His precise words were: "The absence of event horizons mean that there are no black holes -- in the sense of regimes from which light can't escape to infinity."
It seems clear. There are no forever and ever holes of blackness. There is always the chance that light might emerge.
Hawking continued, however: "There are however apparent horizons which persist for a period of time. This suggests that black holes should be redefined as metastable bound states of the gravitational field."
I would say easily beaten in a match, but definitely not utterly destroyed. In 2003, Kasparov drew with X3D Fritz. In 2006, Kramnik was beaten 4-2. Grandmasters still have draws and sometimes wins; that is not utterly destroyed IMO. I think utterly destroyed would be straight wins with 0 points. I'm also curious about different timing (e.g., 10 minute games) and chess variations (e.g., Fischerrandom/Chess960 and Capablanca chess).
ratings well above 3100
Computer chess ratings aren't accurate for computers (as they're banned from tournaments and humans progress from bad to the best so hard to push rating beyond 3000). 3100+, when translated, simply means a bit better than Carlsen, but we have no idea about its true rating. During the 1st 9 matches, all chess engines gave every move by Carlsen a sub-optimal (meaning there are many branches that could lead to optimal, but can't go enough plys/levels deep to determine) to optimal rating. The 10th match had the only bad move by Carlsen that I remember. I don't think Carlsen would be utterly destroyed against a "3100" elo rated chess engine, but probably beaten 3 to 2&1/2.
Isn't it typically when playing white you play to win and black you play to draw (that one-move advantage is huge)? So the fact that Carlsen got a win as Black was huge, right?
With grandmasters, it's said that there is a slight advantage too white, but it's still not huge. It's still theoretical, and I don't think black is that bad off IMO.
Can someone explain the details of the mistake to me?
Are you talking about game 9? Well, essentially at the blunder point, black has 2 queens. With the blunder knight move by Anand, Carlsen then moves to Qe1. Now, when Anand moves Rh4 threating mate, Carlsen can simply trade the queen for the rook. Now Carlsen will be up by a rook (~5 points). This is a huge advantage and no way for Anand to win, as his mating opportunity is now completely lost.
I've always wanted to be good at chess (I equate it to being "smart") but I've never been able to be very good at it.
The Polgar's have some good books. Study middlegame and endgame puzzles. Play a lot of games online. Most people think that fast games and overuse of computer analysis weakens your play, so play long games when you can and use computers analysis sparingly. Also, study historical games by masters (see if you can predict the next move). As far as openings, as a beginner, just pick a solid line for white (I suggest pawn d4) and a simple response for black from white's pawn e4/d4. The more games and puzzles you do, the better you will be. Play in local tournaments to keep your motivation up or join a club. Eventually, buy a book on openings or even start studying unorthodox/irregular openings (as they're a lot of fun and it rattles people); Nc3 (dunst opening) is usually regarded as the strongest irregular opening.
Retirement means that when someone says "Have a nice day", you actually have a shot at it.