Rescue of baby elephant stuck in a drain

When I get tired of politics, nothing cheers me up more than an animal story that ends well. A baby wild elephant had fallen into a narrow open drain near the southern Sri Lankan port city of Hambantota. Animal welfare officers worked with port workers to lift the baby out. It appears that the baby had broken its leg in the fall and is being treated for it before being returned to the mother, whom you can see watching the operation.

Airbnb voyeurism

I have never used Airbnb, the system where people can rent out rooms in their homes (or even the entire residence) to other people. This is attractive for low-budget travelers for whom hotels may be too expensive or in cases where there is no hotel near where they want to be. But Brad Esposito writes that there is a danger of staying in the home of someone you don’t know because you may be the target of a voyeur.
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Please don’t make Andrew Thierren angry

We are all targets of various scam artists who prey on the gullible and the naïve in order to fleece them. But when one such debt collector called Andrew Thierren’s wife falsely claiming that they had an outstanding debt that needed to be repaid, his first reaction, like that of many of us, was to hang up and ignore it. But when the person called again and threatened his wife with rape that was going too far. This normally genial salesman got furious and launched an intense solo investigation to find out whom this person was and who they worked for, and in the process uncovered a vast network of scammers.
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Do other cultures also do this?

My absence from blogging these last few days was because I went to Toronto to attend the funeral of my cousin who died suddenly. I am of the age when the big gatherings I go to are the weddings of children of friends and relatives, and funerals. Since I have been living in the US for over three decades, on these occasions, I meet a large number of Sri Lankans with whom I have not been in contact with for many, many years. This is especially the case in Toronto which has a massive expatriate Sri Lankan population.
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Taking artistic license too far

When you see drawings for proposed architectural projects, they show an idealized vision with pleasant environs consisting of wide, neatly landscaped streets and pedestrians and dogs walking among minimal traffic. My eye was drawn in today’s local newspaper, the Plain Dealer, to an article about a new condominium project on a street that is very close to the university I used to work at and so I am familiar with the neighborhood.
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Quarter-life crisis: Is this a thing now?

We are all familiar with the term ‘mid-life crisis’ that signifies a kind of panic that supposedly seizes people some time around their forties when they worry about whether they have made correct decisions concerning the major choices so far, if their lives have any meaning, and whether they should change directions before they get old and die. It is often the source of jokes, invoked when when middle-aged people do something that is out of character, such as buying an expensive sports car.
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Heartwarming story

There is much misery and suffering in the world, some of it due to natural disasters, others due to human actions. In the former category was the recent 7.3 earthquake that hit Iran and Iraq and killed over 500 people and caused greater damage and death in Iran. So it was nice to watch this clip of a little boy bringing his friend to an emergency food station run by the Red Crescent and telling the workers that she had not had any food and asking that she be given some. He did not ask for anything for himself but an aid worker stopped him as he walked away and gave him some food too.

Using duct tape to solve traffic problems

Carla Sinclair highlights how some people in the Dutch town of Nijmegen, who happened to be behavioral change experts, noticed a problem at an intersection where bicyclists who were turning right were being crowded off to the side due to congestion. So they took matters into their own hands and used duct tape to create separate lanes to nudge the cyclists into different lanes leading to much smoother flow.

Though crude, it worked and the city is now going to make the lanes official. What struck me was that there seem to a lot of cyclists and that they are pretty law abiding folk.