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Tuesday February 23 2021

Salute to Democracy

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Sanity Break #1

Kevyn Aucoin’s book ‘Making Faces’ is considered a bible. Its ‘Great Looks’ chapter is also a testimony to the power of warpaint—transforming Winona Ryder into Elizabeth Taylor, Gwyneth Paltrow into Faye Dunaway… We can’t find a good photo gallery of these images but that makes this rare all the more precious.

Sanity Break #1

Headlines that matter

BOEING GROUNDS ITS PLANES A United Airlines flight in the US had to turn back when one of its engines caught fire soon after takeoff. While no one was hurt, Boeing has already grounded the 69 777s equipped with Pratt & Whitney 4000 engines—this after Japan Airlines, Korean Airlines and All Nippon did the same:   > “A preliminary examination by the National Transportation Safety Board showed that two fan blades in one of the United > aircraft’s engines were fractured——one nearly entirely and the other about half-broken, the agency said Sunday. The remaining > fan blades showed signs of damage, while the airplane also sustained minor damage, the safety board said.”   There have been two other similar incidents in the past. is behind a paywall, but has a good explainer.   CONGRESS COLLAPSE IN PUDUCHERRY As expected, the V Narayanasamy-led government failed to pass the floor test—thanks to the resignations of six MLAs—five from the Congress including two ministers and one from the DMK. Coming soon: Their induction into the BJP. Rinse, repeat. (   VARAVARA RAO FINALLY GETS BAIL The 80-year-old Telugu poet was arrested back in 2018 in connection with the Bhima Koregaon case (explained in detail )—and recently shifted to a Mumbai hospital as his health began to fail. The Bombay High Court has finally granted him six months of medical bail:   > “We are of the opinion that this is a genuine and fit case to grant relief; or else, we will be abdicating our constitutional > duty and function as a protector of human rights and right to health covered under right to life guaranteed by Article 21 of the > Constitution of India.”   Point to note: Rao has not been found guilty of any crime. Rather, he has spent two years just waiting to go on trial. ()   THE GREAT PANDEMIC: A QUICK UPDATE * A second wave is coming. We added 15,000 cases in the last 24 hours—and most of them are from Maharashtra (6,971) and Kerala (4,070). Reason to worry: “In India we have had a crore of lab confirmed cases so a lot of viruses are in circulation. Larger the number of viruses, more are the chances of new variants emerging.” has more details. explains why this surge is different and difficult to explain. * Nobody wants Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin—which accounted for of all doses administered to date. Of the 10.6 million doses, only 10,37,565 are Covaxin. * A across India shows that Covid doesn’t just affect the heart or lungs—it damages every part of the body, including small intestines and the rectum. * Siddhartha Mukherjee in the dives into the mystery of why some countries and their citizens have been ravaged by the disease—leaving others relatively unscathed. * Karnataka now requires travellers from Kerala and Maharashtra to produce a Covid-negative report—and it is creating since there is no such restriction on its other neighbours: “It will be difficult for us to check if someone from Kerala had traveled to some place in Tamil Nadu and was then headed to Karnataka. The same logic applies to those who come from Maharashtra. They can travel to Goa and then enter our state.” * The government is finally moving private hospitals and clinics to play a bigger role in the vaccination drive—perhaps administering 40-50% of the doses.   SUPREME COURT DISSES TRUMP Ever since he launched his presidential campaign, Donald Trump has steadfastly refused to release his taxes—defying an established political tradition. Now, the Supreme Court has ordered him to turn over his financial documents to the state of New York which is investigating… well, no one knows exactly what, but it may include potential crimes like tax and insurance fraud. The ruling said: “No citizen, not even the president, is categorically above the common duty to produce evidence when called upon in a criminal proceeding.” ()   WHATSAPP IS A BULLY? After great outrage (explained ), the company pushed back the deadline to accept its updated privacy policy. The new accept-by date is May 15. A note sent to the company’s merchant partners reveals that the price of rejecting its terms :   > “If they still don’t accept the terms, ‘for a short time, these users will be able to receive calls and notifications, but will > not be able to read or send messages from the app’... > > The 'short time' will span a few weeks.”   And the account will be deemed inactive and deleted after 120 days. ()   Big Basket is a bully? The company slapped a “cease and desist” notice on a tiny bootstrapped company in Coimbatore called Daily Basket for using the word ‘basket’. The notice says:   > “...the mere mention or reference of a name containing ‘basket’ in word or logo form for any e-commerce business and related > products conjure in the minds of relevant class of consumers and members of trade as that of being associated with our client.”   Undeterred, Daily Basket has gone public with a website named —and legal experts agree that claiming a common word like ‘basket’ is definitely an “overreach.” ()   In other Facebook-related news: has uncovered internal documents that shows Facebook has a US version of Ankhi Das—the India public policy chief who intervened to protect rightwing politicians. The memos show that the American avatar Joel Kaplan “has exerted outsize influence while obstructing content moderation decisions, stymieing product rollouts, and intervening on behalf of popular conservative figures who have violated Facebook’s rules.” So not just India then.    A BREWING BJP SCANDAL? BJP MP Jayant Sinha is also the chairperson of the Parliamentary Standing Committee for Finance—a role that comes with lots of clout as it oversees a number of key ministries. But Indian Express has unearthed a letter where he offers his services to an entertainment company for lakhs of rupees per month: “I will dedicate significant time to this project… My goal is to assist Tiger Media in becoming a true champion in the global entertainment industry.” He also offers to help the company secure “sufficient financing at the right terms.”    When asked about the letter, Sinha said:    > “Members of Parliament routinely continue their professions. My profession is that of a management consultant providing > strategic inputs through speeches and advisory assignments.”   As in, being a member of Parliament is just a side hustle? In any case, has more details on yet another example of neta-giri.   MORE PERSEVERANCE GOODIES NASA has released the first from Mars, and of its rover’s landing:   TWO VERY ODD THINGS One: Rival chaat sellers got over customers in Uttar Pradesh and it turned into this astonishingly . The really astonishing part: No one was hurt.   Two: The Reserve Bank of India Punjabi singer-rapper Viruss for its on cyber crime. Lo and behold!   HIDDEN MESSAGE FROM MUNCH There is a hidden message in Edvard Munch's famous painting ‘The Scream’—scrawled and barely visible in the top left-hand corner. It says: “Can only have been painted by a madman.” Until now, it was considered to be the work of vandals, but now experts say it was written by the great man himself—upset by critics who questioned his mental health when the painting was unveiled. ()   HELLO YELLOW PENGUIN A wildlife photographer what may be the first-ever yellow and white penguin—with zero black markings. He was discovered in a colony of 120,000 king penguins on an island in the South Atlantic. This is likely a “leucistic” penguin, whose cells no longer create melanin, so its black feathers become a yellow and creamy colour. Why this matters: It represents a whole new class of feather pigment. Also it looks like this:

Salute to Democracy

Sanity Break #2

‘’ has all the right ingredients: Director Alankrita Shrivastava best known for the excellent ‘Lipstick Under My Burkha’; Shahana Goswami from ‘A Suitable Boy’; Amruta Subhash of ‘Choked’ fame; and, of course, Pooja Bhatt. An all-female lead cast directed by a woman. We’re stoked (and have our fingers crossed)!

Sanity Break #2

Smart & Curious

A LIST OF INTRIGUING THINGS One: Splainer founding member Pooja Pillai sent us this link that lets you draw an iceberg and see how it floats. We absolutely cannot get enough of it. We pass on this to you.   Two a): We stumbled upon two blood-red waterfalls recently. pours out of the Taylor Glacier in Antarctica—all thanks to an ancient community of microbes that are the definition of “primordial ooze.”    Two b): This is a —one of the offered by Yosemite Park. And it occurs only in February when the setting sun hits this waterfall at just the right angle.    Three: Your history textbooks must surely have informed you that the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand triggered World War I. But did they tell you that he liked to dress up like an ? We found it as part of this truly of ‘7 Photographic Tricks, Hoaxes, and Fads Before Photoshop’.  

Smart & Curious

Feel Good Place

Totally staged, totally awesome!   Er, this is a ‘cripfit class. The good news: it’s a parody!   This is a flock of geese… captured by a drone.  

Feel good place

archivetitle dog ic

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