Catalonia delays implementation of independence referendum

Catalonia is an area along the eastern-most region in Spain, housing 7.5 million residents, and accounts for 19% of Spain’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). You may have heard a passing mention of Catalonia, but you definitely know its capital: Barcelona. Catalonia was, at one point, its own nation, with its own culture. Starting with the marriage of Ferdinand II of Aragon and Queen Isabella I of Castile, a handful of battles, wars, revolts, revolutions, even momentary annexation from Napoleon, Catalonia began integrating with Spain.

Throughout most of its association with Madrid, Catalonia was given autonomy, with the exception of the tyrant dictator General Francisco Franco, who murdered thousands and terrified millions of Catalans during his reign. “Catalonia was treated little differently during the Spanish civil war when Barcelona was bombed by Franco’s rebel air force, killing 1,300,” writes Geoff Cowling. “Catalonia’s elected President Lluís Companys was forced to flee into France. He was extradited by Franco and shot in 1940 at Montjuic Castle overlooking Barcelona.” After Franco died in 1975, Catalonia adopted the Spanish Constitution in 1978, integrating with Spain while maintaining cultural individualism.

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Bengals defense closing out wins

Buffalo is facing second down from Cincinnati’s 33-yard line with 11:38 remaining in the third quarter. They need seven yards. At this point in the game, the Bengals offense is reeling; for whatever reason, these third quarters have been horrifically depressing this season. Andy Dalton had just thrown his second A.J. Green-assisted interception with the slick football bouncing into the waiting arms of Buffalo defenders. On the ensuing possession, Green would lose a fumble after a 20-yard gain, summarizing a categorically disastrous third quarter with both possessions ending with a turnover.

This sounds awful, right? How much did Cincinnati lose by, you wonder.

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Turkish/American relationship continues to deteroriate

On July 15, 2016, various members of the Turkish armed forces attempted to overthrow Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government. Over 300 people were killed and 2,000 injured. Eventually the Turkish government suppressed the attempted coup d’etat and enacted harsh measures, with responses condemned by western governments, leading to the imprisonment of tens of the thousands from various professions across the military, political spectrum, as well as journalists, and educators, claiming that they were followers of cleric Fethullah Gulen. The United States and European Union, who have political, military, and financial interests with Turkey, a member of NATO and working towards membership into the EU (prior to the coup at least), has an increasingly strained relationship with the Turkish government.

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Mike Pence’s Missed Opportunity

Sunday was supposed to be a day of celebration for the Indianapolis Colts, the Colts fans and family, and the thousands throughout their community. Peyton Manning returned to Indianapolis, where he spent 13 seasons embarking on a career that would lead to notable accomplishments such as most touchdowns (539) and wins (200) in a career, in addition to the numerous awards he’s received and the charitable contributions he’s financed. From sports, celebrities, and philanthropists, Manning means as much to Indianapolis as anyone would to any city. The team gave back on Sunday by retiring Manning’s jersey, celebrating one of the greatest careers in NFL history.

Vice President Mike Pence attended the event, which is not unsurprising. Pence was born in Indiana, attended school in the state, represented Indiana’s 2nd and 6th districts, and became Indiana’s Governor in 2013.

Then the National Anthem played. Pence (presumably) tasked an aide with taking a picture (is the aide disrespecting the anthem?) while being flanked by a veteran in uniform.

Then he walked out.

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Comparing Bengals offense between Ken Zampese and Bill Lazor

The boos were epic.

During Cincinnati’s disastrous performance against the Ravens, Bengals fans gradually expressed their frustration. Vocalized ferocity matching concert-sized jeers, fans further displayed their growing impatience with outstretched their arms. It was only the second quarter.

Cincinnati displayed shocking incompetence against the Ravens and Texans, forcing the Bengals made a change at offensive coordinator, with the eviction of Ken Zampese. Play-calling duties were handed to quarterbacks coach Bill Lazor.

So far, so good.

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Bengals 20-16 win over the Bills shows growing confidence

We’re not in the business of outrageous statements, such as proclaiming Sunday’s game against the Buffalo Bills as “must win”. After all, the Bengals, with the Steelers losing horrifically to a dangerous Jacksonville Jaguars squad that’s thrashing AFC North teams, gained traction in the standings; after beating the Bills 20-16 on Sunday, Cincinnati is one game out of first place with 11 games remaining on the season.

Think about that.

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On NFL Protests and Donald Trump

Ever since former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick sat (and then eventually took a knee) during the National Anthem last year, incendiary arguments have been waged; this is the the wrong stage; he’s applying a fundamental American right; he’s disrespecting the men and women in uniform; the arguments are expansive. Kaepernick’s protest generated support, and even activism, among many NFL players, as well superstars from other sports. Even fans are boycotting the sport because there’s a widespread belief that NFL owners are colluding against Kaepernick. Even if fans disagree with the context, it must be acknowledged their right to protest. No rules are being broken. A few knees, a few fists clinched in the air is peaceful and their actions have has done little to disrupt the game. Are players sitting on the field during a play? No. Let ’em protest. That’s their right.

This is how athletes have protested for many generations in the United States; they are usually peaceful, symbolic, while generating significant attention, and enhancing a powerful dialogue, even if some people feel uncomfortable about mixing sports, politics, and race. This is how protests work. Many hate dealing with it. They can’t handle it. Regardless, it’s part of our sports lexicon, now more than ever; it’s a narrative that requires interaction and resolution. Yet, you have a choice; you can ignore the conversation and go about your life, take part, counter-protest/boycott, change the channel, walk away. While you don’t have the same stage as athletes (the availability of the internet is saturating that argument anyway), you have the same rights.

Then President Donald Trump weighed-in during a rally from Alabama on Friday night.

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New Ransomware Variant Requires Your Nudes

In layman’s terms, ransomeware takes commonly used extensions (such as .doc for Microsoft Word, .xls for Microsoft Excel) and encrypts files associated with those extensions, which prevents you from ever accessing those files again (unless you’re lucky and a developer resolves the encryption algorithm) Cybercriminals often provide a link to send money, specifically BitCoins. Once payment is received, they’ll provide a code that can remove the encryption. Some actually follow through; many opine that if cybercriminals followthrough, more people will be more likely to pay. However, you should never pay them; or this behavior will never end.

Ransomware entered the public’s vernacular this summer when the WannaCry ransomeware attack, using an SMB protocol exploit called EternalBlue on unpatched Windows operating systems, propagated the internet. Analysts predicted that the financial cost of WannaCry could surpass $4 billion. Several major companies, especially the European healthcare industry, were hit especially hard. The spread suddenly stopped when a computer security researcher named Marcus Hutchins unexpectedly triggered a “kill switch” by registering a domain name. In an ironic twist, Hutchins was arrested by FBI agents, accused of selling a program called Kronos, “designed to steal online backing credentials.”

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Bengals: Curious Case of Tyler Boyd

First, some background: NFL teams are allowed a maximum number (53) of players on their active roster during the regular season, but can only dress/play 46 for their active gameday roster. The undressed seven is typically a collection of injuries and backups, often dictated by their opponent’s style. For example, if the opposition includes a strong rushing offense, you’ll want to dress more defensive linemen and linebackers to enhance your rotation. If the opposing defense has serious flaws in coverage, you’ll want to dress more wide receivers, or players that would constitute a greater advantage in the passing game.

When Cincinnati announced their inactive list last Thursday against the Houston Texans, second-year receiver Tyler Boyd was a surprising inclusion.

Why was he out?

Good question.

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Locked On Bengals: Atkins is the Star of the Show

 Houston has first down on Cincinnati’s 44-yard line with 1:19 remaining in the first half. Keep in mind that Thursday was a mix between defensive superiority with a pinch of offensive obscurity, not unlike “pitcher’s duel”. By this point in Cincinnati’s game against Houston, the Texans had already punted on five of their first six possessions and the Bengals matched with four punts, a fumble, and a field goal. It was the kind of night where reasonable third down opportunities were transforming into unrealistic expectations, hoarse booing, and alcoholism.