The Chess Improver: The computer plays the exchange sacrifice

I saw a fascinating chess computer game and analyzed it for The Chess Improver: The computer plays the exchange sacrifice.

I never expected my first wooden recorders to be Renaissance recorders

Yesterday, I noted that I picked up two recorders during the Pittsburgh Recorder Society meeting. They were these Renaissance instruments: In boxes Assembled Nice maple recorders, Mollenhauer Kynseker models: Kynseker Soprano 4107 Kynseker Alto 4217 These are my very first wooden recorders. All my other recorders are Yamaha plastic recorders, because they are inexpensive and easy to maintain. I’ve periodically considered buying wooden recorders, but to get some of clearly higher quality than the plastic ones is expensive! Read On →

The biggest Pittsburgh Recorder Society meeting I have attended in two years!!

At the second meeting of this season of the Pittsburgh Recorder Society, I was amazed by the huge turnout. There were fourteen of us, easily double the typical attendance in the past two seasons since I first joined in 2011: Fred was very excited by the attendance and told us he would like for us to perform as an entire group sometime. As promised after last month’s meeting, I took the opportunity in this meeting to do some playing on my bass recorder. Read On →

The Chess Improver: The strange pleasure of drawing a lost game

I concluded my series of posts about the Pittsburgh Chess Club six-round Tuesday night tournament that I just completed with an article about managing to draw my final round game: The strange pleasure of drawing a lost game. Now that my tournament is over, I will use other material for my weekly blog posts on The Chess Improver!

Steel City Ukuleles: back to plain good fun, including the cups song

It’s been over a week since I performed as part of the Steel City Ukuleles in the Wilkins School Community Center Ecofest. I was very relieved to have no more self-imposed performance obligations for a while, feeling burned out for a while, to tell the truth. But I was ready to get back into playing just for fun. Members’ choice! We had a fun session this week in which all of us had earlier been invited to submit music we personally wanted to play. Read On →

Why it's so funny that Fama and Shiller just simultaneously shared the Nobel in economics

It was terribly amusing to me when I heard that Eugene Fama, Lars Peter Hansen, and Robert Shiller shared the Nobel in economics for 2013. I’m not an economist, so I don’t know all the details of the work of these guys. In fact, I had not heard of Lars Peter Hansen before, so I have nothing to say about him. But Eugene Fama and Robert Shiller are practically household words if you pay any attention to financial markets and investment, and the story of the housing bubble. Read On →

What's this about "Columbus Day" and Bartolomé?

So there’s an Oatmeal comic that’s been going around before today, Columbus Day, about Christopher Columbus and some guy I hadn’t heard of before, Bartolomé de las Casas. It’s worth checking out, although be warned, it’s a big rant. For “balance”, here’s a rebuttal by someone unhappy with that Oatmeal rant. Meanwhile, people seem to still be debating the time-honored theory that Columbus brought syphilis back to Europe. Also, there’s discussion of how Columbus caused inflation in Europe. Read On →

My promise to prioritize my sleep

Despite my knowledge (both firsthand and from reading research results) that sleep is important to healthy living, I have been failing to get my optimal sleep for a long time now. There are several reasons of this, but I am taking steps to address each one of them. Too many activities I began the process of catching up on sleep today by sleeping almost all day. Abby and I had yesterday decided to cancel our hiking plan for today because we both felt tired and decided it was a good time to just rest. Read On →

What can you quit today? I'm taking a break from Twitter, Facebook, and Google+

Tonight, I officially announced through my accounts on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ that I was leaving social media for a while. Reasons? Right now, I don’t feel like explaining in detail all the many reasons. The reason for leaving is not just one isolated event, although blocks of certain series of events and actions on Twitter have been particularly discouraging to me. The most recent seed for quitting actually came just a couple of days ago, from a blog I follow, where I was challenged to ask myself, “what can you quit today? Read On →

Neil Newton on the harmonic structure of atonal music

I attended a fascinating and illuminating lecture by Neil Newton at the University of Pittsburgh with the title The Inner Life of Harmonies: An Examination of the Middle Voice in Pop, Classical, and Early Post-Tonal Music.

The big question I’ve sometimes asked myself is, what is atonal music anyway? How do we make sense of it?

Neil Newton provided what seemed to me an interesting explanation.

Read On →