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March 18, 2009

Links With Your Coffee - Wednesdy

10-year-old boy wins Utah chess tournamentThere is no question that Kayden is a talented player and he may someday even make it to grandmaster, but his rating at age 10 while promising is not spectacular. The story also needs some context, first the tournament Kayden won is not the "State Championship" but rather a Game in 60 Championship. Further Utah has no really strong active players, no masters let alone grandmasters or international masters, to provide Kayden with really top level competition. Hans is a good player, I've lost to him more than once and he has, I think even reached master level a couple of times, but that was years ago and age is no friend to chess prowess. I wish the young Kayden well, it would be nice to see a local player reach the lofty heights he aspires to, but my prediction is that it won't happen. It takes a huge amount of work and dedication, and unless you reach the very top ranks there is no money. I predict Kayden will end up in a more common profession, one with a regular income. The Sarcastic Times : CJRNow, you may be thinking, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert perfected comedy news a while back, no? But Maddow marks a watershed for a different sort of news comedy. Stewart (and Craig Kilborn before him) was a comic first and foremost—when The Daily Show started, the news was the surprising part. Maddow’s show works the opposite way: the news is the thing and the humor is the surprise. Along with her precursor, the five-year-old Countdown With Keith Olbermann, these are two “real” news programs permeated by parody. Homo-hating church gunman is basically ‘a nice fellow’"See, if you’d met me in a bar … on a street, you’d say, ‘Well, that’s a nice fellow.’ And I am." Dear Boss, Where’s My Bonus? » Mad Kane’s Political Madness An Islamic Creationist Stirs a New Kind of Darwinian Struggle - WSJ.com Good Math, Bad Math : Mr. Spock is Not Logical (book draft excerpt) blog.talkingphilosophy.com » Please Have Sex With My Son!In essence, the mother of a fella with Down’s syndrome is keen that her son should experience sex, and has been saying so publicly (the BBC, Daily Mail, etc). This is complex ethically. I spent a couple of years working with adolescents with Down’s syndrome, and the issue of their sexuality is a minefield. For example, we used to feed the contraceptive pill to a number of the older girls (16-18 years olds), on the grounds that there was a real possibility they’d end up pregnant. But, of course, there was absolutely no informed consent, and, in effect, it was a fairly straightforward example of negative eugenics. Ward Six: Thrillers and classI'm a big science fiction fan. In fact, my whole family is pretty much a gaggle of sci-fi geeks. When I was growing up, every Saturday at 6pm was Star Trek time, when a local channel show re-runs of the original series. When Saturday came around, we always made sure we were home by 6, and we'd all gather in front of the TV to watch Trek. But there's one one thing about Star Trek for which I'll never forgive Gene Roddenberry or Star Trek: "Logic". As in, Mr. Spock saying "But that would not be logical.". The reason that this bugs me so much is because it's taught a huge number of people that "logical" means the same thing as "reasonable". Almost every time I hear anyone say that something is logical, they don't mean that it's logical - in fact, they mean something almost exactly opposite - that it seems correct based on intuition and common sense. And finally there are the republicans (tip to Pedantsareus)...

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February 24, 2009

The Stoics on Happiness

The Stoics on Happiness How to attain equanimity and peace of mind was an obsession of the ancient Stoic philosophers. The psychological techniques they championed for taming desire and achieving happiness are described in William Irvine's book "A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy." Against the Grain - The Stoics on Happiness - February 2, 2009 at 12:00pmClick to listen (or download)...

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