Laura Ingraham loses advertisers, goes on ‘vacation’

Fox News host Laura Ingraham’s shtick is to bully and smear and she tried to do this to David Hogg, one of the high school survivors of the Parkland shooting, but found that young people are not pushovers for her tactics. Hogg responded by calling advertisers to boycott her show. When about a dozen of them did so, Ingraham tried to mend the damage by issuing an apology to Hogg “in the spirit of Holy Week”, a weird invoking of religion that not only did not stem the fleeing of advertisers but also prompted widespread mockery.
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Pulse nightclub shooter’s wife acquitted of all charges

The mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida in June 2016 was a horrific event even by the standards of the US where mass killings are so common, in which 49 people were killed and 58 wounded by a single person Omar Mateen, showing how much firepower he had at his disposal. Mateen himself was killed after a three-hour standoff with police. Mateen had sworn allegiance to ISIS and said that his motive was revenge for US actions against ISIS.
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Surprising twist in the dark matter search

In science, we often give provisional existence status to entities that serve as explanatory concepts to explain phenomena, even though they have not been directly detected as yet. Of course, that state of provisional existence does not last forever and strenuous efforts are undertaken to obtain direct measurements of existence and sometimes these can take a long time. That seems to be the case with dark matter which is thought to be about five times as abundant as normal matter and to exist in large spheres in which all galaxies are immersed but whose direct detection has proven elusive.
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Diplomatic tit for tat kabuki

We have just gone through another round of diplomatic expulsions. After Russia was accused of poisoning an ex-Russian spy and his daughter in the UK, many nations on the EU, NATO, and the US ‘punished’ Russia by expelling some of their diplomats and closing some consulates. In retaliation, Russia has expelled US diplomats and closed a US consulate in Russia. Such retaliatory moves are a sign that relations between the parties involved have reached a particularly low ebb.
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Why is there no war on Easter?

Today is Good Friday and this coming Sunday is Easter Sunday, both major days in the Christian calendar. The so-called ‘war on Christmas’ is something that politicians have got a lot of mileage out of. In addition to feeding the persecution complex of some Christians who like to think of themselves as under siege for their faith in the US of all places, it is also used as a cudgel by them against those who oppose their attempts to impose Christianity and its practices on everyone, by having prayers and Christian symbols occupy the public sphere.
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The incredible double life of Clarence King

Clarence King (1842-1901) was the first director of the US Geological Survey and played an instrumental role during the major controversy at the end of the nineteenth century over the age of the Earth. Biologists who were convinced by Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution knew that for the unguided process of natural selection to work required long times and the absolute minimum age that they needed was 100 million years, though even that was stretching things. But physicists, led by Lord Kelvin, were pushing for a younger age based on their models of the Earth as a once-hot cooling body. (The discovery by Pierre Curie that the decay of radium produced prodigious amounts of heat and thus invalidated all the cooling models did not occur until 1903.) Geologists were in the middle since their models based on geological processes had parameters that were hugely variable and thus could not be the arbiter. But King pushed them over to the physicists’ side.
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Why aren’t backups the solution to ransomware?

Ransomware is where hackers gain access to a computer system and then prevent its legitimate users from accessing the data until they pay a ransom. Hospitals have often been targeted. The city government of Atlanta is the latest victim of this practice, having been locked out of its computers since last Thursday.

I presume all these institutions do backups of their systems pretty much all the time. So why, when attacked like this, can they not do a complete wipe of their systems and then reload using the backup? It may take some time, of course, but that can’t be why they don’t do it since the Atlanta lockout has gone on for almost a week.

I know that there are computer experts who read this blog. Can anyone explain this?

Racism in cricket

It is said that sports do not build character as much as reveal it. The cricket cheating scandal is a good example of that truism. Today, the Australian cricket authorities issued further summary punishments to captain Steve Smith, vice-captain David Warner, and Cameron Bancroft, issuing one year bans for Test and first class cricket on Smith and Warner and nine-months on Bancroft. Smith will not be eligible for consideration for captaincy for two years. The announcement singled Warner out as the ringleader of the plot and was not only stripped from his leadership role, he was banned for life from ever being considered for the captaincy. All three will also have to perform 100 hours of community service.
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