I’ve been on North Dakota TV almost as long as A.J. Clemente

Although I’m not much of a talker, some people say my voice would work well for radio. Whether that’s true is debatable. But it gives me some perverse comfort to know that, if I ever were asked to anchor a TV news broadcast, it could end better than A.J. Clemente’s stint at a North Dakota station.

Apparently not aware he was on air, the co-anchor exclaimed “Gay…fucking shit!” The anchor managed to somewhat calmly express herself in English to begin her part of the broadcast.

Video available at source: Brand New TV News Anchor’s First Words On-Air: “Fuckin’ Shit!” (Note this headline is technically inaccurate!)

Christmas 2013 is going to be a little bit different

Year after year, Santa Claus puts lumps of coal into naughty children’s stockings. And year after year, hordes of children end up on the “naughty” list. And you know what they say about insanity.

So instead of lining the pockets of Big Coal, Santa’s trying an unorthodox approach…

St. Nick's Knife Factory

Monday Fighter!

Let’s say you have a company that’s targeting a particular city. Say Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

One of the things you may want to ensure is that the name of the city is spelled correctly. Even if your target audience is tourists that don’t know “Fort Laderdale” is incorrect.

Fort Laderdale

Computers are winning in Shogi, too

In Western chess, we have accepted that computers outplay humans, full stop. (Some might say we’ve resigned themselves to this fact. Please hold your applause; I’ll be here all week!)

Shogi (Japanese chess) is quite a different beast. Western chess revolves heavily around material balance. If you’re down a Pawn, you’re expected to have a significant advantage in time or position. Being down a Knight, or even two Pawns is hopeless in a typical position. In Shogi, material is not as pressing. In fact, unlike chess, if you’re down in material, you probably want to exchange pieces.

That’s because of the coolest feature of Shogi…piece drops. In Western chess, a captured piece is out for good. In Shogi, when you capture a piece, it can be returned to the board under your control, with few limits. There are many more opportunities for positional exchanges of pieces.

With regards to the computer, dropping pieces greatly expands the number of possible moves, reducing the effectiveness of brute force searches. The board is always full, so there is no “endgame” with just few pieces. In Western chess, computers can use endgame tablebases to play positions with few remaining pieces perfectly…if they even have to play that far.

But these differences are starting not to matter, as computer processing power and improved programming have finally defeated a current Shogi master.

I’m declaring the year 2020 as the over/under for a computer to play Go at a master level. And Go is NOT easy to tell computers how to play at all.

Monday Fighter!

There used to be a chain of supermarkets in the Southeast U.S. called Bruno’s. I don’t know what the chain was like in general. One of the most noticeable features of our local branch was the lack of attention to spelling on their signs.

Bruno’s went bankrupt in 2012, bought out by one Belle Foods. Unfortunately, the spelling on their signs seems to have improved, meaning fewer Monday Fighter! opportunities, like this one:

"Naval" oranges

Sail away, sail away, sail away…