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One of the first words my baby daughter learned to say is “mask.” She’s smart, so I shouldn't be too surprised, but it speaks to how shaped we all are by what's going on right now. Brush up on the other words from 2020 that’ll now be part of our lexicon, read about yesterday’s late-night Nobel Prize drama, get introduced to some of the world’s scariest militias and learn about the race to become the next saint.
The Trump administration is moving ahead with the sale of advanced military weapons to Taiwan ahead of the Nov. 3 election, in a move certain to rile China at a time Washington and Beijing are increasingly locking horns over the self-governing island.
4. Moneyball Bets on Soccer
Billy Beane, the Oakland Athletics executive who pioneered the use of data analytics in American sports, was immortalized in the 2011 film Moneyball, starring Brad Pitt. Now he’s turning his attention to European soccer to avoid conflicts of interest in baseball, where he might soon have stakes in multiple teams.
Like Beane, economists rely on data to draw key conclusions. Sometimes though, it’s their vocal chords that they depend on most.
Wake Up, Nobel Laureate!!
American economists Paul Milgrom and Bob Wilson were asleep when the Nobel Committee called them Monday to inform them that they had won 2020’s Nobel Prize in economics. They finally got through to Wilson, who, as luck would have it, is Milgrom’s neighbor. Wilson and his wife Mary trudged across to Milgrom’s house in the middle of the night, and tried waking him up using the intercom. Milgrom eventually responded. “Paul,” Wilson yelled, “You’ve won the Nobel Prize!” Watch.
By the time he died after being struck by a car in 1919, the Venezuelan doctor had become a household name for saving lives during the Spanish flu. It’s only appropriate then that Cisneros was beatified — a vital step toward sainthood — by Pope Francis this year. Cisneros twice tried to join a seminary, but his health and a dictatorial regime came in the way. That didn’t stop him from serving the poor.
2. Vivian Ogu
Late last year,the pope and the Catholic Church honored the 14-year-old Nigerian girl, who was killed in 2009 while resisting rape, after robbers broke into her house. Ogu used to lead a prayer group and she had spoken to them about St. Maria Goretti — an Italian girl who was stabbed to death in 1902 while resisting sexual assault — the day she was killed.
Speaking of miracles, actress Jameela Jamil is one.
OZY on Hulu
From a near-death car crash at age 17 to surviving sexual assault, from receiving backlash after coming out as queer to accusations of faking mental health disorders, Jameela Jamil has endured it all. Today she’s a leading actress and activist. Watch her speak with OZY's Carlos Watson on Defining Moments with OZY.Now streaming on Hulu.
OK, admit it. How many of you had heard of the Wolverine Watchmen before the far-right militia grabbed headlines last week for plotting the abduction of Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer? Yet they’re not alone. Check out OZY’s recent Sunday Magazine on other American fringe groups now making it to the mainstream. And meet some of their most dangerous global peers who are flowering because of tacit or explicit official support from those in power.
Don’t go by their innocuous name. The Rapid Support Forces are accused of some of the worst crimes of the Sudanese civil war in Darfur. Yet the paramilitary group’s brutality is a calling card that makes them attractive mercenaries to hire for regimes seeking to outsource their wars. Now, they’re fighting for Saudi Arabia and the UAE in Libya and Yemen, each warrior earning as much as $10,000 a month. They’ve even patrolled Sudan’s borders as part of a European Union initiative to curb migration. Read more.
2. 300 of Brazil
An armed right-wing militia, its members receive training in how to “defend” the government of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro from challengers — whether political or from the judiciary. In May, they rallied outside Brazil’s Supreme Federal Court, holding torches, their faces covered in white masks, to protest a ruling against the group for sharing fake news online. They know they have their president’s blessings.
Unlike those beef-deprived zoo animals, this bird isn’t about to wait for her food.
Soaring Stunner: The Loon
From Maine to Mississippi, you’ll find this migratory bird surfing rivers and the Atlantic Ocean, searching for prey. The loon’s gorgeous, but beware — its pointed beak is a potent weapon it uses to attack the head and neck of those it views as threats. You’d be loon-ey to try any prank with it.
Unlike the loon, most of us have been stuck at home for months now, grappling with what we hope is a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic. But the crisis hasn’t just altered the way we live — it has also changed the way we speak, introducing new words into our lexicon that’ll likely stay long after the pandemic passes.
This oneshould be easy. It’s the word for those who ignore the science around COVID-19, don’t wear masks, avoid social distancing and hoard stuff unnecessarily. You could just call them idiots, but covidiots — try stressing on the “co” to make it sound like “go” — is more fun.