How Justice Clarence Thomas uncovered a seven-year-old bug in my computer program

Justice Clarence Thomas

Today, Justice Clarence Thomas of the Supreme Court of the United States uncovered a seven-year-old bug in a computer program I wrote years ago.

Here’s what happened:

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Winter running in Vibram FiveFingers shoes: revisited

Last year I wrote about experimenting with winter running in Vibram FiveFingers shoes. The experiment basically failed, once it got too cold or snowy/icy. This year, because it has been “warm” (for example, today it was 37 degrees F), the story has been different. I have been able sometimes to run outside on the roads in my Vibram FiveFingers Bikila LS shoes, and without socks, even. Here are the conditions under which I am able to do this: Read On →

Pittsburgh Chess Club Championship 2013, Round 1: the art of swindling

PCC Championship 2013 round 1

Yesterday was the first round in the annual Pittsburgh Chess Club Championship, and I am playing in it for the first time in two years. I mentioned earlier that I have won the PCC Champion title twice, in 2006 and 2007.

Special prizes

I’m excited that this year the format has been augmented with some special prizes:

  • Best Attack
  • Best Defense
  • Biggest Upset

All players have been invited to submit their game scores for consideration for these prizes.

Well, I’m not submitting my game score from round 1! Although I won my game, bit was a result of a swindle in which I lured my opponent into walking into danger in an otherwise drawish endgame, after which he suddenly completely fell apart.

Of course, most chess games played by humans are “ugly” like this in some way (and I have written posts about how I have been on the receiving end of swindles), so we have to embrace this reality; most games also have their cute moments. I think my game is worth looking at for the swindle that worked.

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How the best player won the last Pittsburgh Chess Club Tuesday night tournament

Final position in scores

One month ago, I reported on my sixth and final game in a Pittsburgh Chess Club Tuesday night tournament. A lot of things came up after the end of that tournament that led me to not finish this report on how the critical final game went between my two opponents, Kurt Wallnau and Ed Dean, who had won their games against me in the fifth and fourth rounds, respectively.

Here’s my report on who won and on practical psychology and style in chess, and of course, what the definition of “best chess player” should be.

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Three questions to ask yourself when you don't feel like doing your scheduled workout

If, like me, you believe that you should get regular exercise, you probably have some kind of intention, or better yet, a concrete plan and schedule, for achieving it. However, if you are like me, you are human and fallible, and also deal with unpredictable periods of stress or overwork or fatigue or laziness.

This post is about three questions I ask myself when I am supposed to be doing a workout, but don’t feel like it. I hope this checklist will be helpful to you as it is to me.

Franklin after two reps up the Cathedral of Learning

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The special bond between children and their fathers, through chess

I was reading the January 2013 issue of “Chess Life” magazine (which you can read online as PDF if you are a USCF member) and couldn’t help notice that by sheer coincidence, two different articles happened to mention how the article’s subject was shaped through their experiences playing chess in their childhood with their fathers. I was very moved because I always get emotional when reflecting on how chess gave me a special bond to my father as well. Similar stories are often true for children and their parents, through any shared activity at all, whether music, hunting, cooking, baseball, sewing, auto repair, stargazing, etc.

Here are two excerpts from the articles:

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Cooking the huge batch of food: sweet potatoes, peppers, butternut squash

It’s Saturday, so I did a huge batch of cooking. There were a lot of sweet potatoes that needed to be used. I sauteed some of them and roasted the others. Same with the assorted peppers. The butternut squash I kept simple, just slicing in half, putting them face down in a pan with some water, and baking. Sweet potatoes in progress already in skillet: Preparing onions (and garlic to be added later): Read On →

CreativeMornings/Pittsburgh with David "Mr. McFeely" Newell

Abby and I attended another CreativeMornings/Pittsburgh lecture; our first was last month’s premiere. This one featured David Newell, who played Mr. McFeely on “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood”. I watched that show as a toddler in the 1970s. I don’t actually remember that much from it, because I was so young and my English was quite poor, but I still do remember how soothing Fred Rogers was on the show, singing and moving very deliberately. Read On →

2013 is my year of Scala

Last night was the first meeting of the new Pittsburgh Scala meetup.

And this morning I suddenly signed up to attend the Northeast Scala Symposium (NE Scala) being held soon in February in Philadelphia!

2013 is my “year of Scala”. What does this mean?

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The hug system of habit breaking and forming

Abby and I came up with a very useful way of dealing with a type of conflict in marriage that seems pretty common: that of one person being annoyed by the other’s bad habit, and repeatedly, because the other person after being criticized promises to change but doesn’t. The reason for the failure to change is not necessarily malice, of course. Just taking myself as an example, I reflected on which changes I have made during marriage and which I have not, and tried to understand why I might “forget” one thing and not another. Read On →