Thursday, October 3, 2019

Number of the day: 148

Australian cricketer Alyssa Healy scored 148 runs off 61 balls to chalk up the highest ever T-20 International score by a woman. She also scored the fastest T20 century by an Australian—man or woman. And her knock included 26 boundaries, including six sixes. This highlight reel captures the best moments of her brilliant performance.

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The biggest news story today, explained.

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Nothing in particular at all

Let’s face it. Our lead explainers are rarely about happy events or developments. So we’re delighted to report that nothing hugely significant happened yesterday—at least, nothing new or worthy of extended explanation. Therefore, we decided to treat ourselves—and you—to an extra dollop of sunshine items which includes the following:

  • The excellent news that Khatabook—a Bangalore-based startup that helps small businesses digitize their bookkeeping—has raised $25 million in its Series A round that includes a long lineup of star investors.

  • Remember the old stereotype of Russians downing gallons of vodka? Not any more. Alcohol consumption in the country declined by an astonishing 43% between 2003 and 2016. 

  • Burj Khalifa’s illuminated tribute to Gandhi-ji in Dubai.

  • This wonderful Facebook post from a new mother that reminds us “there is no trophy” for being a so-called supermom. 

  • In related news: We adore this father-to-be who stepped in to pose for his wife’s maternity shoot when she had to be hospitalised. 

  • A bare-faced makeup-free, super-chill Zendaya breaking out her moves in the car. We love it! 

  • This man parodying JLo’s famous green Versace dress. The clever tweet accompanying it ain’t bad either.

  • We were a bit sceptical about a competition held by a photo app. But these winners of the Agora Awards are truly stunning.

  • This fitness influencer who photoshopped herself to call out Instagram’s punishing and narrow beauty standards.

  • This delightful video of the world’s toughest, super tiny—and super goofy-looking animal in the world: the tardigrade. Why is this not a Star Wars creature already?

  • This adorable lol real-life race between a tortoise and a hare. And the winner is… 

  • This dosa with chocolate syrup and cherries… ayyo rama 🤦🏽‍♀️! No, let’s not start on the ‘it’s a gluten-free crepe’ defence either.

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snuggling in bed with your fake ASMR boyfriend

Trump’s ever-growing list of alleged sins: include the following:

  • An allegation that trade groups and at least one foreign government tried to make him happy by booking lots of rooms at his hotels but never staying in them. One Congressman calls it “near raw bribery.”

  • Improper efforts to “influence” his annual income tax audit. 

  • A new book that claims: “He wanted the wall electrified, with spikes on top that could pierce human flesh. After publicly suggesting that soldiers shoot migrants if they threw rocks, the president backed off when his staff told him that was illegal. But later in a meeting, aides recalled, he suggested that they shoot migrants in the legs to slow them down. That’s not allowed either, they told him.”

Meghan & Harry vs the tabloid media: The Prince released a statement announcing the couple’s intent to sue the Mail on Sunday—which published a private letter written by Meghan to her father. The statement includes this particularly poignant passage: “Though this action may not be the safe one, it is the right one. Because my deepest fear is history repeating itself. I’ve seen what happens when someone I love is commoditised to the point that they are no longer treated or seen as a real person. I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces.”

Two op-eds on Gandhi: This one in the New York Times by PM Modi. And the other by RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat in the Hindustan Times. Related Gandhi cartoon: This brilliant one featuring Martin Luther King. 

Should liberals give Gandhi a break? Left-leaning critics of Bapuji have been tough on his record on women, Dalits, race and more—and in many cases, rightfully so. This Print op-ed argues that they’ve been over-zealous in rejecting his politics which may well prove useful in these difficult times. In Mint, another columnist makes a similar point with this quote from George Orwell: “Saints should always be judged guilty until they are proved innocent… but regarded simply as a politician, and compared with the other leading political figures of our time, how clean a smell he has managed to leave behind!"

Harvard wins its anti-discrimination lawsuit:  A number of Asian American students—including Indian Americans—sued the Ivy League school for unfairly favouring Black and Latino applicants in the name of diversity. They lost in court yesterday. But this one is expected to go all the way to the Supreme Court as part of a bigger fight against affirmative action. (Associated Press)

The most inappropriately timed movie award: goes to ‘War’ which hit theatres on Bapuji’s 150th birthday anniversary—and its reviews are wildly varied. Mint calls it “the best silly-smart Hindi action film.” Firstpost, however, slams it for subjecting its main Muslim character to a loyalty test. Quint dismisses it as a “2.5 hour-long pointless endeavour.” Huffington Post, OTOH, lurves this “stunning and subversive” film. But everyone agrees it is a nonstop action flick and—more importantly—both Hrithik Roshan and Tiger Shroff are often shirtless and always hot, hot, hot!

An eventful Paris Fashion Week: included Gigi Hadid hauling away a runway intruder who crashed the finale of the Chanel show. Apparently, the “YouTube infiltrator" was paying a tongue-in-cheek tribute but the fashion elite were not amused. Also not amused: Justin Timberlake and his wife Jessica Biel when a known prankster grabbed his ankle and just wouldn’t let go. 

The reason why chihuahuas are feisty: A new comprehensive study that combines genetic research with owner surveys confirms that genes determine the traits of different breeds. For example: They explain why chihuahuas and dachshunds are more aggressive toward strangers or why poodles and border collies are more trainable. But, but, but other traits like fearfulness or energy level are determined by nurture rather than nature. (Science News)

A Doordarshan official in Chennai: has been suspended for not live telecasting PM Modi’s speech at IIT-Madras—in response to a query from the PM’s office. (The News Minute)

Descendants of the Nizam score a fortune: A legal dispute that began in 1948 was finally settled in a UK court. At the time of independence, the Nizam of Hyderabad deposited $1 million in the bank account of the then Pakistani High Commissioner in London—right before India annexed the princely state. Pakistan claimed the money was meant for arms to defend Hyderabad, but his family insists it was merely given for “safekeeping.” In any case, the kitty has since grown over the years to a whopping $42 million which will now go to his heirs. (The Guardian)

The tale of a would-be intern: A woman applied for an internship at a company—which turned around and publicly slut-shamed her for a bikini pic on her Insta account. Twitter storm ensued. (Daily Mail)

A new category of ASMR videos: features a fake boyfriend whispering things like: “Babe, baaaabe, what I want you to do is just take a deep breath in and a deep breath out.” Or he can just sing you to sleep like so. (New York Times)

How Greta looks: This is a super-smart read on Greta Thurnberg and her critics—who reveal just how sexualised pop culture has become around the world. Even women who lead on critical global issues are expected to look ‘sexy’ or ‘pretty’ a la Jameela Jamil or Emma Watson. Thanks to our subscriber Ruchika Chanana for sending this one our way. (Firstpost


Number one on every zoo’s blacklist: ought to be this genius who jumped into the lion enclosure at the Bronx Zoo and even bust out a dance move. The look on the lion’s face, however, is priceless.

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Unexpected, thought-provoking and always worth your time

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The ‘Hottest in Skincare’ Edition

It’s hard to keep up with the constantly changing beauty biz with the array of ‘hot’ new products, treatments and advice. A lot of it is often brand-driven hype, but these pieces flag two of the more interesting trends in skincare.


Say hello to psychodermatology 

We all know that stress and unhappiness often shows up on our face—in the form of acne, lines and more. But that instinctive knowledge is now the cutting edge of a new kind of beauty counselling that emphasises the link between your brain and healthy skin. And these specialists are more likely to recommend meditation than an overpriced cream or serum.

Read: Psychodermatology Explores the Link Between Mental Health and Skin | Fashionista


Sex, Love etc 2

A new solution for retinol-haters

Retinol has long been the go-to ingredient in products that promise to battle fine lines or hyper-pigmentation. But it extracts a heavy toll: peeling skin, redness, stinging etc. And those with sensitive skin simply can’t tolerate its heavy-handed effects. Experts are now touting a new, less misery-inducing and natural alternative: Bakuchiol. And it is derived from a herb grown right here in India.


Read: Bakuchiol is the Natural Retinol Alternative You Need for Sensitive Skin | Prevention

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