Fishing the North Coast: Holiday rain could open rivers to fishing

first_imgIf you see a family member duck out early on Thanksgiving Day, or fail to show up at all, you can bet it’s raining and the rivers are either open or on the verge. After suffering through an extremely dry November, it looks like our weather pattern is about to change.The ridge of high pressure that’s been parked off our coast is finally breaking down, and it looks like a wet weather pattern is on the horizon. According to Kathleen Zontos of Eureka’s National Weather Service, rain could start to …last_img read more


Spiderman No Match for Real Spider

first_imgNational Geographic News took the occasion of the upcoming Spiderman sequel to investigate the superpowers of real spiders.  If you were spidy, you could:Jump 50 times your body length.  That would be like a man jumping 300 feet (the world record is 29 feet, 4.5 inches).Walk upside down on smooth surfaces, with 170 people hanging on.  Spiders do this with microscopic hairs that create atomic attraction forces.  Geckos have this ability, too (see 08/27/2002 headline), but spiders are not related to geckos.  One scientist remarked, “From a biological point of view, that was pretty astonishing.”Weave webs out of material like flexible steel, with seven different kinds of thickness and adhesive strength.Create beautiful works of art.  Some garden spiders incorporate spirals and crosses into their wagon-wheel shaped webs.Cameron Walker writes, “Spiders aren’t swinging their way through the skyline or facing up to crazed criminals like Doc Ock, the villain in Spider-Man 2.  But they’ve got the wherewithal to survive in a range of environments that gives them their own extraordinary edge.”    According to another spider story posted on National Geographic June 24, scientists are puzzling over why some spiders evolved the ability to spin symmetrical webs.  Another species with this ability was recently found in Peru.  One researcher from the Smithsonian said, “It’s interesting because it doesn’t make any sense.  There doesn’t seem to be any advantage to having a symmetrical web, yet it evolved independently among spiders more than once.  It’s not possible that this is a just random drift in evolution and these spiders are stumbling into the ability to measure things.  It must have evolved for a reason, but we don’t know what that reason is yet.”Spiders deserve more respect than we give them.  We usually can’t step on them fast enough.  OK, so you don’t want them in the house.  At least live and let live outside, where they do you a lot of good (if you also despise flies).  And once in awhile, from a safe distance, take a good, long look at that miniature package of superpowers.  Nature is usually more entertaining and thought-provoking than a blockbuster movie.  That’s a good thing for a kid to learn.(Visited 9 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more


Large Study of Near-Death Experiences Finds Surprises

first_imgWhat does a person sense during the transition from life to death?  A large new study collected data, but more study is needed.One can imagine that the transition out of this life might be accompanied by a sensory overload for some who were conscious and aware up to the point of death.  The largest study of near-death experiences, named AWARE (AWAreness during REsuscintation) was reported on Science Daily, “Results of the world’s largest medical study of the human mind and consciousness at time of death.”  Researchers collected data from 2,060 cardiac arrest cases.  There’s still a lot to learn, but there were some interesting findings:The themes relating to the experience of death appear far broader than what has been understood so far, or what has been described as so called near-death experiences. In some cases of cardiac arrest, memories of visual awareness compatible with so called out-of-body experiences may correspond with actual events. A higher proportion of people may have vivid death experiences, but do not recall them due to the effects of brain injury or sedative drugs on memory circuits. Widely used yet scientifically imprecise terms such as near-death and out-of-body experiences may not be sufficient to describe the actual experience of death. The recalled experience surrounding death merits a genuine investigation without prejudice.It’s not always true that subjects experience peace and light.  Some get terrified:Among those who reported a perception of awareness and completed further interviews, 46 per cent experienced a broad range of mental recollections in relation to death that were not compatible with the commonly used term of NDE’s. These included fearful and persecutory experiences. Only 9 per cent had experiences compatible with NDEs and 2 per cent exhibited full awareness compatible with OBE’s with explicit recall of ‘seeing’ and ‘hearing’ events.In one documented case, a patient was able to recall seeing and hearing things going on around him for 2-3 minutes when there was no heartbeat after cardiac arrest.  Scientists would have expected the brain to cease functioning before then:One case was validated and timed using auditory stimuli during cardiac arrest. Dr Parnia concluded: “This is significant, since it has often been assumed that experiences in relation to death are likely hallucinations or illusions, occurring either before the heart stops or after the heart has been successfully restarted, but not an experience corresponding with ‘real’ events when the heart isn’t beating. In this case, consciousness and awareness appeared to occur during a three-minute period when there was no heartbeat. This is paradoxical, since the brain typically ceases functioning within 20-30 seconds of the heart stopping and doesn’t resume again until the heart has been restarted. Furthermore, the detailed recollections of visual awareness in this case were consistent with verified events.Thus, while it was not possible to absolutely prove the reality or meaning of patients’ experiences and claims of awareness, (due to the very low incidence (2 per cent) of explicit recall of visual awareness or so called OBE’s), it was impossible to disclaim them either and more work is needed in this area.The results of the AWARE project were published in the journal Resuscitation.In a related story on Science Daily, more work has been reported about patients in the so-called “vegetative state.”  Work at the University of Cambridge shows that at least some patients are capable of matching the functional MRI (fMRI) scans of conscious subjects when asked to imagine an activity, such as playing tennis.  This means not only that the brain can be alive and conscious in a “living dead” person, but it offers hope of finding ways to communicate with them.Near-death experiences are very difficult for science to study.  Obviously, one cannot call on subjects to go through the experience and come back on command; observations have to be serendipitous with trained observers available at the exact time needed, otherwise data will be anecdotal.  Nevertheless, everyone dies eventually, so there have been many opportunities to collect clues.Observations of mental states or reports of experiences can only be gathered with those who were conscious up to the point of death.  In the case of my father and mother, both of them were so advanced with Alzheimer’s at their respective passings that there was no hint of emotional change at the transition, because their minds and bodies had progressively deteriorated, and they were for all practical purposes in a coma.  The breathing just became progressively more labored and slow, and stopped—no change of facial expression—nothing—even though they were both devout, active Christians in life.Nevertheless, there have been repeated anecdotal reports by eyewitnesses of dramatic emotional states at death: atheists screaming in terror, godly persons showing expressions of peace and joy.  At least one book recorded statements made by eyewitnesses at the passing of famous people.  Are they reliable?The AWARE study mentioned nothing about bright lights and long tunnels of light, or floating above one’s body.  Reports we hear on TV about everyone and anyone experiencing lights and peaceful feelings regardless of their spiritual state are not to be trusted.  We don’t know if they are hallucinating.  They could be lying; their minds could be playing tricks on them after blood starts flowing again; demons could be deceiving them.  Their senses could be distorting actual events that were occurring around them.  The study showed that imprecise terms like “near death experience” (NDE) and “out of body experience” (OBE) are not sufficient to describe what really happens in a scientifically rigorous way.We have a reliable source of knowledge superior to any sensory experience (II Peter 1:16-21).  We should get our knowledge of the transition to the afterlife from the Word of God, communicated by the only Source who knows.  And we have the very best possible witness, Jesus Christ.  His experience was not just near death, but through death and back again!  What more does anyone need?  He also told the story of the rich man and Lazarus, illustrating what he taught on many occasions, that the outcomes are vastly different for the godly and ungodly.If you have gotten right with your Maker by repenting and trusting in the finished work of Christ (route map), you can rest in the assurance of God, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints” (Psalm 116:15).  When that day comes, you can quote from memory that ever-beloved Psalm 23, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for Thou art with me.”  Having your Maker with you on that journey is all you need, and the only thing you can take with you. (Visited 78 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more


OneRiot Launches New Real-Time Ads to Monetize Trending Topics

first_img2010: It’s All About Monetizing the Real-Time WebAs OneRiot’s general manager Tobias Peggs told us earlier this month, “2010 will be all about monetizing the real-time Web.” Real-time advertising, however, comes with its own set of challenges. While Google AdSense, for example, can take its time to learn about what works best for a certain keyword, advertising systems for the real-time web have to work with a different set of signals and react to an environment that is always in flux. In this context, it makes sense for OneRiot to launch a product that focuses on trending topics and not on trying to match an individual user’s stream to the right advertiser.Initially, OneRiot will work closely with developers to ensure that the initial implementations of the RiotWise Trending Ads work well for users. For now, developers will have to get approval to use the new ads by applying through the OneRiot Developer Network. The company plans to roll out the program more aggressively in the next year. 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Related Posts OneRiot, one of the leading real-time search engines, just announced the launch of a new advertising product for real-time apps. RiotWise Trending Ads will give OneRiot’s partners a feed of ads related to currently trending topics on the Web. These ads can, for example, be integrated in a user’s stream of updates in Twitter apps or displayed as regular mobile ad units. Digsby, for example, plans to place these ads directly in its users’ streams, but because the units are delivered as a feed through OneRiot’s API, developers are free to use them in whatever way they see fit.OneRiot’s ad network, RiotWise, launched about two months ago as a closed beta with roughly 20 partners. The new RiotWise Trending Ads program was built on top of this network. The network will feature a mix of CPM and CPC ads. Tags:#news#Real-Time Web#web frederic lardinois Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hostinglast_img read more


Pumaren: Ahanmisi ‘too nice’ and ‘needs to be selfish like Ritualo’

first_imgFor the complete collegiate sports coverage including scores, schedules and stories, visit Inquirer Varsity. LATEST STORIES Read Next Google honors food scientist, banana ketchup inventor and war hero Maria Orosa Barkley, Griffin shone but Brown didn’t at NFL combine But it’s not just in this game against the Titans that Ahanmisi has been able to show his mettle. He has been a consistent force for Akari-Adamson, netting 16.9 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 1.0 steal for the conference.Ahanmisi, the younger brother of Rain or Shine guard Maverick in the PBA, knows that the spotlight will be a little brighter in this buildup as he will be counted on to carry the mantle for the Falcons, whether he’s ready or not.“I just got to adjust to it. Rob (Manalang) is gone but I’ll try to lead the team to the right direction and help the young guys adjust to coach Franz’ system,” he said. “Our team is young. We got some new guys coming in, but we got some vets also. We just got to mold and learn from each other. And personally, whatever coach Franz needs me to do, I’ll do it as best as I can.” Typhoon ‘Tisoy’ threatens Games Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Families in US enclave in north Mexico hold sad Thanksgiving Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Pussycat Dolls set for reunion tour after 10-year hiatus center_img MOST READ “He needs to be selfish like Renren,” he said, referring to former La Salle star and now Adamson assistant coach Renren Ritualo. “He needs to watch videos of how selfish Renren was.”Though Pumaren’s comments could be seen as a little comical, Ahanmisi heard his coach’s message loud and clear as he slowly accepts the responsibilities of being Akari-Adamson’s undisputed leader.“I just got to embrace it,” he said. “I just got to listen to what he says. Coach knows what’s better for me and I just got to take what he says and do it on and off the court.”Ahanmisi channeled his inner Ritualo and gave Pumaren a glimpse of what he can do as the first option.He caught fire from downtown, hitting 7-of-8 from three to finish with 26 points on top of four assists, and three rebounds in the Falcons’ 100-89 victory over AMA Online Education in the 2018 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup on Monday.ADVERTISEMENT LOOK: Iya Villania meets ‘Jumanji: The Next Level’ cast in Mexico Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Photo by Tristan Tamayo/ INQUIRER.netFor Akari-Adamson coach Franz Pumaren, a little more selfishness from Jerrick Ahanmisi won’t hurt, especially that the Fil-Nigerian guard will now be given the keys to lead the Falcons from this point on.“That’s what I’m trying to say to him, that he needs to be more assertive. He’s too nice,” the veteran bench tactician said.ADVERTISEMENT Pumaren believes Ahanmisi could be something more and not just be limited to being knock-down shooter, the moment he assumes the role of being the team’s go-to guy.Ahanmisi has the numbers to back him up, averaging 12.7 points on a 35 percent shooting from three, to go with 2.3 rebounds and 1.7 assists, emerging as one of the Falcons’ top guys this past UAAP Season 80.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutBut Pumaren wants more.“He needs to be aggressive. He needs to be a little more selfish. He can drive to the basket and ask for ball, but he’s too nice that he wants to share the ball to his teammates,” said Pumaren, going to as far as giving Ahanmisi someone to emulate. John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding After the Typhoon Part 2 PLAY LIST 05:18After the Typhoon Part 200:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City View commentslast_img read more


Stephen Curry breaks out of slump, helps Warriors extinguish Suns

first_imgSEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte Stephen Curry shook off a poor shooting performance by scoring 10 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter and the Warriors finally broke open a tight game to beat the Suns 117-107 on Friday night.Klay Thompson scored 25 points for the Warriors. Kevin Durant added 21 points and DeMarcus Cousins 18.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine ‍football chiefSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption charges“They totally outplayed us all night,” Golden State coach Steve Kerr said. “The only reason we won is because we have a lot more talent, obviously.”Kelly Oubre Jr. scored 25 points and Deandre Ayton 23 for Phoenix, which was without scoring leader Devin Booker due to a tight right hamstring. Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) celebrates his 3-pointer against the Phoenix Suns along with Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins (0) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Feb. 8, 2019, in Phoenix. The Warriors defeated the Suns 117-107. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)PHOENIX— Make it 18 wins in a row for the Golden State Warriors over the Phoenix Suns.The latest, though, was no cakewalk for the reigning NBA champions.ADVERTISEMENT Grace Poe files bill to protect govt teachers from malicious accusations Suns: Booker missed his 15th game of the season. … Phoenix also was without T.J. Warren (right ankle soreness) and De’Anthony Melton (right ankle sprain). … Ayton’s 818 points through 50 games are third-most in team history, behind Walter Davis (1,169) and Alvan Adams (935).UP NEXTWarriors: host Miami on Sunday night.Suns: at Sacramento on Sunday.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next ‘We are too hospitable,’ says Sotto amid SEA Games woes Down 94-88, Golden State took control with a 13-0 run — capped by Curry’s 3-pointer that put the Warriors up 101-94 with 5:46 remaining. Richaun Holmes’ tip-in cut the lead to 101-98 with 4:58 left. But Curry responded with another 3 and Golden State pulled away from there.“I think we just started making shots,” Durant said. “They played extremely hard. ”Phoenix shot out to a 26-9 lead but the Warriors cut it to 31-26 after one quarter.Green’s driving layup capped a 13-3 Golden State run that put the Warriors up 60-51 before Oubre’s tip-in sliced the Warriors’ lead to 60-53 at the break.Phoenix opened the second half with an 11-4 spurt to tie it at 64, and it stayed tight the rest of the third quarter. Oubre made one free throw with 4.9 seconds left, missed the second and grabbed the rebound for a dunk that put the Suns up 85-82 entering the final quarter.“Sometimes in this league, it can be ugly for 44 minutes and the last four you kind of revitalize your team,” Thompson said, “and that’s what Steph and DeMarcus did, K.D., and any win you get in this league you have to be grateful for.”Suns coach Igor Kokoskov liked his team’s effort, but said the Warriors’ ability and experience came through in the end.“They were so precise in late switch, miscommunication, late shifts from the weak side, they made us pay,” he said. “It’s just a learning experience for young guys. And it’s a poised veteran team, a team with a high IQ. They knew how to close a game.”TIP-INSWarriors: Their 18-game win streak against Phoenix is the second-longest active streak against a single opponent behind only Oklahoma City’s 21-game run against Philadelphia. … Warriors have won 11 consecutive road wins. … Golden State drew three first-half technical: on Green, Cousins and Shaun Livingston. PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Wizards’ John Wall on injury: ‘God is telling me something’ View comments US judge bars Trump’s health insurance rule for immigrants ‘We are too hospitable,’ says Sotto amid SEA Games woes MOST READ Oil plant explodes in Pampanga town Oil plant explodes in Pampanga town LATEST STORIES Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Mikal Bridges and Josh Jackson added 19 apiece for the Suns, who led 85-82 entering the final quarter.Golden State’s Draymond Green was ejected after drawing his second technical between the third and fourth quarters.The matchup of the teams at the top and bottom of the Western Conference standings was a lot closer than anticipated — and in large part because it took Curry a while to find his stroke.Through three quarters, Curry was 2-of-12 shooting, including 1 of 8 on 3-pointers. But in the fourth quarter, he was 4 of 5, including 2 of 3 from beyond the arc.“We can compete,” said Ayton, the No. 1 pick in last year’s draft. “We’re maturing even though we’re young. We can challenge any team. Don’t mind our record, there’s a lot of guys with a lot of great potential and we could actually make a dynasty team.”ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. last_img read more


10 months agoLiverpool boss Klopp: Man City were luckier – including Kompany

first_imgLiverpool boss Klopp: Man City were luckier – including Kompanyby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveLiverpool boss Jurgen Klopp felt fortune wasn’t with them for defeat at Manchester City.Klopp was also left angry that City captain Vincent Kompany escaped dismissal for a challenge on Mohamed Salah.He said, “It was a big pressure. Very intense game. We were unlucky in our finishing moments. Unluckier than City I would say. Sane scores and the situation with Sadio when he hit the post. They had periods where they dominated the game and everybody felt the intensity. But we came back and had big chances. It is always like this. You have to score in those moments. When Aguero scores there is no angle. In similar situations we didn’t score.”It was not our or City’s best game because we both made it difficult for the other team. I have already said to the boys this is OK. We lost it but it will happen. Tonight it is not nice but it is not the biggest problem.”I really like Vincent Kompany but how on Earth is that not a red card? He is last man and he goes in. If he hits Mo [Salah] more he is out for the season. It is not easy for the ref and he may not see it how I see it.”Our expectations are high. We can play better. On the other side it was an intense game. You have to take the game how it is. You can’t always dominate it. With a bit more luck we could have got 2-2, which would be perfect for us.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more


Bernhard Schulte Starts Managing 20146 TEU MOL Tribute

first_imgzoom Germany-based company Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM) informed that it has taken on the management of the 20,146 TEU MOL Tribute, one of the newest vessels in Mitsui O.S.K. Lines’ (MOL) fleet.As disclosed, the newbuilding was handed over to BSM’s Hong Kong ship management center on July 10, 2017.The ultra large container vessel (ULCV) was recently completed at Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) shipyard in South Korea.The 196,877 dwt MOL Tribute features a length of 400 meters and a width of 58.8 meters.MOL Tribute’s sister vessel, MOL Tradition, is scheduled to enter Hong Kong management at the end of August, BSM said.“Through these significant milestones, BSM becomes part of a very select group of operators that have the expertise to manage some of the world’s largest containerships,” the company commented.last_img read more


Mikmaq on the edge of green revolution

first_imgAPTN National NewsThe rez is going green.At least that how things seem in Nova Scotia where futuristic sports cars and space-age wind turbines may soon become a common sight next to the local band office.APTN National News reporter Ossie Michelin has this story.last_img


Chesss New Best Player Is A Fearless Swashbuckling Algorithm

Chess is an antique, about 1,500 years old, according to most historians. As a result, its evolution seems essentially complete, a hoary game now largely trudging along. That’s not to say that there haven’t been milestones. In medieval Europe, for example, they made the squares on the board alternate black and white. In the 15th century, the queen got her modern powers.1Long ago, the queen could move only one square diagonally at a time.And in the 20th century came the computer. Chess was simple enough (not many rules, smallish board) and complicated enough (many possible games) to make a fruitful test bed for artificial intelligence programs. This attracted engineering brains and corporate money. In 1997, they broke through: IBM’s Deep Blue supercomputer defeated the world champion, Garry Kasparov. Humans don’t hold a candle to supercomputers, or even smartphones, in competition anymore. Top human players do, however, lean on computers in training, relying on them for guidance, analysis and insight. Computer engines now mold the way the game is played at its highest human levels: calculating, stodgy, defensive, careful. Or at least that’s how it has been. But if you read headlines from the chess world last month, you’d think the game was jolted forward again by an unexpected quantum leap. But to where?The revolutionary is known as AlphaZero. It’s a new neural network, reinforcement learning algorithm developed by DeepMind, Google’s secretive artificial intelligence subsidiary. Unlike other top programs, which receive extensive input and fine-tuning from programmers and chess masters, drawing on the wealth of accumulated human chess knowledge, AlphaZero is exclusively self-taught. It learned to play solely by playing against itself, over and over and over — 44 million games. It kept track of what strategies led to a win, favoring those, and which didn’t, casting those aside. After just four hours of this tabula rasa training, it clobbered the top chess program, an engine called Stockfish, winning 28 games, drawing 72 and losing zero. These results were described last month in a paper posted on arXiv, a repository of scientific research.Within hours, the chess world descended, like the faithful to freshly chiseled tablets of stone, on the sample of 10 computer-versus-computer games published in the paper’s appendix. Two broad themes emerged: First, AlphaZero adopted an all-out attacking style, making many bold material sacrifices to set up positional advantages. Second, elite chess may therefore not be as prone to dull draws as we thought. It will still be calculating, yes, but not stodgy, defensive and careful. Chess may yet have some evolution to go. For a taste of AlphaZero’s prowess, consider the following play from one of the published games. It’s worth emphasizing here just how good Stockfish, which is open source and was developed by a small team of programmers, is. It won the 2016 Top Chess Engine Championship, the premier computer tournament, and no human player who has ever lived would stand a chance against it in a match.It was AlphaZero’s turn to move, armed with the white pieces, against Stockfish with the black, in the position below: In the middle of the AlphaZero paper is a diagram called Table 2. It shows the 12 most popular chess openings played by humans, along with how frequently AlphaZero “discovered” and played those openings during its intense tabula rasa training. These openings are the result of extensive human study and trial — blood, sweat and tears — spread across the centuries and around the globe. AlphaZero taught itself them one by one: the English opening, the French, the Sicilian, the Queen’s gambit, the Caro-Kann.The diagram is a haunting image, as if a superfast algorithm had taught itself English in an afternoon and then re-created, almost by accident, full stanzas of Keats. But it’s also reassuring. That we even have a theory of the opening moves in chess is an artifact of our status as imperfect beings. There is a single right and best way to begin a chess game. Mathematical theory tells us so. We just don’t know what it is. Neither does AlphaZero.Yet.DeepMind was also responsible for the program AlphaGo, which has bested the top humans in Go, that other, much more complex ancient board game, to much anguish and consternation. An early version of AlphaGo was trained, in part, by human experts’ games — tabula inscripta. Later versions, including AlphaZero, stripped out all traces of our history.“For a while, for like two months, we could say to ourselves, ‘Well, the Go AI contains thousands of years of accumulated human thinking, all the rolled up knowledge of heuristics and proverbs and famous games,’” Frank Lantz, the director of NYU’s Game Center, told me. “We can’t tell that story anymore. If you don’t find this terrifying, at least a little, you are made of stronger stuff than me. I find it terrifying, but I also find it beautiful. Everything surprising is beautiful in a way.” AlphaZero is already behind by two pawns, and its bishop is, in theory, less powerful than one of Stockfish’s rooks. It’s losing badly on paper. AlphaZero moved its pawn up a square, to g4 — innocuous enough. But now consider Stockfish’s black position. Any move it makes leaves it worse off than if it hadn’t moved at all! It can’t move its king, or its queen, without disaster. It can’t move its rooks because its f7 pawn would die and its king would be in mortal danger. It can’t move any of its other pawns without them being captured. It can’t do anything. But that’s the thing about chess: You have to move. This situation is known as zugzwang, German for “forced move.” AlphaZero watches while Stockfish walks off its own plank. Stockfish chose to move its pawn forward to d5; it was immediately captured by the white bishop as the attack closed further in.You could make an argument that that game, and the other games between the two computers, were some of the strongest contests of chess, over hundreds of years and billions of games, ever played.But were they fair? After the AlphaZero research paper was published, some wondered if the scales were tipped in AlphaZero’s favor. Chess.com received a lengthy comment from Tord Romstad, one of Stockfish’s creators. “The match results by themselves are not particularly meaningful,” Romstad said. He cited the fact that the games were played giving each program one minute per move — a rather odd decision, given that games get much more complicated as they go on and that Stockfish was programmed to be able to allocate its time wisely. Players are typically allowed to distribute their allotted time across their moves as they see fit, rather than being hemmed in to a specific amount of time per turn. Romstad also noted that an old version of Stockfish was used, with settings that hadn’t been properly tested and data structures insufficient for those settings.Romstad called the comparison of Stockfish to AlphaZero “apples to orangutans.” A computer analysis of the zugzwang game, for example, reveals that Stockfish, according to Stockfish, made four inaccuracies, four mistakes and three blunders. Not all iterations of Stockfishes are created equal.DeepMind declined to comment for this article, citing the fact that its AlphaZero research is under peer review.Strong human players want to see more, ideally with the playing field more level. “I saw some amazing chess, but I also know we did not get the best possible,” Robert Hess, an American grandmaster, told me. “This holds true for human competition as well: If you gave Magnus [Carlsen] and Fabiano [Caruana] 24 hours per move, would there be any wins? How few mistakes? In being practical, we sacrifice perfection for efficiency.”Chess.com surveyed a number of top grandmasters, who were assembled this month for a tournament in London (the home of DeepMind), about what AlphaZero means for their profession. Sergey Karjakin, the Russian world championship runner-up, said he’d pay “maybe $100,000” for access to the program. One chess commentator joked that Russian president Vladimir Putin might help Karjakin access the program to prepare for next year’s Candidates Tournament. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, the top French player, said it was “worth easily seven figures.” Wesley So, the U.S. national champion, joked that he’d call Rex Sinquefield, the wealthy financier and chess philanthropist, to see how much he’d pony up.“I don’t think this changes the landscape of human chess much at all for the time being,” the grandmaster Hess told me. “We don’t have the ability to memorize everything, and the games themselves were more or less perfect models of mostly known concepts.”In some aesthetic ways, though, AlphaZero represents a computer shift toward the human approach to chess. Stockfish evaluated 70 million positions per second, a brute-force number suitable to hardware, while AlphaZero evaluated only 80,000, relying on its “intuition,” like a human grandmaster would. Moreover, AlphaZero’s style of play — relentless aggression — was thought to be “refuted” by stodgy engines like Stockfish, leading to the careful and draw-prone style that currently dominates the top ranks of competitive chess.But maybe it’s more illustrative to say that AlphaZero played like neither a human nor a computer, but like an alien — some sort of chess intelligence which we can barely fathom. “I find it very positive!” David Chalmers, a philosopher at NYU who studies AI and the singularity, told me. “Just because it’s alien to us now doesn’t mean it’s something that humans could never have gotten to.” read more