Open Thread

This is where new readers come out of the woodwork and say ‘hi!’ And it’s where regular readers tell me about interesting stuff they’ve come across since the last Open Thread.

I had social obligations this weekend and so I haven’t done a lot of blogging-relevant stuff over the last few days. I’ve read Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day, and although I won’t blog it here I will note that it was an awesome book.

A few links:

i. I recently watched this lecture, but I decided against embedding it here because I was very far from impressed by it. If you decide to give it a shot you should at the very least do yourself a favour and skip the first 5 minutes. You should also note that quite a bit of work has been done in related areas such as search and matching theory since the Gale–Shapley algorithm was developed.

ii. Sexual Behavior, Sexual Attraction, and Sexual Identity in the United States: Data From the 2006–2008 National Survey of Family Growth.

Some results and data from the link:

“Among adults aged 25–44, about 98% of women and 97% of men ever had vaginal intercourse, 89% of women and 90% of men ever had oral sex with an opposite-sex partner, and 36% of women and 44% of men ever had anal sex with an opposite-sex partner. Twice as many women aged 25–44 (12%) reported any same-sex contact in their lifetimes compared with men (5.8%). Among teenagers aged 15–19, 7% of females and 9% of males have had oral sex with an opposite-sex partner, but no vaginal intercourse.”

“About one-half of all STIs occur among persons aged 15–24”

“Although current HIV medications have substantially increased life expectancy (7), the medical costs are substantial, averaging approximately $20,000 per year for each person in care”

“Among women aged 15–44 in the 2006–2008 NSFG, 11% had never had any form of sexual activity with a male partner in their lives, 6.1% had sex in their lifetime but had no opposite-sex sexual activity in the past 12 months, and 69% had one male partner in the past 12 months. Nearly 8% had two partners in the past year, and about 5% had three or more partners in the past year. […] Among women aged 25–44, 1.6% never had any form of sexual activity with a male partner, 6.6% have had sex with a male but not in the past year, and 82% had one partner in the past year. Having one partner in the past 12 months was more common at older ages, presumably because more of these women are married. Having one partner in the past year was significantly more common among married (97%) or cohabiting (86%) women than those in other groups […] women aged 22–44 with less than a high school diploma were nearly twice as likely (13%) to have had two or more partners in the past 12 months as women with a bachelor’s degree or higher (7%).”

“Among women aged 15–44, the median number of male partners is 3.2 and in 2002 it was essentially the same at 3.3. For men aged 15–44, the median number of female partners was 5.6 in 2002 and remained similar at 5.1 in 2006–2008. As in 2002 when 23% of men and 9% of women reported 15 or more partners in their lifetimes, men were more likely than women to report 15 or more partners in 2006–2008 (21% of men and 8% of women). […] These results are consistent with prior findings from surveys in the United States and other countries, which all show that men on average report higher numbers of opposite-sex sexual partners than do women of the same age range […] While 11%–12% of women with lower levels of education reported 15 or more partners, 6.8% with bachelor’s degrees or higher reported 15 or more partners. For men […], the disparity by college education was smaller”

iii. The FIDE Candidates Tournament (the tournament deciding who’s to play against Magnus Carlsen in the next World Chess Championship match) has begun and a few rounds have been played. Some interesting chess so far. The official site is here. I haven’t followed the live commentary, but I’ve noted that the main commentators seem to be Danish Grandmaster Peter Heine Nielsen and his wife Viktorija Čmilytė (currently the 12th strongest female player in the world). Without having followed the coverage I can’t of course say how well they’ve done, but I’d say that picking someone like Nielsen to provide commentary seems to me like a very good idea; aside from being a ‘pretty strong player’ who’s been in the world top 100 for a decade or something like that, he’s also been one of Anand’s seconds for years – he’s currently Magnus Carlsen’s second – and if you want someone able to talk about the specific details of the various openings likely to be employed in games like these, it would probably be very hard to find someone significantly better than him.


March 17, 2014 - Posted by | Open Thread


  1. Perhaps try some Jasper Fforde. It’s sorta in the vein of Pratchett and Douglas Adams.

    Comment by Stefan | March 19, 2014 | Reply

    • I have a much easier time figuring out which non-fiction books to read than which novels would be worth having a go at, so thanks a lot for that recommendation – I’ll check him out.

      Judging from some of the titles of his works (e.g., ‘The Woman Who Died a Lot’, ‘Lost in a Good Book’, ‘The Well of Lost Plots’), he seems like the kind of author I might want to read..

      Comment by US | March 19, 2014 | Reply

  2. Here is a link that might interest you:

    Comment by Manfred Bühler | May 1, 2014 | Reply

    • Looks like a very nice resource – thanks!

      (And thanks for reminding me that I probably ought to post another one of these posts soon – as long as people contribute to them occasionally, I figure I should keep them around…)

      Comment by US | May 1, 2014 | Reply

      • I wanted to share that link with you via email/Skype, but I thought, “Heck, why not just post it on Open Thread? That way I can hopefully encourage US to start another one too.” 🙂

        Comment by Manfred Bühler | May 2, 2014

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