Sport Science on ‘The Block’

I am not a big basketball fan and know little about the finer points of the game. In fact, I did not watch any of the games played by the Cleveland Cavaliers during their championship-winning season that ended a week ago. I did not even watch the deciding game 7, preferring to work on my computer while occasionally checking the score. But when I saw that the score was tied in the dying moments of the game, I decided that it was time to tune in and after doing so, even an ignorant person like me realized that I had just witnessed a play for the ages.
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Parents using mobile phones and ignoring children

I was doing some yard work in the front recently and on the same afternoon noticed on two different occasions young mothers walking along the sidewalk with their toddlers in tow. As is often the case with children at that age, they were chatting away about all the wonderful things they saw around them. But the mothers were oblivious because they were completely absorbed by their cell phones, staring at them as they walked along.
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Cleveland celebrates

Yesterday there was a huge parade for the Cleveland Cavaliers basketball team for their come-from-behind win on Sunday of the NBA championship. It was the biggest event in the history of the city with a crowd estimated at well over a million people thronging the parade route that, because of the crush of people, took four hours to wind its way through the city and end at the downtown mall where a stage had been set up.
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Cleveland goes wild

The people of Cleveland are delirious today as their basketball team the Cavaliers won the NBA championship beating the Golden State Warriors 93-89. One has to have lived in this city to really appreciate the powerful emotions that are coursing through them. The city has suffered from all manner of economic difficulties in the last half century or so and like so many people in difficult economic times, they seek escapism and validation and self-worth in sports, however ephemeral that may be.
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Muhammad Ali (1942-2016)

Muhammad Ali died yesterday and the tributes are pouring in. His greatest accomplishment may have been that he persuaded so many people (including me) to become fans of a brutal activity (I cannot call it sport) that should be despised out of existence. But even more than his boxing skills, what electrified people like me around the world who detested what the US was doing to Vietnam was what he said when he refused to be drafted to fight in that horrible war.
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Please don’t thank me too soon

It happened again.

I got a notice from my university saying that there was a problem with some of the university-wide software that was resulting in some services responding very slowly or not at all, and that they were working on it and apologizing for any problems that this may be causing users. So far, so good. But then they went and added “Thank you for your patience”, something that I see frequently and also hear on recordings when you call a business and there is some waiting involved to speak to a human being.
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My love-hate (but mostly hate) relationship with Facebook

Many of you would have received the request from some business or organization to “Like us on Facebook!” If you have a Facebook account, you also get email alerts that promise updates on the ‘status’ of friends and if you click on them you will find that rather than being a significant change in their lives (new job, moved to new city, major relationship changes, etc.), it is often something really trivial, such as that they are ordering pizza. As a result of several such updates, I now don’t bother to click on them. And yet, they seem to garner a lot of ‘likes’ by their friends.
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This is the way to deal with frightened passengers

By now pretty much everyone must have heard about the academic who was taken off a plane and questioned by authorities because the passenger seated next to him while the plane was waiting to be cleared for takeoff had alerted the authorities that he was behaving suspiciously, concentrating on writing strange symbols on a piece of paper and rebuffing her attempts at conversation as she tried to find out what he was up to. It did not help that he was youngish, swarthy looking, and bearded.
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