Bold start. Smooth finish. The newsletter that interesting people love.
Happy Thursday! When we’ve lost something, it can be frustrating to find it where we least expect it. Yet for the most part in life, nothing thrills us more than surprises. How about scientists explaining research on TikTok? Or hip-hop in Mongolia? Or some wow-inducing indie games? Or … unusual ways in which different countries have curbed gun violence? Keep sipping.
Joshua Eferighe, Reporter, and Charu Sudan Kasturi, Senior Editor
A Colorado judge overturned Boulder’s ban on assault weapons four days before the man charged in Monday’s mass shooting, which killed 10 people including a police officer, purchased such a weapon. Now Colorado Democrats are pushing for a statewide ban. Should assault weapons be banned nationally? Vote here or on Twitter. (Sources: CBS, NPR)
2. Double Mutant
If that sounds dangerous, you’re not wrong. Indian authorities have discovered a worrying new strain of COVID-19 that could increase the risk of infection — even as the country’s new cases are higher than they’ve been in five months. Over in Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel scrapped her decision to impose a tough lockdown over Easter, apologizing for her initial move. Meanwhile, Brazil’s death toll has crossed 300,000. (Sources: BBC, Nikkei Asia, Deutsche Welle)
3. Trade Traffic Jam
At least 150 ships are backed up by a blocked Suez Canal after a container vessel ran aground in the vital maritime trade channel between continental Africa and the Sinai Peninsula. The blockage is adding to growing supply chain woes causing global consumer goods shortages. (Sources: AP, WSJ, FT)
4. Pyongyang Tests Biden
North Korea launched two missiles into the Sea of Japan on Thursday morning. They’re potentially the first ballistic missiles Pyongyang has fired since President Joe Biden came to power in the U.S. (Sources: Reuters)
Rapidly falling numbers of a rare Australian songbird mean adults are no longer able to teach mating calls to the young, who’re losing that skill — further endangering their chance at procreating and keeping the species alive.
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Working late nights as a research technician, Darrion Nguyen often used the time to create research videos for casual nerds under the name Lab Shenanigans. It turns out, the biochemistry and theater graduate’s formula of merging science concepts with popular memes and dance routines makes for educational gold. The University of Texas at Austin alumnus now has 14 million likes on TikTok, where you can find him breaking down complex biology concepts over a Tyler, The Creator voiceover.
2. TikTok Teacher
When Phil Cook made a gummy bear burst into flames by dipping it in potassium chlorate, his Indiana high school students gave him a typical Gen Z suggestion: Put it on TikTok. So the veteran Culver Academies teacher did — and 3.2 million followers later, the world is his classroom.
3. Science and Ariana Grande
With deadlines looming for four finals and a paper, Hailey Levi did what any undergraduate with two hours of sleep would andstarted bopping to Ariana Grande. The University of California, Riverside, student lip-synched to “7 Rings,” posing with a microscope and vials. Now, more than245,000 likes later, she’s spreading science on the platform, using her teenage brother as her gauge. If he doesn’t understand, it doesn’t go up.
The Food That Built America
How did auto maintenance lead entrepreneur C.E. Doolin to the idea for the popular snack food Fritos? OZY and HISTORY bring you The Food That Built America, about the visionaries behind some of the planet’s most recognizable brands. Listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or Stitcher.
Gun Control: Surprising Successes
From violence-ravaged nations to densely populated giants, countries have managed to bring gun deaths under control. Could they offer lessons for America?
Take a firearms test, amental health examination and shooting lessons. Explain to the police why you need a gun, undergo a scrutiny of your criminal and debt history, get a gunpowder permit, take another shooting test and undergo another background check. Clear all these steps — and more — to get a gun in Japan.The result? Fewer people die of gun violence annually in this country of 126 million people than the number killed in Boulder on Monday.
Honduras recognized the link between police credibility and gun violence long before America, which last year saw a surge in Black people purchasing guns amid racist police excesses. In 2012, the Central American nation had the world’s worst homicide rate — with guns the weapon of choice. Yet in five years it halved its murder rate through steps that included, among other reforms, a conscious weeding out of thousands of "bad apples" from the police force. Read more on OZY.
The continental nation witnessed 13 instances of mass shooting between 1981 and 1996, when a massacre in Tasmania left 35 people dead. Then Australia launched a mammoth gun buyback project, spending millions of dollars to purchase more than 640,000 guns from people, and bringing the rate of gun violence down by two-thirds by 2017, though the country has witnessed a few mass shootings since then.
Whiskey in Your Clubhouse
Join OZY’s editors at 6 p.m. PT/9 p.m. ET today for deeper insights into the gun debate and much more. Download Clubhouse, write to OZY reporter Joshua Eferighe below for an onboarding invite or follow him (@eferighe) and search for the “Whiskey In Your Coffee” club.
Unlikely Hip-Hop Capitals
They’re producing the beat the music world might soon jive to.
Open, rugged expanses; two-humped camels … and hip-hop. The former socialist nation is now exploding with this musical genre. You’ll find artists like Big Gee, who managed to snaga KFC ad, and rappers like XL and Metune, who incorporate native folk traditions such as throat singing and two-string fiddles into their rap. Read more on OZY.
2. Desert Tunes
Far from the United States, bands like Nass El Ghiwaneand Jil Jilala put down roots in the Moroccan sand almost half a century ago, setting the stage for the North African nation to grow into the heartbeat of Arabic hip-hop. Today. Moroccan hip-hop is shattering gender stereotypes. And up-and-coming trap stars like 28-year-old Issam Harris are now poised to break out globally. Read more on OZY.
3. Peruvian Prose
You may know Latin trap and reggaeton from South and Central America but a new generation of Peruvian musicians is combining the two with their native language. The result is Quechua rap — hip-hop in the traditional language of the Inca people. Leading the way isRenata Flores,a 20-year-old singer-turned-rapper using her songs to combat anti-Indigenous sentiments.
It’s a virtual dating game and an interactive graphic novel all rolled into one. Set in Jercy City (yes, it’s spelled that way on purpose), ValiDate players can choose from a cast of 12 characters and from more than 60 routes as they try and find love. Whether it’s a Samoan marriage counselor who believes romance is dead, a Cuban theater teacher or a Ghanaian store manager — in Jercy City, you could meet them all.
2. Disco Elysium
This one’sfor political buffs … just as long as you’re open enough to explore a range of ideologies. You’re a detective navigating a city torn by crime, bribery and murders, even as your character is exposed to communism, ultra liberalism, fascism and moralism. What do you do and who do you become? Remember, it’s just a game.
3. Raji: An Ancient Epic
With breathtaking visuals and a storyline based on Hindu and Balinese legends, this action-adventure game places you in the shoes of a girl named Raji, who in some ways is what Neo is in The Matrix: the one who must save the world, in this case from an invasion by demons.
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