Friday 2 April 2021

It’s A Mystery!

Read More

Sanity Break #1

Watch Aniol Serrasolses ‘’ his way down this Chilean mountain at a blistering 100 km/hour. No Hollywood action movie can match this eye-popping action sequence.

Sanity Break #1

Headlines that matter

MYANMAR UPRISING: THE LATEST UPDATE New charges: Deposed civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi has now been charged with violating the official secrets law—the so far as it carries a prison sentence of up to 14 years. Until now, she’d been charged with fairly minor crimes such as illegally importing six handheld radios, breaching coronavirus protocols, etc.    The death toll: is now —with 141 killed by security forces on one day, i.e. Saturday. But protesters continue to take to the streets—as activists of the Constitution, which was framed by the military to preserve its power.   Civil war? Fighting intensified between the military and militia groups, and is growing bloodier by the day. UN officials briefing the Security Council that “the whole country is on the verge of spiralling into a failed state”—and urged it to consider “potentially significant action” to reverse the course of events as “a bloodbath is imminent.” Point to note: This is unlikely to happen as China and/or Russia will veto any such action.   A tragedy in India: A convoy of officials in Assam are getting ready to deport a —the first to be sent back since the coup. And this despite her request to be sent to Bangladesh—where her family members are living in a refugee camp. Also see: Myanmar refugees at the Manipur border:    THE GREAT VACCINE ROLLOUT: A QUICK UPDATE * Pfizer that shows that their vaccine remains “highly effective” for six months after the second dose. Companies plan to monitor recipients for two years after they receive their jabs. Why this matters: Some vaccines, as the one for measles, provide lifelong immunity while others for the flu etc. need to be given every year. * India has of Sputnik V due to insufficient data: “They have to provide more information about its safety and immunogenicity as some data is currently missing”  * But that isn’t stopping the makers of Sputnik V from of the vaccine to Russians who follow them on Twitter. They insist this is “not an April Fools' Day joke.” See bizarrely cheery advert below:    AN UGLY FACE-OFF IN NANDIGRAM Yesterday, Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee went to inspect a polling booth in Nandigram—the constituency from where she is running for election. And it quickly turned into an ugly situation, inside for two hours. She eventually had to be rescued by a huge contingent of police—after she called Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar, the Election Commission, the police and administrative officials.   The reason: Nandigram is for communal polarisation in Bengal. And this particular booth is in the middle of two bitterly opposed Muslim and Hindu-dominated neighbourhoods. And both came out in big numbers to confront one another over rumours of vote rigging.    Point to note: Twenty six percent of the 2.57 lakh voters in Nandigram are minorities, including 68,000 Muslims. Banerjee’s opponent Suvendu Adhikari has repeatedly underlined the “70:30” formula – dog-whistling the approximate Hindu to Muslim ratio, implying that the 70% can out-vote the 30%.    Speaking of ugly hate: On Monday, a 65-year old Filipina woman was brutally attacked on a street in New York. The clip of the stomach-wrenching crime—captured on a street cam—went viral. And now, the police have identified and arrested the suspect who—get this—was out on parole after serving time for killing his mother with a kitchen knife. ()   GOOGLE’S GOT A NEW SCANNER Stack uses your phone camera to scan documents—which is pretty standard. Here’s what’s really cool: It reads the information on the document to automatically organise them into folders named receipts, vehicle, house, IDs etc. You can also search for text within your scans. It’s only available in the US on Android, but a global rollout can’t be far behind. ()   FISH OIL ISN’T GOOD FOR YOU It is commonly taken as a supplement to reduce the risk of heart disease, improve gut health, and add vitamin D to your diet. But new research suggests that fish oil capsules only work if you have a specific gene. For others, taking them is a total waste, and for many, it can actually increase the risk of heart disease. ()    FOUR APRIL FOOL’S DAY THINGS One: Velveeta of luxury skincare products—because nothing says glowing skin like processed cheese lol! Also: of every beauty ad ever.   Two: CEO Bhavish Aggarwal tweeted an ad for Ola AirPro—the "world's first and only fully autonomous electric flying car.” The tagline: Ab har family bharegi udaan. has more if you don’t want to watch the 2-plus minute .   Three: Keventers did good with their very green and very fake .   Four: Teletubbies were totally on-trend and launched a called ‘TubbyCoin’ that uses the “power of HugTech” to allow folks to exchange TubbyCoin ‘BigHugs!’ tokens.   For more of such April Fool’s amusement, check out list.   THE WORLD’S MOST EXPENSIVE VEGETABLE  A farmer in Bihar is growing hop shoots that cost a whopping Rs 1 lakh per kilo. These are the green tips of the hop plant—whose flowers are also used to make beer. profiles the farmer. explains why these perfectly normal-looking veggies cost so much. In case you’re curious about their taste: “The leaves take on a kale-like quality, with a faint tang of Chinese leaves like Choi Sim and there’s a nutty quality to the stems.” And they look just as underwhelming:    SPACEX GETS A BIG-ASS WINDOW On Tuesday, SpaceX unveiled the coolest ‘window seats’ in the world. The latest version of its spacecraft Crew Dragon Capsule will include a glass dome on its nose cone. The dome will give its passengers a  360° panoramic view—which will either fill you with wonder at God’s creation or (if you’re like us) make you instantly throw up! has the details. It looks like this. TWO INTRIGUING HISTORICAL FINDS One: A 121-year-old chocolate—still wrapped in its original packaging—was found in Norfolk, England. It was one of a batch of 100,000 tins commissioned by Queen Victoria in 1900—and intended for British soldiers fighting the Boer War in South Africa. Experts said: “Although it no longer looks appetising and is well past its use-by date—you wouldn't want it as your Easter treat—it is still complete and a remarkable find.” has photos of the rather gross-looking chocolate inside. Also, the tin .   Two: A handful of Arabic coins were discovered in an orchard in Rhode Island—and they solved a centuries-old mystery of a missing pirate, and uncovered a link to a Mughal king. Captain Henry Every was the world’s most wanted criminal back in 1695. The reason:    > “On 7 September 1695, the pirate ship Fancy, commanded by Every, ambushed and captured the Ganj-i-Sawai, a royal vessel owned by > the Indian emperor Aurangzeb, then one of the world’s most powerful men. Onboard were not only the worshippers returning from > their pilgrimage but tens of millions of dollars’ worth of gold and silver. > >   > > What followed was one of the most lucrative and heinous robberies of all time. Historical accounts say Every’s band tortured and > killed the men onboard the Indian ship and raped the women before escaping to the Bahamas.” King William III of England put a huge bounty on his head, and everyone was looking for Every, who was never found. Now—thanks to these coins—we know he escaped to America, and presumably lived a happy, prosperous life. Sometimes, crime does pay. ()  

It’s A Mystery!

Sanity Break #2

Guillermo Del Toro’s mesmerising sketchbooks spawned his fantastical movies, and they are no less wondrous. writes: “The pages look a little like Leonardo da Vinci’s: fevered compositions of precise illustration and barely decipherable text, which testify both to Del Toro’s considerable drawing skills and his singular imagination.” We couldn’t agree more. The above is from a which has just two—but gorgeous and rarely seen—illustrations. A much bigger collection is available .

Sanity Break #2

Weekend advisory

SO YOU WANNA WATCH SOMETHING… : We can’t wait to watch this unique documentary about a person’s relationship with their clothes. What we wear is often how we signal who we are—and a shirt or dress often carries memories of where we have been. Each half-hour episode tells the story of one item—be it a work shirt a man was wearing when he first met the woman he would end up living with in a nudist community, or the first item of masculine clothing bought by a non-binary teenager. gives it four stars in this rave review. Streaming now on Netflix.   : This eight-part series is based on the real-life story of serial killer Charles Sobhraj in the 1970s. He attained great notoriety in India when he was arrested and held in Tihar jail—from where he staged a successful escape. This fictional account follows Sobhraj as he preys on Western tourists doing their ‘eat, pray, love’ thing on the “hippy trail” of the ’70s in Thailand, Nepal, and India. warns you don’t watch it “if you don’t have a strong stomach”—but feel free to add it to your watchlist if ghoulish serial killer movies are your thing. It drops today on Netflix.   : If chilling murder mysteries—with a stellar cast—is more your thing, we highly recommend this Malayalam thriller starring acting powerhouses Fahadh Faasil, Soubin Shahir and Darshana Rajendran. It’s a three-character plot set in a mansion—with a dead body in the basement. are not encouraging—indicating a strong start but a weak finish. But given the acting talent on display, you may want to make up your own mind on this one. A LIST OF GOOD READS * Daisy Buchanan in celebrates the return of the ‘bonkbuster’—sizzling novels featuring horny heroines.  * Also in : Why is everyone—including the makers of the upcoming series ‘Leonardo’—uncomfortable with Leonardo da Vinci’s homosexuality? * takes a thoughtful look at our inability to agree on the meaning of common words like ‘racism’.  * Why are humans hardwired to feel disgust? offers a deep dive into an evolutionary answer. * Ever wondered whose poop would be bigger: King Kong’s or Godzilla’s? No? Well, offers a detailed and meticulous answer just in case…  * offers an enlightening look at minimalism—the wildly popular lifestyle trend in our over-consuming world—and traces it back to a Greek philosopher named Diogenes. * Also in : An excellent read on extortionware—where hackers basically embarrass their victims into paying ransom for, say, their porn collection. * has a brilliant read on how the Myanmar coup has revealed the weakness of America as a global superpower. * This review of Lisa Genova’s book ‘Remember’ has been going viral for the eloquence with which it explains how the brain remembers—and forgets. * Jacqui Palumbo in writes about the evolving art of tattoos since the 18th century and their significance as a “passport into different cultures”. * charts the history of ‘Atlas Cycles’—which became the first cycle company to target women. The old ads are delightful.

Weekend Advisory

Feel Good Place

: Everyone loves some Boney M…   : Not everyone can be a Mozart.   : Everyone needs a cuddle.   : All of us for the past year.  

Feel good place