Bold start. Smooth finish. The newsletter that interesting people love.
Happy Wednesday! Science and economics guide our world, yet they can seem complex, even boring subjects to some. Not after you’ve read today’s newsletter, though. Meet the neuroscientist introducing fish to hip-hop and get surprised by the romance at the heart of China’s new economic strategy. Revisit inspirational tales of athletes who made stunning returns to their sports and dive into otherworldly sinkholes. And don’t forget to read to the end for winners of last week’s caption contest!
Charu Sudan Kasturi and Nick Fouriezos, Senior Editors
Oxford University has halted trials of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine on children amid concerns over a causal link to blood clots that Europe’s medical regulator might confirm this week. Meanwhile, Indonesia has discovered a dangerous new COVID-19 variant appropriately called “Eek.” Will current vaccines — such as AstraZeneca’s, which South Africa purchased Tuesday — be effective against this new mutant? (Sources: Deutsche Welle, AP, Reuters, Bloomberg)
2. Olympic Boycott?
The U.S. is mulling a boycott of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics with its allies over China’s human rights excesses against its Uyghur minority population. Would a boycott help? Vote here or on Twitter. (Sources: FT, South China Morning Post)
3. Europe Backs Yellen
The European Union has supported U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen’s proposal for a universal minimum corporate tax rate, pushing the concept closer to reality, potentially as early as June. (Sources: Reuters, Bloomberg)
4. Twerk Trouble
Papua New Guinea’s women’s soccer co-captain Lucy Maino was also the nation’s top beauty queen. But she’s now been stripped of the Miss Papua New Guinea title after criticism of a TikTok video where she was seen twerking. Critics cite the incident as evidence of the country’s deep-seated misogyny. (Source: Guardian)
Want more cash back? We thought so! That’s why Discover offers automatic cash back match. With Discover, you get a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year. You could turn $100 cash back into $200. It’s that easy and there’s no limit to how much we’ll match. No catch, just cash back! Click “Apply Now” for more details.
As if it wasn’t enough to have made ground as Australia’s first female dance music producer and DJ — known as BeXta — Poulsen is now leading research at the University of Queensland on how baby zebra fish react to music. It turns out they like her notes. But to get their brain cells really excited? You’ve got to play the MC Hammer classic “U Can’t Touch This.”
2. Metin I. Eren
The Kent State researcher was drawn to anthropology after he heard the story of an Inuit man who butchered a dog with a knife made from his own frozen feces. So he set about testing the potentially apocryphal tale. Eren adopted an “Arctic diet” for eight days to summon the necessary, umm, ingredients. His team froze and filed them, but the knives proved sh*t at carving pig hides, leaving nothing but brown streaks in the unscathed meat. It turns out the Inuit tale should have always been poo-pooed.
3. Andreas Müller
The Swiss entomologist has spent two decades studying bees. But it’s only recently that an attempt with a colleague at saving the dwindling number of bees from the Osmiini tribe led to the most stunning discovery of his career: that their grubby larvae use their calloused butt cheeks to drum up noise, potentially to scare away hungry wasps. Once jostled, one larva begins its defensive tunes, leading others to join it in a soft, crackling symphony.
Today on ‘The Carlos Watson Show’
Meet the “accidental economist” fighting to save the world’s poor. IMF Chief Economist Gita Gopinath joins Carlos to explain why we won’t be able to move on from the COVID-19 recession until we can combat the disease globally, and why she’s seeking equitable vaccine access. Watch now.
Beyond 'isms: Big Economic Ideas
Gopinath’s plans are bold. Here are some even bolder economic ideas.
1. Love is All You Need
What do China’s top leaders discuss when they meet to craft the future direction of the country?Classroom romance. Indeed, at the annual meeting of China’s rubber stamp Parliament last month, teaching romance to kids was one of the ideas that came up as a way to reverse China's ageing population and rev up its economy. Meanwhile, Japan's government is paying software developers to buildartificial intelligence-based matchmaking platforms — again, hoping to revive its falling birth rate.
2. Universal Property
What if the answer isn’t universal basic income? What if the fix to income inequality lies in unlikely Alaska? The state’s Permanent Fund, a new entity that is not government-owned or private, guarantees all Alaskan residents an equal, annual dividend from revenue earned through oil extraction. Experts argue that the same principle could be applied to all common resources — minerals, the oceans, the skies and more.
As he recovers from injuries suffered in a February car crash, Tiger Woods won’t be at the Masters when the tournament starts tomorrow. But he’s returned from rock bottom before. In the meantime, let these other great comeback stories inspire you.
Wrist injuriesforced the legendary tennis player to miss the first three Grand Slams of the year in 1973. Margaret Court was the top-ranked player at the time. Still, King made history by defeating former men’s world No. 1 Bobby Riggs in the “Battle of the Sexes” match that attracted a televised audience of 90 million people across 37 countries while drawing attention to gender and pay equality. Even sweeter? Court, her rival, had lost to Riggs 6-2, 6-1 earlier that season.
2. Ben Hogan
The golfer’s entire life was a comeback story. The son of a blacksmith who committed suicide, Hogan sold papers and caddied to feed his family. He turned pro at 17 … then waited nearly two decades before winning his first major game at 34 in 1946. Just hitting his stride, Hogan survived a head-on collision with a Greyhound bus, suffering from a fractured pelvis, collarbone and ankle, plus near-fatal blood clots. He went on to win six of his nine major championships after the accident.
3. Niki Lauda
The Austrian race car driver once took a £30,000 (around $41,500 today) bank loan to keep his fledgling driving career afloat. But by 1976, he was well on his way to a second consecutive Formula One World Championship in a Ferrari. Then his car burst into flames after a wreck at the German Grand Prix. He suffered severe scarring, losing most of his ear, hair, eyebrows and eyelids on the right side of his face. Yet he returned to race just 43 days later, winning two more championship titles in his 14-year career.
Whiskey in Your Clubhouse
Join Team OZY on Thursday at 6 p.m. PT/9 p.m. ET for insights on the big news of the week, a chat about your favorite Whiskey in Your Coffee sections and more. Write to OZY reporter Joshua Eferighe below to get into the room, and follow him @Eferighe on Clubhouse.
A giant underwater cave system, thisMexican wonder consists of two large sinkholes connected by a quarter-mile tunnel. Whether you’re a diver or a geology enthusiast, you’ll need all your senses — not just your dos ojos (two eyes in English) — to soak it all in.
2. Xiaozhai Tiankeng
Jaw-dropping beauty and hold-your-breath adventure come together as you descend 2,800 steps to the bottom of the world's deepest-known sinkhole in southwest China. Its name translates to“Heavenly Pit,” and its steep fall attracts base jumpers looking for a high in its depths.
Our favorite shoes just got even better! Our friends at Cariuma have made news by announcing the world’s lowest carbon footprint sneaker. Be a part of history by purchasing your own pair of these cool, comfy, and game-changing shoes today. Made with bamboo and easy to slip right on, these will be your new favorites. OZY readers get $15 off with code OZY15!