Monday, February 10, 2020

Number of the day: 84%

Netflix’s energy consumption jumped 84% in just one year! In 2019, the company consumed 451,000 megawatt-hours of electricity—enough to power around 40,000 average American homes for a full year (and likely 10x as many Indian homes!). That number includes both the bijli required for Netflix’s own operations and for cloud servers that deliver its services. Not included: the power consumption of consumers. Point to note: a 2019 report found that watching a half hour of Netflix has the same climate impact as driving for 6.28 kilometres.


Note: Yes, we’re a little late today but we wanted you to have the full Oscar update during your next chai break:)

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The biggest news story today, explained.

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The big fat Oscars awards fest

It’s the biggest cinematic extravaganza in the world. And despite complaints about it being way too long and too white and too stale, millions watch the show—while the rest of us are happy just catching up on the highlights. 


The biggest winner: ‘Parasite’ director Bong Joon-ho whose movie won: Best picture, best director, best original screenplay and best international feature (new name for best foreign film).  Sweetest moment: Bong made the audience give Marty Scorcese a standing ovation when he won best director. Watch it here. This is the first time in Oscars history that a non-English film has won the best picture category. Best ‘Parasite’ joke: “My Bengali friends are telling me that a Bong has won the Oscars” 


The other winners include: the following:

  • Joaquin Phoenix won best actor for ‘Joker’... again! His speech was all about ‘second chances’. 
  • Renée Zellweger nailed best actress for ‘Judy’.  
  • Brad Pitt won best supporting actor for ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’. He took a dig at the failed impeachment of Trump—and gave lots of love to director Quentin Tarantino and co-star Leonardo Di Caprio. Money quote: “Leo, I’ll ride on your coattails any day man. The view’s fantastic.” Watch the speech here. Pitt also took questions later on why he got political in his speech. Watch that here.
  • Laura Dern won best supporting actress for ‘Marriage Story’—and got super-emotional about her parents. Watch the speech here.
  • ‘Toy Story 4’ which won best animated feature film
  • ‘American Factory’—produced by Barack and Michelle Obama—which won best documentary feature.


Biggest disappointment: Cynthia Erivo who was up for best actress for ‘Harriet’—the only person of colour nominated in an acting category. Erivo was also up for best original song for co-writing and performing its song. Unfortunately, she didn’t win either.

The must-watch moments: include the following:

  • The big surprise of the Oscars: a live performance of ‘Lose Yourself’ by Eminem. Irony: Eminem failed to show up at the Oscars when the same song won best original song back in 2003. Eminem promptly tweeted out that no-show moment after he performed. But our fave bit: Martin Scorcese falling asleep in the middle of his performance.
  • Our other fave: Sigourney Weaver, Gal Gadot and Brie Larson explaining their plan to start their very own Fight Club.
  • Brie Larson recorded Taika Waititi—who won best adapted screenplay for ‘Jojo Rabbit’—trying to stuff his Oscar under the chair.
  • Salma Hayek and Oscar Isaac had a bit of fun as co-presenters. She made a crack about holding an Oscar, and he took aim at the super-whiteness of the nominees.
  • Far more biting: Steve Martin and Chris Rock on the number of black nominees. Watch that bit here.
  • Oh, and Tom Hanks did push ups on the red carpet. 🤷🏽‍♀️
  • Hollywood Reporter has a handy round up of the most memorable moments.


Who wore it best? Everyone’s talking about:

  • Natalie Portman who wore a gorgeous cape embroidered with the names of women directors who didn't get a nod this year.
  • Billy Porter who flaunted a look inspired by Oscar himself. All gold and all fabulous. A must-see.
  • Vogue picked its faves from the red carpet. Esquire has the best dressed men—translation: serious eye candy. But our favourite category: the wackiest dresses. Billie Eilish’s look is priceless!
  • Also from Vogue: a walk through memory aisle with a list of the best Oscar dresses ever.


Oscars trivia to drop over lunch: includes the following:

  • The Oscars went vegan this year thanks to Joaquin Phoenix—who has been campaigning for all award shows to stop serving animal products.
  • The highly desirable gold-plated naked man is named after the uncle of someone who worked at the Academy.
  • Rumour has it that the very first best actor award in 1929 actually went to a dog—the iconic German Shepherd named Rin Tin Tin. But the Academy decided to give it to a human instead. Sadly, it’s likely not true.
  • This 60-second ad applied was banned from airing during the ceremony because it was “too graphic with partial nudity and product demonstration." What it shows: “After her crying newborn wakes her in the middle of the night, the mother changes her mesh underwear, among other things, with her postpartum belly visible.”


Wanna watch that Oscar movie? Huffington Post has a handy list of where to stream them. Planning to illegally download? Times of India has the most ‘dangerous’ movies to pirate online—as in hazardous to the health of your computer.

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getting late for office thanks to some guy named Oscar

Delhi election drama: The nation’s capital went to the polls over the weekend—and they were soon marred by allegations of vote tampering. The reason: The Election Commission did not release voter turnout numbers until Sunday evening. 

  • AAP leader Sanjay Singh immediately cried foul: “This is the first time in 70 years of our history that the poll body is not ready to divulge the exact voter turnout figures. This means that something is going on...some kind of game is going on.” 
  • The EC, however, insists it followed a “laid down process”—and one unnamed official blamed the delay on an app (of course!):  “It’s taking officers a little time to enter data into the application. That’s all. During the Lok Sabha elections, there were some complaints of discrepancies between provisional and final turnout data. So officers are being extra-cautious.” 
  • The final turnout percentage: 62.59%—which is lower than the 2015 Assembly elections (67.12%) and higher than the 2019 Lok Sabha numbers (60.5%).
  • BTW, all the exit polls are unanimous in predicting a massive AAP victory.
  • Want more Dilli rajneeti? India Today explains why Delhi chose Kejriwal. And Caravan decodes the mathematics behind AAP’s likely win. Think paani and bijli.


In related political news: Rajinikanth is finally launching his political party in April. No, it doesn’t have a name yet. (Indian Express)


A shooting rampage in Thailand: An angry Thai soldier killed at least 26 people, and injured 57 at a shopping centre in Nakhon Ratchasima. The soldier, Jakrapanth Thomma, first killed his commanding officer and raided arms and ammunition from his military base—and then went on a killing spree. He was finally shot dead by security forces after an overnight standoff. And yes, he was indeed posting on Facebook—both in the lead up to and during the attack. (BBC News)


Your viral outbreak update is here: And the news isn’t getting any better:


  • The latest tally: The virus claimed 97 more lives on just Sunday in China—bringing the global death toll to at least 910. It is now officially more deadly than SARS.
  • Factory shutdown: While the Lunar New Year vacation officially comes to an end today, it is unclear how many workers will return to their factories. And that has huge implications for supply chains of businesses around the world. Quartz has the global angle. Mint looks at what it means for Indian companies—and for you: “We are expecting prices to rise due to the coronavirus scare, because supply is short and demand isn’t slowing down.”
  • Say no to Chinese khana: Indians are steering clear of their favourite cuisine. Upscale restaurant patrons in Mumbai now ask waiters if the ingredients in their Hunan chicken are made in China. And food importers have cancelled their orders from China. India is also saying ‘no entry’ to foreigners who have been to China on or after January 15.  
  • Good read: New York Times (via Times of India) asks, “Where is Xi Jinping?”—analysing what the crisis means for a leader once seen as invincible, and now appears to be in hiding.
  • Must watch: This video that shows Chinese citizens being literally dragged into quarantine. 


Rail gaadis are going private: The government is gearing up to introduce more privately run trains—similar to the Tejas Express that connects Mumbai to Karmali, Goa. On the cards: 100 routes for 150 trains, including popular routes such as Mumbai-New Delhi, Chennai to New Delhi, New Delhi to Howrah. Potential private partners: More than two dozen global firms including Alstom Transport, Siemens AG, and Hyundai Rotem Company plus home-grown companies like Tata Realty and Infrastructure,  Hitachi India and Adani Ports. Point to note: the fare will be set by the companies not the government. (Mint)


Sexual assault at a Delhi college fest: Large groups of men barged into Delhi University’s Gargi College on Saturday during the women’s college’s ‘Reverie’ festival. And they proceeded to sexually assault the students. One of them said: “The college grounds are small, with little place to move around, and that is when some of these men started groping, molesting and harassing us." Some allegations on Twitter claimed these were “BJP goons” from a nearby pro-CAA rally. Students are furious at the administration, especially Principal Promila Kumar—who apparently told students that they should not have attended the festival if they felt unsafe. 


The Uber driver who played Big Brother: Last week, Bappattiya Sarkar jumped in an Uber in Mumbai and called a friend: “We were talking about protest cultures in different cities, what happened at Shaheen Bagh yesterday, people’s discomfort with Laal Salaam and how we could make Jaipur’s protests more effective.” The driver stopped the car outside a police station, and came back with two constables. Sarkar was questioned for hours by the police but finally let go. When asked why he brought Sarkar to the thana, the driver said: “Tum desh barbaad kardoge aur hum dekhtey rahenge? Main kahin aur le jaa sakta tha tujhe, shukr manno police station laaya hun” (Will we just watch while you destroy the country? Be thankful that I brought you to a police station, I could have taken you elsewhere). Since the incident, Uber has apologised, suspended the driver, and launched an investigation. The BJP has given the driver an ‘Alert Citizen Award’.


Cricket and climate change: The Australian Conservation Foundation has released a report that warns global warming poses a serious threat to the future of cricket: “Cricket depends on the weather like few other sports, with changes in rainfall and temperature affecting the movement of the ball and the condition of the pitch, often turning matches.” Also speaking up: Former Australian skipper Ian Chappell. Watch the video here.


Support eco-friendly kid’s clothes and our ambassador: Sirisha Gadepalli's company Neemboo does its bit for our planet by making lovely eco-friendly clothes. The company only works with natural fabrics and focuses on making multi-functional wear—which Sirisha calls “our little fight against fast fashion!” You can check their clothes out on Insta and their website. Well, Neemboo has been nominated for the KidsStopPress Awards in the category of 'Best Eco-friendly Apparel Brand' in its very first year! So please show your support for Sirisha and her great company by clicking here to vote for Neemboo. Point to note: This is the last day to vote!  


Things that make you go WTF: include the following:


  • Hundreds of dead fish are floating on the surface of a stream near the Nanjundapuram check dam in Coimbatore. See video here. The reason: pollution from textile dyes.
  • This Mashable story on Trump’s bizarre tan line—right along the edges of his face. Yes there are photos.
  • A shocking hate crime in Jaipur against a young Kashmiri man. He was beaten to death by his fellow work staff during a minor altercation. The police refuse to accept that the death was related to his religion or state.


Weekend reads you might have missed: include the following:


  • Tired of jumping from one fad diet to another? Who What Wear has a super-simple, common sense guide to losing weight. 
  • BBC News has an excellent video report of deaf Nicaraguan kids who invented a new sign language
  • The Atlantic explains why friends we make between classes 6-8 have an outsized influence on our sense of self and happiness.
  • Wired profiles ‘Sacred Games’ author Vikram Chandra and his new offering. No, it’s not a book but a writing bot called Granthika. 
  • Daily Mail has a photo spread of Bill Gates’ new toy: $640 million, 370-foot eco-friendly luxury yacht. Well, if you really must splurge on a yacht…
  • The Guardian on the jaw-dropping scale of sextortion in Zimbabwe—more than 50% of the women are forced to exchange sex for business favours or jobs.
  • Mint on the hot new must-have piece of athletic gear: performance socks.
  • Indian Express asks if Bollywood is finally ready for gay films—in view of the upcoming Ayushman Khuranna flick ‘Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan’.


Your daily quota of sunshine items: includes the following:


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