Saturday, January 29, 2011


I hope Egypt gets a republic out of the recent spate of protests. U.S. ally or not, I'm no fan of dictators who employ torture against their citizens. Mubarak's police force seemed seriously out of control. All police have a tendency to become thugs when there is no redress for citizens' grievances. Many people are interested in becoming police because they have a thirst for power and a streak of sadism in their nature. Police should always test their applicants psychologically to avoid getting sadists in their ranks.

One of my thoughts on reading about the situation in Egypt was that it could happen here. Americans know their government serves the interests of big business instead of ordinary citizens. They know the government is corporate-owned-and-operated. That most, if not all, political leaders have sold out to corporate interests is understood as a given. There isn't even any doubt. So if unemployment remains high and college students can't find jobs, then one day the U.S. will look like Egypt today.

I really don't see how the employment picture in the U.S. can ever improve, when most of the jobs have already been exported to China, India and other nations where corporations can enjoy the benefits of cheap labor and less regulation. They can pollute all they want and treat their workers any which way they feel like.

Free trade was a good concept in theory, but without safeguards and regulations, in practice it results in a few people becoming very rich and everyone else becoming very poor. I think the U.S. is going to become a lot poorer than it is today, and civil unrest will lead to the army being used against U.S. citizens, as is the case in other countries where the rulers fear the people.
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Murder in Uganda

A gay activist was murdered in Uganda.

“David’s death is a result of the hatred planted in Uganda by U.S. evangelicals in 2009,” Val Kalende, the chairwoman of one of Uganda’s gay rights groups, said in a statement. “The Ugandan government and the so-called U.S. evangelicals must take responsibility for David’s blood.”

Ms. Kalende was referring to visits in March 2009 by a group of American evangelicals, who held rallies and workshops in Uganda discussing how to turn gay people straight, how gay men sodomized teenage boys and how “the gay movement is an evil institution” intended to “defeat the marriage-based society.”

-- The New York Times

What the murdering swine on the right wing fail to realize, due to lack of social intelligence (including empathy for others), is that harming a gay adult does not reduce the number of gays in the world. Gays will keep being born! All an atrocity does is make their side, that is the side of evil fascism, look bad. A documented history is established of atrocities committed by those who are homophobic bigots. And that helps in consolidating the alliance of good people. The real danger to society is posed by the bigots, who if they are not killing one minority, will be killing another, because it is in their nature to kill and to harm others that are different from themselves. Such is the nature of evil.
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

Friday, January 14, 2011

Gold is Proven by Fire

To be romantic is to have intelligent, kind and elegant friends and stupid, cruel and boorish enemies. Enemies provide contrast, so that others may better appreciate one's worth. Gold is proven by fire. The elves of Middle-Earth were rendered more glamorous because of their foes, the orcs.

I do not mind encountering enemies. I would not have it any other way. It may be that the entire purpose of life is to set oneself upon the world in opposition to such creatures.

I view the human existence as a struggle between good and evil. Evil leads to the decline of our species, the devastation of the natural environment, violence, ignorance, conformity, death, and ugliness. Good lends itself to the improvement of our species and greater beauty, wildness, growth, peace, refinement and knowledge.

Evil works in secret. Good works in the open.
Evil builds prisons. Good prevents crime.
Evil lies. Good tells the truth.
Evil censors. Good discusses.
Evil uses a gun. Good uses words.
Evil stops the talking. Good stops the shooting.
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Correcting a Firefox Foolishness

Let's say you encounter a malware attack site that crashes your browser or, worse, Windows. It happened to me just now. Upon rebooting the computer, Firefox attempts to reload the same malware attack site, trapping the user in an endless crash-reboot cycle. I was fast enough to abort Firefox before the malware site, Mashable dot com, loaded again. (I am not familiar with Mashable, but I will endeavor never to browse that site again, as a single visit inflicted the Blue Screen of Death upon my PC. As far as I am concerned, Mashable is an unfriendly site.)

This log-stupid Firefox behavior can be corrected, although not through intuitive means. The fix is located here. "about:config" must be entered in the url window in order to access the hidden Firefox options.
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

One Issue Where I am Conservative

I define conservative as being opposed to the rights of the individual, and in favor of the rights of corporations, the State, and/or other organizations. Given that assumption, there is one issue where I am conservative, and that is funerals. I do not believe anyone has a right to protest at a funeral. I think we should respect the dead, the mourners, and all who come to pay respects at a funeral. I think this is one of the basic hallmarks of civilization.

The legislation being considered by the Arizona legislature is good, but at 300 feet, does not go far enough in terms of distance. I say ban any protest within 1000 feet.

It is difficult for me to understand the mentality of cults like the Westboro Baptist Church. I think that their psychology is based upon hate. Like cockroaches and slugs, they are of no interest to me, other than in terms of how to avoid or eliminate. Their strategy is log-stupid. Rather than gain any influence, they are actually serving the interests of their political opponents. If I were Baptist, I would be mortified that their Church includes the word "Baptist" in their title.
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Win, Lose, Draw

In chess, I find that drawing leaves me almost as content as winning. I draw about one out of five games or so. If each side plays without making a mistake, then a draw is the natural outcome of chess.

Losing does not bother me if the other side plays exceptionally well. Losing is annoying only if it is the result of a blunder, a particularly egregious mistake. True, chess is a game of mistakes, and neither side would win without there being at least one mistake. If I make a mistake, then perhaps I will learn from it. Not so with a blunder. A blunder is a failure to see something on the board that should be immediately obvious, such as imminent checkmate or the capture of a piece or pawn. A blunder reprimands carelessness.

We all make mistakes and, it should be admitted, blunders. It is the nature of the game. Perhaps supercomputers do not make blunders, but humans do. I composed a little ditty to describe my blundering.
My brain ain't the best brain.
It's an old brain,
Prone to mistakes.

But it's better than no brain
or a half-brain
or a birdbrain,
and I'm happy just the same.
The beauty of online chessplaying is that one can find players of the same approximate skill level. This is not always possible in a local club.

Ultimately, what determines one's success in chess is raw calculating speed. I know that I'm slow, compared to the best players. Not only that, I don't always see everything. I can see up to four or five moves ahead, although usually I just look two or three moves ahead. The better players can look further into the game and faster. I am astounded by players that only require fifteen minutes or even less for an entire game when playing against me. If they can win consistently under that time constraint, to me it seems like they are superhuman.
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

Friday, January 7, 2011

Thanks for Banning Me

In retrospect, I am delighted to be banned from FICS.

There are numerous alternatives for playing chess online. By forcing me out of FICS, the admin did me a favor. I found a better community, easier to use, with many more players and a better designed interface.

I would probably never have left FICS had I not been banned, because I'm a creature of habit and had even become an enthusiast, which is one of my faults, reducing my level of objectivity. I had evaluated FICS as being much better than it is. I liked it so much that I was mentioning it to all my chessplaying friends. I had even added a link to FICS, just a few days before being banned. What irony--and foolishness on my part. All of that is over now, a mistake in the past, now corrected.

I can't think of a better Christmas present than to be banned from FICS, which requires the use of software that has not been updated since 2007. Yet the worst shortcoming is an obtuse admin, incapable or unwilling to communicate with others. I say let the trolls play with the trolls. Perhaps they will find solutions for one another. Players that deport themselves like gentlemen can find a better community with just a little searching. I confess I'm reluctant to offer a link to my new chess community. It seems bad luck. Once bitten, twice shy.
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


I am reminded of the myth of Sisyphus. Sometimes when I work on something intensely, after hundreds or thousands of hours, someone thwarts my efforts, so that my efforts backfire. This is seldom accomplished through intellectual means.

I'm a good chess player. I don't know what my USCF ranking would be, but I realize that masters are much better at the game. I'm best at slow games, around twenty to thirty minutes, considered slow these days. When I was a boy, games were not timed and could last for one or two hours. My brother or I might spend ten, fifteen, twenty minutes studying a single move. I fare poorly at blitz chess, because I become fascinated by positions and want to analyze every detail, and then I run out of time. I resent having to rush through things. I like to ponder until I find the perfect solution. But blitz does have the advantage of brevity. Perhaps it serves to quicken one's calculating speed. I'm not sure. I don't think I've gotten any faster, but more likely slower as I've aged.

I spent hundreds of hours mastering an unusual chess opening, learning just about every facet of it, only to be banned from the internet chess server for what seems to me a spurious rationale pulled out of thin air. My brother had visited for Christmas, and I was so enthusiastic about the chess server that I showed him how it worked, even registering him and letting him play from my Internet connection. Such enthusiasm I had. He was the one who had taught me chess at the age of four, so I thought to repay him by teaching him about the internet chess server that I had recently discovered. I spent an hour teaching him how it worked. This was supposedly (I mean I do not believe it) interpreted by an admin as violating a rule of one person having two accounts, because it was from the same IP address. But there were two people, not one. I was interrupted in the middle of a game in which I was winning, disconnected and banned without any warning.

I had been polite to all the players and even in those cases where the players were not polite to me, I just quit playing them. I had spent months learning and perfecting an unusual opening that had given me great success. I think that my unusual opening, judged unsound by many but refuted by none, was the ultimate reason I was banned. I have noticed that some chessplayers are contemptuous of any opening that is not being currently played by one or preferably all the grandmasters. The chess world is hierarchical, the lower ranks being deferential to the best players. Some players believe we should only do what the grandmasters say to do. They read articles written by grandmasters and copy their ideas. Their play consists of rote memorization of the products of other minds. When I break them out of book, they go to pieces. Some players immediately abort the game on the very first move when they observe my opening, because they have no adequate response and can't be troubled to find one.

A few days before my ban, I defeated the wrong person, a connected person, who was angry that I had played my opening. He said it was unsound, and grandmasters didn't play it, and he didn't want to play it either, and he even told me to "go f--- myself," twice, in case I didn't process it the first time. He was either the admin himself or friends with the admin, I think, because he demonstrated a mastery of the network's technical side. It is too much of a coincidence that I am banned so soon after this nasty unprovoked altercation from a player whose very arrogance suggests he was indeed the admin. So I am banned because I play an unusual opening. This fits in with the other expectations I have developed of society.

I suppose it doesn't matter. Chess is a just a game of limited value and minority appeal. I do not have a friend who plays as well as I do. That is one of the problems with chess. Getting good at it is a double-edged sword. I am reminded of my old friend from school. At first he beat me two out of three games. A few weeks later, I beat him half the time, and that was the perfect scenario, but I kept improving. Next I was beating him almost every game, and then he stopped playing me forever, because he hated losing, but did not want to invest the time required to get better at chess, which in retrospect was a prudent choice on his part that I wish I had followed.

If I had my life to live over, I would have learned a musical instrument instead of a nerdy game that appeals to soldierly types, often men of narrow interests and deep prejudices. Music opens up a world of beauty. It allows one to connect with other beings in a way that is not possible through chess. Chess is a blood sport, of limited appeal except to warriors. But one is what one is. I suppose I would have made a good lieutenant. It is good I have not been in war in this lifetime--good for me and merciful to the foes I otherwise would have encountered.
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments
techlorebyigor is my personal journal for ideas & opinions