Bold start. Smooth finish. The newsletter that interesting people love.
Good morning! I usually need a drink or two before I can pick up the mic at a karaoke bar. But perhaps all I need is a drive. Hitch a ride with a unique karaoke taxi today, as you meet South America’s next soccer star, check out a gun that heals and sculptures that provoke, and figure out why you don’t want to flush the toilet in Cape Town.
Enrique Tarrio, the leader of far right group Proud Boys, was arrested Monday on charges of destroying a Black Lives Matter banner at an African American church in Washington, D.C., last month. The city is tense ahead of a Wednesday rally by supporters of President Donald Trump seeking to overturn election results where the president lost. Top CEOs have urged Congress to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s win. (Sources: WaPo, Al Jazeera, WSJ)
2. Tougher Than the Rest
Health officials are warning that the new COVID-19 strain found in South Africa might be more resilient to vaccines than the U.K. variant that yesterday sent Britain back into lockdown. Meanwhile, Germany and Denmark might delay the administration of second shots of the vaccine because of a shortage of doses. (Sources: CBS, BBC, Guardian)
3. Give Peace a Chance
Saudi Arabiaand Qatar appear to have decided to reopen their borders in a bid to resolve a bitter three-year dispute that saw Riyadh break ties with Doha, accusing it of supporting terrorism. (Source: FT)
4. Dangerous Asylum
Mexico, among the world’s deadliest nations for journalists, might grant asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. A British court Monday ruled against extraditing Assange to the U.S., where he is wanted on espionage charges. Should Assange face U.S. courts? Vote on Twitter. (Sources: BuzzFeed, Reuters, Deutsche Welle)
In central Taiwan, you can buy a taxi ride for a song — literally. Hop into Tu Ching Liang’s yellow taxi, and belt out a karaoke performance. If Tu likes it, you get a discount. He has become a social media celebrity, videos of passengers singing in his car watched millions of times.
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She’s been called the voice of Venezuela.She’s also a voice of protest that’s gaining global attention amid her country’s devastating economic crisis and political divisions. Machado’s Afro-Venezuelan music includes songs about hunger, shortages of medicines and riots. They’re powerful and popular, giving her a shield against a regime known to target opponents.
3. Gabriel Martinelli
It takes unnatural maturity at the age of 14 to leave a big Brazilian soccer club and head to a fourth-tier team to refine your game away from the limelight. And it takes stunning skills to leave such a mark that European teams hunt for you in the sport’s lower divisions to pick you as their future. That’s what the Sao Paulo-born striker — now 19 — has accomplished after his first season with top English club Arsenal. He’s already being compared to Ronaldo, the Brazilian legend of the 1990s and 2000s. Lionel Messi, watch out.
Today on ‘The Carlos Watson Show’
Michael Barbaro, the host of The New York Times’ The Daily podcast, shares the lessons he has learned from audio journalism and takes us behind the scenes into the racial reckoning happening in The Times’ offices. Watch later today.
Under-the-Radar Medical Marvels
What happens when we finally bring the pandemic under control? Here’s a snapshot of new medical finds and innovations unrelated to COVID-19, which could ensure a healthier tomorrow.
If you do it smartly, you could fool people into thinking you’re Spider-Man, unleashing a web from your wrist. In fact, what you have is a new medical gun designed by Israeli scientists that shoots out web-like, breathable covering for burnt skin that can eliminate the need to change bandages. British doctors are now using the technology.
2. Protein Puzzle
We eat it and our body is made up of it, but what does protein actually look like? Until now, scientists didn’t really know. Now, Google’s artificial intelligence program DeepMind has solved one of biology’s most lingering puzzles, decoding the structure of proteins and thrilling scientists who believe they now have a better shot at developing life-saving drugs.
3. Treating Trauma
It’s all about memory. Scientists have found that only those who remember childhood trauma vividly are likelier to suffer from depression, anxiety, PTSD and substance abuse than those who were victims of abuse but no longer recall it. The dramatic findings offer the clearest medical evidence yet to show that adverse experiences need not shape our lives.
Asking the right questions has the power to dissolve the barriers to creative thinking and channel the pursuit of solutions into new, accelerated pathways. A great question can ignite innovative thinking that is essential in our globalized, digitized and disruptive world. The six-week Inquiry-Driven Leadership online short course from the MIT Sloan School of Management teaches you to adopt a questioning approach to effectively identify and solve organizational problems.
Are you ready to unlock the power of catalytic questioning? Find out more about the program here.
Great art is beautiful. It’s also powerful. These sculptures have sparked heated debates challenging everything from what art means to who owns it.
Visual artist Juliana Notari’s new 33-meter installation on the slope of an art park in northwestern Brazil is meant to depict a giant vulva and question the “problematization of gender.” The bright red artwork has drawn instant vitriol from advisers of President Jair Bolsonaro and compliments from supporters.
It should have always been a no-no. And it has been in Vietnam, South Korea, Japan and China, since the SARS epidemic two decades ago. Even once the pandemic passes, if you have a cough, wear a mask while heading out. It’s not ok to cough on someone. And like those countries, you would help keep the next pandemic under control. Read more on OZY.
2. Look for Knockoffs
For decades, China has been almost synonymous with knockoffs and contaminated food that has even led to public health crises. Now, high-income Chinese are shunning counterfeit and tainted goods, willing to pay more for technology that allows them to track the origin or everything they buy. Read more on OZY.
3. Flush Toilets
In Cape Town (and no, it’s not carte blanche to keep your bathrooms filthy). The South African city has faced major water shortages in recent years. Now it’s shaming homes that consume too much water, marking them out on public maps. Read more on OZY.
I asked you yesterday to identify the community where the father of a bride spits on his daughter. The answer? The Maasai in Kenya (the Greeks have a similar but different tradition). Jacqueline H., Lorenzo H., Smita, Jacklyn G., Jon T., John G., Gaston G. and Jonathan M. — congratulations!!!