American Go E-Journal » Go Spotting

Your Move/Readers Write: On respect and harmony; “Altered Carbon”; “Levar Burton Reads”

Sunday March 31, 2019

On respect and harmony: “The negative tone and harsh criticism of the translator of the Cho Hunhyun book “Go With the Flow” (Empty Board #13 3/24 EJ) caught me by surprise,” writes Hanxi Zhang. “I have read the book in both English and Chinese. To me it is challenging to translate Cho’s abstract thoughts and philosophies from one language/culture to another, and the translator did a decent, if not perfect job. If – as Mr Cobb has often said — Go is all about peace, balance and harmony, I am afraid he has behaved exactly contrary to those virtues. I do not see the point of humiliating the translator, a cultural ambassador, for his imperfect work. In the oriental culture, recognizing people’s mistakes and weaknesses without exposing them in public is considered a virtue. Let’s constantly remind ourselves of these virtues, both when playing Go and in real life.”

“Altered Carbon”: A very plausible Go game shows up in the 7th episode of the Netflix series Altered Carbon at about 40 minute in, and continues to show up in several subsequent episodes. (see our 2/13/2018 Go Spotting: Altered Carbon) 
– Mark Gilston

“Levar Burton Reads”: I just heard the latest episode of the podcast Levar Burton Reads. In it Levar Burton reads Ken Liu’s short story Mono No Aware. The plot centers around culture, and go is ultimately central to the climax of the story. Worth listening to!
– Howard Cornett

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Go in the News/Go Spotting (the catch-up edition)

Tuesday January 22, 2019

Go in Cuba: Chinese board game GO experiences wide popularity in Cuba: The Chinese board-game GO has been played 2019.01.22_Go in Cubasince ancient times, but it remains popular around the world even today. One country with a large GO following is Cuba. CGTN’s Luis Chirino took a look at the rise of the game in Havana.

Mecha Samurai Empire: “Found a short reference to go in Mecha Samurai Empire by Peter Tieryas,” reports  Michael Goerss. “Protagonist is a mecha pilot in a world where Japan and Germany won World War 2 a la The Man In The High Castle. Page 304, ‘I’ve become all too aware of how we are just numbers to those in charge, go pieces on the field that help them on their march to glory. We’re young and disposable.’”

The New Yorker (1): How the Artificial-intelligence Program Alphazero Mastered its Games; “What may be most surprising is that we humans have done as well as we have in games that seem, now, to have been made for machines,” James Somers reports in the 12/30/18 New Yorker.

The New Yorker (2): “It may be that references to go are becoming common enough to make go-spotting too easy,” writes Fred D. Baldwin. “But I liked this passage from The New Yorker (December 24 & 31), ‘China’s Bizarre Program to Keep Activists in Check.'”  The focus is on government surveillance of  Zha Jianguo, “a veteran democracy activist.”  The article’s author includes this quote from an interview with Jianguo: Jianguo views these developments soberly. He has long since shed any illusions of fast social change or enduring media attention. “If I’m sentenced for another nine years, or twelve or thirteen years,” he told me calmly, “I’ll just forget about the outside world and focus on my life inside prison. Family and loved ones—well, those thoughts will be there for a while. It will take time. I’ll read some books, play some Go, get on with my cellmates. I’ll try to make the best out of each day. I’ll think about nothing else, nobody else.”

“Pine Gap”: In Netflix’s episode 6 of the new 6-part sh2019.01.22_Blindspotow ‘Pine Gap,’ a show about US/ Australian/ Chinese military/political/economic relationships, there is a brief monologue by a Chinese character talking to an American about how Chess v.s. Go thinking affects how each country responds to the other, reports David Doshay. “And to drive home the point, a few scenes later the same Chinese guy compliments another person on how well they played ‘the long game.’”

Georg Jellinek: “In a recent Amazon search for the works of German political theorist Georg Jellinek, I discovered that the cover design for the Spanish translation of his Allgemeine Staatslehre (General theory of the state) features go,” writes Colin Grant. “I am not familiar with the text, so I can’t vouch for the felicity of the match.”

Sandra and Woo; Blindspot: “Saw and heard about two different go sightings today, reports Steve Colburn. “One is from a webcomic I read about a young girl and her talking raccoon, Sandra and Woo. The other is from the season premiere of Blindspot (left) which was told to me by my boss. I’ve included a screenshot from the show from Hulu.”

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Go spotting: PBS’ “Space Time” series

Monday November 5, 2018

go-spotting-thermodynamicsThe Misunderstood Nature of Entropy episode of the PBS “Space Time” series uses a go board as a nice example of thermodynamics, statistical mechanics, and average distributions of energy in a system.

They explain that there are macro states with classical observable properties such as temperature, volume, pressure, etc.  These macro states are manifested from many micro states of particles (position, momentum, spin, etc.), and the macro state we observe correlates to the most possible (most statistically occurring) microstates.

If you arrange 180 black stones on a go board, there are 2 times 10 to the 107th power — (2)(10^107) — possible arrangements.  These arrangements represent the possible micro states of particles, and by far most of these states or arrangements of stones look like a macro state of black stones evenly distributed around the board.  It is a very rare micro state to have all the black stones in one corner or filling half the board.  That macro state is observably quite different than the many distributions of stones around the entire board.  Some micro states are so rare, like one chance in (2)(10^107) possibilities, that they never actually occur, just as we don’t suddenly experience all the oxygen in a room randomly collecting against one wall of the room.

– story edited by Bill Chiles; thanks to Freeman Ng for the story tip. 

 

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Go Spotting: Aliens and The Artificial Human; The Wheel of Time

Thursday September 20, 2018

Aliens and The Artificial Human: “Just finished watching the final episode of Ancient Aliens Season 13, episode 13,2018.09.20 Ancient Aliens Season 13, episode 13 writes Michael Bacon. “About twenty or so minutes into the program the focus was on Alpha Go vs Lee Sedol, who was called the World Go Champion. The segment, which was a few minutes in length, then moved 2018.09.16_wheel-of-timeon to Alpha Zero.” The episode is called “The Artificial Human.”

The Wheel of Time: “Maybe it has been reported before,” writes Peter Freedman, “but, in Robert Jordan’s series ‘The Wheel of Time’, often people enjoy a ‘game of stones’, which appears to be go.”

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Go Spotting: 101 Two-Letter Words

Monday September 17, 2018

“During a recent Scrabble game, someone showed me this book,” writes Ted Terpstra.2018.09.16 2-letter words book2018.09.16 2-letter words book cover

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Go Spotting: PBS’ Space Time

Sunday September 16, 2018

Space Time: “Recently the very succesful PBS series ‘Space Time’ did two episodes on entropy, where they used the game of 2018.09.16_space-timego to explain how entropy works,” writes Guillermo Molano. You can find the first episode here.
Thanks also to Daniel Gentry, David Kent and Peter St. John for spotting this.

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Go Spotting: Hardcore Leveling Warrior webtoon

Monday August 20, 2018

Episode 80  of the Hardcore Leveling Warrior webtoon includes an appearance by a character named “Bubble,” a former pro go player whose skill is controlling bubbles.2018.08.20 manga screenshot

Thanks to James Richard Spriggs for the tip!

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Go Spotting: Awkwafina’s “Pockiez”

Wednesday August 1, 2018

American rappertelevision personality, and actress (Crazy Rich Asians and Ocean’s 8) Awkwafina’s new2018.07.11 Awkwafina Pockiez video “Pockiez” features go fairly prominently. NOTE: the video also contains explicit lyrics.

Thanks to Adam VanderHook for passing this along.

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Go Spotting: “The Passions of the Mind,” and “1636: The Ottoman Onslaught”

Thursday July 19, 2018

Stone’s “Passions of the Mind: In Irving Stone’s biographic novel about Sigmund Freud, “The Passions of the Mind,” there is the following sentence, reports2018.07.11_The_Passions_of_the_Mind David Matson: “Sigmund stayed until one in the morning, playing Japanese Go.” It occurs in Section 9 of Book Two: The Longing Soul.

2018.07.11_1636_The_Ottoman_Onslaught“1636: The Ottoman Onslaught”: “Go is mentioned briefly in ‘1636: The Ottoman Onslaught” by Eric Flint,” writes  Mike Goerss. “The novel is in a series of an alternate history where a small American town finds itself in the middle of Germany in 1632. Third to last page, speaking about fighting the Turks as they invade Austria: ‘It is more like a game of go than chess. . . It is more of a game of position than maneuver.'”

“The Next Move”: “AlphaGo Zero, Google’s experimental AI, exists to play Go. There is no awareness, only intelligence.” So begins John Cooper Hamilton’s “The Next Move,” a very short story about AlphaGo in Daily Science Fiction, sent along by Paul Celmer, who published a non-go story in DSF last July, “Spooky Action at a Distance.”

“The Incredible Inventions of Intuitive AI”: Maurice Conti’s “The Incredible Inventions of Intuitive AI” TED talk video mentions AlphaGo beating Lee Sedol, reports Shawn Ray.

 

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Go Spotting: “Escape Plan 2: Hades”

Wednesday July 11, 2018

Sylvester Stallone and Dave Bautista are shown playing go in the trailer for the new film “Escape Plan 2: Hades,” in which they 2018.07.11_stallone-filmmust figure out how to break into the world’s best hidden prison, release their kidnapped team, and make it out alive. Not clear how playing go helps; let us know if you’ve seen it and have the answer.

Thanks to Daniel Chou for flagging this.

 

 

 

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