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Happy Friday! I remember feeling jealous of a crow once as a child (yeah laugh at me!), when my aunt fed him a snack while making me wait. She had her reasons: In Indian culture, crows represent ancestors. Today, pick up Halloween tips from cool global celebrations honoring the dead — whether saints or family. Meet the 16-year-old Russian genius who’s the future of figure skating and a Tunisian robot with a weakness for cigarettes. It clearly hasn’t tasted Whiskey in Your Coffee yet.
For years, Democrats have spoken of turning Texas into a swing state thanks to a growing minority population. Has that day finally arrived? Our forecast gives Trump a 60 percent chance of victory, but Texas Democrats say that with more money and energy, they could flip the state. Texas “is Democrats’ to lose, including Biden,” former Rep. Beto O’Rourke said recently on The Carlos Watson Show. Early vote numbers are already at 95 percent of the state’s total 2016 turnout. Got any great voting stories of your own? Tell us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we may feature you on OZY.
It’s all in black and white. The Trump administration has removed gray wolves from the list of endangered species in the continental U.S., sparking worries that the animal will be hunted to extinction. China’s headed in the opposite direction on the environment, its biggest oil refiner Sinopec embracing hydrogen energy. (Sources: WaPo, FT)
2. In the Name of God
A knife-wielding Tunisian migrant killed three churchgoers in Nice Thursday, drawing condemnation from French Muslims and prompting France to raise its security alert. Meanwhile, the U.S. has accelerated its deportation of Haitian migrants. (Sources: AP, Reuters, Guardian)
3. Ballot Bickering
America, you have company. Tanzania and Ivory Coast are also in the midst of contested election processes. Tanzania’s opposition has refused to recognize early results of Wednesday’s elections that show President John Magufuli in the lead. And a cloud of tension hangs over Ivory Coast ahead of Saturday's presidential election. Does America’s election need international monitors? Vote on Twitter. (Sources: Al Jazeera, Deutsche Welle)
Plenty to Crow About
If you're an actual crow, that is. Scientists know the birds can solve puzzles. Now they've found that crows can analyze their own minds, with almost human-like intelligence superior to most other creatures. Maybe the legend about crows as ancestors has some merit. The next time someone calls you a “bird brain,” take it as a compliment.
Of course we mean Cariuma—the crazy comfy, stylish sneakers that sell out in the snap of a finger. But specially for our readers, Cariuma’s IBI shoes are available again in their awaited fall colors (navy, stone black, stone grey, and mineral blue).
Make this the Cariuma conversation that gets you in a pair of IBIs, because if history tells us anything, their 16,000-person waitlist will be back.
The 17-year-old from Arkansas is an innovator both on and off the ice. She holds two patents, including one for a paper plate holder that allows you to carry both food and drink in one hand. And she’s practicing new routines that could help her at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. The daughter of two doctors knows that medical school is an option. But America needs her surgical precision in the rink: to win its first female singles figure skating Olympic medal since 2006. Read more.
Today on 'The Carlos Watson Show'
Black Panther star Danai Gurira and Pulitzer Prize-finalist playwright and performer Heidi Schreck join Carlos to discussAct Out: Vote 2020, a virtual event of dance, music and performance to mobilize the theater community and get out the vote. Watch them today.
The coolest new streaming platform is finally here. With CuriositySteam you can dive into history and explore nonfiction films and series. Interested in something else? They have thousands of documentaries on topics ranging from food to space exploration to animals.
Best of all, for a limited time OZY readers can spark their curiosity and get a full year of access for only $1.25/month with an annual plan using code OZY. Sign up now.
Cool Corona Contraptions
As countries battle COVID-19 spikes and reenter lockdowns, take a look at these offbeat innovations to fight the crisis.
There’s no point answering back. Tunisia is using remotely controlled robots armed with a police officer’s badge and artificial intelligence to enforce pandemic lockdowns. The robot rolls up to violators and lets out a barrage of questions. You’re being watched from afar, so quietly share your ID and head back home. Oh, unless you’re out to buy cigarettes — in which case the robot cuts you some slack. That’s a puff of brilliance.
2. Copper Sanitizer
Chile produces almost a third of the world’s copper. It’s now turning the medical properties of the metal — its ions carry antiviral properties — into a shield against the pandemic: from face masks with copper protection to sanitizers with a shot of the metal’s ions.
3. Umbrella Distancing
No this isn’t bogus science — an umbrella can truly protect you against the virus. Just ask the southern Indian state of Kerala, where officials in a coastal village sold subsidized umbrellas to residents and urged them to keep them open while in public, effectively ensuring social distancing while guarding against extreme weather.
If you’re looking for innovative ways to celebrate Halloween, check out some of the coolest festivals around the world that share the theme.
Big in Poland, this traditional Slavic festival to honor one's ancestors centers around karaboshka masks made of clay or wood. The tradition itself appeared to be dying, first under atheist communism and then as Halloween gained popularity. But amid a nationalist turn that has encouraged Poles to rediscover their culture, Dziaby has risen from the grave.
2. Fete des Masques
It’s a dance to the dead. Masked men, each representing a different spirit, dance to an orchestra of traditional musical instruments to ward away evil spirits blocking the path to heaven for the dead. The most popular festival of the Dogon ethnic community in Mali and Burkina Faso, it's celebrated in April and May and also marks the harvest.
3. Hungry Ghost Festival
Food delivery apps in China hate this day — a key part of the occasion involves cooking three daily meals, so ordering in is, well, out. At dusk, families line up old photos and belongings of the dead, lay out the food and sit down to feast. A door is often left open, in case an ancestor's spirit wants to wander in. No, ghosts don’t need to worry about social distancing.
4. Día de los Muertos
A central part of the Mexican calendar, this festival celebrates dead family members by inviting them to a party, with food, drinks, conversation and love. Now often associated with All Saints Day, the Roman Catholic holiday, there's evidence that the "Day of the Dead" has roots in Aztec culture.
How are you innovating this Halloween? Tell us — and have a fun and safe weekend!