The Machine Murders: Island Buoys by CJ Abazis. (Photo: Amazon)
Books are a great gift idea for Father’s Day, especially for dads who already have an overflowing collection of ties. The following suggestions are available online.
The Machine Murders: Island Buoys by CJ Abazis, translated into English by Kalliopy Paleos, is published by software company Publisto Ltd. (Amazon/Audible 2021) in its first foray into the commercial thriller market. In the book, Manos Manu visits the Greek island of Mykonos to attend a friend’s wedding. During his stay, he witnesses the hunt for a serial killer who abducts and kills his victims, passes a chain through their bodies and drops them at sea as buoys with the word “free” written on them.
Clues are plentiful as the local police focus on boat rentals, hotel reservations, DNA samples, and last sightings of the victims, but the case continues to baffle them while it also garners attention on social media. Though technically on vacation, Manu, a data scientist who gave up a lucrative job in Silicon Valley because he “wanted to run multiple models on human actors,” now works for Interpol in Singapore, and decides to help the investigation. His problem? The machine learning system he has developed to track killers via their use of online media is untested, the datasets he needs are lacking, and suspicion follows him whatever he tries to do. His wealthy friends also view him with pity for joining law enforcement, the Greek police don’t understand a thing about his methods, and his bosses in Singapore think he spends too many resources and is placing the entire program under the unnecessary scrutiny of the global media.
As the victims multiply, the crisis deepens and the machine learning models of Manu’s system uncover correlations impossible to fathom. Although the events described in the book are fictional, similar machine learning technologies are now used by law enforcement agencies around the world tracking calls, clicks, online pauses, and suspect behaviors. It should be noted that CJ Abazis manages a software company in Athens, Greece. More information about the book is available online: https://themachinemurders.com.
For those interested in improving their backgammon skills, longtime contributor to The National Herald Constantinos E. Scaros has written an easy-to-read guide, titled Play Fearless Backgammon. The book is dedicated to his father, Emmanuel C. Scaros, who spent many afternoons playing the game with him. The book is geared towards players of all skill levels, beginners, mid-level players and even experts looking to expand their mastery. Scaros offers insights to help players “win more games than you lose, and learn new strategies you never even thought of before,” all while having fun. The book includes helpful illustrations to guide the reader towards mastery of this ancient table game with roots dating back about 5,000 years in the Middle East. Backgammon is considered the national game of many countries in the eastern Mediterranean, including Greece and Cyprus. The book is available online.
For dads interested in historical fiction, The Greek novel Tokei Maru by Eleni Andreadou and Zachos Samoladas attempts to bridge the historic facts with fiction, envisioning the life and times of the captain of the Japanese ship that rescued the refugees from certain death. The book follows the story of the captain of the Tokei Maru from 1863 Kagoshima, Japan, to 1931 Osaka. In the intervening years, historic events, like the Sino-Japanese and the Russo-Japanese wars, the navy patrols of the Japanese fleet in the Mediterranean Sea in the final days of World War I, the burning of Smyrna and the rescue of Greeks and Armenians in 1922, as well as the political uprising in the Far East in the mid-1920’s, mark the fictional life of the captain of the Tokei Maru.
Tokei Maru by Eleni Andreadou and Zachos Samoladas, published by Barbounakis Publications, is available online: www.barbounakis.com.
JERUSALEM — International efforts to broker a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas appeared to gain new momentum Thursday as the White House said a visit by a senior envoy with Israeli leaders was “going well” and other mediators reported encouraging signs from the warring parties.
ATHENS - With improvement changes made by the leadership of the Ministry of Justice and after a two-day lengthy debate and intense confrontation between the government and the opposition, the draft bill for the new penal code was voted by a majority in the plenary session of the Hellenic Parliament.
LAS VEGAS — Hydeia Broadbent, the HIV/AIDS activist who came to national prominence in the 1990s as a young child for her inspirational talks to reduce the stigma surrounding the virus she was born with, has died.
NEW YORK – Greek-American John Avlon, a Democrat and former CNN political analyst, announced on February 21 that he is running for Congress in New York’s 1st Congressional District, the New York Times reported, noting that he is entering “a crowded congressional primary to try to flip a Republican-held swing seat on Long Island.
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