This is a thriller about tournament chess. The tournaments aren’t just background for a more exciting plot, the chess games are the action. Piece-by-piece. Don’t play chess? (I don’t) Doesn’t matter, I was on the edge of my seat. (Wikipedia)
As with the only other novel I’ve ready by Walter Tevis (Mockingbird), I felt a sense of impending doom on every page of this story. I was exhausted by the end. I didn’t read closely enough to learn if Tevis was a chess player. Hard to image writing this story if he wasn’t.
If there was a false note, for me it was the main character’s struggle with alcohol and pills. According to Wikipedia, the author had the same struggle. This element just seemed “tacked on” to me.
[I was reminded of the drinking binges (and hang-overs) of Matthew Scudder, the alcoholic detective created by Lawrence Block. It was hard to read those without a cold cloth on the back of your neck.]
“There’s a couple of arguments against the idea that AI is coming soon. One is, as you say, a philosophical argument, which boils down to “However smart machines seem to get, they’ll never have true human intelligence.” I just don’t think that matters. You can call it intelligence or something difference, but that’s semantic. What matters is that they can accomplish the same things humans can.”
“So who has all the money? It’s whoever has the robots. And who has the robots? The people who have all the money. Today’s income inequality will be peanuts compared to income inequality then. […] If I’m right about what happens with artificial intelligence, there won’t be any work, period, so there won’t be dignity in work. We’ll have to find dignity in doing other things.”
Barb had a meeting in Kansas City today and the client sent the company plane to fetch her (and save a few billable hours, I assume). She snapped this photo of the pilot’s iPad. I shared this on Google+ where Bisbo (a pilot for Southwest) posted the following comment:
“The major airlines are starting to go to this, and slowly moving away from paper charts. With it tied into GPS, you can see your position along the route, and you can also overlay weather radar information from the NWS. In fact, I often get much better weather information form my First Officer’s iPhone than I do from dispatch.”
“Only 58% of us are even saving for retirement in the first place. Of that group, 60% have less than $25,000 put away … a full 30% have less than $1,000.” According to Nielsen Claritas, Americans age 55 to 64 have a median net worth of $180,000 — less than they’ll likely need for health care spending alone during retirement. — According to ConvergEx Group
“The entire concept of retirement is unique to the late-20th century. Before World War II, most Americans worked until they died.”
“According to the Centers for Disease Control’s actuary tables, someone born in 1950 could expect to live to age 68.2, while someone born in 2010 could expect to live to 78.7.”
I enjoyed (is that the right word?) Zero Dark Thirty, the feature film about the hunt for OBL. I have no idea which parts — if any — were close to what really happened. The same is true for the HBO documentary, Manhunt. But, like the best documentaries, it made me question what I thought I knew about these events. Run time about an hour and three-quarters. The events described changed our country (probably forever) and much of the world. You owe it to yourself to watch this if you can.
“I now see all instances of minor physical discomfort as a chance to get better at being relaxed. I relax into the discomfort, I let it hang out with me. When you first try it it’s an exhilarating experiment — to voluntarily open up to minor pain when that’s what the moment brings you, to refrain from listening to the impulse to cringe or harden. It feels like you’re walking freely in an area you thought you weren’t allowed to go.”
“The present moment is the only concrete reality you will ever have to deal with. Sometimes it contains pain. We prefer that our realities don’t contain pain. But that can only ever be a preference, because ultimately we don’t have control over the present once it becomes the present. If you truly needed reality to be something other than reality, your head would explode that instant. But it doesn’t. You prefer it to be one way, but don’t need it to be.”
“And here was the curious thing after centuries of arms races: when there was no one left to race, the U.S. continued an arms race of one. […] What could possibly go wrong? What could stand in the way of the greatest power history had ever seen?”
“Under the circumstances, nothing could have been stranger than this: in its moment of total ascendancy, the Earth’s sole superpower with a military of staggering destructive potential and technological sophistication couldn’t win a war against minimally armed guerillas. Even more strikingly, despite having no serious opponents anywhere, it seemed not on the rise but on the decline, its infrastructure rotting out, its populace economically depressed, its wealth ever more unequally divided, its Congress seemingly beyond repair, while the great sucking sound that could be heard was money and power heading toward the national security state. Sooner or later, all empires fall, but this moment was proving curious indeed.”
“When you work with people who are already rich, they’ll work because they choose to do so, ‘rather than being on a yacht somewhere.’ But you don’t have to be rich. Buffett says that while it make take a job or two to get there, you should do the work you love.”
“Just imagine you could be given 10 percent of the future earnings of one person you know,” Buffett says. Would you pick the smartest person? The fastest runner? No, Buffett says: “You’re going to pick the person that has the right habits.”