Challenge: Find a legal chess position in which one player is stalemated, and in which the stalemated player would still not have any legal moves, even if the rules were changed to make it legal to move your king into check, or otherwise leave your king in check. I don’t think this is a very…… Continue reading Superstalemate: A chess challenge
As seen in the Earth’s sky, the Moon and Sun are very close to the same size. I’ve seen it asserted a handful of times that this situation is unique in the Solar System (example). But is that actually true? It always sounded a little suspicious to me, so I decided to take a closer look.…… Continue reading Solar eclipses on other planets
Maybe you remember that viral internet graphic from a few years ago showing how the other 7 major planets in the Solar System could fit neatly between the Earth and the Moon. I’m not sure if I’m supposed to be surprised by that, but it’s a mildly interesting coincidence that the distances are so close.…… Continue reading Could all the planets fit between the Earth and Moon?
cpio is an archive file format, similar in concept to ZIP or tar. It combines multiple files (which I’ll call the “member files”) together in a single .cpio archive file. It is an old format, designed to be useful with magnetic tape drives. Here’s a demonstration, using a Unix shell, and the GNU cpio utility.…… Continue reading The cpio trailer problem
Small caps is really just a text display style, and as such it should be outside the scope of Unicode. But what if you want to Bᴇ Cᴏᴏʟ and use small caps in a post on an internet forum that supports Unicode, but not small caps styling? You could do that if Unicode had a special…… Continue reading The curious case of small caps in Unicode
I study a lot of file formats, and sometimes I come across a quirk in a format, or its documentation, that isn’t worth making a fuss about, but which might still be interesting to two or three people in the world. I suppose this one doesn’t even meet that criteria, though it is in a…… Continue reading An insignificant GIF specification error
I didn’t want my first real post here to be about file formats, so I’ll go with the next best thing: space aliens. I don’t know whether extraterrestrial intelligent life (ETI) exists in the observable universe. A lot of very smart people think it does. But based on humanity’s current observational and theoretical knowledge, it…… Continue reading We’re probably alone