Tuesday, September 8 2020

Dive In

This proves that a patriot's voice cannot be crushed by fascists. I am grateful to Amit Shah, if he wanted, he could have advised me to go to Mumbai after a few days but he respected a daughter of India, protected her pride and self-respect. Jai Hind.

That’s Kangana Ranaut thanking the Home Minister—who has granted her Y category security. She will now be guarded by 10-12 CRPF soldiers when she returns to Mumbai from Manali. The grave threat to her life has not been specified. The move was likely made to rile the Shiv Sena-led Maharashtra government which has been embroiled in an ongoing war of words with Ranaut over the Sushant Singh Rajput investigation. She said Mumbai feels like “Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.” Sena leaders told her not to bother coming back. Illustration: Parth Savla

Big Story

California is boiling and burning

The TLDR: Over the past year, the world witnessed a series of devastating wildfires across the globe—in California, Australia and the Amazon rainforest. Now, it’s California’s turn again! The state is setting new records—both in terms of high temperatures and land destroyed. And yes: this is just a glimpse of the future to come. 


Tell me about the wildfires

More than 2 million acres of land have been burned by wildfires as of Monday—breaking the previous record of 1.9 million set in 2018. The upside: only one person (a hiker) has died so far. But the reason this disaster is especially serious: This is not wildfire season. 


The state witnesses wildfires every year, but they usually kick in next month. As one fire captain explains: “This is crazy. We haven’t even got into the October and November fire season and we’ve broken the all-time record.”


How did this happen then?

The wildfires started around mid-August thanks to three unusual weather phenomena that came together to spark a natural disaster.


First, soaring temperatures: For months now, California has been experiencing unusually high temperatures

  • Death Valley hit 130 degrees Fahrenheit (54.4°C) on August 16—the highest-ever recorded temperature on the planet (i.e. since 1931 when we started to record these things). 
  • And the boiling heat shows no signs of receding. 
  • Over the weekend, several parts of California broke new records. In Southern California—which is hotter and drier—Burbank and Palm Springs also hit all-time highs.
  • But the northern part of the state was no better. The typically cooler San Francisco hit a record-breaking 100 degrees (37.7°C) on Sunday—in early September!


What this meant: There was plenty of ‘kindling’—i.e. vast expanses of dry vegetation ready to burst into flames.


In today’s edition

Headlines That Matter

  • The great pandemic: India has zoomed past Brazil 
  • Chanda Kochhar’s husband arrested
  • Netflix vs Amazon: the numbers are out!
  • Lok Sabha: A hobby audit
  • Arnab is a terrible employer


Smart And Curious

  • An ingenious hack that lets you take amazing product photos
  • A fully functional version of Doom that runs entirely on a pregnancy test

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