Amazing art perspective

I am terrible at art and have always been so, partly due to serious lack of talent and partly due to having had no training at all. The art classes we had in elementary school back in Sri Lanka were viewed largely as fun time where we drew whatever we liked and got almost no feedback on how to make it better. This ignorance of art has not prevented me from having an immense respect for the abilities of artists and their fertile imaginations.
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How to remove unwanted intrusions from scenic photos

So there you are in front of the Taj Mahal or some other tourist site and you want to take a photograph of it. Unfortunately other people also like these sites and wander across the frame of the photo as you are setting up. Some will notice you and be considerate enough to wait for you to finish or walk behind you but most will be oblivious that they are ruining your shot.
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Cheating in professional sports

The world of tennis was reportedly rocked by a Buzzfeed/BBC investigative report that alleged that up to 70 tennis professionals, including 16 who had been in the top 50 and included winners of singles and doubles titles at Grand Slam events, had taken money for fixing matches, either deliberately losing or arranging for their opponent to lose. Players were offered $50,000 or more for fixing games and gambling syndicates made hundreds of thousands of dollars in return. The fixing was suspected after investigators looked at suspicious bets placed on events.
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Why do people panic buy before a snowstorm?

The eastern seaboard of the US has been hit by a major snowstorm starting last night that is shutting down major cities along the coast, like Washington, Baltimore, and Philadelphia. In Cleveland we are used to a couple of such blizzards every winter but the path of this particular storm was such that it completely missed this area and we have not had any snow at all in the last few days. In fact, the entire winter has seen only about 8 inches of snow so far, when the average by now should be close to 30 inches.
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“Who built the English Channel?” and other questions posed to librarians

If we have a question about anything, however bizarre, the impulse for those of us with access to a computer would be to insert the query into a search engine and see what the internet throws up. But before that came into existence, people went to their neighborhood librarian and the January 2016 issue of Harper’s magazine has a list of some of the questions posed to the New York Public Library’s Reference and Research Services between 1940 and 1989.
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Is anyone having trouble viewing embedded charts and graphs?

I sometimes embed graphics such as charts, graphs, cartoons, and other images in my posts. They are meant to appear in the body of the post and I check that they do before posting. But one reader Steve informs me that for him the graphic sometimes appears only as a link and he has to click on the link to see it which is, of course, a nuisance.
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Great moments in public relations

A city official in the town of Cranston, RI thought that she needed an elderly lady as a prop when she gave a press conference at a senior center. You would think that a senior center would have no shortage of such people. But for some reason, there was no one of that description either available or willing. Undeterred, she persuaded a male employee of the center, a bus driver, to don a wig, ear rings, pink lipstick and play the role.
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The singular ‘they’ gains increased acceptance

There is an awkward, long-standing, and frequently occurring problem of how to refer in the third person to someone whose gender is unknown. The use of ‘he or she’ or ‘him or her’ is the traditional option but as anyone will attest, this is cumbersome and inelegant for both the writer and the reader. It also does not address the question of people whose gender identification does not fit into the binary category.
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How time flies when you’re having fun

Today marks the fourth anniversary of my blog as part of the Freethought network, though I had been blogging on my earlier university site since January 2005. I truly never thought that I would keep it up for so long and still enjoy it. It has been the lively and enthusiastic response of the readers that has contributed to the enjoyment, in addition to being a learning experience for me.
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