Why we’ll never see the likes of Roger Moore again

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Why we’ll never see the likes of Roger Moore again

Moore in 1955.
Moore in 1955.

Image: MGM/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

The phrase “end of an era” is overused to the point of cliche. But when it comes to Sir Roger Moore, who died Tuesday in Switzerland at the age of 89, it actually applies. 

Moore was the consummate British gentleman of a certain era, with all the good and the bad that implies. 

He dressed impeccably, preppy enough to make a J Crew designer weep. His hair seemed tailor-made for the Brylcreemed pompadour style of the 1950s and 1960s. His jawline could cut glass. Not for nothing did he make his debut as a knitwear model before he became an actor.

Moore’s acting style could best be described as perpetual bemusement. In understated performance after understated performance, he showcased a wit that was as dry as James Bond’s favorite martinis. 

The flip side of all this charm was a strong sense of something that today we call privilege — and it’s the main reason why we’ll probably never see his likes again. 

Sean Connery didn’t exactly hide his working-class Scottish origins in his portrayal of Bond, which is why it has passed the test of time; there was always the rough layer of a real bruiser under his suave exterior. Daniel Craig has much the same quality in the role. 

But Roger Moore looked like he was born in a tuxedo, even though he wasn’t (his dad was a London policeman, not a patrician). He did all the things an upwardly mobile kid was supposed to do in the heart of the British Empire: went to grammar school, got conscripted, became a captain in the army. Somewhere along the line, all his rough edges were buffed away.  

And that left … what, exactly? A ramrod-straight action man who gave the appearance that the action was just an annoyance between afternoon tea and cocktail hour. He lived for the deadpan quip, the clever flirtation.  

It wasn’t exactly true that Moore acted only with his eyebrows — but it was certainly enough of a meme that the 1980s satirical puppet show Spitting Image struck a national nerve with this sketch:

Your mileage may vary on whether this approach actually worked, whether it has passed the test of time. Conventional wisdom says no. 

For many people — more than we remember — Moore’s brand of effortless sophistication matched the cartoon superhero spirit of James Bond to a T. For others, the unruffled approach grew old fast. If Bond isn’t even going to have a hair out of place when he skis off a mountain or dangles from a helicopter, what’s the point? 

And with Moore pushing 60 by the time he did his last Bond film, the lines he used to lure women to bed became less charming and more the kind of thing you call HR about. 

Whichever way you look at it, it’s fair to say that Hollywood has moved on from Moore. Way on. Look at the crop of Chrises that star in blockbuster films these days — Evans, Pine, Pratt, Hemsworth — and you’re looking at the polar opposite of what the longest-serving 007 represented.

They build their bodies for T-shirts, not suits; Moore’s Bond wouldn’t be caught dead pumping iron. He was clean-shaven; they don’t dare stand before a camera without at least a patch of stubble. He played it smart; they are proudly pig-headed. He was quiet and self-deprecating; they have their volume and self-regard turned up to 11. 

As good as it is that we don’t idolize upper-crust privilege any more, we’ve lost something too — a certain old world charm — and it died with Sir Roger Moore. 

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Just a Reminder: Alcohol Causes Cancer

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For all the talk of “toxins” in our food, one definitely toxic substance you consume regularly is probably one you’re not even concerned about: alcohol. A new report shows that even one drink a day may increase your risk of breast cancer, although the risk is small.

It’s hard to prove that anything causes cancer for sure, but there is a broad scientific consensus that alcohol is a carcinogen. The National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, Cancer Research UK, and the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer are all on board. There’s a clear link between alcohol consumption and cancers of the oropharynx, larynx, esophagus, liver, colon, rectum, and breast.

A new report from the American Institute for Cancer Research explains what raises and lowers your risk for breast cancer. They estimate that one third of breast cancers could be prevented by exercising, not drinking alcohol, and staying a healthy weight. And they get specific about alcohol: the amount that raises your risk is just 10 grams per day, or about five standard drinks per week.

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American women already have about a 12 percent chance of developing breast cancer at some point in their life. That’s an average; your personal risk (because of genetics or environment) may be more or less. Five drinks per week raises that risk to 12.6 percent if we’re talking about pre-menopausal breast cancer, or 13.1 percent after menopause. That’s a small risk, but small risks can add up.

We know, it’s more fun to think of alcohol as an indulgence or as a healthy virtue (since moderate drinking may protect against heart disease), but it has its risks, too. Nobody is recommending that people start drinking to stave off heart disease, and cancer risk is a big part of that reason. In the end, it’s up to you. Maybe you’re okay with a small added risk of cancer, or maybe this news inspires you to cut down on your drinking. Your call—just be informed.

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Come Up With the Perfect Name for Anything with These Helpful Web Tools

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Photo by Vicky Loras

Naming things is hard, especially if the name needs to be unique. Over the years I’ve worked for sites named Urlesque (rhymes with burlesque, it’s about memes), Slacktory (it’s a factory for slacking), and Valleywag (which came scarily close to being called “Boomshank”). I always loved the evocative site names of the Gizmodo network. Sploid connotes splatter, tabloids and explosions; Deadspin promises ESPN with an unexpected angle; Kotaku puts the slightest spin on the Japanese term for obsessive nerdy interest. More famous names like Instagram, Medium, and Upworthy also compactly convey multiple meanings. The same approach is popular for fictional character names: Darth Vader, Voldemort, and Ebenezer Scrooge read immediately as bad guys.

Developing a clever (but not too-clever) name requires both inspiration and grunt work, both of which benefit from a giant database of words. The right name might be a common word with multiple meanings, or a rhyming pun, or a word melded with an unexpected suffix. Here are my favorite tools for crafting original names, so you’ll never get stuck just adding -ist to a noun.

OneLook

This powerful dictionary tool lets you search by partial word or topic, and specify parts of speech, but the real value is in combining these search options. This is especially helpful for building word lists around shared letters or syllables.

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Let’s say I’m naming a dating app for gym goers. A search for “*:exercise” gives me ‘workout’, ‘drill’, ‘fitness’. If I like ‘fitness’ I can search “*f*:dating” and get ‘flirt’, ‘fling’, or ‘infatuation’. Now I have my first potential names: Flitness and Infituation. Or if I’m going in more of a Grindr direction, I can stop at Drill and call it a day.

RhymeZone

This site does much more than its name reveals. Use it to find homophones, similar-sounding words, phrases, and famous lyrics or poetry. You can sort results by syllable, popularity, or “rhyme rating.”

For my gym dating app, I can search for phrases that include ‘fitness’ like ‘fitness twaining’ or ‘physical fitness’, then search for single-syllable rhymes like ‘fitness twaining’ or ‘physical fitkiss’. It’s not a pretty process, but every good name is built on the backs of a thousand bad names.

Baby Name Wizard

People need names too, especially fake ones. This best-in-class baby name guide gives name meanings like any other, but it also shows name popularity over time, celebrities and song lyrics with a given name, and common sibling names. An advanced search lets you specify popularity, ethnicity, religious names, and non-standard spellings. So my Millennial-targeted gym dating app gets sample users Brandon and Brooke.

Fantasy Name Generators

Character names don’t always sound like real names. They need a certain flavor, but that flavor is often hard to describe. This site offers hundreds of name types like dwarves, genies, and superheroes, as well as names from fictional worlds as disparate as the Lovecraft Mythos and Pokémon. Even if you craft your own name, browsing a few examples will help you get a feel for whether you need something throaty, melodic, or monosyllabic. My app’s unlicensed Hunger Games promotion gets character names like Trifle Seaflake and Ethelia Heavenscape.

Wikipedia

Obviously any naming session will involve a few Wikipedia k-holes, but because the site is so highly organized, any lengthy entry will include some perfect brainstorming tools. Scroll way down to the “See Also” and “Category” sections to keep your research on track. The entry for ‘physical fitness’ suggests ‘personal trainer’ — which I can turn into ‘personal twainer’, if I want to spend every pitch meeting explaining my ‘twain’ pun.

Instant Domain Search

If you’re naming something other than a website, there’s no reason to limit your options to names with an unused .com domain. Instead of settling for .net or adding a hyphen, attach any simple name to an unusual and memorable domain extension. The makers of the podcast Reply All knew they couldn’t get the obvious .com, so they registered domains like replyall.limo and replyall.diamonds and redirected them to their less obvious URL. For no discernible reason, the podcast Hello From the Magic Tavern uses puppies.supplies.

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Hit “search all” on Instant Domain Search to reveal the vast array of available domain extensions like .dog, .pink, or .rocks. For my gym hookup app Drill, I can register Drill.dating or Drill.singles.

Drill’s a bit forward, I know, but it’s catchier than Physical Fitkiss.

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One of the greatest chess players of all time, Garry Kasparov, talks about artificial intelligence and the interplay between machine learning and humans

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garry kasparov chess

Garry Kasparov, one of the greatest chess players of all time, is famous for his pair of faceoffs against the IBM supercomputer Deep Blue.

Kasparov won the first match against the computer, 4-2, in 1996, but lost in the rematch, 3½-2½, in 1997. He recently published a book, "Deep Thinking," about the experience.

Business Insider recently spoke with Kasparov about Deep Blue, his thoughts on AI, and machine advancements over the past 20 years — and how he sees the interplay between machine intelligence and humanity.

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

Elena Holodny: What’s the biggest misconception about AI?

Garry Kasparov: AI as a concept is surrounded by mythology.

Most of the things we mention we understand. You know, if we say "white," we all see it’s white. If we talk about elements of computer science or some general items, we are in agreement. There’s no need to go into definition.

Now with AI, the moment we mention "AI," you should spend a considerable amount of time with the person understanding what is AI for this very person. And that was one of the purposes of my book, just to remove the mythology, to look at the problem objectively, without the utopian expectations or without dystopian fears.

And also to understand, what is the nature of human intelligence. Obviously I understand my own limitations. But it is important to recognize when we say AI, what do we mean, and what do we expect?

One of the biggest problems that arise in the beginning of the conversation is: Do you mean intelligence as a result of the AI or as a process? Because when you look back at my matches that I’ve played with chess computers, now, if we stick with the intelligence as a result, then by the definition of its output, Deep Blue was intelligent because it played grand-master-level chess. Now, if you look at the process, if you try to understand the intricate details of human intelligence, now Deep Blue, this phenomenal speed of 200 million positions per second, offers you no information because it was as intelligent as your alarm clock.

And it’s a big issue. Many people simply don’t recognize that this discussion — still open-ended discussion — can bring us to very different conclusions. And probably if we’re talking about misconception, the first misconception is that people simply don’t agree what they mean by saying "AI" and why AI could be good or bad for us in the future.

Holodny: You draw the distinction between the process of thinking versus the result. Obviously computers are good at calculating and humans are very good at analogical thinking and seeing patterns.

Kasparov: We have different ways of evaluating the positions.

For instance, if you try to oversimplify it, in the game of chess, there’s a certain position and I have to make my choice. My decision will be based on, very roughly, 1% of calculation — probably even less — and 99% or more of understanding, of looking at patterns, drawing information from my previous experience.

Now the machine will be exactly the opposite. It will be 99% calculation and some percent of understanding, though this understanding is growing.

Today, chess programs — they are far more sophisticated than Deep Blue. A free chess app on your mobile is better than Deep Blue, stronger than Deep Blue. So maybe it’s no longer 99-to-1, but still it’s the decision, the core of the machine’s decision, is always based on calculation.

kasparov deepblue chess

And that’s why we have to realize that all experiments that are related to the games when you have humans versus machines in the games — whether it’s chess or "Go" or any other game — machines will prevail not because they can solve the game. Chess is mathematically unsolvable. The number of legal moves is about 1045 …. But at the end of the day, the machine doesn’t have to solve the game. The machine has to win the game. And to win the game, it just has to make fewer mistakes than humans. Which is not that difficult since humans are humans and vulnerable, and we don’t have the same steady hand as the computer.

So chess, as we found out, could be crunched once the hardware got fast enough, the database got big enough, and the algorithm got smart enough. But again, even if you move from Deep Blue and chess to AlphaGo, which is more complicated, more strategic, and, I would say, looks more like our expectations about AI, we’re still staying in the territory of games where the machine prevails because humans make mistakes.

It’s not that machines are impeccable. Looking, for instance, at the games we played in 1997, and using modern computers, I found out that it’s not just I who made mistakes, but Deep Blue made quite a few serious mistakes … serious mistakes that could bring the game from a drawing position to a losing one. And I’m sure in 20 years, we’ll have even more powerful machines, and will look and say, oh by the way, maybe it’s not that easy.

We should simply accept the fact that the way machines make decisions is different, and rather look at the result. If machines are providing results that we are looking for, you would mind how much human understanding was used in the process. And more likely we should look for the way of combining human skills and machine skills. And that, I believe, is the future role of humanity, is just to make sure it will be using this immense power of brute force of calculation for our benefit.

Holodny: A chess piece’s relative value can change over the course of the game, or a weaker piece could be in a stronger position than a stronger piece. How does a computer think about shifts like that?

Kasparov: The machine doesn’t care about psychological problems like sacrificing a stronger piece. It looks at immediate returns. So the smart algorithms and very fast hardware, they allow a machine to look quite deep, to actually see the consequences.

deep blue ibm chess kasparov

What you mentioned is still one of the weakest elements, because long-term compensations — sacrificing some material for long-term strategic advantages — that could be challenging for a machine because it still has to see immediate returns. But in most cases, these kinds of sacrifices, they are within the machine’s reach. And as long as it can see that at move four or five it will get something in exchange, it’s not a big deal.

For example, from the machine’s perspective, the solution is very, very simple: You just have to sacrifice the queen. For the machine, it doesn’t matter because it immediately sees that in two moves, it will win and this is the only way to win the game.

But still, for a human player, just to give up a queen for nothing, even for one move — you simply don’t look at that. Humans have some kinds of dead zones. I don’t look there because it’s against what I learned: You don’t give up the queen.

Machines look at everything, so that’s another big advantage. And as I said, the areas where machines are relatively vulnerable, they are quite narrow. But still, if you bring human-plus-machine versus the most powerful machine, the former combination will win because human advice in this very special situation could be vital.

Holodny: It’s interesting because that’s true of other industries too. In neuroradiology, a human is less accurate than a machine, but a human and a machine are more accurate than a machine.

Kasparov: Yes, that exactly. A machine helps us to annihilate our weaknesses. We don’t have a steady hand. We can lose all vigilance. We can be distracted by something that is not that relevant. But we have intuition. We can feel certain things. And with a machine you can check whether it’s right or wrong. That’s why by bringing [the two] together, you create a very, very powerful combination.

Now, what is the most important element of this combination? It’s an interface. Let me stick with chess, but I’m sure you can look for other examples. [Sometimes] you have a relatively weak player, not a top player, because she or he could be a better operator. Because with the machine it’s very important to help the machine, rather than trying to play on your own. So you don’t need too many of your ideas. Yeah, you have to look, but still, if you have a powerful interface, especially if you deal with more than one computer; if you start bringing them together and checking different lines, [then] the operator has an advantage — a good operator — over a very strong player. Because at the end of the day, all that’s needed is human skills to maximize the machine’s output, rather than great human understanding to be assisted by the machine.

Holodny: It’s easy to see how human’s intuition can be weaker than a computer, but do you think there are examples when it’s an advantage to act on intuition?

Kasparov: Again, we are on a very slippery ground of semantics. You know, what is intuition? Some of it’s based on experience.

Holodny: Yeah, “Napoleon’s glance,” for example.

Kasparov: Yeah, but taking just, you know, pure human decision versus machine, I think that if you look for … If you run a test, and if you have enough samples, I think the machine will prevail eventually. But there are certain moments where, intuitively, I would bet on intuition — especially if we are in the area where machine expertise is limited.

Holodny: Like an early chess program?

Kasparov: Let’s talk about 2017. Forget about early chess programs. I reached a conclusion that anything that we know how we do, machines will do better. Now, the key element of this phrase is, "We know how we do it." Because we do many things without knowing exactly how we do them. So this is the area where machines are vulnerable, because it still has to learn from some kind of experience. It needs something — at least the rules of the game. You have to bring in something that will help the machine to start learning. It’s like square one. If there’s nothing there, if you can’t explain it, that’s a problem.

One of my optimistic prophecies is based on the assumption that machines could have the best algorithms in the universe, but it will never have purpose. And the problem for us to explain purpose to a machine is because we don’t know what our purpose is. We have the purpose, but we still … When we look at this global picture, a universal picture, to understand what is our purpose being here on this planet? We don’t know. So that means we’re still searching, and will not be able to pass this message to the machine. And it’s a problem for us, some kind of comfort, though. People say it’s more like preaching … OK, maybe preaching, yes.

Because, as I mentioned in the book and all my lectures, is that people’s minds are polluted by these dark pictures of the future from Hollywood: "The Terminator," the Skynet, "The Matrix." It’s world where there’s no room for humans, or they have to fight against the machines. I think it’s just a way, way, way, way in the future. Is it going to happen? I don’t know. For me, these debates are not similar, but they resemble debates about how the sun will turn into a supernova in 4 to 5 billion years. Frankly, I don’t care. [Laughs]

Holodny: How does it feel playing against AI where you don’t perceive any emotional changes during the game — meaning the psychological element of the game doesn’t exist — versus a person? For example, you versus Deep Blue.

Kasparov: That was quite an experience, and I’ve been playing machines for many years. In the book, I started describing the story in Hamburg, in 1985 … and I’m still trying to figure it out whether it’s my curse or my blessing that when I became world champion, machines were weak — just a laughing stock — and when I left chess in 2005, machines were unbeatable. So I didn’t just witness that [but] I was an active part of this process. And, in fact, after matches with Deep Blue, I played two more matches with other programs, with a German program and an Israeli program in 2003, and both matches ended in a draw.

To sum up objectively, I think I was still stronger maybe the next year. If IBM didn’t retire the machine and we played, I think I had a chance of winning. But from the historical perspective, it was immaterial. I can go even further saying that since the machine managed to win the first game in the Philadelphia match [1996] — the match that I won eventually — in my view that’s the bigger milestone than even 1997, because if the machine was able to win one game, the rest is a matter of time. One year, two years, five years … but we were there. We were on that road. So that eventually the machine will be able to win the match. So it was clear that the machine had reached the level where beating the strongest players would be just a matter of a couple more decimal places in speed and a few more smart ideas for algorithms.

claude shannon

But going back to this match, I’m leaning toward blessing, because it doesn’t happen often that you’re part of history. So even if it’s not one of the most comfortable parts, it’s still history. And I think, you know, what’s happened there is we helped chess players — and the game of chess — to understand and to test many new ideas.

It’s interesting that the greatest minds of computer science, the founding fathers, like Alan Turing and Claude Shannon and Norbert Wiener, they all looked at chess as the ultimate test. So they thought, “Oh, if a machine can play chess, and beat strong players, set aside a world champion, that would be the sign of a dawn of the AI era.” With all due respect, they were wrong. It’s an important step forward, but we’re still, still far away, and that’s why I think it’s the best lesson from this match and from the game of chess is that we could see much clearer how humans and machines can cooperate because that’s the way to move forward. And I’m always saying that it’s for us to find new challenges.

So, somehow, AI is playing an important role of breaking up the ice of complacency. We have a comfortable life, we just don’t want to take risks. AI is threatening too many comfortable jobs to make people think about taking risks again.

Holodny: You argue that machines and humans working together is a stronger combination, but you also argue at the end of your book more generally that machines can make humans more human. Can you explain your thinking here?

Kasparov: It’s an interesting debate. I was part of this debate at the University of Toronto about six months ago. So, there was this Oxford-style debate. The house motion was: “Will machines make us more human or not?” I defended the house motion — just, it’s what it was. And I have to say it was very close. It started, I think, at something like 51-49, in favor, and we lost, 49-51.

But it’s amazing, the paradox of this debate: A very good debater on the other side played Trump on us. Because, you don’t do it in debates; you don’t start discussing the definition of the house motion [and] that’s what he did, which is just a violation of the rules. And you don’t attack opponents, but that’s another story. But it’s amazing that we lost the debate because he used very human arguments.

It’s quite funny, but it’s also interesting because I was learning from this process, and my argument was that, look, if we keep an optimistic view about the future, we definitely have to look for our place. Not to be redundant. And that means we have to emphasize what makes us unique.

garry kasparov and anatoly karpov

As I said, everything we know how to do, machines will do better. So what about other things?

Machines taking over jobs — it’s the history of civilization. Replacing farm animals, old forms of manual labor, now taking over small, menial aspects of cognition. But there’s still plenty of room for creativity, for curiosity — many things that are related to passion, like art. But also, things about human communication and challenges, massive challenges that we left behind because we didn’t want to take so much risk, such as space exploration, deep ocean exploration.

For us to make sure that we have full lives, meaningful lives, we will have to elevate our unique human qualities. And I think we know now, we can see clearly what makes us different from machines. And that’s why the future is enhanced humanity.

The opposite argument is that we will end up being cyborgs. It’s an interesting argument and it’s amazing: Every debate moves from technology to philosophy. Now, we’ll use some kind of devices that we’ll implant — we’ll see better, we’ll run faster, we’ll lift more weight. But it doesn’t change humanity — it’s like taking a drug. So this is doping. This is a form of electronic doping, but it doesn’t change you. Even if you have a few implants that are making you faster, you are still the same human.

Now, the idea that you can remove intelligence from a human body and put it somewhere else — that’s an interesting question. But this is something that is far from being understood. Because then the natural question is, can we imagine our intelligence, our brains functioning outside of our bodies? Is it all connected? How does it work? Because it’s not just simply brain, but it’s also the way we move, and — that’s what makes us different — also the passion and the character.

So there are many things that you cannot break down in numbers. And as long as we don’t know how to describe the way our intelligence functions, the fear that human bodies will become irrelevant in the process — this fear is a gross exaggeration.

So that’s why for me, I believe more than ever, machines will put new challenges, and that means we’ll have to be more creative and more human, because that’s the way to make the difference.

Holodny: OK, just some fun questions for the end. What do you think is the biggest misconception about chess?

Kasparov: I’m afraid the misconception is very much based on the image projected by some of the great books, like Nabokov’s "The Luzhin Defence" or Stefan Zweig’s "Chess Story" — it’s about chess players being kind of nerds. Just playing in the dark corner of a café and just being geniuses, but totally removed from the real world. Yes, we have cases in our game — Paul Morphy, Bobby Fischer. But when you look at the numbers of chess players who were detached from reality and compare to the general, chess is a totally sane game.

This misconception has been gradually removed because more and more kids are playing chess. But still it’s very much alive. The game — it’s a nonmainstream game. And the irony is that when you look at Hollywood, it kept using chess as the symbol of intelligence for its heroes, for its top characters, all the time. So it’s from "Casablanca" to "Harry Potter." You always have chess as a very important element to demonstrate intelligence, while in normal life people think it’s just a weird intelligence — like AI. [Laughs]

Holodny: What advice would you give to young chess players who want to play seriously?

Kasparov: Look, I would say, you have a unique chance of learning more about the game of chess with your computer than Bobby Fischer, or even myself, could manage throughout our entire lives. What is very important is that you will use this power productively and you will not be hijacked by the computer screen. Always keep your personality intact.

bobby fischer brooklyn chess

Remember that the machine is there to help you, because at the end of the day, you’re not playing freestyle chess, advanced chess, human-plus-machine. If you are playing against other humans, it’s about winning the game. The machine will not be assisting you, unless you are cheating of course. [Laughs] And since the machine is not there, you have to make sure that everything you learn from the computer will not badly affect the way you play the real game.

Holodny: What separates a good chess player from a great one? Or a grand master from a world champion?

Kasparov: Oh it’s a tiny difference.

Holodny: Is it something you perceive as a player?

Kasparov: Somehow it’s your ability to operate different kinds of positions. If you want, again, to oversimplify: A very strong player can manage and can just know how to manage a thousand positions. I get it; it’s a very arbitrary number. So then you have the world champion who could do more. But, again, any increase in numbers creates, sort of, a new level of playing.

And then you go to the very top, and the difference is so minimal, but it does exist. So even a few players who never became world champion, like Vassily Ivanchuk, for instance, I think they belong to the same category.

I would say that when you go to the very, very top, it’s an ability to come up with new ideas, with something new, to make the difference. Every world champion, every player who was traversing this universe, managed to bring something new to the game. This ability to always find some unconventional ways. That makes the final difference.

Holodny: Is chess beautiful to you?

Kasparov: Oh absolutely. It’s endlessly beautiful. I haven’t stopped enjoying great games, and when I see a nice endgame, for instance, especially when there are very few pieces left. Oh, I can’t help think, "Wow, how beautiful it is."

And now, because of computers, we have a new technique of composing studies, endgame studies. They look at the positions from the large databases, and all pieces’ positions are already calculated by the machine. More than 100 terabytes of information. And then they create studies that lead to these positions. Sometimes it’s really beautiful.

So there are so many great things that you can discover. As I said, the number of legal moves is infinite, but if you find this, the little jewels in the tons of garbage.

Holodny: It’s interesting that this is maybe the one thing machines actually can’t do.

Kasparov: But again, you need humans to actually look for the jewels.

Holodny: Exactly.

Kasparov: To understand how beautiful it is. The geometry — it’s just amazing. You know, if I’m in a bad mood, I always look at the chessboard, just to find something that can cheer me up.

Holodny: So I guess it gives you purpose?

Kasparov: [Laughs] Yes.

SEE ALSO: Legendary physicist Freeman Dyson talks about math, nuclear rockets, and astounding things about the universe

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Nintendo’s Switch has a retro gamepad option thanks to 8Bitdo

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If you’ve got a Nintendo Switch and an 8Bitdo gamepad lying around, there’s good news: the two can now play together. 8Bitdo has released a firmware update that will let its entire controller family connect to Nintendo’s hot new console. That includes the NES30 Pro, FC30 Pro, NES30, Zero and N64 controller, all styled in homage to classic Nintendo models.

You don’t get vibration, rumble, NFC and motion control like you do with the included Joy-con or Switch Pro controllers. However, 8Bitdo models are well-regarded for their design and build quality and no one can deny the retro appeal. Prior to the firmware updates, all models were only compatible with Windows, Android, macOS and Steam.

Many gamers that bought an 8Bitdo pad probably did so because they’re Nintendo fans, so it’s pretty likely that they also have a Switch. With the new release, all they’ll need to do is download and install the free firmware, making the devices a lot more valuable — which is nice, since they’re not exactly cheap.

The 8Bitdo family are some of the very few third-party controllers available for the Switch. If you’re concerned about how well it plays with Nintendo’s hardware, one user on the /r/NintendoSwitch Reddit forum said "Switch support is a fucking dream," and another added that it "works flawlessly."

Via: Nintendo Life

Source: 8Bitdo

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A Googler who interned at Facebook and Apple explains how to prepare for the most ‘terrifying’ part of the interview process

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Lea Coligado

Many top tech companies have notoriously long and complex hiring processes, and Lea Coligado, a 23-year-old software engineer at Google, is no stranger to them.

Each year she was in school at Stanford, Coligado told Business Insider, she applied to more than 20 software engineering or web development internships, including at Snapchat, Pinterest, Microsoft, Palantir, Yelp, and Whatsapp. She also applied to Facebook and Apple, where she completed internships.

After the initial "phone screen" — a phone interview and screen-share where the interviewee is asked to complete basic coding exercises — she’d be invited to an in-person interview, sometimes on Stanford’s campus, and eventually, at the company’s headquarters.

That may sound like a lot already, but the most pressure-filled part of the process came next.

"Imagine being brought into a room with a complete stranger, being handed a mysterious algorithm, then being told to implement and analyze it within 45 minutes while said stranger evaluates your ability to do it," Coligado told Business Insider. "On top of that, imagine knowing your opportunity to secure a salaried job at this company is predicated on your ability to perform well in that specific frame of time in front of this specific stranger." 

Equally as nerve-racking, Coligado explained, is the fear that interviewers likely have "preconceived notions about your ability to code" based on "your race, gender, age, and physical ability."

Plus, it’s extremely difficult to predict what problem you’ll be presented with, she said. In fact, during her first recruiting season, Coligado said she prepared for technical interviews by reading "Cracking the Coding Interview: 150 Programming Questions and Solutions," by Gayle Laakmann McDowell for 30 minutes each morning to "nail down one algorithm" and then do another at night after homework.

"I stayed home whiteboarding ‘how to balance a binary search tree’ while my friends were out partying, and while it sucked at first, I sure as hell knew how to balance a binary search tree by my 20th birthday," she said. "Mind you, I was asked in exactly zero interviews that year to balance a binary search tree."

Coligado soon realized that it was impossible to learn everything, but continued practicing the same exercises in the book. "It helped me recognize certain patterns in algorithms, such that even if one algorithm wasn’t exactly like one I’d studied before, I could analyze it in a similar, methodical way," she said.

In fact, the exercises in "Cracking the Code Interview" are "more than enough to prepare for technical interviewing," Coligado said, "because it’s an all-in-one guide; the constraint is it’s hard to study for technical interviews in college when you’re already being assigned a ton of coursework."

"Most importantly, [studying] gave me a sort of exposure therapy for overcoming my enormous fear of interviewing," she said. "Since I was practicing new algorithms every day, solving them in real-life interviews was a lot less scary."

SEE ALSO: An intern who received internship offers from Facebook, Google, and Apple shares the 7 books that prepared her to ace every interview

DON’T MISS: 38 things you should remove from your résumé before it ends up in the ‘no’ pile

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The “Explosive Power” Workout You Can Do Over Your Lunch Break 

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Get up from your desk! This won’t take long. Welcome to Lunch Break Workout, where we’ll share a short workout every Wednesday that you can do almost anywhere, with little to no equipment.

Why lunchtime? You’re already taking a break, so why not add a quick workout into the mix? We promise we’ll keep it short—15 minutes or less. Midday exercise can help you feel more energetic, and stave off that afternoon slump. And if you’re worried about getting sweaty with no shower in sight, check out our tips to freshen up afterward.

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Today, Kristal Richardson takes us through ten minutes of “explosive power” exercises, but don’t be intimidated! The moves are simple. At one point, she picks up a pair of light dumbbells, but she says it’s no problem if you don’t have any.

After a quick warmup, each exercise goes for one full minute. If you get tired during that minute—I did!—just stop, take a deep breath or two, and jump right back in. By the time she gets to the plank/push-up exercise, I was pooped, so I just did planks for a few seconds at a time.

By the end, I was a little sweaty, but nothing a few wet wipes won’t fix. And I felt great! So give this one a try, and come back next Wednesday for your next lunch break workout.

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FDA approves a more ‘personalized’ cancer drug

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Cancer treatments are becoming more personal. The Food and Drug Administration recently gave accelerated approval for Keytruda, a pre-existing drug from Merck, for use on patients diagnosed with solid tumors containing a specific biomarker. Rather than basing treatment on where the mutation originated, Keytruda will be used to treat microsatellite instability-high (MSI-H) cancers, those that are mismatch repair deficient (dMMR) and are otherwise not able to be surgically removed. These types of tumors affect how the DNA is repaired inside the cell.

The FDA says those are typically found in colorectal, endometrial and gastrointestinal cancers, but bladder, breast and thyroid cancers can have the markers as well. However, the Administration is quick to note that only five percent of patients with metastatic colorectal cancer have the markers.

How’s it all work? Keytruda blocks a protein pathway in an effort to help the immune system to fight the cancer. Like many prescription drugs though, there are plenty of side-effects. Most concerning are colitis, hepatitis and pneumonitis — inflammation of the colon, liver and lungs, respectively.

The FDA’s priority review designation means that the regulatory body will fast-track its inquiry and hopefully "take action" within six months.

Unlike previous types of personal cancer treatment we’ve covered, this looks to be the most traditional. It doesn’t use IBM’s supercomputer to find the best care, nor does it involve injecting hydrogels into a patient, and seems the most traditional of anything we’ve seen thus far. That might explain why the FDA fast-tracked it, actually.

Via: Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society

Source: FDA, Merck

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Using Blockchain Tech to Keep Concert Ticket Prices Honest

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BitTicket, the First Digital Events Ticket Platform on the Blockchain

Major events, from sporting to musical, are a significant part of most people’s lives, bringing individuals together to enjoy a shared interest. Unfortunately, ticket touts (scalpers) and secondary websites are taking advantage and extorting the event ticketing industry. With big names such as Mumford and Sons, Coldplay, Adele and Ed Sheeran speaking out about this problem, the issue remains. The U.K. government has introduced legislation that aims to prevent the use of bots from purchasing tickets to resell them at inflated prices. Still, more than 21,000 people in the U.K. have reported falling victim to ticket fraud in the last three years with the majority of these reports concerning secondary ticket markets, according to research.  

In order to solve the issues around fraudulent tickets and the high prices associated with them Edinburgh-based Citizen Ticket, the ethical ‘David meets Goliath’ event ticketing platform backed by blockchain technology, was created by CFO Harry Boisseau and COO Philip Shaw-Stewart. During their time working in the events industry for the past 10 years, the pair has worked on everything from large-scale music events and pop-up food events to underground concerts and charity fundraisers.  

The Problem

In partnership with Get Online Safe and the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers (STAR), the City of London Police’s National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) found that over the last three years more than £17 million ($22 million) has been lost to ticket fraudsters.  

In April, the three organizations undertook a series of Facebook flash sales, which saw over 1,500 people attempting to buy music tickets from a fake ticket website called ‘Surfed Arts.’ Purporting to be a secondary ticket website, the adverts were aimed at certain locations where concerts were taking place over the summer but had sold out. The research found that women over the age of 65 and those who reside in London tried to purchase the most fake tickets; however, men and women aged 35-44 and those living in Birmingham were the least likely to click on the fake advert.

Those who did click on the Surfed Arts website were told they could not buy the sold out tickets before being informed on how they could better protect themselves from becoming a potential victim to ticket fraudsters. According to the NFIB, the idea was to get people to change their online behavior and to consider whether secondary ticket sales are legitimate.

Social media is also becoming another avenue for ticket fraudsters to advertise ticket sales. Data from Action Fraud found that in 2015 there was a 55 percent rise in ticket fraud with major sporting events such as the Rugby World Cup and the Premier League football accounting for a quarter of all incidents of ticket scams. Fraudulent tickets for gigs and festivals represented 15 percent, costing the U.K. public £5.2 million ($6.75 million).

Those who do purchase fake tickets can find that the nature of them can vary. They either don’t materialize, never existed or charge hyper-inflated prices through secondary ticket websites than what’s listed on a primary ticket website.

A Blockchain Solution

With the help from fellow team member Colin Palmer, CTO, Boisseau and Shaw-Stewart brought to fruition the recent launch of BitTicket, the first digital event tickets on the blockchain for public events, using the cryptocurrency Ethereum Classic. The idea was dreamt up while searching online for Ed Sheeran tickets on a secondary ticket website with high costs.

The team found that not only were there large quantities of tickets being hoarded by secondary ticket websites with increased prices attached to them, but that primary ticket websites were sending them, in bulk, to the secondary ticket websites before they went on sale. However, that wasn’t the only problem the team found.

"The event ticketing monopolies own primary ticket websites and secondary ticket trading websites," said Shaw-Stewart, speaking to Bitcoin Magazine. "The secondary ticket website allows the monopolies to collect event tickets from their primary ticket website, then charge highly inflated prices for the tickets on their secondary website under the pretense of being a platform created to allow fans to resell tickets."

As an example, they cited a Robbie Williams concert that was held at the O2 Arena in London. On a primary website, the tickets were being sold for £40 ($52). However, according to Shaw-Stewart, the primary site proceeded to sell 80 percent of their tickets to the umbrella company’s secondary sister site. There, the same tickets were being sold for £300 ($390) each.

"There is a problem in the industry we believe to be unethical, the resale of event tickets by secondary ticket websites, often at highly inflated prices."  

With the use of the blockchain, BitTicket is aiming to provide a secure and transparent system which is resistant to fraud and counterfeiting. With every ticket sale publicly verifiable on the blockchain, it locks and guarantees the value of the ticket in a way that is unmatched by private databases and paper systems, says Shaw-Stewart.

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It also has inbuilt anti-fraud sales rules to ensure that no secondary ticket website can hoard tickets to control the supply that allows them to charge inflated prices. If the resale rules are broken by secondary ticket websites or ticket touts (scalpers), the fraudulent accounts are frozen and the tickets are made invalid.

Still in the early stages of launching Citizen Ticket, the team is planning on rolling out a large-scale marketing campaign in the coming months to target event organizers and event goers.

The first ever event to use this new blockchain application was the Scottish Street Food Awards in Edinburgh, which took place on May 12. Utilizing the BitTicket platform, the event proved to be a success for the Citizen Ticket team, who said that the platform had performed exactly as they had expected.

"From a customer’s point of view very little changed; they purchased and presented their ticket like any other digital ticket," said Shaw-Stewart. "They were asked for ID at the door to confirm ownership of their ticket and that’s it, they were in."  

In keeping with the company’s commitment to ethical practices, Citizen Ticket also works with two charitable partners: the Movember Foundation and SkatePal. Through ticket sales made on the platform, donations are made to these two charities.

With an array of events already listed on the platform, as well as its fundraising initiatives, the team is hoping to level the playing field for the industry with BitTickets.

"We hope that the launch of BitTicket will usher in a new era of ethical event tickets where both fan and artist are protected from the unethical practices of ticket touts and secondary ticket websites," concluded Shaw-Stewart.

The post Using Blockchain Tech to Keep Concert Ticket Prices Honest appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

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