Think back to your high school lunchroom. Or better yet, think about the stereotypical Hollywood vision of a high school lunchroom. Notice the cliques that have “organically” formed up. You have the ‘jocks’ at their tables, being rambunctious, and throwing a ball around. Lettermen jackets and team jerseys abound. The ‘theater kids’ at their tables running lines and singing, dressed in whatever period piece costume they had to wear to the latest rehearsal. And of course, the ‘nerds’ either eating quietly or waxing poetic about the latest comic book/movie/game/etc that they bought. And the ‘goth kids.’ Dressed in all black, looking like they’ve just come back from the angstiest funeral in history. And finally, there are the ‘loners.’ They don’t think they belong to any clique. They just happen to sit at the same table, every day, but definitely aren’t a clique at all. You walk into this lunchroom to look for me and remember that I’m the president of the chess club. Quick, which group do you think I sit with? …

I really, really love movies. To me, it’s the ultimate creative art-form. A good movie can take us away from our worries for a few hours and let us vicariously experience someone else’s fantasies, or realities (if you’re into that). A Great movie can even blur the line between firsthand and second hand experiences. A Great movie can give you a feeling of catharsis that would make a soccer hooligan jealous. And the Academy Awards, the Oscars, are where we celebrate Great movies.

I think Great actors make for Great movies

Through a series of awards, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science, let’s us know who the best examples of excellence in the different facets of film making are. My personal favorites are the acting awards. I try to see every movie that gets an Acting nomination. …

I like the movie “Let It Ride” starring Richard Dreyfus. It’s a fun movie based around a nice man with a gambling problem, and a heart of gold. At one point in the movie, there is probably the best example of Contrarian betting I’ve ever seen. Contrarian betting is essentially betting ‘contrary’ to popular opinion. I always thought of this as assuming that the experts don’t know anything.

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So, when I found a dataset of Horse betting Tipsters (Kaggle dataset), I thought that I’d explore the data to see just how useful/useless they might be.

It is to be noted that this dataset has been kept up by it’s creators very, very well. There were no null or NaN values to contend with, the metadata was extensive and easily readable, and the imported columns were all…

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First, a clarification: I don’t mean rude anonymous people on the internet. I mean Trolls. The large scary beasts of fantasy and science fiction lore. My latinx friends may have been told of the CuCuy, while Jamaicans have stories about Duppies. There are so many examples of the LIES (hopefully) that we were told by our parents, grandparents and guardians to get us to behave. “Go to sleep, or the Cucuy will get you.” “Duppies come for children who don’t listen to the parents.” …

I’m old enough to remember when we thought that no computer would ever truly master the game of chess. We believed that the intricacies of the game and the subtleties of sacrifice were beyond a machine. In 1996, Gary Kasparov proved us right. A solid 4–2 victory (really 3–1 with 2 draws) by Kasparov was undeniable proof that the human mind was the superior processor. Isaac Asimov’s and Philip K Dick’s fictional visions of the future, where robots and androids threatened the existence of mankind, were just interesting bits of reading and nothing more.

And then, 1 year later, the rematch happened. And Kasparov lost. My 12 year old brain conjured visions of Skynet, and HAL, and Replicas and every other scary AI apocalypse I’d ever read or seen on a screen. If the best of us could be beat, what were our chances of survival? Luckily, I was talked down by my father, who reminded me that humans always came out on top in those stories. What preteen would need more comfort than that. …

Raul Harrington Jr.

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