Researched by: Rachel John & Anannya Parekh
Attention Bangalore: special splainer event today!
Get ready for a delightful evening of talking fashion, sustainability and style with two women who have crafted two unique brands.
Please fill out this form to RSVP.
Neetu Gupta: The Verandah meticulously curates a one-of-a-kind collection of apparel from across the country. She prides herself in discovering talented designers using innovative techniques—who make beautiful clothes for all of us. Here’s one reason it’s our editor’s favourite apparel store in Bangalore:
What we also love: Neetu often showcases her clothes on real women with real bodies:)
Mounica Chitturi: is the Founder & Creative Director, Unborn Studio. She designs exquisitely patterned clothes using the art of eco-printing—which involves steaming natural fabrics with leaves, flowers and other plant materials to create beautifully dyed garments. Yes, there will be a demo and a home kit if you want to try your hand at home:) Also: each product is consciously crafted one at a time or in small batches, and is truly one-of-a-kind. You can see an example below—while the rest of the collection is on the website:
The event deets: This is a totally free event—but only for our women subscribers (sorry!). We offer drinks, nibbles and a lively and free-ranging conversation—from the fashion industry and business models to body positivity, conscious shopping and personal style.
Date: Friday, September 8
Time: 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM
Address: The Verandah, 19, Haudin Road, Halasuru, Yellappa Chetty Layout, Sivanchetti Gardens, Bengaluru (map)
Please fill out this short form to RSVP for the event.
California passes historic caste bill
It is now the first US state that protects its residents from caste discrimination. Seattle became the first US city to ban caste discrimination in February. FYI: it isn’t clear if Governor Gavin Newsom will sign off on the bill. Our Big Story on a discrimination lawsuit by a former Cisco employee has lots more context on this issue. Reuters has more on how US tech companies are dealing with caste issues—while BBC News has more on the recent legislation.
Meanwhile, at IIT-Delhi: The official student publication circulated a caste discrimination survey—after two Dalit students allegedly died by suicide over the past two months. But it was immediately withdrawn after it drew complaints that the survey’s design was “biased, insensitive, and problematic.” The Scheduled Caste (SC)/Scheduled Tribe (ST) Cell also said that it had not been consulted on the survey. The Hindu has lots more on the controversy.
A big abortion victory in Mexico
The Supreme Court legalised abortion in one fell swoop. It deemed all laws penalising abortion as unconstitutional. The ruling also requires all federal public health services to offer abortions to anybody who requests the procedure. The procedure has also been removed as a crime from the Mexican penal code. Point to note: this legalises abortion at the federal level—but 20 states still criminalise abortion. That legal conflict is yet to be settled. (Associated Press)
A new worry about infertility treatments
New research shows that women who become pregnant after using common infertility treatments are more likely to have a stroke after they give birth. These include artificial insemination, IVF, freezing eggs etc.:
The risk of a hemorrhagic stroke—bleeding in the brain—was twice as high among women who had undergone fertility treatment, compared to those who did not, the study found. The odds of an ischemic stroke, which occurs when the blood supply to the brain is interrupted, was 55% greater, compared with women who conceived naturally.
But the absolute numbers remained very low: just 37 stroke hospitalizations for every 100,000 women. One likely reason: women who undergo infertility treatments are also more prone to pre-eclampsia—a potentially deadly complication that involves extremely high blood pressure. (New York Times)
A debate over India’s GDP
Earlier this week, the National Statistical Office (NSO) announced that our GDP grew by 7.8% for the first quarter of this year. Two economists—Ashok Mody and Arun Kumar—have raised questions about the number. Mody points out that there is a great discrepancy between the two measures of GDP growth. The NSO looks at the real GDP in two ways: by measuring production/income and also expenditure. Mody writes:
In principle, expenditure should equal income earned, because producers can earn incomes only when others buy their output. In practice, however, estimates of income and expenditure differ in national accounts everywhere, because they are based on imperfect data.
But this gap is typically small. This year, however, income from production rose by an annualised 7.8% in April-June while expenditure went up by a modest 1.4%. And that is the source of the controversy. We are not going to pretend to understand the complex economics involved. But The Telegraph offers a full breakdown. Economist Arun Kumar offers his take over at The Wire.
Sorry, opposites don’t attract!
Contrary to the boilerplate plot for almost every romcom, a new study shows that most happy partners have loads in common—including political views, education levels and drinking habits. In fact, 82% to 89% of traits examined were similar among partners—while only 3% were substantially different. One reason: “Relationships based on common ground can arise when people grow up in the same area, socialise with a narrow group of friends, or grow more similar the longer they spend together.” (The Guardian)
Get ready for Duolingo music
The language learning app is branching out in unexpected directions—offering music and math lessons:
In a promo video, Duolingo shows off the first official product images, which indicate the updated app will offer bite-sized lessons, interactive exercises, and allow users to level up their skills. In terms of music, code inside the Duolingo app had included images of piano keys and a drum, in addition to lines of code referencing music sessions, songs and music unit reviews, among other things.
But no one knows what any of this will look like until the new app is unveiled on October 11. (TechCrunch)
Meanwhile, over at Gizmodo: The company laid off the entire staff for its Spanish edition. They will be replaced by AI—which will translate the English language articles. But it won’t write original stories. The transition has been glitchy—with some articles starting in Spanish and then suddenly changing to English. (The Verge)
Moving on to Tencent: The Chinese clone of ChatGPT—Hunyuan—was opened to businesses yesterday. Everyone immediately noticed its one big advantage over its US rival: it speaks excellent Chinese—and is better than even humans. ChatGPT does support Mandarin but has an odd problem:
ChatGPT isn’t great at punctuation or terminology in Chinese. But grammar isn’t its only flaw. It has been found to spread more disinformation in Chinese than it does in English. For instance, when the bot was asked about the Hong Kong protests in English, the response called it a “genuine grassroots movement.” The same question in Chinese, however, drew a politically tinted, inaccurate response that “the Hong Kong protests were a ‘color revolution’ directed by the United States.”
Quartz has more on Hunyuan.
Two things to see
Two: Scientists have discovered “a strange pheasant-sized and bird-like dinosaur with elongated legs and arms built much like wings.” But despite having a forelimb shaped like a wing, Fujianvenator prodigiosus was likely crap at flying. See an artist’s rendition of this weirdo below. (Reuters)