Marathon records broken

Today came the news that Brigid Kosgei had smashed the women’s marathon record that had stood for 16 years by a massive 81 seconds, with a new time of 2:14:04. What I found interesting in the report was this little item.

Some will also point out that Kosgei was wearing the Nike Next% training shoes, which have been estimated to give between 60-90 seconds of performance benefit over other shoes.

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Great parallel parking

Parallel parking, when done by a skilled driver, can be a thing of beauty. Some time ago, I reproduced some instructions that I found on the internet that guarantees perfect parking every single time. I have followed those instructions and found that my success rate is much higher than it used to be, though not 100% since sometimes I have to pull out and start again.

But I have to humbly bow before the expert in the video below who squeezes into a space that I would not have even dreamt of trying to get into.
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Yet another email scam on the loose

Earlier today, I got this email.

Where are you presently?. I need your help for something very urgent so please get back to me via email as soon as you get this message.

The signature line was that of an old friend of mine from Sri Lanka and with her correct professional affiliations and degrees, and the return email address was the one I had for her in my address book.

But I am cynical enough to suspect scams and although I had not seen this one before, I looked it up and sure enough, it was one.

I quickly emailed my friend’s brother to tell him to inform his sister by phone that her email account had been hacked. He wrote back that that had indeed happened and unfortunately his own daughter had fallen for the scam and given the scammer some information though not much. My friend in Sri Lanka and her niece (and who knows how many others) have now got to go through the tedious business of trying to stem the damage.

I am just passing this on to alert others that one should never respond to such emails or give information without contacting the sender and confirming that this is genuine. If email is the only means you have to reach your friend, then you can reply and ask them to give you information that a scammer could not possibly know.

Can tiny homes solve the affordable housing crisis?

Given the extremely high cost of housing in some of the major metropolitan areas in the US, there has been a spurt in the tiny house movement, where very small available parcels of land are being used to build tiny homes, some as small as 120 square feet. There are even TV shows that feature these homes. These houses are quite ingenious in how they maximize the use of space.

On the surface, this option looks appealing for people who like to live a minimalist lifestyle. But it does have its drawbacks, as this person recounts about her own experience in living in a 240 square foot one. She was forced into this option because of high rents rather than it being a lifestyle choice.
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It looks like a smash-and-grab burglary to me

This video of a deer crashing into a hair salon has been all over the internet.

My question is why the deer decided to do this. My initial idea was that it was angry about a bad haircut it had received earlier when its fellow deer started laughing and pointing at it. But this news report suggests a different motive:

The buck ran to the break room at the back of the shop, came back out and hit a mirror, then ran out with an iron caught on its antlers, Heredia said.

Although the buck ran through the shop thrashing its antlers, it caused little damage other than to the front door and window, Heredia said. “It’s crazy It didn’t break anything,” she said.

What that deer really wanted was that iron. Fortunately, no one was seriously hurt, probably because deer do not have second amendment rights to own guns.

Two interesting Rugby World Cup games

The Rugby World Cup group stage is nearing the end and the top two teams from the four groups who will qualify to become the eight quarterfinalists are almost determined. There were two games where the highlights are worth watching for a few things that distinguish rugby from American football.

One is the game between Japan and Samoa, which was not close (Japan won 38-19) but has certain features of interest. The game was a little ugly with many penalties but you get to see some excellent goal kicks where the skill of the kickers in drilling the ball between the uprights from acute angles is displayed at the 3:00, 3.25, 6:45, 9:06, 11:15, and 13:25 marks.
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Rugby World Cup: New Zealand vs South Africa

These two nations are two of the best rugby teams in the world, sharing the past three World Cups between them, New Zealand winning in 2015 and 2011 and South Africa in 2007. They were in the same group this year and played each other early on in the group-qualifying matches. The game highlights below are worth watching for three reasons:

  1. The high quality of play.
  2. The haka by the New Zealand team at the beginning of every game.

    The haka is a type of ancient Māori war dance traditionally used on the battlefield, as well as when groups came together in peace. Haka are a fierce display of a tribe’s pride, strength and unity. Actions include violent foot-stamping, tongue protrusions and rhythmic body slapping to accompany a loud chant.

    As you can see, it is a highly aggressive performance, designed to intimidate the opponents and gain a psychological advantage even before the game begins.
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Two major upsets at Rugby World Cup

The 2019 Rugby World Cup is being hosted by Japan right now. There are 20 nations playing and there have already been two major upsets. I thought that American readers of this blog might enjoy seeing highlights of the two games below. There has been little coverage of this tournament in the major US media, which is a bit surprising given that the US is fielding a team and is currently ranked #13 in the world, which is not too shabby. They have played just one game so far, losing badly to England 45-7.

The biggest upset was by the host nation ranked #9 that beat #2 ranked Ireland, a perennial rugby powerhouse, 19-12.

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