Q: Nook or Kindle? What's the current state of things? No need for color or anything, just a good e-book reader, preferably something that can be used for a lot of free stuff and PDFs. No use paying for Jane Austen, you know, and there are a lot of things in PDF form that I would read.
Q: Ipod Touch or other device? For listening to music, playing games, etc. I suppose it highly depends on what games and other things I'm interested in. Probably chess stuff, maybe a couple card games, maybe a couple board games, maybe fooling around on the internets. Thoughts on what technologies might be good to look into?
http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2011/01/23/peaked_performance/?page=full Claims the pinnacle of athletic performance was in 1988. It certainly was in weightlifting. After that, steroid enforcement got a lot better. The current world records for superheavies are still below the marks set in the 80s (they restructured weight classes to wipe out the doped records) and standard performances in the world championships and Olympics are significantly below what they were back then. At least, in the top weight classes. Some of the lower levels are pretty competitive right now with the influx of light Chinese lifters and women's weightlifting is getting ridiculous. Powerlifting, of course, is a farce.
Chess, however, is still undergoing a revolution. I don't know whether anybody is stronger than Kasparov at his peak, but more people are reaching those levels. I think the rise of high-level computers and sophisticated chess databases raised the standard. There's also some rating inflation, perhaps. But, seriously, you can get chess programs for free that will crush the average grandmaster. The old version of Rybka is available for free and its quoted rating is over 3000 (take with grain of salt). A typical grandmaster has a rating in the 2500s. You are expected to get 75% of the points against somebody rated 200 points below you. Rybka does seem to play at about that level against humans given its results in matches.
Okay, time to finish out the day. Adios, cadets.
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