Smart versus unpredictable people: whom do you prefer?

I saw an excellent Ribbonfarm blog post, “Don’t surround yourself with smarter people”. You should read this post; in fact, you should follow the blog in general, as it is one of the deepest-thinking blogs out there. Furthermore, it is an unpredictable blog. I never know what will be discussed there, but whatever it is, I always find that it is new to me, not something following a standard school of thought or template. Read On →

My predictions and hopes for the 2014 Carlsen-Anand world chess championship rematch

The 2014 World Chess Championship is about to begin, featuring Anand and Carlsen again, this time with Anand as challenger and Carlsen as defending champion.

Last year when I followed the World Chess Championship match, I wrote several blog posts looking at each game that was played. This year I’m not planning to do the same, but instead, I would like to offer some predictions and hopes for the rematch.

Recall that I made one prediction that was eerily correct last year:

Read On →

The single greatest performance of Bach's Goldberg Variations: Pierre Hantaï with rhythmic drive and life

I’ve been listening to JS Bach’s Goldberg Variations for a quarter of a century now. I haven’t actually said much about this piece on this blog, although I did mention attending a concert featuring a string trio arrangement of it a year ago. I have a favorite recording, out of probably a dozen recordings I have heard since a college friend introduced me to the piece performed by Glenn Gould on piano . Read On →

Things look different from the perspective of the professional and the spectator

I saw an interesting article by young American chess Grandmaster Sam Shankland on his recent successful tournament in Brazil. His goal was to qualify for the Chess World Cup, the tournament that feeds into the final candidates for the World Championship match. “I knew before going that I’d be unlikely to face any of the top seeds until the end of the tournament, and that it would largely be about taking care of business against guys 100-200 points lower than me. Read On →

Some good science-based reading for Election Day, whether or not you voted

I voted today, on Election Day in the US.


That said, now is as good a time as any for some interesting articles about politics and voting. Here are some that came my way:

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Lessons to learn from pianist Dejan Lazić's attempt to remove a critic's bad review

I never heard of the pianist Dejan Lazić until a news article about him started circulating: he was upset about a 2010 review of a concert of his, written by a Washington Post critic. Because a link to this review appeared high in Web searches of his name, he asked the Washington Post to remove the review under the EU’s “right to be forgotten” law. The result: this article in the Washington Post about the situation that came to my attention from music blogs I follow.

I don’t have much to add to the commentary about the important questions about politics or philosophy regarding the “right to be forgotten”; there are very complex questions there.

In any case, Lazić claimed he has a right to control his public image, to make the Web reflect the “truth” about his concert performance.

But what about unintended consequences?

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How I avoid demotivating myself away from voting

It’s that time of year again: three days from today is Election Day. I’ve written a few posts about voting over the past couple of years here already, and I’ve clearly changed my attitude about it over time:

This is my first post before an Election Day rather than after having voted. Why the change this time?

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Win ugly or lose pretty: do you agree?

I read a juicy article Hard-Nosed Advice From Veteran Lobbyist: “Win Ugly or Lose Pretty” that exposed a speech by a political consultant, Rick Berman, that remarkably, offended one of the participants enough to cause a leak to the public.

The full transcript is here

If you love preserving your independence of mind, get angry when secretly manipulated, and want to learn a bunch of tricks of the trade, you’ll want to read the whole thing!

Here are some highlights I found worth making note of.

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The Chess Improver: The common problem of following a pattern without understanding it

For The Chess Improver, I wrote “The common problem of following a pattern without understanding it”.

The Chess Improver: Learning through comparing similar but different situations

For The Chess Improver, I wrote “Learning through comparing similar but different situations”.