The academic renter from hell

Those of us who work in academia tend to think of ourselves as the kind of people who subscribe to a certain standard of behavior. This makes us especially vulnerable to those in our midst who exploit that sense of camaraderie and trust. A University of California, Berkeley professor learned that lesson the hard way when, during her sabbatical in Paris, she rented out her home to a professor from another university who was spending some time in the Bay Area. Since he was a fellow academic, she did not bother to check his references or do any other kind of due diligence that she might have done for anyone else, and that was her mistake.
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Great moments in neologisms: phubbing

There is nothing like new technology to spawn neologisms. Some of them are pretty good but some are downright ugly. In the latter category I would place one that I have been coming across recently: phubbing. This is a contraction of ‘phone snubbing’ and is used to describe the phenomenon of when one is ignoring the person one is with in order to communicate with the phone. I assume that there are extensions ‘to phub’, ‘be phubbed’, etc.
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Are you beautiful enough?

It is such a drag for someone who is drop-dead gorgeous to be surrounded by ugly people. Well, if you are in that situation, there is hope for you. My eye was caught by this item about a dating site that caters only to beautiful people. The website is refreshingly frank about their mission, which is to enable members to “Meet REAL beautiful people who actually look in real life as they do online” and “Browse beautiful profiles of men and women without sifting through all the riff raff”. One can become a member only if the existing members think you meet the high standard of beauty
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Carlsen retains chess title

The World Chess Championship ended on Wednesday when current champion Magnus Carlsen defeated challenger Sergey Karjakin in the first of the tie breakers that consisted of four rapid-format games all played on the same day. In which each player was allocated just 25 minutes apiece, with 10 seconds added after each move. The regular rules under which the first 12 games ere played lasted up to seven hours.
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Carlsen strikes back, evens the score

World chess champion Magnus Carlsen won game 10 of his match against challenger Sergey Karjakin, evening the score at 5-5 following a marathon game that lasted 75 moves and over six hours. It looks like the toll of the tournament is wearing down the players since they each made mistakes.

Karjakin had the option of creating a draw via perpetual check at the 20th move and since he was in the lead in the 12-match series observers expected him to go for it. But he said after the game that he did not see it.

Today is a rest day.

And yet another draw

Oliver Roeder summarizes the seventh game in the World Chess Championship being held in New York that ended in another somewhat boring draw after a little over two hours of play and just 33 moves. It looks like whoever wins a single game in the 12-gmae series will be the champion.

The eighth game starts this afternoon. But despite the series of draws, Roeder says that the tournament is drawing great interest, with people (and a lot of them young) forming long lines in the street in cold weather to get in to watch it live.

The effect of computers on top-level chess

The sixth game in the best-of-twelve World Chess Championship match between champion Magnus Carlsen and challenger Sergey Karjakin petered out in a draw yesterday, leaving the score tied at 3-3. According to the rules, the winner of a game gets one point while a draw nets each player half a point and the first player to reach 6.5 points wins the match. During each game many observers use a computer program called Stockfish to evaluate the moves of the players, and compare them compared with that of the best move by the computer and such programs seem to have become essential training tools for top players. The program app is available for free from the iTunes store and I have downloaded it and tried it out.
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