from the original German.

The Game’s Up — Or Down — Certainly Gone Sideways

I’m suprised at how my relationship with mechanical games has changed over the years.

I adored pinball machines as a child. Still think the most inventive ones are marvels of loopy cleverness. And thought the first computerized arcades were a logical and equally fun extension. By the time I was trying out Sim City and Doom 2 on the home computer, I was convinced games were going to become enveloping aesthetic adventures on a par with films and novels.

But I was wrongo tango.

Laura Miller does an outstanding job of explaining why in this piece. The tricky part is that Grossman’s On Killing is a haunting, utterly persuasive book. But there’s no question his shrieks about the pernicious effects of violent video games are identical to the alarms raised about dirty books, crazy comix and sicko music — those who enjoy them before committing monstrous acts were monsters to start with. And the whole “the OOGLY truth is hidden from us” reminds me of what they used to say about why the TV industry was getting away with causing the downfall of humanity.But with her inspired comments-section comparison, Laura nails what will probably forever hold the gamer expereince from beccoming what I once imagined.

I mean, I think it’s telling that throwback-tech like Angry Birds and Candy Crush Saga are biggies unto this day.

R.I.P.: Crazy Eddie

Of course I remember the ads from when there were stores up here. I even thought the graphics of the sign were great. And the failure of the store to reincarnate online was an early signal that stand-alone electronics businesses were endangered. Finally, I do remember when the fraud story broke that it was the final stroke savvy madness — now his life story is INSAAAANE!!!