Researched and collated by: Rachel John, Prafula Grace Busi, Ayaan Malhotra, Anagha Srinivasan & Samara Prabhakar
Chennai Chess Olympiad: the final outcome
The World Chess Olympiad has finally come to an end. The women’s A team scored a bronze—the first medal since making its debut in the women’s competition in 1978. Still, it was a disappointment since India was ranked #1 in the competition. The prize went to Ukraine instead. Also winning a bronze: The men’s B team—which came in behind #1 Uzbekistan and runner up Armenia. The Hindu has more details. ICYMI: We did a colourful and fun Big Story on the Olympiad.
New rules for international passenger data
Indian customs authorities told airlines that they will have to share 19 bits of data on all international passengers 24 hours before they board the plane. These include:
“[N]ame of the passenger, date of intended travel, all available contact details, all available payment or billing information such as credit card numbers, travel status of the passenger that includes confirmation and check-in status, baggage information, seat information, and travel agency or agent from where the ticket was issued.”
The reason: the government needs the information to perform a “risk analysis” to identify potential offenders who may flee the country. Think Nirav Modi. Sixty other countries have similar requirements—but the worry is that India has no data privacy laws that offer protection. The government recently withdrew its bill and we don’t know when it will be reintroduced. (Indian Express)
Monkeypox: the latest update
A Lancet study shows that children are more likely to suffer serious complications from an infection than healthy adults. These include: “an increased risk of bacterial superinfection, sepsis, keratitis, respiratory complications due to pharyngeal abscess and pneumonia, or encephalitis.” The best available precaution: the smallpox vaccine. Also read: Indian Express on how the stigma of being gay is driving the disease underground in India. (The Hindu)
An alarming survey on cyberbullying
A new global survey shows that 85% of Indian children have been bullied online—the highest percentage in the world. The most common forms include: spreading rumours (39%), being excluded from groups or conversations (35%) and name-calling (34%). Even more distressing: By the age of 10, one in three kids have faced cyber racism (42%), sexual harassment (30%) or threats of physical violence (28%). Note: we couldn’t access the original report to see how it defined ‘racism’. Economic Times has more details.
Speaking of bullying in India: Kolkata’s prestigious St Xavier’s University forced an assistant English professor to quit for posting ‘objectionable’ and ‘inappropriate’ Instagram photos—which “besmirched” the institution’s reputation. The alleged crime:
“[T]he university had received a written complaint from a first year male undergraduate student’s father, saying that he had found his son looking at pictures of Guha, his university professor, on Instagram, which were ‘objectionable’ and ‘bordered on nudity’.”
FYI, she was wearing a blue swimsuit. Also: these images were part of an Insta story on her private account—and posted three months before she took a job at Xavier’s. And yet the university ambushed her with the printouts of these images—at an “emergency” meeting. The former professor has now filed a police complaint, claiming she was “intimidated, bullied and taunted with sexually coloured remarks” and “objectionable insinuations.” Meanwhile, the university wants an ‘unconditional apology’ from Guha, and Rs 99 crore in damages. The Wire and Indian Express have the most details.
Is your workout ruining your diet?
Here’s what most experts don’t mention about exercise: it leaves many people ravenous—and in great danger of undoing any caloric benefits of working out. An international study has now identified a ‘anti hunger’ molecule called Lac-Phe—which is released in higher amounts during intense exercise and may suppress appetite. So a long, gentle bike ride may leave you feeling more hungry but a demanding gym routine will not. The only exception to this rule: swimming. The other possible benefit of this study:
“There is potential to develop a drug based on this molecule and its effects. If we can capture the good things from exercise and recreate them in pills, they could be used to help treat people with obesity.”
Something to remember: exercise has many benefits other than weight loss. (The Times UK)
WhatsApp ‘deletes’ just got easier
You now have a two-day window to get rid of any messages sent in foolishness or by mistake—as opposed to just one hour. But you’ll need the latest version to take advantage of this tweak. Also this: you won’t actually receive a notification if the message didn’t delete. (The Verge)
In other social media news: Snapchat has introduced its first-ever set of parental control tools. The ‘Family Center’ allows you to see who your kid is buddies with—and who they talked to in the last seven days—but not their private messages. And you can even snitch out your child’s friend if they violate Snapchat policies. One slight hitch for those with surly teenagers: your spawn has to agree to give you this access. (Reuters)
Do spiders dream of multi-legged sheep?
A new study revealed that spiders experience periods of rapid-eye-movement (REM) during sleep—which is associated with dreaming:
“The videos showed that the spiders periodically twitched and curled their legs as their so-called retinal tubules—components of their lidless eyes—shifted rapidly to indicate that they were experiencing rapid-eye-movement, or REM, sleep. The periods of REM sleep came every 15 to 20 minutes, with each period lasting about 90 seconds.”
In other words, they look a lot like your sleeping cat or dog. And they most probably are replaying the day’s activity—like eyeing a yummy fly, for example. Of course, knowing this isn’t going to help the next time we encounter one of them in the bathroom. (Wall Street Journal)
Two things to see
One: The true queen of teen romcoms—Olivia Newton-John—passed away at the age of 73. The star who attained legend status thanks to her role as Sandy in ‘Grease’ was fondly remembered by fans and celebs alike. Newton-John—who lost a decades-long battle to breast cancer—said in her last interview:
“I feel that we are all one thing and I’ve had experiences with spirits and spirit life. I believe there is something that happens. I hope the energies of the people you love will be there… I think all the love will be there. I’m sort of looking forward to that, not now, but when it happens.”
We love this tribute video that captures her lovely spirit through the years:
Two: Disney fervently believes that there is no such thing as excess—especially when it comes to squeezing every last drop out of a lucrative franchise like Star Wars. The latest spin-off is ‘Andor’—a prequel to ‘Rogue One’—starring Diego Luna, Genevieve O’Reilly, Stellan Skarsgård and Forest Whitaker. Ooh, Diego Luna! We like! The series will stream on Disney+ Hotstar. See the trailer below. (Mint)