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Monday October 19 2020

Praying for Paris

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Sanity Break #1

Navratri is finally here! And to mark this festive occasion, we offer this of Aigiri Nandini (h/t ).

Sanity Break #1

Headlines that matter

A BIT OF GOOD PANDEMIC NEWS According to a government panel of experts, India in September. More importantly, if Indians stick to social distancing rules, the pandemic will run its course by February. And the total number of cases will not cross 10.6 million (the current number is around 7.5 million).    So what changed? The panel doesn’t have a clear answer, but :   One: The disease is being spread by a smaller set of ‘super-spreaders’—who have already been infected and now have become immune. They pointed to a Tamil Nadu study that found over 60,000 of the 85,000 confirmed cases never passed on the infection to others. OTOH, less than 10% of the cases were the cause for 60% of secondary infections.   Two: These ‘super spreaders’ are simply those who have a large number of interactions with a large number of people. Most of us interact with at best 10-15 others in our inner circles—and the disease has run its course within those cliques.   Point to note: This doesn’t mean we are out of the woods. Our experience could be similar to many European countries where the numbers dropped—only to rise sharply months later. This is likely to happen when we drop our guard and start interacting with larger sets of strangers—like folks in Kolkata to malls during Pujo season.   Good related watch: Japanese researchers used a supercomputer to show how the when eating at the dinner table.   Happier related watch: The Flaming Lips perform at a very ‘bubbly’ and .   Two related deep dives: One: reports on the mysterious and severe symptoms affecting children with Covid. These were once mistaken for Kawasaki disease. But now doctors have figured out the real cause: the spread of the virus to the gut. Two: looks at questions about adenovirus-based vaccines being developed by AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson—both of which had to halt their human trials recently. A quick IPL update Kings XI Punjab nosed out Mumbai Indians in a that required two Super Overs! Match moment of the day: amazing save by Mayank Agarwal:   In other IPL news: Dinesh Karthik the captaincy of Kolkata Knight Riders to Eoin Morgan. Rishab Pant had a bit of fun during his coach Ricky Ponting’s press conference (see ). And Sunrisers Hyderabad skipper David Warner into the mic.   Coming up tonight: A desperate between Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals, who are at the bottom with just six points after nine matches—but CSK has the better run rate.  In related sports news: Manchester City’s Sergio Agüero when he put his hand on a woman assistant referee—after she did not award City a throw-in. Commentators like Ian Wright thought it was a problem: “What was that? Unnecessary, unnecessarily patronising. It felt really awkward.” Man City coach Pep Guardiola did not: “Sergio is the nicest person I ever met in my life. We can look at the problems in other situations but not in this one. Come on.” See the incident :   A CLIMATE CHANGE SOLUTION? A major new study shows that ‘rewilding’ 30% of the world’s land will halt more than 70% of projected species extinctions. The greening will also soak up more than 465 billion tons of carbon dioxide—which is 49% of all the carbon that has built up in our atmosphere over the last two centuries. The lead researcher says: “We show that if we're smarter about where we restore nature, we can tick the climate, biodiversity and budget boxes on the world's urgent to-do list.” ()   DISNEY STEPS BACK IN INDIA The global entertainment giant plans to scale back its TV channels—especially English language ones like Star World—and film production. Also on the block: Its IPL catalogue:   > “Sports is going to be a slow burn, there will be no pay off at least for the next 10-15 years. It will be a challenge to make > even 8-10% of what was being made annually earlier and Disney is not the kind to play the valuation game without recovery." The company will instead focus most of its efforts on creating content for its big winner: Hotstar. ()   JUST SAY COMMA-LAH! Republican senator David Perdue mocked the pronunciation of Kamala Harris’ name: "Ka-MAL-a, Ka-MAL-a or Kamala, Kamala, Ka-mala, -mala, -mala, I don't know, whatever.” It prompted an instant backlash, more so as Perdue has served on a key committee with Harris for four years. And if he still doesn’t know how to pronounce her name… () In related women leader news: Sanna Marin posed for a women’s magazine cover shoot in a blazer—and absolutely nothing underneath. People are outraged! ()     SANJAY DUTT HAS CANCER After weeks of speculation, the actor confirmed that he has cancer in an He tested negative for Covid back in August after he checked himself into hospital for breathlessness. Follow-up tests revealed the cancer—but we do not know the exact type as yet. has more.    In related Bollywood news: Mithun Chakraborty’s son Mahaakshay has been charged with repeatedly raping a women over a period of three years. Also named in the FIR: his wife Yogita Bali. has that story.   A FEEL-GOOD BALLET STORY Kamal Singh—the son of a rickshaw driver—first started taking ballet lessons at the ripe old age of 17! Four years later, he will now become one of the first Indian students at the English National Ballet School. has this lovely story.

Praying for Paris

Sanity Break #2

The lovable Mr Rogers made everyone take a when he accepted a lifetime Emmy award back in 1997—and reduced his audience to tears. At a time when the glass often feels half empty, maybe all of us need to do the same.

Sanity Break #2

Smart & Curious

A LIST OF GOOD READS * We stumbled on this older and excellent essay on why reading a book is a necessary survival strategy during a pandemic. * Madhushree Ghosh in pens a lovely ode to loss (of her parents) and memory (of the local maacher bazaar). * profiles Iceman Wim Hof—the hottest wellness guru who advocates freezing your ass for a better life. Or you can watch this wildly popular on him. * We all love to mock Wikipedia, but Stephen Gossett over at argues that its success and credible reputation—amazingly immune to the kind of fake news proliferating in other parts of the internet—offers an important lesson for all of us. * explains why social media makes even young people feel old. * has a thought-provoking piece on subversive Nordic children’s lit like Pippi Longstocking and Moomins—that rejected the prudery and pressure to teach moral virtue typical of the genre. * This piece offers a delightful look at the many contributions of the theatre to the English language. For example: ‘Stealing one’s thunder’. * Kashmir has virtually disappeared from our national reporting. Watch: Al Jazeera’s weekly show which looks at the competing narratives over Kashmir—and the story that is hidden out of sight. They look to all sides of this highly contested story. * Harini Calamur in argues that the Tanishq controversy is also a blow to women’s rights. * Scientists are totally intrigued by the mystery of the rotting Hostess Twinkie—an American ‘treat’ that is made almost entirely of artificial ingredients and never goes bad. explains why.

Smart & Curious

Feel Good Place

THREE ‘DANCE DANCE’ THINGS One: meets TikTok challenge.   Two a): Some can dance… and how!   Two b): Some can dance too!    Three: One can’t dance… at all!  

Feel good place

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