The astonishing story of how women got to run in the Boston Marathon

70-year old Kathrine Switzer ran and completed the Boston Marathon yesterday. Nowadays it is not unusual for women and older people to achieve such things but this is significant because 50 years ago, Switzer became the first woman to run in this race and what happened when she did so makes for an astonishing story that I wrote about two years ago and you can listen to her tell her story now in this video clip.
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Cleveland’s dubious claims to fame

The city of Cleveland has many desirable features. But these tend to be overshadowed by the many macabre criminal stories that have become associated with it that have garnered national and international attention. There were the so-called headless torso serial killings involving at least twelve victims back in the 1930s. Elliot Ness, who later became famous as an FBI investigator was police chief at the time. Then there was the Sam Sheppard case in 1954 that was reportedly the basis of the hit TV series and film The Fugitive.
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The number of atheists may be larger than popularly thought

While it is generally accepted that the number of nonbelievers in the US population is increasing, pinning down exact numbers and exactly what is implied by the word ‘nonbeliever’ is problematic because of the social pressures against identifying oneself as non-religious. What is easier to measure is the number of those who are unaffiliated with any religious institution, by not formally being members or attending services and the like.
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What motivated Trump voters?

The analyses of why Donald Trump won and what types of people voted for him keep going on apace. Mehdi Hasan says that some evidence points to racism playing a more important role than economic frustration, the latter view being advocated by people like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren who think that Democrats should try to regain the votes of those who went for Trump.
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False memories and the many worlds of Hugh Everett

Anyone who has taken a course on quantum mechanics and learned the dominant Copenhagen interpretation of it has encountered the so-called measurement problem that says that systems can exist simultaneously in a superposition of mutually exclusive states until an actual measurement is made, at which point the superposition collapses in ways that are unknown to the observer and the system is found in just one of the possible states. What happened to all the other states? No one knows. They are assumed to just cease to exist. The most famous example of this is Schrodinger’s cat which, while still in the unopened box is both alive and dead, but when the box is opened is found either alive or dead.
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Why Easter is Easter

Today is Easter Sunday, a big day in the Christian calendar when they celebrate the idea that Jesus rose from the dead. But why is it called ‘Easter’? And what’s with all the bunnies and painted (and chocolate) eggs that have now come to symbolize this day? Brent Landau explains some little-known facts about the holiday and says that like with Christmas, Easter has a lot of pagan elements folded in, starting with why it is celebrated in the springtime, specifically the first Sunday after the first full moon following the spring equinox.
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Black Acting School

In 1987, Robert Townsend wrote, directed, and starred in the comedy Hollywood Shuffle that satirized the then-popular blaxploitation films. He played aspiring actor Bobby Taylor and the limited range of roles that that he was able to audition for and the expectations the filmmakers had about how black people behave, as shown in this funny scene from the film.
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Using unpopular targets to undermine press freedoms

Authoritarian governments often use people and groups who are unpopular at any given time to undermine the freedoms that everyone should have but that restrict the government’s freedom to act with impunity. This is why it is necessary to defend the rights of even those whom you disagree with and even despise. Right now, WikiLeaks is hated by both Republicans and Democrats, and the Trump administration is making dangerous noises about curbing speech and press freedom using WikiLeaks as the excuse.
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