Yeah, I know, Nottyboy and I are the only ones interested in these chess stories. But right now is an exciting time to be a chess spectator. Wei Yi, the 15-year-old phenom from China, crossed the 2700 threshhold in the live ratings yesterday. This makes him the youngest person in the history of chess to cross 2700, breaking World Champion Magnus Carlsen’s previous record. Chess commentators around the world are gushing over Wei Yi. If I’m remembering correctly, Grandmaster Simon Williams today called him the “strongest 15-year-old in the history of chess.”
Obama’s plan to gut the 529 college plan has evidently hit some hard opposition from both parties, and he has decided to drop that effort. I was actually surprised when I learned that he was trying to do away with 529’s. His rationale is that wealthy Americans get a lot more in tax savings than non-wealthy people. From the NY Times:
Of the roughly seven million existing 529 plans, about 80 percent of the tax benefits go to households above $150,000, supporters of the Obama proposal say; 70 percent go to households with incomes over $200,000. That is because those people have the most money invested and can contribute $14,000 a year or more without worrying about reaching federal gift tax limits. Investment gains can then be used for education expenses without a capital-gains tax.
One of the big problems with extreme Leftist thinking in the modern age is overcomplication, also known as paralysis by analysis. Someone will say something constructive like, “Black people need legacy,” and the extreme Left will counter with something unconstructive, such as, “Well, it’s easier said than done. Black people have a legacy of slavery, therefore you can’t expect them to own businesses.” Someone will say something constructive like, “We need to fix the testing achievement gap,” and the Left will counter with some diversion like, “Tests are racist” or “what does achievement really mean?” You’ll mention that black kids study less than Asian kids, and rather than encouraging black kids to study more, they’ll encourage race-based admissions, thereby dismissing the very idea of the necessity of hard study and hard work. The end result is that people don’t improve. No progress gets made. Discussion of success devolves into excuses for failure.
Philipp Meyer’s The Son will be an interesting read for those interested in a guy’s novel. It’s a multigenerational novel about a young white boy who is kidnapped by Comanches and grows up to become a warrior and a cattleman in Texas during the 1880’s. It spans from the the boy’s young childhood to the childhoods of his great-great-grandchildren. This book was very ambitious, but Meyer succeeds.
Check it out.
Lots of Korean adoptees are returning to live in Korea. The NY Times reports it here. Not only are they returning to their birth countries, but they’re actively campaigning against international adoption, arguing that many of the single mothers who give up their children don’t know what they’re doing and are victims to social stigma in Korea, AND that it doesn’t help kids who are forced to grow up with White parents who don’t understand what children of color go through in America.
Fascinating article here. To summarize, a writer learns of a psychologist named Arthur Aron who, 20 years ago, was able to make two complete strangers fall in love in a lab experiment. The experiment was simple–two heterosexual single people ask one another 36 questions, followed by four minutes of simply looking into one another’s eyes. You can see the list of questions here. The takeaway is that the questions foster trust, vulnerability, and action. The writer tries the experiment herself, and so far it looks like it’s working.
Interesting piece on Hong Kong’s pro-democracy tycoon Jimmy Lai. Most businesspeople are not activists, and vice-versa. Jimmy Lai started in poverty, co-founded Giordano (the clothing line which everyone who went to HK in the 80’s knows), and eventually became a media tycoon. As the article notes, it’s hard to be both a businessman and an activist. Lai actually stepped down as chairman of his media company in order to pursue his activism.
I’ve always wondered what Batman would look like without the mask. Maybe this is it.
It looks like it’s over. As predicted, the police caught up to the terrorists, and it looks like they’ve been killed.
This morning, David Brooks had an excellent Op-Ed on the teachable moment of Charlie Hebdo. Read it here: I am not Charlie Hebdo. In the Op-Ed, Brooks writes about how even though the world condemns the brutal murders of these cartoonists, America would not have opened its arms to welcome these cartoonists’ brand of humor. Instead, America would have castigated Charlie Hebdo as hate mongers, much the same way America castigates Bill Maher and Ann Coulter. On a college campus, Brooks writes, their publication would have been shut down.
As many of you know, at least two gunmen shot up the office of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in France, shouting “Allahu Akbar,” which means “God is great” in Arabic. They shot and killed 12 people, including some of France’s most respected political cartoonists. The gunmen reportedly targeted the magazine and asked for the cartoonists by name. There’s an intense manhunt going on right now. Charlie Hebdo was known to have (rightly) criticized some craziness committed by some Muslims. This may have been revenge.