From the large collection of Pufichek Chesspics albums of players of the Torino Chess Olympiad 2006, we have selected a few for our Photogenic Collection. The photos were posted for voting from May 24 to June 24, 2006, generating enormous interest from all sides of the globe, with over 10,000 people actively taking part in the voting. Most photos in this gallery will be used to illustrate the Torino 2006 Olympiads.

Because it’s all about whether you’re hot or not.


Shíshì shīshì Shī Shì, shì shī, shì shí shí shī.

The Lion-Eating Poet in the Stone Den or

« Shī Shì shí shī shǐ »

Shíshì shīshì Shī Shì, shì shī, shì shí shí shī.
Shì shíshí shì shì shì shī.
Shí shí, shì shí shī shì shì.
Shì shí, shì Shī Shì shì shì.
Shì shì shì shí shī, shì shǐ shì, shǐ shì shí shī shìshì.
Shì shí shì shí shī shī, shì shíshì.
Shíshì shī, Shì shǐ shì shì shíshì.
Shíshì shì, Shì shǐ shì shí shì shí shī.
Shí shí, shǐ shí shì shí shī, shí shí shí shī shī.
Shì shì shì shì.

Confused? From Wikipedia:

The Lion-Eating Poet in the Stone Den (Simplified Chinese: 施氏食狮史; Traditional Chinese: 施氏食獅史; Pinyin: Shī Shì shí shī shǐ) is a famous example of constrained writing by Zhao Yuanren which consists of 92 characters, all with the sound shi in different tones when read in Mandarin. The text, although written in Classical Chinese, can be easily comprehended by most educated readers. However, changes in pronunciation over 2,500 years resulted in a large degree of homophony in Classical Chinese; so the poem becomes completely incomprehensible when spoken out in Putonghua or when written romanized.

The Enduring Lies of Ronald Reagan

From In These Times:

While much of the neocon agenda is in tatters right now, certainly one of its most successful achievements has been the canonization of Ronald Reagan, which rests crucially on one thing Reagan himself did so well: forgetting the facts. So it’s time to exhume a few.

First to go is the myth that Reagan was the most popular president since FDR. Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting reminds us, “During the first two years of Reagan’s presidency, the public was giving President Reagan the lowest level of approval of all modern elected presidents. Reagan’s average first-year approval rating was 58 percent—lower than Dwight Eisenhower’s 69 percent, Jack Kennedy’s 75 percent, Richard Nixon’s 61 percent and Jimmy Carter’s 62 percent.” At the end of his second year, (remember the Reagan recession?) Reagan’s approval rating was 41 percent; after the Iran-Contra scandal was revealed, Reagan’s approval rating stood at 46 percent. His approval rating for his entire presidency was lower than Kennedy’s, Eisenhower’s and even Johnson’s, and at times he was one of the most unpopular presidents in recent history.

Also forgotten is Reagan’s own embarrassing propensity to just make things up. Reagan was a dunce and a fabricator. One of his most famous assertions was, “Trees cause more pollution than automobiles do,” and he maintained, wrongly, that sulfur dioxide emitted from Mount St. Helens was greater than that emitted by cars over a 10-year period. (In one day, cars emit 40 times what Mount St. Helens released in a day even at its peak activity.) In 1985, Reagan praised the P.W. Botha’s apartheid regime of South Africa for eliminating segregation, a blunder then-Press Secretary Larry Speakes had to correct a few days later.

What’s Your Commute Like?

Ok Cynics, we hit upon this briefly on a non-related post last week and it seems that people have a lot to say about their commute. I live about 45 miles south of Boston and work in Cambridge. My commute starts off with a short 2 minute drive to the train station where it then takes me about 50 minutes to get into Boston. We are herded like cattle off the platform where I then have to jog through the bowels of South Station to catch the subway which will take anywhere between 20 to 45 minutes for me to be deposited into Cambridge. After that it’s only a short 3 minute walk of weaving between the homeless people with outstreched hands and the Green Peace/MassPirg/Lyndon Larouche crowd before arriving in my office where I wait in anticipation to do the same commute backwards in 8 hours.

So what’s your commute like?

Carl Sagan Quotes

From Wikiquote:

It is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.

Those afraid of the universe as it really is, those who pretend to nonexistent knowledge and envision a Cosmos centered on human beings will prefer the fleeting comforts of superstition. They avoid rather than confront the world. But those with the courage to explore the weave and structure of the Cosmos, even where it differs profoundly from their wishes and prejudices, will penetrate its deepest mysteries.

I never said it. Honest. Oh, I said there are maybe 100 billion galaxies and 10 billion trillion stars. It’s hard to talk about the Cosmos without using big numbers. I said ‘billion’ many times on the Cosmos television series, which was seen by a great many people. But I never said ‘billions and billions.’ For one thing, it’s imprecise. How many billions are ‘billions and billions’? A few billion? Twenty billion? A hundred billion? ‘Billions and billions’ is pretty vague… For a while, out of childish pique, I wouldn’t utter the phrase, even when asked to. But I’ve gotten over that. So, for the record, here it goes: ‘Billions and billions.’