Friday 23 October 2020

Breathing Problems

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Sanity Break #1

Sure, you’ve heard Pandit-ji make the famous ‘tryst with destiny’ speech. But have you heard him ? It’s no less lovely and possesses its own unique charm (A big shout out to for an entire thread of these archival gems).

Sanity Break #1

Headlines that matter

IRAN INTERVENES IN US ELECTIONS? Democratic voters in key states have been receiving emails that threaten to “come after you” if they do not vote for President Trump. The emails claim to be sent by a far-right group called ‘Proud Boys’—but may have actually been sent by Iran?! At least that’s what US officials claim. Here’s how reported the news (also: how wire agencies do snark):   > “The officials did not lay out specific evidence for how they came to pinpoint Iran, but the activities attributed to Tehran > would mark a significant escalation for a country some cybersecurity experts regard as a second-rate player in online espionage. > The announcement was made at a hastily called news conference 13 days before the election.”   takes it more seriously, pointing out that US voter registration data is easily hacked—and may already be available on the dark web.   In other US election news: The crackdown on work visas continues to intensify before the elections. The new move: cancelling B-1 visas for H-1B workers. To explain: Tech companies often use business visas to bring in employees to do short-term projects. That is now going to be a no-no. has more details. In other hacking news: Dr Reddy’s Laboratories had to shut down its production units around the world due to a serious data breach. While management insists that all is well, experts say hacking is a serious issue for pharma companies, “There is a lot of information that goes into the manufacturing of a drug, and if that data is compromised, it becomes difficult to release any drug.” Point to note: The company just inked a deal to conduct stage 3 trials for the Russian Sputnik vaccine. () GOVERNMENT RAPS TWITTER’S KNUCKLES The government sent a strongly worded letter to Twitter after its geotagging feature displayed Ladakh as: “Jammu & Kashmir, People’s Republic of China.” Double ouch! Separately, a parliamentary panel has summoned Facebook and Twitter for questioning over their data privacy practices. Also on the invite list: Amazon and Google. ()  Speaking of social media: Snapchat—the platform no one pays any attention to in India—has entered into a partnership with NDTV, which will provide breaking news and premium content. Apparently, Snapchat has 30 million users in India. () THE GREAT PANDEMIC: A QUICK UPDATE * Numbers are going up, up, up in Bengal due to the festival season. Also not doing well: Bihar due to election rallies. has more charts and numbers. * The Indian government it may have the first vaccine by December. Experts are skeptical. * US health authorities have changed their definition with the virus. It used to be defined as being within 6ft of an infected person for an uninterrupted block of 15 minutes or more. Now: a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period—including in very short bursts. * A new study shows that the pandemic has taken a huge toll on the mental health of high-achieving athletes. has that story. * Doctors warn that at least four of the leading vaccine candidates use a specific kind of cold virus that may make men more .  * Good reads: debunks recent headlines that mouthwash can kill the virus. interviews the head of the Public Health Foundation of India who explains why our death rate is low. * Last but not least: A Durga made of 30,000 capsules and syringes. has the artist’s story. And since we’re on the subject: Here’s a , as well!   And also this: is ‘The Lady of the World’ designed to the explosion that ripped Beirut apart on 4 August, killing 190 (explained ). It is made of broken glass, rubble and a damaged clock stuck at 6:08 pm—the exact time of the explosion. has the story.   GET READY FOR THE BIG ONE! A new study predicts that the Himalayas will experience a massive earthquake (8.0-plus on the richter scale) during our lifetime. The study’s lead author said:   > "The entire Himalayan arc extending from the eastern boundary of Arunachal Pradesh (India) in the east to Pakistan (in the west) > has in the past been the source of great earthquakes. These earthquakes will occur again and scientifically, it would not be a > surprise if the next great earthquake occurred in our lifetimes. But the resolution of our studies is at best on the order of > 100 years, longer than a human lifetime."   In other words, we could get unlucky. If not, our kids certainly will. The cities likely to be most affected: Chandigarh, Dehradun, Kathmandu—but the damage may extend to Delhi. ()   GOOD NEWS FOR ALL RUNNERS New research shows that your favourite form of physical activity will not ruin your knees. Yes, running does put more pressure on your knees, but it can also help bulk up cartilage and prevent arthritis. ()   ARE YOU READY FOR IMPOSSIBLE MILK? The folks who gave the world the Impossible Burger are planning to unleash an equally impossible milk. It is not going to be anything like the existing alternatives, i.e. soy, oat etc and will “taste like the real thing.” Is nobody thinking of us cheese-lovers?! ()   OSIRIS-REX MAKES CONTACT! NASA’s spacecraft successfully on an asteroid named Bennu—to collect rocks that it will bring back to Earth. This is a huge moment—giving an asteroid a high five sitting 330 million km away.  

Breathing Problems

Sanity Break #2

‘’ performed by Riz Ahmed. Just watch.

Sanity Break #2

Weekend advisory

A LIST OF WEEKEND READS * offers a must-read about the death of a domestic worker in Delhi’s Model Town neighbourhood—and a reminder that there is a Hathras right in everyone’s backyard. * has an excellent feature on the fight to legalise gay marriage in India. Also read: interview with the couple that is leading the fight. * Laurie Santos teaches the wildly popular Yale course on happiness. In this interview, she explains why self-care isn’t about self-indulgence—i.e. bubble baths, spa trips etc. * Tanmoy Goswami in turns the mental health spotlight on researchers—who are more likely to be depressed, anxious and burnt out. * The Wall Street Journal (via ) goes inside the first narco-submarine—used to haul tons of drugs across the world—caught by the police.  * offers a delightful review of the best cookbooks of the century (so far). * has an excerpt from Udayan Mukherjee’s collection of short stories set in the pandemic—titled ‘’. * Ignore the click-baity Modi reference in the headline and read Rama Lakshmi’s thought-provoking essay in on the growing gap between how we see ourselves and how we present ourselves to the world. * offers a deep dive into why PM Modi remains as popular as ever. WANT TO VISIT A MUSEUM? This week, we have something a little different for you… in case you want to change up that Netflix and chill routine. Our newest splainer team member, Disha Verma, offers her fave virtual museum tours below:   The Anne Frank House Galleries   The has created an immersive digital touring experience—featuring an exclusive fifteen-part YouTube , interactive explainers, a , and if you own an Oculus Go or Gear VR, the most breathtaking Virtual Reality tour through the House and Museums—all free of cost!   The Vatican Museum Virtual Tour   All corners of the Vatican museum have been elaborately archived and annotated —with short video guides and plenty of collections to browse through.    Smithsonian Natural History Museum Virtual Tour   No better use of an internet connection in quarantine than to check out every Smithsonian tour or gallery one can find online. On this list, is the closest experience to IRL museum wandering. Start here: ; .    Museum of Modern Art (New York) Galleries   MoMA New York archives all its present and past exhibits —each accompanied by a short history of the piece, a note on the artist, and audio-guides for a few popular exhibits. Don’t miss: , .   NASA Langley Research Centre Virtual Tour   An IRL tour of research centres is designed to give tourists a detailed insight into how stuff works at NASA—and the nails that to the T. The website features cool intro videos, elaborate guided tours and interactive diagrams for each unit on the premise. Fit for the curious. Do check out the subsonic tunnels and simulated flight tours.   The Met 360 Degree Tour and Exhibitions   It’s almost impossible to tour the sprawling premises of the Met on foot—which makes very popular among art aficionados. Older exhibits (including Met Gala favourite ) can be accessed .    Museum of Broken Relationships Online   An from some of the most heartbreaking, wholesome, hilarious and… often creepy love stories ever told. I recommend a visit on a cosy night, lights dimmed, coffee in hand! Great place to start: , , .   Dali Theatre-Museum Virtual Tour   A painstakingly designed, easy to navigate which is a must-visit for anyone interested in surrealist art or quirky artists in general. The hovering taxi exhibit in the central compound is breathtaking- even from behind a screen!

Weekend Advisory

Feel Good Place

ONE ‘AMONG US’ THING Ok, if you are an oldie like some of us, you likely have no clue wtf ‘’ is about—and likely don’t care (if you do, an NYT explainer ). As for the rest, enjoy!   FOUR CUTE ANIMAL VIDS Don’t say we didn’t warn ya…   One: meets pumpkin.   Two: discovers the slide.   Three: discovers trunk.   Four: . Also: sometimes, size truly doesn’t matter.  

Feel good place