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Thursday, November 21, 2013


A few recent highlights you might have missed:

1.  As a freshman at the University of Wisconsin at LaCrosse, 5' 10' Jack Taylor averaged 7 points/game.  He was recovering from a serious knee ailment.  However, he noticed that Grinnell was #1 in NCAA scoring for 17 out of the past 19 seasons, with a game average of 126.2 in 2003-4 (Grinnell is putting up 127 points/game this year), and they were recruiting him too.  So he transferred.  This past week he scored 109 points against Faith Baptist Bible College before 951 fans.  However, last year he had 138 points against Crossroads College, the highest ever for any organized basketball player.  The best in the NBA was the 1962 100-point performance of Wilt Chamberlain, while in 1983 the Detroit Pistons and Denver Nuggets scored a total of 370 points (in triple overtime).

2.  Surely, you are familiar with these names:  Spassky, Fisher, Kasparov.  A new world chess championship will almost surely be won by 22-year old Magnus Carlsen of Norway.  He is in Chennai (formerly Madras) competing against 43-year old Viswanathan Anand, and after eight games, Carlsen leads 6-3 with three games to go.  All he needs is to tie one more game.  Go to for details.  The times are confusing, but 2 AM Pacific Time (or 4AM Hawaii time) on November 21 is 10 PM Chennai time on the same day.

The female side of chess is a bit debatable, for the top rated player for the past 20 years has been Judit Polgar, who does not stoop to compete for this title.  Are men superior in chess?  Polgar only ranks #58 on the world list.

The current women's champ is 19-year old Hou Yifan of China, who first won this title when she was 16.  Hou and Polgar (yes, they played against each other, and Hou won) above.

I should indicate that in 1997 Deep Blue of IBM beat Gary Kasparov, 3.5 to 2.5.  Can you imagine how much more capable a computer is today, 16 years later?  Today, the top humans can't beat a dedicated computer, but do well against a standard portable like Air Mac with a chess ap.  This will soon change.  For those interested, try Mac Chess Explorer.

3.  The publishers of the Oxford English Dictionary just released the top three Words of the Year:
  • selfie:  a self portrait from a smart-phone shared over social networks (I almost selfied myself, but just couldn't)
  • twerk:  a sexually suggestive type of dancing, usually by a female, where buttocks shake and two other body parts jiggle, tongue optional (here is Miley Cyrus twerking)
  • bitcoin:  see my posting of November 16
Hawaii is voggy (the emission from that volcanic eruption 200+ miles away on the Big Island), now been going on for more than 30 years, resulting in interesting sunsets (telephoto taken from my apartment roof--surely looks like Mars):


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