Everyone’s talking about Nia Dennis’ —which is every bit a “dance party” as she describes it. It earned her a score of 9.950. has more on the significance of this amazing performance. Also: Dennis first went viral for this equally set to a Beyonce medley.
INDIAN ECONOMY’S ROSIER OUTLOOK The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has projected an impressive 11.5% growth rate for India in the financial year 2021-22—and we will be the only major economy to do so. Also: it will help us reclaim the title of the fastest growing economy in the world. for such optimism: > “[India] actually has taken very decisive action, very decisive steps to deal with the pandemic and to deal with the economic > consequences of it”.What we see is that transition, combined with policy support, seems to have worked well. Why? Because if you > look at mobility indicators, we are almost where we were before Covid in India, meaning that economic activities have been > revitalized quite significantly,” FRESH CLASHES ON CHINA BORDER Even as New Delhi and Beijing talk disengagement, troops clashed at Naku La on the Sikkim border: “A Chinese patrol tried to enter Indian territory and was forced back, the officials said. Some reports said sticks and stones were used, but there were no gunshots.” The government is dismissing it as a “minor face off”—while China has offered no acknowledgement of the incident. has more. Related good read: explains why a $6.8 billion railway line is putting a strain on the Pakistan-China relationship. THE GREAT PANDEMIC: A QUICK UPDATE * German newspapers reported that the Oxford vaccine is only 8% effective in elderly people above the age of 65. The claim has been by AstraZeneca: "In November, we published data in The Lancet demonstrating that older adults showed strong immune responses to the vaccine, with 100% of older adults generating spike-specific antibodies after the second dose," * AstraZeneca pissed off the EU by announcing that it may only be able to deliver 40% of the promised 80 million doses by March. Now the EU has that any company manufacturing Covid vaccines within its borders—mainly Pfizer’s vaccine—will need permission to export them to other countries. Why this matters: This is just the beginning of ugly vaccine nationalism wars to come. And also why it’s a good thing that we get first dibs on Serum Institute’s supplies. * Moderna is working on designed to tackle the scary new variants that are spreading around the world (). One is aimed specifically at the South Africa variant—while the other is intended to broadly protect against any new mutation. * The US’ leading coronavirus expert Anthony Fauci ‘double masking’—wearing two instead of one—is common sense and offers more protection. * Cocktails of monoclonal antibodies are a highly effective Covid treatment. Now Eli Lilly has that shows they are highly effective in preventing healthcare staff from infection—or at least a severe form of it. * Also being helped with monoclonal antibodies: at the San Diego Safari Park who contracted Covid this month. FYI: Winston's treatment came from a supply not permitted for human use. As you can see, he is doing much better now: FIRST PRIVATE PASSENGERS IN SPACE The SpaceX Dragon revealed the identities of the three passengers who will be the first to pay $55 million each for a private round trip to the International Space Station. They include two investment bankers and one former Israeli Air Force pilot. Yes, all three are white men. has more on the three lucky lads. GOOGLE OFFERS ‘CLEANER’ SEARCH RESULTS Let’s get real: Google search is an unholy mess these days—cluttered with ads and other content designed to maximise the company’s bottomline. Under pressure from various governments—for using its search clout for unfair advantage—Google has unveiled a ‘new and improved’ look for search results that cuts the clutter, so to speak: > "We want to let the search results shine, allowing people to focus on the information instead of the design elements around it. > It’s about simplifying the experience and getting people to the information they’re looking for as clearly and quickly as > possible." Whattey idea! See more details and mock screenshots over on the . In related news: Twitter is planning to roll out a crowd-sourced version of fact-checking called ‘Birdwatch’: > “Birdwatch allows people to identify information in Tweets they believe is misleading or false, and write notes that provide > informative context. We believe this approach has the potential to respond quickly when misleading information spreads, adding > context that people trust and find valuable." Sort of like Wikipedia… we think? The description of how it will work sounds complex and messy—and may well result in greater confusion. has all the details. DINE WITH DATA: ALL ABOUT SPENNY Editor’s note: Dine With Data is a very cool WhatsApp-driven newsletter that send you a single nugget about a cool, intriguing or innovative startup every day. We’ve partnered with DWD to bring you one of their pithy recaps each week. We hope you will enjoy them as much as we do. Also: No money exchanged hands as part of this content partnership:) How about you skip the burger and invest the money instead?🍔 ➡️ 💰 Company: Spenny About: Every time you do any transaction, Spenny rounds up the amount to the nearest Rs.10 and invests it into a diversified portfolio automatically. So if your Zomato order cost ₹192, Spenny rounds it to ₹200 and invests the ₹8 difference into a ICICI Prudential Liquid Mutual Fund. 🧮 You can withdraw the money at any given time, just by clicking on the home screen. Currently Spenny provides only one investment profile, but they will soon introduce different risk categories for customers who want to choose where the money gets invested. Till date, Spenny has raised $150K from investors such as Y-Combinator, Cabra VC, and Edward Lando. Food For Thought: From their YC page - " Potentially every time a user makes a transaction, we make money. And in that sense, the timing for Spenny couldn't have been better: 1 Trillion+ transactions are expected in 2021 because of factors like Whatsapp launching its P2P payments in India for its 400M users." 🤯 DWD Take: Our online transactions are beating offline both in terms of volume and amount. Investing a tiny proportion of that seems like a fair hedge against spending. Spenny has a long way to go before it becomes mainstream, but this seems like a solid place to start! URL: About DWD: sends you a short summary on one new startup every day, delivered straight to your Whatsapp Inbox! 2021 OLYMPICS IN… FLORIDA? The prospects of holding the summer Olympics in Tokyo are growing dimmer by the day. The Japanese themselves are unenthusiastic— in recent polls saying the Tokyo Olympics should be canceled or postponed. Although the government is , an unexpected contender has thrown its cap in the ring: Florida. State officials have to the International Olympic Committee making their case: > "The letter, signed by Patronis and posted online, cited the supposed strength of the state’s vaccination rollout, its economic > reopening and sports events it has hosted during the pandemic, as well as the fact that its theme parks, including Disney World, > are open for business." WANT A CUPPA COKE? Coca Cola has unveiled an unexpected new twist on the classic soda: Coca-Cola with Coffee and Coca-Cola with Coffee Zero Sugar. Infused with Brazilian coffee, it comes in three flavours: dark blend, vanilla and caramel. How much coffee, you ask? A 12-ounce can of regular Coke has 34 mg, while a Diet Coke has 46 mg (because the added caffeine makes up for the missing calories?). If you’re wondering, ‘why, oh why?’, Coke’s answer: > “Many people are often torn between reaching for a soft drink or a coffee at 3 p.m. at work, at school or on the go. Now, you > don’t need to leave Coca-Cola to get your coffee fix.” Coming next… Coke with gin, because why leave Coca-Cola to grab your happy hour drink? () WHO IS DRUNKEST OF ALL… A global survey of 25 countries revealed the nations with the greatest tendency to overdo the booze—i.e. get so drunk that they lose their balance and slur their speech. Top of the table: England and Scotland—whose citizens on average got very drunk more than 33 times in the last year. More tellingly, Only 7% of Scottish and English people surveyed reported not having been drunk at all in the past 12 months. India is not mentioned in the news reporting on the latest survey, but we in the 2019 survey. () AKKI REALLY FEELS YOUR PAIN! As part of to raise awareness around water conservation, Akshay Kumar slaved on a treadmill for more than 21 kilometres. The reason: “to mirror the distances women have to walk in order to fetch clean water.” We leave you to marvel at his remarkable empathy:
We have no clue wtf is going on at this , but it puts a delightfully mad spin on the whole ‘marching to your own drum beat’ thing… Be sure to watch the entire two minutes. It just gets more insane as it goes along.
A LIST OF INTRIGUING THINGS One: Balaram Khamari’s ‘Microbial Peacock’ won the second prize at the American Society for Microbiology’s (ASM) annual agar art contest. Like other agar art, it is ‘painted’ with microbes—in this case “highly pathogenic” bacteria—carefully arranged so they create an image as they grow. has more on Khamari. (h/t splainer subscriber Sowmya Swaminathan) Two: Speaking of unusual art mediums, Tatsuo Horiuchi is a . Yup, that’s exactly what it sounds like. (h/t splainer founding member Kruthika Ravi Kumar) Three: Haute couture is all about haute comfort in these pandemic days. Say hello to Balenciaga that cost a cool $1,322. If that isn’t sufficiently weird, check out the split-toe for the “stylish weirdo”—which is far more affordable at $99. Four: MoodBeam—looks like a white FitBit—allows your employer to track your emotional state. No, it isn’t as creepy as it sounds. The idea is that you (voluntarily) hit the yellow button if you feel good, and blue button when you’re down—and that lets your manager know how you’re doing while WFH. Ok, it still feels a little creepy. has more.
Cats make the best kind of bullies… Nothing’s gonna hold him back… A truly amazing family celebration.
The government’s obsession with a golden sceptre may be a clever election and/or Hindutva play.Read More
A UK report lays bare the abuse of tea workers—who still work like indentured plantation slaves.Read More