Monday, July 28, 2008


In these anti-American times, one American institution stands out almost untarnished by the reputation of other, less moral, north-American organizations. I must confess that, like many other people in the old continent, I am not a big fan of the United States of America, maybe because as a youngster, I believed all their bull about freedom and their definition of capitalism. But one of the things that certainly led me to perfect my English speaking skills was my admiration for the technological breakthroughs made by the Americans. At that time, Americans were big nerds, and some of the best engineers in the world were Americans, a legacy of their Apollo program. And NASA definitely represents some of the finest things America can do if it stop thinking about its interests overseas.

Unfortunately, like all great empires, for America is an empire in denial, it has gotten to the point where it wants to enjoy the fruits of its might. And this means that less and less Americans really want to go through the efforts that their 20th century generation went through to make sure they are at the forefront of technology and civilization. With this in mind, the taste of 50 year anniversary of NASA is bittersweet as less effort and money is being injected into this institution, so as fund doomed efforts to consolidate the empire.

Nevertheless, cheers for NASA. Let us all hope that more people share its old values.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


It is now official, I started playing the ancient game of Go, though I got off to a rather slow start. My first 10 games were a fiasco, so if I take the Go proverb that says "Lose your first 50 games as quickly as possible", then I am doing pretty well. One puzzling thing in my start is that my friend Paulo, who introduced me to the game, sort of changed the proverb to lose your 100 games, which sort of indicates how much I suck at the game.

Nevertheless, it seems like a fun game to play (regardless of my losing streak), and I will try to convince myself to read strategy books on Go. The game is beautifully simple in terms of rules, but the tactical and strategic complexity from these simple rules is amazing. This complexity is such, that despite the existence of plenty of extremely good chess playing programs, very few good Go playing programs exist for any but the smallest board sizes.