So you wanna watch something…
Among the Stars: This docu-series spanning six episodes follows NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy as he fulfills his last space mission: fixing a $2 billion device under hazardous conditions in a series of long spacewalks. It was filmed over several years, and includes rare footage, personal video logs, and livestream tapes. Space has more on the series and an interview with Cassidy. This is a great one for your inner rocket (wo)man. Streaming on Hotstar Disney+.
Bad Sport: Each episode of this six part docu-series covers a different scandal in the world of sports. There is drug smuggling, cheating, match fixing and even dead horses—and lots of self-interest, blind ambition and/or greed. Chicago Sun Times has a good overview of the different episodes, and gives it 3.5 stars. Decider says all the episodes are “engrossing, even if you’ve never given a second thought to equestrian sports or cricket, and each worth your time.” Watch it on Netflix.
House of Secrets: The Burari Deaths: Back in 2018, 11 members of a single family were found dead in their home in New Delhi—a tragedy that shocked and mystified the nation. Director Leena Yadav (Shabd, Parched, Rajma Chawal) has chosen the Burari deaths as the focus for her first documentary outing—a three part series that promises to explore the “intricate, complex and sometimes hidden workings of a traditional Indian family.” There aren’t any reviews yet, but you can read interviews with the director over at The Hindu. Stream it on Netflix.
A list of good reads
- Two thought-provoking reads on Facebook that don’t say the usual things. NPR explains why the connection between self-esteem and social media isn’t clear-cut as the leaked internal documents suggest. MIT Technology Review lays out why the problem isn’t with the humans monitoring content, but the algorithms themselves.
- Spotify is eroding boundaries between music genres and fervent loyalties they used to inspire. Jack Hamilton in The Atlantic looks at whether that’s a good thing.
- The Hustle maps the insane popularity of ‘Squid Game’ in numbers.
- Linguist John McWhorter in the New York Times offers a thoughtful argument in favour of the adoption of gender-fluid pronouns ‘they’ and ‘them’. Joyce Carol Oates tweeted this one out, and disagreed.
- New York Times offers a delightful look at cookbooks inspired by fiction—from ‘Sopranos’ to ‘Star Trek’.
- ‘The French Connection’ actor Gene Hackman gave his first interview to the New York Post in over a decade—and if you are a fan of either the movie or the man, it’s totally worth your time.
- Scroll offers a nuanced look at the return of wolves in Maharashtra due to conservation efforts—and why it isn’t entirely a reason to celebrate.
- Amit Varma is famous for his extra-long podcast episodes—which may not be everyone’s cup of tea. But this conversation with Dinesh Thakur on the dark side of the Indian pharmaceutical industry is definitely an eye-opener.
- For Jonathan Franzen fans: The Atlantic offers a glowing review of his new book Crossroads.
- Helen Mirren is always worth your time. Here she is in Vogue talking about gray hair and a well-lived life.
- Product reviews can be a little dull to those who are not gadget freaks. But not Buzzfeed News’ take on the new iPhone 13 Pro—which features many photos of adorable pigs.
- BBC News reports on the backlash against the pressure to drink at office gatherings—especially on women—after a high profile #MeToo case in China.
- CNN Health has a very helpful essay advising on how to sleep better. No, falling asleep the moment your head hits the pillow is not a good thing.
- The Guardian offers a fascinating deep dive into the world of fake Egyptian cotton sheets, virgin olive oil—and the many other products whose authenticity is almost impossible to establish.
- ‘The Stories We Wear’ is a museum exhibit that explores 2,500 years of style through 250 objects. CNN offers a fascinating look at five of them.