I’m back!

by admin on March 13, 2008

Back from my four-day sojourn in Houston, that is. I went to the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, in order to learn what’s new in our solar system and hopefully find some topics for articles. I did come back with a couple of ideas. I won’t discuss them in detail here, because it would be too far off topic for a chess blog.

I will say, though, that without question the biggest star of the show was the Japanese Kaguya unmanned mission to the Moon, which is in orbit right now. The Japanese space agency, JAXA, had the bright idea of installing an HDTV camera on the spacecraft. They didn’t even classify it as a scientific instrument; in the press conference, they said that they had 14 science experiments plus a television camera for “public outreach.” At this meeting they showed, for the first time, several of the high-definition videos.

Well, even if the movies weren’t “scientific results,” they were absolutely mind-blowing. One person told me that he could teach a whole semester course in geology just by talking about the things you can see in these images. For the first time, scientists can actually see the Moon as the Apollo astronauts saw it when they were in the command module orbiting the Moon. They can see it better, in fact, because the astronauts were crammed into a tiny module with a little triangular porthole. Also, the HDTV images are slightly contrast-enhanced. I tell you, the videos are enough to send shivers down your spine. I hope that the Japanese TV network (NHK) will make them available to the public soon. For now, you can see some still frames on the Kaguya website.

But now, back to chess. I have a couple of small announcements to make. First, I got word from the editor of Chess Life that my article on eight-dimensional chess (based on my ChessLecture) is once again scheduled for the May issue. Hooray! Maybe he didn’t have to cut back as many pages as they thought, or maybe he just decided it was worth publishing regardless.

Also, if you didn’t catch the comments on my most recent post, Andy Hortillosa, one of the regular readers of this blog, is going to start a regular column for chessville.com, beginning next week. I hope you’ll all check it out!

Countdown to the U.S. Championship Qualifier: two weeks and one day!

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Andres D. Hortillosa March 14, 2008 at 9:28 am

Dana,

It is certain now that I will get to see you in Tulsa two weeks from now. Frank Berry allowed me to send in my entry fee late (postmarked the 13th instead of received on the 13th) and got my plane ticket yesterday.

If I get to play you as White, should I play 2.f4?

Andy

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admin March 14, 2008 at 11:23 am

Andy,

I’m looking forward to meeting you! Yes, if you play me as White, I recommend 1. f3 e5 2. f4. 😎

Dana

Reply

Carina March 16, 2008 at 5:08 am

I just finished my Nakamura portrait!! Yay. I’m doing a portrait of my mother next. 🙂

http://czharina.deviantart.com/art/Hikaru-Nakamura-80128083

Reply

Andres D. Hortillosa March 16, 2008 at 4:07 pm

Carina,

Another great piece from you. Love it.

Andy

Reply

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