Hello again, American Pie

The song American Pie was, despite its unusually long 8½ minutes, a big hit for Don McLean when he released it in 1971. It was a big hit in Sri Lanka too and I liked it a lot. The words were strange, lurching from one mental image to another seemingly with no connection, but I didn’t worry about it, just enjoying the bouncy beat. You can read the lyrics here or read it along with hearing the song below.
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Racist soccer fans

The world of soccer just had another case where British fans disgraced themselves. White Chelsea supporters attending a game in Paris repeatedly blocked a black man from entering the Metro, shouting racist slurs at him and chanting “We’re racist, we’re racist, and that’s the way we like it”. A bystander on the platform recorded the event and uploaded it and it went viral.
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2015 World Cup update #8: Sri Lanka edges Afghanistan in a thriller

If the current cricket World Cup has demonstrated something, it is that I am absolutely terrible at predicting outcomes. You can bet against me and win each time. For yesterday’s games, I predicted that both Sri Lanka and South Africa would have easy wins over Afghanistan and India respectively and what happens? Afghanistan almost pulled off a historic victory and India simply hammered South Africa, getting them out for 177 in just 40.2 overs after scoring 307/7. And let’s not even talk about my predicted dark horse team Pakistan struggling to avoid missing qualifying for the quarterfinals.
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Beware of the blob!

I came across this video that shows what happens when you embed ferromagnetic particles into putty to make it magnetic and then put a neodymium magnet (these are very strong magnets) near it. The caption to this video says that it was taken over 1.5 hours at three frames per second and then played back at 24 fps. (This cannot be right because then the playback should be a little over ten minutes and not 52 seconds.)
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NSA and GCHQ have accessed your phone’s encryption keys

Investigative reporters Jeremy Scahill and Josh Begley have an explosive article in The Intercept based on yet more documents provided by Edward Snowden that shows that the intelligence agencies of the US and Britain have no compunction whatsoever about engaging in illegal actions and hacking into private companies in their desire to get as much spying power over everyone as they can.
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Consent explained

The issues of sexual harassment, assault, and rape have been much in the news recently. It should be obvious that there should clearly be mutual consent. But for many people, the issue of what constitutes consent seems to be a little unclear. This video tries to clarify the issue, using other everyday exchanges that have none of the tension of sexual interactions, to illustrate the point.
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2015 World Cup update #6: New Zealand clobbers England

Yesterday’s match between England and New Zealand turned into a rout with England batting first and being dismissed for a paltry 123 off 33.2 overs, thus earning the dubious distinction of having the lowest score and batting for the fewest overs so far in the tournament. While I had predicted that England would not win this tournament, this performance was far worse than even I expected and can only be described as an utter humiliation. New Zealand, on the other hand, cemented their reputation as the team to watch in this tournament.
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Why memories are unreliable

We all know that our memories are unreliable. We forget things that happened and we ‘remember’ things that didn’t. Recent events have put back in the spotlight the issue of false memories. I have written about my own experience with false memories. The fact that people can spontaneously create false memories or have them implanted by others have in the past led to the kinds of miscarriages of justice that occurred during the epidemic of reported abuse in day care centers a few decades ago.
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