Sri Lanka are surprise winners of Asia Cup cricket

In the final game that just ended, Sri Lanka beat Pakistan to win the Asia Cup trophy. Why was this a surprise? Because Sri Lanka was fielding a relatively young and inexperienced team, especially when it came to bowling, and they got off to a bad start when in the preliminary round they were trounced in the first game by Afghanistan. Afghanistan has come a long away in the short time it has been playing international cricket but it still had to be considered the weaker team. If Sri Lanka lost its second game against Bangladesh, it would have been eliminated from the tournament but they managed to win and then proceeded to win every single subsequent game, beating the more highly favored Indian and Pakistan teams along the way (the latter twice) as well as a repeat match against Afghanistan. This was definitely a team where the whole was more than the sum of its parts, punching above its weight, with different players stepping up at crucial moments.
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Buzz Aldrin once punched a moon landing denier in the face

Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong were the first people to walk on the moon. That was a major scientific and technological achievement that involved great personal risks to the two astronauts so one can imagine how annoying it must be to Aldrin to have some idiot get in his face saying that the whole thing was fake and calling him a coward and a liar and a thief, after luring him to a venue under false pretenses that it was an interview for a documentary, hence the camera and sound people around. So Aldrin, at the age of 72, punched the guy in the face.

I had not been aware of this incident that took place 20 years ago.

Of course, the nutters will point to the fact that Aldrin did not take up the offer to swear on the Bible as ‘proof’ that he did not walk on the moon. These people are willing to believe in a magic man in the sky without any evidence whatsoever but will not accept something for which there is tons of evidence, showing that you cannot argue with people who are not reality-based.
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Blood type and covid susceptibility

It appears that there may be a link between one’s blood type and susceptibility to getting covid.

Blood type doesn’t affect much in our daily lives. In fact, most people don’t even know whether they’re Type A, B, AB, or O. But the seemingly-banal detail might be a factor in who is most susceptible to Covid 19. That link was established pretty early on in the pandemic and scientists didn’t let it go. Additional research has buttressed the possibility of a link.

Where are we now, in 2022, on blood type and Covid? Additional research and review papers have confirmed that we’re in more or less the same place: It looks like there really is an association between Type A blood and susceptibility to Covid and Type O blood and less susceptibility. Yet no research so far has been able to pin down the molecular goings on that explain the mechanism behind why this might be so.

“It’s pretty clear that Type O is protective to some degree. I don’t think that having Type A or Type B is the problem—it’s just that they don’t have Type O,” says Mark Udden, MD, professor of hematology and oncology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

My own blood type turns out to be O+, which puts my mind at ease a bit. But despite that, I still wear an N95 mask whenever I am in an indoor public space and am not sure when I will feel comfortable going without. On my recent trip to Boston, I wore it almost all the time in the planes and in the airport, removing it only to eat or drink. But I noticed very few people wearing masks, probably about 5%, even in a high vaccination state like Massachusetts.

More and more people I know have got covid, though fortunately they were vaccinated and the cases have been mild. Many got it after flying. So I was a little concerned about my two trips to see my grandchildren and their trip to CA, all during the summer. But all those took place without any incident.

Why did Trump take the documents?

The mystery of why Trump took classified documents from the White House to Mar-a-Lago and then resisted returning them deepens. It seems so senseless. I have been reading various theories as to how this situation came about and have not been completely persuaded by any of them. The mystery deepened further with the discovery of empty folders because it raises new questions. Did the folders contain documents when they were taken to Mar-a-Lago? If so, where are the documents now? If not, why take empty folders? As I understand it, these kinds of secret documents are not passed around willy-nilly like magazines but are tracked as to their whereabouts. How and why did that system break down?
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Atheists are not a strong political force

Ten years ago, the Reason Rally was held in Washington DC. It was meant to serve as a big coming out party for atheists and nonbelievers and I was among those who attended. The day was rainy, which put a damper on things, but the mood was festive and celebratory. But as this article says, some of the high expectations of that day did not quite pan out.

Ten years ago, thousands of atheists, humanists, and skeptics descended by the busload upon the National Mall in Washington to attend the Reason Rally, the largest-ever gathering of nonbelievers. “We’re here, we’re godless, get used to it,” chanted the crowd, estimated to have between 10,000 and 30,000 people. For America’s growing non-religious movement, it was a jubilant coming-out-of-the-closet party.
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Why internet scams are so poorly written

I just received two emails supposedly from the Geek Squad, the name of the technical assistance group of the Best Buy store. The first one was from a Brooke Lola who told me that my account had been auto-renewed and that my card had been charged the annual subscription fee of $349.99. If I didn’t authorize this, then they gave me a phone number to call but I had to do so within 24 hours. Then a few minutes later I got the identical message, except that it was from someone named Vernon Jarbine.

I have never dealt with the Geek Squad so of course I immediately suspected a scam and I checked my bank and credit card accounts to make sure that no such charge had been made. According to this article, this is one of seven variants of Geek Squad scams that are currently making the rounds.

The Geek Squad scam is just one example of the widespread tech support scam trend that cost Americans nearly $350 million in 2021 alone, according to the FBI [*].

Scammers prey on victims seeking technical help, or they use the names of recognizable companies (like Best Buy, Amazon, or Apple) to fool you into giving them money, personal information, or remote access to your computer. 

If you need help with your computer or other electronic devices, the last thing you want is to end up getting scammed. So how can you tell if you’re dealing with the real Geek Squad and not a scammer? 

In this guide, we’ll show you how to recognize and avoid the most common Geek Squad scams.

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Brace ourselves for wall-to-wall Queen Elizabeth coverage

[UPDATE: She has in fact died.]

You may recall the massive coverage given last April to the death and funeral of Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth, with the BBC pre-empting coverage of all other programming. This was a bit much even for some Britons, who complained that their favorite programs were being replaced with endless blathering about him. The idea that the whole nation was in mourning for a long time over the death of a 99-year old man was always preposterous.

If that was done for her husband, imagine what the coverage will be like for Elizabeth when she dies. We already have in place what looks like a death watch because she seems to be having some health issues, which is not surprising for someone who is 96 years old.

Elizabeth has had a remarkably long reign. She seems to be physically tough and one wonders what she thinks of newspeople eagerly anticipating her death. It would be nice if she recovers from whatever currently ails her and lives for some time, just to spite these ghouls.

But if and when she eventually dies, we can be sure that the US media, inexplicably devoted to covering the minutiae of the lives of a family that has no discernible connection to the US, will follow the British media in going with over the top coverage for days on end, displacing much more important and relevant news, even if there really is no public appetite for such excess.

The assurance of an extreme right winger

I am heading back in Monterey today after spending a wonderful two weeks with my grandchildren and their parents. Much of my time was spent just hanging out, going to playgrounds, playing games, and reading books with the children but I did take the opportunity to visit some friends and relatives in the area.

One day, I visited my cousin and his wife for lunch and it turned out that his brother and his wife were also visiting from Canada and it was great to see all of them after a space of about seven years. While we were chatting, a neighbor of my cousin’s dropped by the house, a man named John. He was about my age, and my ever-hospitable cousin invited him and he came in. He immediately started talking. What astonished me was that he began making the most extreme right-wing pronouncements. These included things like the US is no longer a country because under Biden, it has an open-door policy that lets anyone in (and he clearly meant the refugees at the southern border) and gives them handouts. He said that we should have walls like Israel does. He said that people in the US do not want to work anymore because they too get handouts from the government. He said that the current economic inflation was entirely due to Biden’s policies. He said that young people today are lazy and do not want to study or work hard because they expected the government to take care of them. And on and on.

What was astonishing was not that he had these views. These are quite common in the US. It was that he felt free to utter them as incontrovertible truths in the presence of strangers whom he had met for the first time. One is familiar with the dictum that one should avoid discussing politics and religion in social settings because those topics can generate great passion and animosity. But he sailed right past that taboo.
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