Monday 7 September 2020

Target Practice

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Sanity Break #1

On the third anniversary of by rightwing extremists, a collection of artists recorded this moving—and beautifully illustrated— of Faiz Ahmad Faiz’s poem ‘Hum Dekhenge’.

Sanity Break #1

Headlines that matter

A CHINESE ABDUCTION IN ARUNACHAL? Local newspapers are reporting the abduction of five young tribal men by Chinese troops. Union Minister Kiren Riiju claims that the Indian Army has already reached out to their PLA counterparts. But the Defence Ministry says it’s heard of no such thing. ()   DJOKOVIC CRASHES OUT OF US OPEN Novak Djokovic was the favourite to win the tournament, but he of it yesterday—and in the oddest fashion possible. He smacked a ball in frustration—which accidentally hit a lines official. He has since apologised for his behaviour . See the .  In related news: The number one women’s doubles team has also been forced to withdraw—but because they came in contact with another player who has since tested positive for Covid. has more details.   THE MANY TROUBLES OF TRUMP The President managed to get himself in serious PR trouble thanks to a scoop in that showed he mocked dead US soldiers—a story even his bestie TV channel Fox News. The gist: In 2018, Trump was in Paris and scheduled to visit a cemetery where many US soldiers killed in World War I are buried. It was canceled allegedly for the following reason:   > “Trump rejected the idea of the visit because he feared his hair would become disheveled in the rain, and because he did not > believe it important to honor American war dead, according to four people with firsthand knowledge of the discussion that day. > In a conversation with senior staff members on the morning of the scheduled visit, Trump said, “Why should I go to that > cemetery? It’s filled with losers.” In a separate conversation on the same trip, Trump referred to the more than 1,800 marines > who lost their lives at Belleau Wood as “suckers” for getting killed.”   Trump has since he said or did any such thing—but this is not a good look for anyone running for election as commander-in-chief of the US military.   Also not a good look: Trump’s former bestie and fixer-in-chief Michael Cohen has just released a book calling him "a cheat, a liar, a fraud, a bully, a racist, a predator, a con man.” Everyone is obsessed with this detail: A of The Apprentice (made by Trump) where he insults and ‘fires’ a fake Barack Obama. We were every bit as fascinated by :   > “Cohen also divulges personal details about Trump, including his hair routine, described as a ‘three-step’ combover designed to > disguise ‘unsightly scars on his scalp from a failed hair-implant operation in the 1980s.’  > >   > > Writing that he once witnessed Trump shortly after he showered, Cohen recalls that " > > ‘when his hair wasn't done, his strands of dyed-golden hair reached below his shoulders along the right side of his head and on > his back, like a balding Allman Brother or strung out old '60s hippie.’”   Yup, we’re going to leave it there.   Speaking of racist US presidents: A new book based on White House recordings of Richard Nixon reveals that Nixon was by Indians:   > “The most sexless, nothing, these people. I mean, people say, what about the Black Africans? Well, you can see something, the > vitality there, I mean they have a little animallike charm, but God, those Indians, ack, pathetic. Uch.”   He also said: “Undoubtedly the most unattractive women in the world are the Indian women.” Coming from a , that really hurts.   In related US election news: Facebook is to deactivate their FB and Insta accounts for six weeks before the election. It’s part of an experiment to understand how the platforms affect people’s political attitudes and behaviour.   THE GREAT PANDEMIC : A QUICK ROUNDUP * Yes, we’re still the worst in the world in terms of daily new cases—which for the first time. And our grand total is now . We added the last million in just 13 days. * confirm that testing saliva samples is just as reliable as nose or throat swabs—and obviously way less painful. * Big tech companies in the US have been very good about giving extra leave to WFH parents—since they have to juggle kids with zero child care. Now, it’s making their child-free colleagues very angry. looks at the growing divide within Facebook. * The pandemic is destroying everyone’s sleep—and the phenomena is now being dubbed ‘’. * Bangalore a new case of reinfection. * A pandemic horror story: A nineteen-year-old Covid patient by the ambulance driver on her way to the hospital.  * Anxiety over the vaccine has unleashed a global —as China, Russia and Iran try to steal research from US, Canadian and UK labs.   SPORTS BRA SHAMING IN BANGALORE Over the weekend, Kannada actress Samyuktha Hegde was working out with hula hoops in a park with two friends. They were local Congress leader, Kavitha Reddy—who seemingly tried to hit one of them (that ). A mob gathered, the police arrived—and the scene looked . Reddy can be clearly heard heckling Hegde for doing a “nanga naach.” In any case, she has for her “moral policing.” PS: Comedian Danish Sait posted a very funny vid referring to the incident and Akki’s FAU-G app—but it has since disappeared. We’re not sure which bit offended the powers-that-be.   EARTH IS MAKING THE MOON RUSTY Data collected by our lunar probe Chandrayaan-1 shows that the moon is gathering rust—which is astonishing since it is created when iron is exposed to water and oxygen. And there’s no oxygen on the lunar surface. According to researchers in Hawaii, the culprit is Earth. Thanks to a solar wind, our planet extends the magnetic field that encompasses our planet into a “magnetic tail”—as it might a bubble. And oxygen travels on this tail and lands on the surface of the moon facing us. And it happens every month: “The moon enters this tail three days before it's full, and it takes six days to cross the tail and exit on the other side.” ()   ALT NEWS CO-FOUNDER FACES FIR  Mohammed Zubair has been charged with “online harassment and torture” of a minor girl on Twitter. This is the incident that triggered the charges:   > “On August 6, Zubair responded to an abusive message from Twitter user Jagdish Singh, who uses the handle @JSINGH2252. He posted > Singh’s display picture, which features a little girl who is perhaps his granddaughter. Zubair blurred her face in the image > posted. ‘Hello Jagdish Singh,’ he said. ‘Does your cute grand daughter know about your part time job of abusing people on social > media? I suggest you to change your profile pic.’” The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights wants Zubair prosecuted for “stalking of a minor girl on Twitter.” Alt News is standing by Zubair. ()

Target Practice

Sanity Break #2

Everything's better with lightsabers! If you agree, please to be enjoying this highly of ‘Lord of The Rings’. More of a pirates fan? Check out of ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’.

Sanity Break #2

Smart & Curious

A LIST OF GOOD READS * offers a timely and fascinating piece on the historical origins of the story Mulan.  * reports on the latest pandemic trend: Travel shaming—or why no one admits to skipping town on social media anymore. * This deep dive points out the glaring flaw in our search for alien life: we have no clue what it would look like. So would we even know it when we see it? * A thought-provoking read from on the true reason why we are so easily distracted—and why we need to stop blaming our phones: “I realised that distraction often begins from within, not without, and found that the fix came from identifying and managing the psychological discomfort that leads us off track.” * Want to brush up on your art history? offers a highly engaging collection of essays that explore the stories behind 10 iconic paintings.  * We loved pointed take about taking responsibility for the news we choose to pay attention to. * Worth your time: from Shylashri Shankar’s new book ‘Turmeric Nation’ which travels back to Vedic times to challenge the framing of Hindus as vegetarians.  * A good use of your lunch break: This essay by a professor who binge-watched celebrity MasterClass courses for six months.

Smart & Curious

Feel Good Place

: The Great Escape: Beagle Edition : Catch Me If You Can: Penguin Edition : Footloose: The Dracula Edition : Barsaat: The Chawal Edition. This one you have to click through and read to truly enjoy it. (h/t founding member Basreena Basheer and Vernon Fernandez)

Feel good place