Who misses TikTok, when you have Insta handle filled with treasures like ! Follow it now! (Another fave post )
TRUMP’S SECRET CHINA PAST The New York Times continues to make hay with the president’s tax returns—a bounty which it accessed in September 2020. The latest revelations: Trump spent ten years (2008-2018) trying to pursue real estate deals in China—and failed miserably! He still has a Chinese bank account, but has never declared it or its financial dealings publicly. Does this matter? Likely not—but it is an uncomfortable moment for a president who has made a career hating on China. Well, he never did take rejection well. () In a related embarrassment: Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani is in trouble for his, er, cameo in the latest Borat film. This is where Sacha Baron Cohen pretends to be a clueless Kazakh jerk, and punks various people. The sequel includes a fake journalist who invites Giuliani back to a hotel bedroom in the scene. After she removes his microphone, Giuliani reaches into his trousers and, uh, touches himself. Also: Before hitting the bedroom, Giuliani coughed, refused to maintain social distance and agreed to eat a bat. Honestly! () POLLUTION IS KILLING INDIAN BABIES A new global report shows that 116,000 infants did not live beyond the first month due to air pollution. The total number of such deaths in the world: 476,000. has the story, or watch the report : THE GREAT PANDEMIC: A SHORT UPDATE * A participant in the Oxford vaccine’s stage 3 trials in Brazil . But the person was administered the placebo—not the actual vaccine. And therefore the trials will not be suspended. * We now know that many patients experience symptoms months after recovery. has identified who is at greatest risk of becoming a ‘long haul’ case: people over the age of 50. Also: those who experience five key symptoms: "Somebody who had a cough, fatigue, headache and diarrhoea, and lost their sense of smell—which are all potential symptoms—would be at higher risk than somebody who had a cough alone." * Yes, flying is safe as long as you mask up. That finding is based on data from five Emirates flights, each of which carried seven or more infected passengers—and yet none of the other passengers caught the disease. The reason: Emirates’ strict masking policy and the plane’s filtration system. has more on the study. A DISMAL HATHRAS UPDATE Two doctors at the Aligarh hospital where the victim was treated have been sacked. One of them contradicted the police’s claim that the forensic report did not show any evidence of rape. The reason: “For concrete finding of rape, one needs to go for a test within four days of the incident and the test conducted after 11 days serves no purpose.” Authorities claim that their removal is “routine.” () NETFLIX JUGGERNAUT SLOWS DOWN The platform’s pandemic bonanza appears to have petered out. The subscriber numbers released yesterday show that it added 28.1 million this year—but in the third quarter. The plan to increase users: offering a free trial weekend in India. In related news: Netflix is annoying existing subscribers by axing some of its most popular shows like ‘Away’. : Covid safety protocols have made shooting future seasons very expensive. The virus giveth, the virus taketh away… TELEGRAM HAS A ‘FAKE NUDE’ PROBLEM Touted as the safer version of WhatsApp, Telegram has run into a different kind of fake news problem. A new AI bot—embedded in the app—is creating and posting fake nude images of women without their knowledge. The total number: 680,000 and counting. What’s : > “Unlike the algorithms that make deepfake videos—including nonconsensual sexual videos—the Telegram bot doesn’t need thousands > of images to work. It only needs one, ‘which is really a reason why so many private individuals are attacked, because only one > profile picture from Facebook is enough to do this.’” Speaking of crappy AI: Instagram is under fire that favours skinny people. As in, it allows them to post semi-nude pictures, but takes down everyone else’s pics, claiming that the images violate ‘community standards’. See —one is an Australian comic imitating an image posted by a former model. Guess which one got pulled? In slightly better tech news: Jio has launched a ‘made in India’ browser to take on Google! has that story. THREE COOL NEW FINDINGS One: Our people have been producing cheese since 2500 BC! A new study—that looked at residue on pottery shards from the Indus Valley civilization—has uncovered evidence of the earliest known dairy production in India. More nerdy details . Two: Research on hospital nurses shows that just an extra 29 minutes of sleep dramatically improves mindfulness at work. So please set that alarm clock just a little later. has more. Three: We all know about the placebo effect—when our brains trick our bodies into responding because we think we are taking a real pill as opposed to a sugar pill. But a found that our minds respond to placebos even when we know that they are fake. While they may not work for all illnesses, these ‘non-deceptive placebos’ may significantly reduce emotional distress. THE WORLD’S FASTEST CAR IS HERE! Nope, it ain’t a Bugatti or McLaren. The is the SSC Tuatara, made by a relatively unknown US company, Richland. Its fastest test speed: 316 mph—way above the previous record of 278 mph. The price: $1.9 million. below.
What if someone asked Bob Dylan to sing the Terms and Conditions of a standard Digital User Agreement? Why, it would sound something like .
A LIST OF EXCELLENT TBT ITEMS : This excellent ‘Yes Minister’-meets-Covid themed joke. : Bertrand Russell in a 1967 movie called Aman starring Rajendra Kumar!! (h/t subscriber Rakhi Chakraborty) Three: Subscriber Antara Chatterji sent us this ‘corona’ gem from an old flick. We have no clue wtf this is… except that it’s truly a find! : TBT Navratri. We apologise in advance to all Nazis offended by Hitler-as-Mahishasur.
READING HABIT EDITOR’S NOTE Hmm, does need an introduction? We think not. And we’re truly not up to the task of reducing his prolific career and prodigious to a few pithy sentences. So without further delay, here is our most illustrious edition of The Book Addict’s Quiz with our nation’s best known bibliophile, or is that ? What is your most powerful childhood memory of a book? I have too many! My mother reading ‘’ books to me would be the earliest. Plus: Hiding a ‘’ adventure under the blanket and reading it by torchlight after my mother had come in and switched off the light. And reading the ‘’ and '’ stories in English after having heard them from my grandmother in Malayalam. <Biggles! We haven’t heard that name in a long while!> What line of literature or poetry do you quote ad nauseam? Not one in particular but several! To pick three of the most-relevant of those I like to cite, sometimes only to myself: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”, from Charles Dickens’ ‘’. “Not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings,” from Shakespeare’s ‘’. I must “prepare a face to meet the faces I must meet,” from . <The last being every politician’s morning mantra> What book do you regret re-reading? I always have so much to read (without enough time to read them all) that I almost never re-read. I would only re-read for pleasure, which would mean one of the books in my collection, but I might not—for fear that the original magic of discovery would be impossible to recapture. <Nice, the literary version of ‘you can never go home again’> An author you adored as a child and have not thought about in years? Probably , whose astonishing oeuvre I devoured, Frank Richards of ‘’ fame, who created the ‘’ books or , who invented ‘’. One inevitably outgrows them, but they deserve silent thanks for having inculcated the reading habit in me through their addictive story-telling and writing talents. <Who uses Enid Blyton and ‘oeuvre’ in the same sentence… Yup, this is who:)> What book would you gift to your worst enemy? Assuming that the only reason you would gift a book to your worst enemy is to improve him and make him a better human being, I would gift the ‘’. But if your question is a snarky way of getting me to name a book I dislike so much that I would gift it only to an enemy, there aren’t any! <Snarky? Who? Us? Whatever gave you that idea?> I would love to see a movie/series adaptation of __ starring __ as __ My novel ‘’, starring Ayushmann Khurrana as Gurinder Singh. <Really? Our fantasies mainly involve the ‘Great Indian Novel’... though also Ayushmann. Ok, we digress.> A book review that was better than the book? At the risk of sounding immodest, carried a marvellous review of my new book ‘’ that not only discussed the words in the book, but my life, career and intellectual preoccupations with great breadth and acuity. And its author was their Sports Editor, Vijaya Kumar! <Especially that last line: “‘Tharoorosaurus’ is him tossing his head back, gently smiling and shining a light on words ranging from the complex to the simple.”> What book do you pretend to have read? Marcel Proust’s ‘’ (‘Remembrance of Things Past’/’’). I have dipped into it enough to have a sense of what it's about, and the author’s quite astonishing, but I have not made my way through all its pages. Perhaps a project for retirement! <Excellent choice 👏 👏 👏 —a novel spread across seven volumes. Now that’s a book no one else has read either...lol!> What is the first “forbidden” book you read in secret? My parents were remarkably liberal for their times and I was not forbidden from reading anything. An uncle once caught me openly reading a soft-porn thriller by as a 13-year-old and complained to my father, whose response was, “if he doesn’t read bad books as well as good books, how will he be able to tell the difference?” <Googles ‘Ted Mark’... finds ‘: The Man from O.R.G.Y Swings Again’. Why, Mr Tharoor!> What book/author still counts as guilty pleasure? The , which I’ve discovered you’re never actually too old for! A friend recently presented me with three of them, evoking memories of my childhood. I looked at them guiltily for months before opening one and was immediately swept up in their heady excitement. Hergé was a genius both as illustrator and as story-teller. <Nobody doesn’t love Tintin. Yes, we can do passive-aggressive double negatives and snark:)> Send us a photo of your tsundoku pile. My guilty secret is that I have five piles. Here are two of them. <'The Arts of Seduction’ right above ‘Gandhi in 150 Anecdotes’—and both unread? We love it. 150/100—our highest score yet!> Thank you for playing, Shashi! We’re off to preorder his next book, ‘’—and so should you! (Yes, he has another one coming out already!) A LIST OF EXCELLENT TBT ITEMS : This excellent ‘Yes Minister’-meets-Covid themed joke. : Bertrand Russell in a 1967 movie called Aman starring Rajendra Kumar!! (h/t subscriber Rakhi Chakraborty) Three: Subscriber Antara Chatterji sent us this ‘corona’ gem from an old flick. We have no clue wtf this is… except that it’s truly a find! : TBT Navratri. We apologise in advance to all Nazis offended by Hitler-as-Mahishasur.
We still have no idea how to measure pain—and this has severe consequences for women.Read More
Intensifying cyclones are a result of climate change—but poor infrastructure is to be blamed for the flooding.Read More
A new bill plans to regulate everything you watch on a screen. And we mean everything.Read More