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Sunday, July 24, 2011


A basketball trade secret that can help




Along with a billion other riveted viewers, it was with great interest that I watched Yao Ming ceremoniously open the first game versus the United States by zinging through a three-point shot. During a break from the game, the TV featured a brief documentary of how popular basketball has become in China and as a lifetime basketball aficionado, this also enthused me.

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With the economic development of China, with thousands of new basketball courts in the land, I would like to make an observation from the viewpoint of aspiring school-ground players.

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Every bouncing kid knows that when they come upon the court, if the net is torn or missing, this takes some of the wind out of their sails. With the great expenses of new courts, poles and baskets, the net is usually first to go bad. And with the nets gone, children will often go off to play a different sport.

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Nylon nets attached to heavily used basketball hoops often wear out within a few weeks. A way to remedy this is to soak the net in boiled linseed oil for a day and then let it dry out for another, before hanging it from the basket. Preparing a net in this way increases its life tenfold. Soaking a net in linseed oil sometimes shrivels it up a bit, requiring maintenance staff to shoot swishes for stretching it back out.

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In this manner, the workers will have achieved what many amateur basketball players dream of, as they will then be receiving pay for shooting and making baskets.


Letters and Blogs


Friday, July 22, 2011

Questioning Idaho Power’s simple promises

I gave a hearty laugh, when stepping out of the shower recently, the electricity went off and I discovered that an Idaho Power representative had swiftly switched out my electric meter for a supposedly smarter one. The quandary was that nobody had knocked on my door to inform me, as the company had promised in their widely-mailed sleek glossy brochure. And it’s too bad that this simple discourteous oversight happened, because; as a former meter reader myself, I was positively looking forward to a healthy face-to face discussion with the rep.

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I had planned on asking the experienced tradesman questions; such as what happens to those who want to opt out of their new forceful system? And what do they say to those who don’t desire a higher level of complexity?

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Perusing the brochure closer, I saw that Idaho Power assures that these up-to-the-minute smart meters are secure. And I agree that they are well over 99 percent secure. The problem is that the old-style meters were 100 percent hacker proof. Nobody had remotely penetrated even one, nor ever could.

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I wonder if I’ll laugh as nearly as much, when we see this next secure promise broken.