Splainer

Tuesday, December 21 2021


Dive In

 

The competitive juices, they’re never going to go away. This is my environment, this is what I’ve done my entire life. I’m just so thankful to have this opportunity to do it again.

That’s what Tiger Woods said after coming second in the first golf tournament he competed in after a car accident that left him severely injured. What makes this win even sweeter: Woods partnered with his son Charlie in a two-person, 36-hole competition partnering champions with their family members. His return to professional golfing remains remote.


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Big Story

A new electoral law: Linking Aadhaar to the right to vote

The TLDR: A new law pushed through Lok Sabha yesterday allows election officers to ask for your Aadhaar card when you register to vote. Whether you choose to do so is still voluntary, but civil rights activists and opposition leaders are raising the alarm—claiming it is the first step toward a serious loss of voting rights and privacy.

 

What’s this new law? 

 

Here’s how it links Aadhaar to your voter registration:

 

  • Electoral officers can now ask for the Aadhaar number of anyone who wants to register as voters "for the purpose of establishing the identity.”
  • They can also ask for Aadhaar numbers from “persons already included in the electoral roll for the purposes of authentication of entries in the electoral roll, and to identify registration of the name of the same person in the electoral roll of more than one constituency or more than once in the same constituency.”
  • An Aadhaar card is not mandatory. Other forms of ID will be accepted but only if the person shows “sufficient cause” for being unable to produce an Aadhaar number.

 

Point to note: You can already link your Aadhaar to your Voter ID on the Election Commission website.

 

Why is the government doing this?

There are two key justifications offered

 

One: It makes voting rights portable—especially for Indians living outside the country and migrant workers. In theory, linking the two databases will allow the Election Commission to track migrant workers—and enable them to vote from where they work. A change in residence updated on their Aadhaar Card will directly update the electoral database as well.

 

Two: It will eliminate duplicate Voter ID cards—which allow people to vote from multiple places—and hence voter fraud. Aadhaar requires biometric verification which cannot be replicated. 

 

So what’s wrong with that?

 

 
Headlines that matter

An uproar over J&K assembly seats

The government has always held that there can be no elections in Jammu & Kashmir until it completes the delimitation exercise—i.e. redrawing boundaries to decide how many assembly constituencies each will have. A new proposal plans to create seven new seats—and give six to Jammu and just one to Kashmir. So the total seats for each will be 43 and 47, respectively. The government says this lopsided distribution is justified by the population numbers in the 2011 census. Critics say this is dirty politics—pitching one community against another. For example: Caravan journalist Hartosh Singh Bal points to population data to argue that 51 seats out of 90 should be allotted to Kashmir—12 more than Jammu. NDTV and The Telegraph have more details.


TikTok is betting big on food

The company is launching a takeout biz called TikTok Kitchen—which will serve dishes based on recipes that have gone viral. The menu will include baked feta pasta, corn ribs, a smash burger, and pasta chips—and will change based on what is trending. An interesting question to ponder: Who will be compensated for these viral recipes:

 

“First, the claim that TikTok will pay recipe creators is nice but has plenty of holes. Viral recipes often have more than one video that popularized them, and those videos aren’t necessarily from the original recipe’s creator. Take baked feta pasta: It first went viral on Instagram in a post from a Finnish blogger, but made the jump to TikTok when @feelgoodfoodie and @grilledcheesesocial clocked the trend and posted their versions of the dish. So who actually gets the credit, and the cash?”


North Korea bans laughing

All citizens are not allowed to laugh for 11 days marking the death anniversary of Kim Jong-il—father of current dictator du jour Kim Jong-un. A person can’t even go grocery shopping on the exact date:

 

“During the mourning period, we must not drink alcohol, laugh or engage in leisure activities…Even if your family member dies during the mourning period, you are not allowed to cry out loud and the body must be taken out after it’s over. People cannot even celebrate their own birthdays if they fall within the mourning period.”


The kicker: The police are tasked with the responsibility of making sure everyone looks sufficiently “upset.” Why do we need fiction at all? (Telegraph UK)

 

One thing to see

The US Navy unveiled uniforms for pregnant sailors: “[T]he maternity flight suit prototype was designed to help pregnant aircrew fit in their uniforms as they progress in their pregnancy by adding expandable panels to standard flight suits.” And that’s very cool! (Daily Mail)

 

 
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In today’s edition

Sanity Break

  • A hilarious Swedish tourism ad campaign

 

A list of intriguing things

  • The Busy Simulator that helps you 'feign importance' at work 
  • Say hello to Irish 'mummers'
  • Shenzhen Zhongshuge: an architectural marvel
  • The cheesiest of all art forms: velvet paintings
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