Subscriber Meghna Das brought together nine dancers from around the world—across 8 cities, 5 countries, and 4 continents—to to a lovely composition by Grammy award winner Sandeep Das. It’s a lovely, lovely way to take a hump day break!
THE GREAT PANDEMIC: A QUICK UPDATE First, the India numbers: We recorded and 2,007 deaths. Yes, both are all-time highs. Worst of the lot: Maharashtra (62,097), Uttar Pradesh (29,574) and Delhi (28,395). The positivity rate in Delhi —which means one in three people are testing positive. Among the new cases: and Nepal’s former members—King Gyanendra and Queen Komal Rajya Lakshmi Devi—who were taking shahi snans at the Kumbh Mela last week. Global numbers: There were new cases around the world last week—the most in a single week since the pandemic began. Global deaths also increased for the fifth straight week. And yes, India is driving that surge. UN officials underlined its seriousness: "It took nine months to reach 1 million deaths, four months to reach 2 million and three months to reach 3 million deaths." Given the situation, travel bans may be unwelcome, but are very wise—as this on a to Hong Kong makes crystal clear. About those vaccines: Everyone above the age of 18 will soon be eligible for a vaccination, but as points out, the math doesn’t add up: > “The number of the potential beneficiaries rockets from around 350 million to nearly 900 million, jacking up the number of > required doses from 700 million to nearly 1.8 billion. India currently has access to around 90 million doses per month of > vaccines made within the country.” One big problem, according to the : The government’s just-in-time vaccine policy. We didn’t make any advance purchases—but instead bought vaccines just before each stage of the rollout. So making a last-minute decision to expand the pool of beneficiaries doesn’t mean much if we haven’t booked the vaccines to inoculate them. About those private sales: No, vaccines will at your local pharmacy, and only in registered hospitals and centres. Also: They are likely to cost anywhere between . Also: Everyone is trying to figure out how Ex-CM Devendra Fadnavis’ managed to score both vaccine jabs—and post a selfie on Insta. Fadnavis has hastily disowned him as a “distant relative.” About those lockdowns: PM Modi addressed the nation—and a national lockdown. Meanwhile, is gearing up to announce one very soon. The Supreme Court intervened to overturn the Allahabad High Court’s orders to lockdown five cities in UP, , “There is no need to impose a complete lockdown. Weekend lockdowns will continue to curb the spread of COVID-19.” has a good related read on how the poor bear the brunt of Covid policing. Speaking of UP: Geeta Pandey has a very good report on the shitshow that is UP. Adding to that well-earned reputation: this of a man prostrating himself in front of the car belonging to Lucknow’s Chief Medical Officer. The reason: He desperately needs the CMO’s letter to get his mother into a hospital. Also desperate: Migrant workers. See Mumbai’s below. Also read: on the economic cost of the second wave. On the lighter side: offers a fun read on how Pfizer has become the ‘LV bag’ equivalent of vaccines. And Varun Dhawan did his bit for the Covid effort by putting out this poster promoting blood plasma donation—and then … lol! BAD NEWS ABOUT CARBON EMISSIONS The International Energy Agency has warned that the world’s carbon footprint will get a lot bigger this year—set to leap by 5% which is the equivalent of 1.5 billion tonnes. The reason: > “Surging use of coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel, for electricity is largely driving the emissions rise, especially across Asia > but also in the US. Coal’s rebound causes particular concern because it comes despite plunging prices for renewable energy, > which is now cheaper than coal.” And that’s because governments are doing whatever it takes to kickstart their pandemic-afflicted economies—and it will put a serious dent in our effort to meet climate change goals. This is slated to be the second highest surge in history. () In other unhappy news: A new global report shows that 2011-2020 has been the warmest decade on record. 2020 was among the top three warmest years—with the global temperature just 0.3°C lower than the plus-1.5°C threshold set by the UN (the aim is to stop the planet from getting any hotter than that). Announcing these findings, the UN secretary General said: “We are on the verge of the abyss.” () FACEBOOK PLAYS COPYCAT, AGAIN! Mark Zuckerberg is notorious for ripping off every successful idea of his rivals. Clubhouse isn’t any different. Facebook announced that it will launch Live Audio Rooms—that essentially allow people to do what they do on Clubhouse, i.e talk to other people in rooms. But just to show it has some vestiges of innovation, FB will also include ‘Soundbites’—which will allow users to share short recorded audio clips. () Also copying Clubhouse: Reddit which has launched to allow select users to host audio conversations. And like Clubhouse, it is ‘invite only’ and limited to moderators for now—but unlike CH, it will be available on both Android and iOS. AMNESTY HAS A WHITE PRIVILEGE PROBLEM An internal review of Amnesty’s global operations has revealed serious problems with racism, : * Senior staff using the N-word and P-word, and anyone who complained was labeled oversensitive. * The abilities of Black staff being questioned consistently and without justification, and minority staff being sidelined on projects. * A lack of awareness or sensitivity to religious practices. * Aggressive and dismissive behaviour, particularly over email, and directed toward staff from poorer countries. WILL RUSSIA EXIT THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION? New reports in the Russian press suggest that Moscow is getting ready to bid adieu to the International Space Station (ISS)—and set up its own $6 billion dollar alternative. This means opting out of a facility that is jointly owned and run with the United States, Japan, Europe and Canada. : The ISS is getting old and showing signs of wear and tear: > “We have a 2024 deadline agreed with our ISS partners… After this period, the decision will be made based on the technical > condition of the station modules, which have basically worked out their lifespan, as well as our plans to deploy a new > generation of national orbital service station.” A NEW CULINARY TASTE: KOKUMI We all have heard of umami—a hard-to-describe taste that isn’t sweet, salty, sour or bitter. Now we have a new entrant: Kokumi: > “In Japanese, the term koku describes foods that have the kind of mouthful ‘thickness’ often imparted by fats—what English > speakers might describe as rich. “It feels like a physical sensation,” says the culinary scientist Joshua Evans. It works “by > coating the mouth and becoming more intense and being extended in time.” When asked what foods have koku, Japanese food experts > list wild boar, adult wasps, duck eggs and aged sake, as well as long-simmered and fermented dishes.” What’s interesting about kokumi: It isn’t a separate taste like the others. Rather, it modifies other tastes and flavors. For example, what happens when you add garlic to a dish. Why this matters: It suggests we can add taste to a dish without adding calories. () Also intriguing: New research that shows T-Rexes hunted in packs. Yeah, ‘Jurassic Park’ had it all wrong! Tyrannosaurs were not solitary predators, but moved in herds. And scientists reached this conclusion after studying a mass T-Rex grave in Utah. Why they are calling this “a once-in-a-lifetime discovery”: It shows that dinosaurs had the brainpower to engage in “sophisticated social interaction.” () THREE MOVIE THINGS Marvel makes history: Marvel dropped the teaser for its newest flick ‘Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’—starring its first Asian superhero. The : a “sweeping superhero epic that combines emotional family drama with gravity-defying martial arts action.” See the Downton Abbey gets a sequel: The hit TV series spawned a movie, which now has spawned a sequel—with the entire original cast! New additions to the DA party include: Hugh Dancy (‘Hannibal’), Laura Haddock (‘Guardians of the Galaxy’), Nathalie Baye (‘Catch Me If You Can’) and Dominic West (‘The Wire’). Expected date of release: December 22, 2021. () Devgn channels Luther: Ajay Devgn will star in his first streaming series in a of the Brit detective series ‘Luther’. The Indian version is called ‘Rudra: The Edge of Darkness’—which doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. See below: TWO COOL THINGS TO WATCH One: Yeah, it’s the second wave and all travel is out the window. So it’s a good thing that Google has a new goodie bag: virtual tours of over 1,000 UNESCO World Heritage sites from around the world. And it includes the Taj Mahal, Yosemite National Park, Serengeti National Park and the Colosseum etc. You can check out the Taj Mahal , and the rest of the virtual tours . Two: This six-year-old is likely the next skateboard champion of the world. Watch amaze the boys at the local bowl—in a pink sparkly dress, no less! The future is female, indeed. has more on her remarkable talent. DINE WITH DATA: ALL ABOUT PIXXEL 🚀 Editor’s Note: Here is DWD’s weekly installment of one cool, innovative or just plain quirky startup from around the world. Company: Pixxel 🚀 About: No matter what your interests are, outer space is an intriguing topic for everyone. Bangalore-based Spacetech startup Pixxel aims to build a health monitor for our planet , by launching 30 micro satellites in the 2020s. The leadership believes that their imaging softwares will be able to detect problems that go unseen currently, and even provide agricultural solutions in the realm of water management analytics and other issues during the crop growing season. 🌽 In January, the company announced a seed funding round of $7.3M with participation from Lightspeed, Blume and others. Food For Thought: The first set of satellites are supposed to launch before June this year, and they'll also begin to license their software platform to other companies requiring these imaging solutions. DWD Take: We don't claim to understand much about what Pixxel is up to, but investments in space tech have asymmetric pay-offs that aren't limited to money. If Pixxel's truly building a health monitor for Earth, we're all for it! 🌍✌️ URL: About DWD: 🍴sends you a short summary on one new startup every day, delivered straight to your WhatsApp inbox!
Hump day beauty break! This gorgeous watercolour is Sayed Haider Raza’s ‘Bombay from Malabar Hill’ (1948). The has more on Raza and his cityscapes. And you can admire the details in a high-res version over .
A LIST OF CURIOUS FACTS One: Attention, Star Trek fans: Spock was actually terrible at logic, and crap at making predictions: The more confident he says he is that something will happen—that the ship will crash, or that they will find survivors—the less likely it is to happen, and the less confident he is in something, the more likely it is to happen.” In other words, he wasn’t very bright lol! explains why. (h/t founding member Ramanand Mundkur) Two: The langar at the Bangla Sahib Gurudwara in Delhi is a ! (h/t subscriber Arcopol Chaudhuri) Three: Physicist Gabriel Lippmann took some of the earliest colour photographs without any pigments or dyes—using a process that earned him a Nobel Prize. Here are two beauties from the 1890s. has more on his technique. Four: Speaking of , a new process uses AI to recreate the natural softening effects of light on skin. And the results are astonishingly life-like. The is kinda nerdy, but still fascinating. Five: One last photo thing. This is an old-school selfie—taken using a timer—of nuclear inspector Artur Korneyev. What he is doing in this image: inspecting 11 tons of radioactive sludge called the Elephant’s Foot—mere months after the Chernobyl disaster. Point to note: The Elephant’s Foot initially gave off more than 10,000 roentgens of radiation an hour, which would kill a person three feet from it in less than two minutes. And that’s also why the final result looks so ghostly. has more on the incredible Mr Korneyev!
Pandya, Pandya & Wives. When you may need a bigger boat… When you may need a bigger boat, part 2.
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