Friday, March 29, 2019

Number of the day: 8%

That’s the percent of Indian techies who want to work at a startup, according to a new survey of 170,000 engineers. An overwhelming number prefer either a large (62%) or medium-sized (30%) company. One reason: a big corporate job is more secure and better paid. The less flattering reason: new engineering graduates rarely have the skills or experience required for a demanding startup job.

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The biggest news story today, explained.

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Violations of the Model Code of Conduct

The Doordarshan along with PM Modi, and a renowned economist were accused of violating the pre-election Model Code of Conduct (MCC). One is clearly innocent, the other is still under investigation.


What is the Model Code of Conduct? A month before an election, the Election Commission (EC) puts in rules that govern the behaviour of parties and their candidates. It was imposed on March 10 and is in effect until the results are announced on May 23.


The detention of Jean Dreze: The renowned development economist was detained along with two other activists in Jharkhand for organising a public meeting to discuss the Right to Food. The police claimed the MCC “prohibits assembly of four or more people in a public place. They have asked for permission, but it was rejected.” Dreze and his colleagues say they had applied for permission but were never informed of its rejection. They were later released after two hours amid outrage on social media.


Who is Dreze, again? He is an honorary professor at the Delhi School of Economics and a visiting professor at the Ranchi University. Dreze is best known for his activism against hunger and the Right to Food… and the unusual fact that he’s renounced his Belgian nationality for Indian citizenship. Dreze has been highly critical of the ruling state BJP government—understandably so given Jharkhand’s appalling malnutrition record.


The investigation of Doordarshan: The government-owned broadcaster—along with All India Radio—is being investigated by the EC for its role in the PM’s Mission Shakti broadcast. DD may have filmed the speech but obscured its logo in the feed so as to circumvent MCC rules.


What are these rules? As per the MCC, the party in power is not allowed to use state-run mass media for any purpose that advances its election prospects. For this reason, both DD and All India Radio are required to take permission from the EC before participating in any such broadcast. However, DD did not even inform the EC in advance. Government sources claim the feed was broadcast via YouTube, and there was no DD involvement.


Ok, so what now? The EC has asked DD and AIR to respond and is examining the footage. However, no queries have been made of the Prime Minister’s Office or YouTube as yet.

Learn more: Indian Express has the details on Dreze, and a report on the MCC controversy over the upcoming biopic ‘PM Narendra Modi’. The Print broke the Doordarshan story. Outlook outlines the Model Code of Conduct. The Telegraph has a lovely essay on Dreze penned by historian Ram Guha.

Broadsheet’s amazing Ambassador program

Ok fine, we want everyone to talk about our ambassador program because, well, it’s amazing, of course. And let us explain why.


First, some background: Broadsheet right now is a two-woman operation run by its founders, Lakshmi and Shuba. We have many plans for the coming months which we’ve kicked off with our new design and website. Coming soon: Broadsheet events in your city, a ‘Vote Your Rights’ campaign for the elections and more. Our goal is to make Broadsheet bigger and better... together with you. And this Ambassador program plays a big role in that plan.


So what’s an Ambassador? Think of our Ambassadors as a club of really awesome people who hang together at our very fun events (we promise!) and—as importantly—help spread the word about Broadsheet.


But we already do that, na? Yes, you do! We’ve totally lucked out with folks like you who love us, and share their appreciation far and wide. We just want to formalise our beautiful relationship with you by creating a community of our greatest and most valued cheerleaders, ie Ambassadors.


What does this community do? Your weighty responsibilities include:

  • Being part of a private group where you can test drive our new features, and help us brainstorm new products/contents along with other super-smart people.

  • Discovering IRL a network of new and interesting people at our events, often sharing knowledge on issues that matter to us. Or sometimes, just to have an excellent end-of-the-week laugh over nibbles and drinks.

  • And scoring very cool Broadsheet merch.


Merch? What kind of merch? We’re thinking very good-looking t-shirts, notebooks, and stickers. Also: other stuff you suggest. And to get some, you can either a) attend a Broadsheet event; or b) refer a bunch of your friends using your unique referral link.


My unique what? Your unique referral link is displayed at the very end of every daily email. It helps us (and you) keep track of the many wonderful people you bring on board. You can invite them by either hitting the ‘Invite Friends’ or the ‘Refer Friends’ button—which takes you to an easy-peasy ‘Share’ page on our website. Or you can just copy/paste the link and share it as you choose.


Ok, how do I become an Ambassador? Click right here to sign-up. We take care of the rest. Welcome aboard!

The bottomline: Broadsheet can best serve you when we create and grow it together. It’s been a great adventure so far, and we are glad you’re with us on this ride.

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thanking god you have only one uterus

Another Dehradun boarding school horror: A 12-year old boy was beaten by his seniors with cricket bats and wickets. When he was declared dead at the hospital, the school quietly buried his body and hoped no one would notice. Back in September, another Dehradun boarding school tried to cover up the gang rape of a 16-year old girl by fellow students. (India Today)


An impending US-China showdown over Masood Azhar: As you may remember, Beijing has put a hold on his designation as a global terrorist in the special sanctions committee. But the US—along with France and the UK—is now pushing for a draft resolution in the main Security Council. What will this do? It will force China to publicly disclose its reasons for protecting Azhar. Beijing is very unhappy. (Times of India)


Indian media flubs Mission Shakti coverage: When PM Modi made his big announcement, pavlovian anchors salivated over the “space surgical strike,” India’s “war on space” and “our satellite killer”—and not one bothered to ask any real questions. As the Print’s TV critic points out, the more worrying bit is this: “In fact, the PM could have announced virtually anything and it would have had the same impact.” (The Print)


Facebook has banned white nationalism… finally! Users who search for or try to post “white nationalism, white separatism, or white supremacist” content will instead get a popup redirecting them to an anti-hate nonprofit founded by ex-white supremacists. (Vice)


The best airport in the world: is Singapore’s Changi airport, and for the seventh year in a row. Tokyo's Haneda International is next. London comes in at #8. The highest rated US airport is Denver at #32. Here’s how Indian airports fared: Delhi (#59), Mumbai (#64), Hyderabad (#66), Bangalore (#69). In other words, they all suck about the same (though we admittedly have a soft spot for BLR). (Daily Mail)


Trump gets a starring role: in this remixed trailer of Jordan Peele’s ‘Us’, and makes it scarier than ever.


Angelina Jolie may get a starring Marvel role: in the upcoming ‘The Eternals’. We assume this means something (good or bad) to all those Marvel fans. We ignoramuses are delighted that forty-something women are playing kickass superheroes. (Variety)


The woman with two wombs: Arifa Sultana gave birth to a baby boy in late February. Then 26 days later, she gave birth to twins. Sultana thought she had abdominal cramps. Turns out she had an extra uterus. The mother and babies are well. (CNN)


There’s a ‘dog suicide bridge’ in Scotland: where dogs just up and fling themselves over the side for no discernible reason. It’s kind of creepy and compelling. (New York Times)


In far happier puppy news: This blind 11-year old Golden Retriever has a seeing eye four-month old puppy as a mate. And the photos are the loveliest thing we’ve seen all week. (Buzzfeed)

We recommended the wrong period app: Last Friday, we recommended Glow, a period tracking app, as one of the picks in our Informer section. We now know—thanks to one of our readers, Ambika Tandon—that Glow and a number of other such apps have serious data privacy issues (Read more from Bloomberg). Yikes!! Ambika’s recommendation: “Clue seems to be a better choice, since you can store your data locally without signing in, it encrypts all your data, stores personal data separately from menstrual data (anonymized), and allows you to completely delete your data if you want.” Thanks, Ambika. You can check out Clue for Android and iPhone.

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Stuff we love, buy or use

Three lesser-known gems of horror
At a time when big production horror movies like ‘Us’ and ‘The Nun’ are getting all the attention, we’ve put together a list of lesser-known flicks—each a little different from the usual fare.
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When you're in the mood for something more cerebral…

Check out ‘The Exorcism of Emily Rose’. This is a courtroom drama with a genuinely chilling supernatural twist. The plot is simple: A priest faces trial for the death of a young woman in the course of an exorcism. Unlike other horror movies, it is grounded in a very real world as it cuts back and forth between the trial and the terrifying scenes of Emily Rose’s possession. What put this over the top for us: the A-list performances of Laura Linney, Tom Wilkinson, and Jennifer Carpenter. This is a rare movie that is both smart and scary. (Review here, trailer here)

Watch: The Exorcism of Emily Rose | Netflix

The informer 2

When you think you hate vampire movies… 

Surprise yourself with ‘Let the Right One In’. This is the Swedish original of a Hollywood remake titled ‘Let Me In’—and it is far more powerful and beautiful. The story revolves around a young bullied boy Oscar and his new-found friend next door, Eli… who is a vampire. The tender love between two achingly lonely children offers sharp contrast to her very real, very frightening need for blood. In other words, this isn’t ‘Twilight’. Bonus: If you prefer reading or don’t have Amazon Prime like us, you can pick up the wonderful bestselling novel which inspired the movie. (Review here, Trailer here)

Watch: Let the Right One In | Amazon Prime

The informer 3

When you’re looking for a really good zombie movie…

Click on ‘Train to Busan’. At the centre of this mega-hit Korean movie is a father trying to keep his little girl safe from the flesh-eating zombies… while stuck on a speeding train. The reasons why this movie is on every ‘best of horror’ list: It’s unrelenting, nail-biting pace, the moving father-daughter relationship, and the sharp socio-political satire. (Review here, trailer here)

Watch: Train to Busan| Netflix 

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