The new lions of Afghanistan

Afghanistan was the sensation in the cricket Asia Cup that is currently underway. Despite being considered a hopeless underdog, they crushed Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in the first round to advance to the second round of four, along with Bangladesh, Pakistan, and heavy favorites India. There they proved they were no mere flash-in-the-pan, all three of their matches ending in nail-biting finishes. Afghanistan provided pretty much all the excitement in the tournament.
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Lions in India

Until a few months ago, I had thought that lions had always existed only in Africa. But it turns out that not only were lions once roaming parts of Asia, there are Asiatic lions in India even today. Apparently there had once been lions all across the land connections between Africa and India, which makes sense once you think about it since there is no reason why they should have limited their territory unless forced to do so by climate or terrain. This explains why lion metaphors can be found in places like Afghanistan where the political and military leader Ahmad Shah Massoud was called ‘the Lion of Panjshir’.
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Short quiz on evolution

The BBC website has a short quiz consisting of seven true-false questions about evolution that seek to challenge many popular misconceptions. Although I am not a biologist, I do write about evolution from time to time so I took the quiz to see how many misconceptions I had. I got six out of the seven questions right.

But what I want to highlight is the seventh question that I got ‘wrong’. I knew that I would get my response to that one marked wrong even as I answered it. Take a look at the quiz and you will see what I mean.

The Kavanaugh saga continues

As Thursday, the day when the senate has currently scheduled testimony about the allegations made against US Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh approaches, more information keeps coming out, and most of it is not in his favor. It now appears that his second accuser Deborah Ramirez may also give testimony to the senate judiciary committee and the lawyer for the third accuser (who may go public today) has been in touch with a staff member of the committee about giving her testimony. And of course, there is the possible fourth accuser, not to mention Kavanaugh’s notorious close friend Mark Judge whose published descriptions of drunken debauchery during high school paint an all-too vivid and ugly picture that is consistent with the allegations.
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John Oliver on the menace of Facebook

I have posted before about how Facebook has dominated access to the internet is countries like Myanmar and Sri Lanka and this has led to the rapid spread of wild and false rumors that have been exploited by Buddhist extremists in those two countries to launch attacks on their Muslim minorities.

In last Sunday’s segment, John Oliver discusses in detail, using Myanmar as an example, how bad Facebook is and how they let things get way out of hand before they started doing anything. He ends the segment with a far more accurate ad for what Facebook really represents.

In other Washington chaos news …

… the media were abuzz over the story that deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, who overseas the Mueller investigation, had gone to the White House today to either offer his resignation or be fired in the wake of reports that he had doubted the president’s competence and even suggested that people wear a wire when talking to him, though that has been characterized as facetious. That report turns out to be premature and any decision has been postponed until at least Thursday. The whole non-event may have been orchestrated to create a distraction from the Kavanaugh debacle.

Marty Lederman, a professor of law at Georgetown University, lays out the complex series of succession options that would come into play if Rosenstein were be fired or resign because of the recusal of attorney general Jeff Sessions and other key players. It is a mess.

In this White House, the only thing that is straightforward is the transfer of money to the already wealthy from the rest of us.