SANITY BREAK This is one of New York Times’ ‘Op-Docs’—basically an op-ed in the form of a short film. was created by the very talented Sindha Agha. It’s titled ‘How Birth Control Made Me Four Different People’ and it is very, very good. We : Agha’s ‘How to Be Alone When You’re Really Bad at It’. (courtesy our founding member Shalini Dayanidhi)
HEADLINES THAT MATTER FIRST, THE INDIA NUMBERS Total number of cases: 380,532. Total number of deaths: 12,573. Speaking of Covid deaths, be sure to read this deep dive by Rukmini S on why it is difficult to estimate accurate mortality rate—and what we can do to fill the gaps. Also worth your time: explains how Bangalore has kept its Covid count relatively low. The TLDR: “If I have to summarise the Bengaluru model in one sentence, it is the retrospective tracing of contacts." AN EXPLOSIVE NEW BOOK ON TRUMP His former security adviser—John Bolton—has penned a tell-all of his time at the White House. details the seven most disturbing allegations, and the has the original excerpts. Here are the worst of the lot: * Trump asked Chinese President Xi for help… to : “He then, stunningly, turned the conversation to the coming U.S. presidential election, alluding to China’s economic capability to affect the ongoing campaigns, pleading with Xi to ensure he’d win.” * At the same one-on-one meeting, he said this about detention camps for Uighyur Muslims: “According to our interpreter, Trump said that Xi should go ahead with building the camps, which Trump thought was exactly the right thing to do.” Point to note: These have been described as “concentration camps” by almost everyone, including the Pentagon. * Angry about media leaks from the White House, he told Bolton: “These people [journalists] should be executed. They are scumbags.” * On a less serious note: Trump had no idea that the UK has nuclear weapons, and asked his chief-of-staff if Finland was part of Russia. * Point to note: Bolton sat on all this information—refusing to cooperate with Trump’s impeachment—until he had a book to sell. AN FIR AGAINST A SCROLL JOURNALIST The lockdown was not kind on millions of Indians. Executive Editor Supriya Sharma filed on one such tragedy: residents of a village in eastern UP who were starving because they did not have ration cards. This was despite the fact that the UP government had announced “every needy person should not go hungry”—and the fact that the village had been adopted by the PM himself. Now, Sharma has with a variety of crimes—including printing “defamatory matter”, and a “negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life.” The FIR is based on a complaint filed by one of the women interviewed by Sharma. She now claims: “During the lockdown, neither me or anyone in my family faced any problems… By saying that me and children went hungry, Supriya Sharma had made fun of my poverty and caste.” Scroll is standing by its story and Sharma. This case is getting a lot of attention—likely because Sharma is an English-language journalist of a leading publication. But a shows that at least 55 other journalists have been booked, arrested and threatened for their Covid reporting. None of this is new or exceptional—and that’s shocking! SAY HELLO TO AUDIO TWITTER Now, you can literally shout at people on Twitter. The platform is rolling out ‘’ that allow people to say silly, angry and self-righteous things—instead of having to manually type them out. Exactly what we need to promote impulse control! FYI: it’s only available for iOS users right now. If you want to get started, this Twitter explains how. THE PANDEMIC EFFECT: A QUICK UPDATE What about malaria? The all-consuming focus on Covid-19 decades of progress in fighting other diseases—like TB, HIV, Malaria and polio. These diseases are staging a scary comeback. One reason: people have skipped routine vaccinations due to the lockdown and fears about going to the hospital. The other reason: All the money and research is being diverted toward Covid—including that of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that has suspended its fight against malaria. India is in the negative: The influential Fitch Ratings has its India ratings from ‘Stable’ to ‘Negative'—the lowest investment grade. All three major global ratings agencies—Moody’s, Fitch and Standard & Poor’s—now have the exact same assessment of the Indian economy. No procession in Puri: For the first time in 284 years, Lord Jagannath will not be rolled out for the traditional yearly rath yatra. The Supreme Court has nixed the 10-day festival, , “Lord Jagannath will not forgive us if we allow it." Cheap cars ahoy! Carpooling and taxis are likely to lose popularity due to fears of infection. And most folks will not be flush with money—all of which is going to make cheaper, second-hand cars . Another likely winner: self-drive rental companies like Rev and Zoomcar. FOOTBALL IS PLOTTING A FULL RECOVERY Right now, Premier League teams are playing to the equivalent of laugh tracks on sitcoms—recorded audio of roars and chants that are streamed over loudspeakers in the stadium. But that may change as soon as September. As per UK’s Football Association: “We’re looking at loads of options; we’re even getting people to map out what traffic flows [of spectators] look like in stadia, explore what it could look like with one-metre, two-metre social distancing and so on.” Plans could include “digital passports” via an app for fans who test negative. () COVID JERKS OF THE DAY A 46-year-old man jumped to his death from the fourth floor of his apartment in Gurgaon. He had recently brought his wife—who had been diagnosed with Covid-19—back from the hospital. He did not die when he fell to the ground—but lay there crying in agony for 30 minutes. But no one tried to help. And after he died, his body remained untouched at the spot for five hours—because paramedics were afraid of infection. One building resident said: “In the absence of an emergency set-up at the society for a situation like Covid, no one attended to him.” In the absence of a single shred of humanity… ()
SANITY BREAK Director Alfonso Cuaron while his daughter makes a Tik Tok video is exactly what you need to feel like it’s Friday!
SMART & CURIOUS A LIST OF INTRIGUING THINGS has found a way to turn scraps of paper into notepads that you eat! Kamihime pads come with a special marker that tastes of coffee. And since coffee makes everything better, be sure to doodle away! is an AI program which has learned to write sonnets like the immortal bard. Its poetry is both total rubbish and kinda compelling—as you can see below. by Arati Kumar-Rao in National Geographic tells a happier story about Ladakh: how its residents are fighting a different kind of enemy, climate change. And they are doing so by creating ‘ice stupas’ of immense value and beauty. We highly recommend laptop reading to enjoy the stunning photos! A LIST OF GOOD READS * has a lovely little piece on the day in the life of a gynecologist in Kerala—at the time of a pandemic. * We were delighted to stumble upon this older piece by Maria Thomas on how Indians fell in love with Chinese food. (h/t ) * This may be the golden age of streaming content in India, but—as points out—that we may run out of stuff to binge-watch very soon. * profiles Noor Inayat Khan—daughter of an Indian Sufi mystic—who became a British spy during World War II. Her codename was Madeleine, and she loved the colour blue—which proved to be her downfall. This is a most excellent story. * profiles the very unconventional Jahanara Begum—daughter of Shah Jahan—who designed Chandni Chowk. * has a well-researched report on why we need to start teaching science in regional languages—and why it is a huge challenge.
LIFE ADVISORY WANT SUPER-SENSIBLE SKIN CARE ADVICE? We highly recommend this on-point guide from a professional dermatologist—with zero brand recommendations. We found it sane and downright refreshing. The source: BBC’s ! IS YOUR CONTACT LENS A COVID PERIL? The very good news: a resounding no. It is extremely rare to catch Covid via contact lenses, and they are way safer than glasses. explains why. A GUIDE TO REVIVING YOUR SHITTY WIFI It’s all very well to work in your nightie… That’s if you can actually work—as opposed to spending most of your time turning your router on and off. Well, there are some ways to improve your connectivity. doesn’t offer a magic pill, but a number of modest tips that may vastly improve our moods in the morning. WANNA BUY A ‘MADE IN INDIA’ SEX TOY? India’s manufacturers have heard the PM’s clarion call for atmanirbhar Bharat—and they are getting ready to roll out shuddh desi sex toys. —yes, that is his name—founder of IMbesharam.com, an online adult toys store describing his products: > “They will have India preferences on girth, thickness, colour and texture. Its branding will be synonymous with our Kamasutra > scriptures to bring Indian mythology alive in a new avatar,’ he says. He believes he has found the perfect names for the two > lines: ‘Samaaj’ and ‘Sanskaar’. “Because f*** Samaaj and f*** Sanskaar.”
THE FEEL GOOD PLACE reminds you that there are still many things that can make you laugh—like people you are likely to encounter in a park! all too well, netas love inventing acronyms. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo made a really good one… entirely by accident 😂 is that you? Sadly not!
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