Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Video of the day

We may not have a world-class human football team as yet, but even Messi can’t steal the ball from our gau-matas. The clip from Goa features a number of young men, a cow and their football. To say more would ruin it. Just watch and laugh!

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The biggest news story today, explained.

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The great flood in Mumbai

The city was paralysed by a record-setting downpour which shut down airports and trains, left thousands stranded, and once again raised questions about misgovernance.


The downpour: Torrential monsoon drenched Mumbai in 375.2 millimetres (almost 15 inches) of rainfall in a single day. Of the total, 200 mm fell in just six hours. It is the highest since 2005—when Mumbai received 944.2 mm of rain in one day, causing catastrophic floods which killed 500 people. To put this in perspective, Mumbai received 794.8 mm of rain over four days. Delhi typically receives 762.3 mm of rain in a year.


The consequences:  Here’s the fallout from the floods:

  • The reported death toll varies from 21 to 30. According to Times of India, 22 died and 100 were injured when a wall collapsed and swept away shanties in Malad. At least ten were children. Two men drowned when their SUV became stuck in an underpass.

  • Roughly 1000 people were moved to safety with the help of the Navy, fire brigades, and volunteers.

  • Around 70 domestic arrivals and 81 departures were cancelled after a Spicejet plane skidded on landing at the airport. Twenty-six international flights were diverted. And the main runway is likely to remain closed until Thursday.

  • Suburban trains stopped running due to water-logged stations, but had resumed service by evening. Over 2000 passengers were stranded due to long-distance train cancellations.

  • Offices and schools remained closed, but the indomitable Mumbai stock exchange carried on!


The cause: The government is blaming the chaos on “unprecedented” amounts of rainfall. However, urban planners like Sulakshana Mahajan point out, “We are investing in big-ticket projects, statues and memorials, which politicians talk up and people demand, but there is terrible under-investment in basic infrastructure. For example, take the Brimstowad project. Fourteen years after the 2005 deluge, we have still not been able to complete it. If you can’t manage basic drainage, then what can you do?”


What is this Brimstowad project? The Brihanmumbai Storm Water Disposal System (Brimstowad) project was launched after the 2005 floods caused catastrophic damage. The aim was to overhaul the city’s century-old water drainage system and install eight new pumping stations. Much of the work remains unfinished or poorly executed—even as the project cost zoomed to a whopping Rs 4,000 crore as opposed to its original cost of Rs 1,200 crore.


Also this: A central audit report shows that Mumbai municipal authorities did not do the required pre-monsoon flood preparation work -- despite claims to the contrary.


Learn more: The Print rounds up the different points of view on the floods, including the BJP, the opposition etc—but scroll past for urban planner Sulakshana Mahajan’s scathing take.  India Today gained exclusive access to the damning Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report on Mumbai’s flood preparations. Times of India details the human casualties. In the Indian Express, Shiv Sena leader Priyanka Chaturvedi makes some good points about climate change—even as she defends the ruling local and state government. DNA has a photo gallery that shows the severity of the flooding and the damage.

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having nightmares about super-ninja cockroaches

Your World Cup update is here: India beat Bangladesh by 28 runs to reach the semi-finals. But the star of the day was superfan 87-year-old Charulata Patel. The Tanzanian-born superfan caught everyone’s attention. Here’s a sweet interview with her. And here’s Virat Kohli getting her blessings. Truly an aww-worthy moment.


Say goodbye to vaping: One of the top items on the government’s agenda is a ban on e-cigarettes. Since nicotine cannot be banned (only regulated) as per the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act, the government found this loophole: “ENDS, including e-cigarettes, heat-not burn devices, vape, e-sheesha, e-nicotine, flavoured hookah, and similar products, are used as a tobacco (especially smoking forms such as cigarettes) cessation product, and functions for nicotine delivery for reasons, including nicotine de-addiction. Hence, these devices and products fall under the definition of “drug" in the Drugs and Cosmetics Act." To review: Cigarettes are legal. But stuff that helps you stop smoking cigarettes is a dangerous drug that must be banned. (Livemint)


How power-greedy is Delhi? The capital city hit a new record as it guzzled 7,241 MW of power on Monday. Its electricity consumption is higher than that of Mumbai and Chennai put together, and three times that of Kolkata. The reason: soaring temperatures and a delayed monsoon. (Indian Express)


PM cracks down on party goons: He is furious at the BJP MLA who recently practiced his batting skills on a hapless municipal official. Akash Vijayavargiya was arrested but released soon after, and greeted by party workers with laddus. And he was totally unapologetic: “I am not guilty or embarrassed about what I did as it was in public interest... I pray to god ki vo dobara ballebazi karne ka avsar na de" (I pray to god that I do not have to pick up the bat again). All that macho talk has now landed him in hot water with the Big Man who told party workers, “Main khoon pasina baha raha hoon, iske liye nahi. Beta kisi ka bhi ho, manmani nahi chalegi” (I am not shedding my blood and sweat for all this. No matter whose son he is, this kind of behaviour is unacceptable). (The Telegraph)


Whither Congress Party? With the Gandhi fam getting ready to head out of the country and the party leadership, Congress workers upped their game with this fake suicide attempt. A related excellent read: Smita Gupta’s analysis of why the party is in a state of paralysis in The Hindu. Also related: This stirring defence of Pandit Nehru offered not by his family members but RJD Rajya Sabha MP Manoj Kumar Jha—who repeatedly called out Amit Shah as he sat in the front row.


The latest social media challenge: involves male stars like Jason Statham and John Mayer kicking caps off bottles. (Mashable)


Eating on Insta gets political: A new wave of body-acceptance activism involves photos of eating food on Insta—not prettily arranged plates of salad but overstuffed sandwiches, pizzas, bagels…. Because y’know, #womeneatfood! (Daily Beast)


Crispr cures HIV in mice: Scientists have successfully cured mice using gene-editing. Next up, tests on primates. We are one critical step closer to finding a cure. (CNBC)


Cockroaches are getting very hard to kill: Nature’s ickiest insect is evolving at a phenomenal rate, and becoming immune to a wide range of pesticides: “Not only were researchers in some cases unable to reduce cockroach numbers during a six-month study period, even when combining different insecticides, but they found the insects' resistance increased up to six-fold within one generation.” Waaaaaah! (Daily Mail)


Miley Cyrus’ very red, very rubber catsuit: has to be seen to be believed. (The Sun)

Oh look baby cheetahs with their support puppies: Wall Street Journal has the detailed story, but it’s behind a paywall. However, you can enjoy these priceless photos for free.

We are hiring (and growing, yay!): We’ve already brought on board the lovely Adya Goyal, who is an Alwar girl and recent Vassar College grad. She is a Poli Sci major who loves books and bubble tea (preferably together). But wait… we’re not done yet. We’re also looking for a part-time/ freelance designer to create badass designs for our products, social media channels, events, and cool merch. Apart from the usual requirements re skills and experience, the job also requires: someone with a keen sense of humour and who loves being in-the-know. Read the full JD here.

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Everything we don't know about human desire

image levendor sidebar Sex, Love etc image levendor sidebar

Here's what freedom looks like

In this essay, a Pakistani woman explains how Tinder and then male escorts rescued her from a lifetime of guilt and repression. It makes her feel like “nothing is off-limits. I believe that I can do anything and that I can have anything I want.”

Read: Sex Is Power, and It Has Freed Me | Medium

Sex, Love etc 2

Tie the knot, already!

In this time of perfectionism, it is easy to ‘slide’ out of a relationship when things get difficult or don’t feel ‘right’. Setting aside obvious dealbreakers and dysfunction, one way to avoid bailing on a worthwhile partner is to tie a ‘knot’ in the relationship. What’s a ‘knot’? Well, you’ll have to read more to find out.

Read: Your relationship may be better than you think – find the knot | The Conversation

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