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Good morning! Whenever my extended family meets, a game of cards, preferably Bluff, is almost obligatory. Today, try out a Japanese card game that’s also a poetry lesson, meet the Brazilian queen of soccer ball jugglers, dive into the hidden benefits of medicine’s fight against COVID-19 and learn some Yoruba math. Check at the end to see if you got Thursday’s “spot the difference” puzzle right.
That’s how Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell described QAnon-supporting Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s conspiracy theories that range from questioning the 9/11 attacks to school shoot-outs. His sharp rebuke of an extremist party colleague came as President Joe Biden met moderate Republicans to try and hammer out a consensus COVID-19 stimulus package. (Sources: WaPo, NYT)
2. Myanmar Mess
The U.S. has threatened Myanmar with sanctions, Biden describing the military takeover in the Southeast Asian nation as a direct assault on democracy. But if the West was caught by surprise, it wasn’t alone. A dance instructor inadvertently caught the start of the coup on camera while she was filming her exercise routine outdoors. (Sources: FT, Guardian)
3. Hope and Fear
South Africa has received its first COVID-19 vaccines but yet another variant of the virus might already have arrived, in Mexico. Meanwhile, the European Union is tightening entry norms for visitors from outside the bloc. (Sources: LA Times, Mexico News Daily)
4. Silver, the New Gold
The price of silver has spiked to an eight-year high after Reddit day traders who had driven a surge in GameStop stocks last week turned their attention to the precious metal instead. Are the Reddit traders a force for good? Vote on Twitter or here. (Source: WSJ)
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Brilliance is in his genes. Gatto’s father was a vaudeville acrobat. But the son has gone where no one has — owning a record number of, well, juggling records and starring in Cirque du Soleil shows. He first grabbed national attention as a kid in shorts who performed on The Tonight Show. Now, he runs a construction business — but juggling that with his first love, even if not professionally, should be easy for him.
Model and Station 19 actor Boris Kodjoe opens up about how his struggles as a biracial Black child in Europe helped inform his opinion about today's racial reckoning, and how he and his wife Nicole Ari Parker find joy in entrepreneurship. Watch later today.
COVID Medical Spinoffs
The unparalleled, high-speed hunt for cures, safety measures and vaccines might offer surprising side benefits against other diseases.
1. Cancer Vaccine?
It would be the greatest accomplishment of modern medicine, if scientists were to be able to inoculate the human population against cancer. It’s what Turkish-German oncologists Uğur Şahin and Özlem Türeci have been focused on, using a new antibody-delivery mechanism, the mRNA. Now, their response to the COVID-19 pandemic has helped convince the world the strategy works. They’re behind the mRNA-based vaccine that became the first in the West to be approved for use — success that’s taken us one step closer to a cancer vaccine.
2. The Next Coronavirus
COVID-19 caught most of us by surprise, but we’ll have little excuse if we’re as unprepared for the next coronavirus. That’s where a set of novel antiviral approaches could save us. Researchers led by Pfizer are designing drugs that could literally stop COVID-19 in its tracks, even once you’re infected, cutting recovery times and preventing serious symptoms. The best part? These drugs will need only minor tweaks to work on future coronaviruses, buying us time while vaccines are developed. Read more on OZY.
3. Flu Savior
For years, western societies have shunned the healthy practice followed in East and Southeast Asia of wearing masks when you have so much as a sniffle. The pandemic has changed those habits for many in Europe and America. By wearing masks while stepping out if you have even a common cold, you respect the health of others — and reduce the risk of spreading seasonal flu and other diseases, scientists have found.
Forgotten African Accomplishments
Colonialism has wiped out much of the history of the continent. But Africa has long been a land of culture and science — and even tilted World War II.
At its peak in the 14th century, its king Mansa Musa I was possibly the richest man to have lived on Earth — ever. But the Mali Empire’s true wealth lay in its emergence as a cultural and economic force at the crossroads of major trading routes in West and Central Africa. The city of Timbuktu was a major hub and the kingdom an early base for African Islam.
When the Nazis swept through France, Africa offered a new home for resistance leader Charles de Gaulle. Brazzaville was his base. And Chad became the first French territory in Africa to back de Gaulle, its leader Félix Éboué a central figure in the fight against the Nazis that saw soldiers from the Central African nation liberate Strasbourg from the Germans in 1944. Read more on OZY.
The leaves have fallen, and snow blankets the hills — so sweater weather is definitely here. Luckily, we found the perfect men’s sweater for the winter. Don’t look any further: Outerknown’s Nostalgic Sweater puts a modern twist on the iconic ‘70s look and perfectly combines comfort, style and warmth. The Nostalgic Sweater sold out fast last year, so act quickly while supplies last — and use the code OKOZY for 20 percent off!
This Japanese game is literally poetry in motion. It’s played with two packs of 100 cards, with two identical sets of short poems on them. The two sets are randomly placed, face up. The dealer starts reading out a poem from one set of cards, and players must race to pick up the card with that poem from the other set.
Originally from Niger, it’s also popular in Cameroon. Take a standard 52-card deck, and remove all aces, kings, queens, jacks and twos. Each player is dealt six cards from the remaining pack. Start by playing a card of your choice. Others play the highest card of the same suit. The one with the highest card wins that round.
Popular in Argentina and Chile, this Latin American version of rummy has slightly more complex rules than the version you’re likely familiar with, but that only adds to the thrill of the game. Ready for an Andean high?
You Got it Right!
Here are 35 more of you who found the four differences between the two images in Thursday’s test.
Amy A., Frank G., Jacqueline T., Arron B., Bea G., Martin P., Danita H., Jon G., Joey A., Wade W., Tim C., Jack B., David C., Valerie L., Sharon C., Larry V., Stephen C., Patrick G., Valerie G., Jim V., Peggy K., Lea F., Gene S., Alex G., Elizabeth W., B. Gwynn R., Louanne V., Michael C., Cameron C.W., Edson G., Rob E., Mari H., Kathleen C., Ana R., Marcia W., Kathleen P. — congratulations!