Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Price of the day: $5999

That’s the price of the newly unveiled Mac Pro touted as the most powerful Apple computer ever. It has 1.5 terabytes of system memory and looks like a cheese grater. The other big news: iTunes is dead! Long live three new apps: Apple Music, Apple Podcasts and Apple TV. Also unveiled: the new macOS Catalina. Say hello to Dark Mode which is among 13 new features on your iPhone.

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The biggest news story today, explained.

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The astonishing unpopularity of Donald Trump

The US president crash-landed in the UK for a three-day state visit which—if you ask the Brits—is three days too long.


What’s this about? Donald Trump was invited ages ago by PM Theresa May to attend the upcoming D-Day celebrations that commemorate the end of World War II. Most of the UK, unfortunately, doesn’t seem to want him in the country. His arrival has been greeted with scathing op-eds, snide jokes, and outright protests.


Ok, what happened? How do the Brits despise Trump, let us count the ways:

  • Tens of thousands of protesters are expected to greet him today with a ‘Carnival of Resistance’. The star attraction: the now-beloved giant blimp featuring Trump as an angry baby in nappies—which made its debut the last time he was in town.

  • The ‘welcome mat’ rolled out for the prez included an enormous penis mowed into a field right next to the runway—designed to be visible to Trump as he landed.

  • Protesters on the very first day included nice ladies who knit holding up a sign that read: “East London Knitters Say Balls To Trump!”

  • While the Rupert Murdoch-owned Fox News in the US may heart Trump, the former Murdoch property, Sky News, rolled out this hilariously mean promo for his visit.

  • Leading newspapers haven’t been much warmer. The Guardian called the invitation a “crass error,” describing Trump as “a demagogue who represents a threat to peace, democracy and the climate of our planet.” The best even a kinder Financial Times could summon up: “State visits are designed to honour a country, not an individual — the clue is in the name.”


Wow, does the entire nation loathe him? In almost every poll (from 2016 to 2018) an overwhelming majority thinks he makes the world a more dangerous place—and only a small minority sees him as a friend of the UK. But he is liked by far-right leaders like Nigel Farage and Tory leaders such as Boris Johnson—who Trump endorsed for PM. But embarrassingly for Trump, a group is currently projecting this 2015 clip on to the Big Ben. It shows Johnson tearing into Trump’s “stupefying ignorance,” calling him “unfit to hold the office of president."


So what’s the point of this visit? Actually, given it’s timing, it may be entirely pointless. May is slated to step down this month—so any major policy announcement is unlikely. The two leaders are not even meeting alone. That said, the “special relationship” between the two countries will become even more critical to the UK’s future if it were to crash out of the EU in October. So keeping Trump happy is key for any Tory leader who backs Brexit—and May’s successor most certainly will.


The bottomline: We can’t think of a single world leader who has been greeted with this level of hostility on a state visit. That this is the head of the world’s most powerful country visiting its closest ally makes it significant and significantly embarrassing.

Learn more: Quartz has a round-up of who is happy to see Trump and who is not—the former being a very short list. Mashable rounds up Trump’s nasty tweets aimed at London’s mayor Sadiq Khan, and the equally brutal responses. The New York Times sums up the president’s eventful first day. The Atlantic analyses the now tattered and strained “special relationship.”

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drinking your 25 cups of coffee

Tragedy on Nanda Devi: Twelve climbers set out “with the ambition of summiting a virgin peak” on the 23rd highest mountain in the world. Four were rescued, but the other eight were still missing. A helicopter crew has since spotted five bodies—but conditions are far too dangerous to attempt retrieval. And hopes that the others are alive have mostly faded. Nanda Devi is considered to one of the hardest mountains to climb. (BBC)


South India saved from Hindi: The government has removed all offending references to specific languages—be it English or Hindi—from the draft version of the National Education Policy. Apparently, there was always a Version B version in the wings just in case Version A crashed and burned (as it did). But it keeps in place the three-language requirement—which is still a problem for Tamil Nadu. As one leading education expert explained, “In practice, imposing a three-language formula means that Hindi will be imposed in many non-Hindi speaking states because of lack of teachers for other languages, while many Hindi-speaking states will simply opt for Sanskrit as their third language.” (The Hindu)


Free-riding pass for Delhi women: CM Arvind Kejriwal unveiled his plan to allow women to ride for free on the city’s buses and metro trains—and was instantly abused for his generosity.


North India is literally baking hot: Temperatures have shot past 50℃ in the midst of a severe heat wave sweeping across Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. Eleven of the 15 hottest places in the world right now are in India. But the north is only part of the story. Great swathes of the country are literally bone-dry, facing life- and livestock-threatening water shortages. This one map sums up the dire state of affairs.


The boys of AIB have their say: This in-depth 5000-word story is based on extensive interviews with the comedy collective’s founders and its women employees. It is the first to offer their perspective on AIB’s fall from grace. The reason to read: It offers a nuanced, thought-provoking look at how gender privilege operates even amidst a group of so-called ‘woke boys’. (Huffington Post)


Your video clips du jour: The star of today’s menu is this list of ‘Keanu Reeves walking to music in slow-motion’ memes that we love. Our personal fave: Keanu set to Beach Boys’ ‘Kokomo’. The full playlist of options includes Billie Ellish, Bryan Adams. Next up: an AFP photographer taking a one-handed catch at the World Cup. Bonus clip: This scene from ‘The Office’ set to Bhojpuri pop.... because you know you want it.


Drink a cup! Hell, drink 25! Past researchers warned that coffee stiffens your arteries, setting you up for a heart attack. Present researchers says the opposite: “Coffee lovers who drink up to 25 cups a day can rest assured the drink is not bad for their heart.” They may, however, be hazardous to everyone else around them. (The Guardian)


What makes men happy? No, it’s not love of family or good health. According to a new masculinity report, “Men at work are more likely to be men at ease with themselves. Everything else—contentment at home, in relationships and friendships—flows down from men being satisfied at work.” Ergo, a bad day at the office is a very sad day in a man’s life. (Quartz)


What in the name of haleem?! Many Muslim-run restaurants are renaming the beloved Ramzan dish. The reason: some claim it is also one of the names of Allah. (Scroll)

Zomato delivers on parental leave: The company will offer 26 weeks of paid parental leave to all it its employees, men and women. The policy also applies to surrogacy, adoption, and same-sex partners. The icing on this gender equality cake: an endowment of $1000 per child. (The News Minute)

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Unexpected, thought-provoking and always worth your time

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The ‘(Over)Exercise’ Edition

We’re always being told that we don’t exercise enough. But as these two stories indicate, some of us may be doing a bit too much.

Your kidneys really hate to run

“You can’t differentiate [marathon runners] from someone who had a cardiac surgery, or a person in Intensive Care Unit.” That’s the conclusion of a Yale study which looked at the effects of intensive running on the human body. The results aren’t pretty. The good news: they’re also temporary.

Read: Running a marathon is as traumatic for your body as having heart surgery | Quartz

Sex, Love etc 2

No, 10,000 isn’t the magic number

Have you done your 10,000 steps today? Actually, why 10K? Why not 15K, or even 5K? Researchers took a closer look at the standard recommendation for daily walking, and found it wasn’t very accurate.

Read: 10,000 Steps A Day? How Many You Really Need To Boost Longevity | NPR

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