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Happy Wednesday!!! Generations of supermodels have evoked awe, ogles and everything in between. But the world’s latest great supermodel deserves your attention for another reason too: The South African exists only in the virtual world. Discover the future of modeling today, meet the 23-year-old queer man looking to revolutionize New York’s politics, check out the dangerous Mexican volcano that the Aztecs revered, pick up dating tips for a post-COVID world and read to the end for winners of last week’s caption contest!
President Joe Biden used the centennial memorial of the horrific massacre of Black Americans in Tulsa in 1921 to pledge that he would “fight like heck” against GOP efforts to restrict voter access in future elections. He appointed Vice President Kamala Harris to lead that battle. Read more about the Tulsa massacre on OZY. (Sources: CBS, Politico)
2. Polar Protection
For wildlife activists, the Trump administration’s move was always un-bear-able. Now Biden’s team has reversed moves taken during former President Donald Trump’s final days in office to allow for oil and gas drilling in a sensitive Arctic reserve that’s home to polar bears and waterfowl. Should all drilling in the Arctic be banned, globally? Vote here or on Twitter. (Sources: NYT, USA Today)
3. ‘Totally Nuts’
That’s how top epidemiologist Dr. Anthony Fauci described the obsessive public fascination with him early in the pandemic, in emails accessed through the Freedom of Information Act. “Truly surrealistic. Hopefully, this all stops soon,” he wrote in one note. Watch Fauci on The Carlos Watson Show speak about the threats he has received for publicly challenging Trump. (Source: WaPo)
4. Meat Malware
Someone clearly has a beef with JBS, the Brazilian firm that’s the world’s largest meatpacker. Hackers attacked the company’s systems with ransomware, forcing thousands of workers across North America and Australia to stop work. The White House has blamed a Russia-based crime group. (Sources: FT, WSJ)
5. Tigray Tragedy
Eritrean soldiers allied with Ethiopia massacred 19 Tigrayan civilians at the foot of a famous rock-hewn church three weeks ago, according to witnesses. It’s the latest evidence of growing human rights abuses against the people of Tigray, an Ethiopian region battling Addis Ababa’s militaristic hegemony. (Source: Guardian)
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The queer Brooklynite attended his first protest following the death of George Floyd last May. Less than a year later, the 23-year-old is now running for New York City Council. The son of the late hip-hop podcasting pioneer Combat Jack co-founded the Gen Z activist group “Warriors in the Garden.” And true to his rapid rise from street protest to electoral politics, he’s in a rush when it comes to combating climate change, policing abuses and racism. “We don’t have much time left to save us,” as he told Revolt.tv.
2. Emma Theofelus
She was appointed Namibia’s deputy Minister for Information, Communication and Technology just a week before COVID-19 arrived in her country last year. But the 24-year-old, who says she’s learning on the job, is helping direct Namibia’s public messaging around the virus — campaigns that are part of what the World Health Organization has praised as a “quick and efficient” pandemic response. Can she inspire a new generation of young African women to change the fate of the continent?
3. Agnes Chow Ting
In peacetime, she loved singing Japanese songs at karaoke bars, but the 24-year-old Hong Kong activist hasn’t had time for peace in years. Her Catholic faith partially motivated her venture into politics, which included her giving up her British citizenship to run in a Legislative Council by-election that courts ruled her ineligible for anyway, due to her promotion of self-determination for Hong Kong. She is currently serving a 10-month sentence in a maximum-security jail. But the fire that she and her colleagues have lit won’t be doused by arrests. Read more on OZY.
Future of Modeling
The Giselle Bundchens of the world … your time might soon be up.
1. Virtual Models
Tall, striking and with perfect features, Shudu Gram looks every bit a supermodel. And she is one. Just not the kind we’re used to seeing. She’s the world’s first Black digital supermodel, created based on the “Princess of South Africa” Barbie doll, and has 215,000 Instagram followers. There’s Lil Miquela with 3 million followers, arguably the most famous digital avatar around. Meanwhile, British company Irmaz Models claims its designers “make faces to fit” any marketing campaign. Could these digital models be the future — especially in thisera of a raging pandemic and socially distanced lives?
2. Chinese Gamers
From Gucci to Burberry, the world’s top luxury brands are embracing China as their test market. How a fashion line does there will determine what you find in your stores. Apps like WeChat that marry social media with e-commerce make targeted advertisements easier in China than in the West. Now luxury brands are turning to an unlikely set of models: young Chinese gamers. Read more on OZY.
3. Old Is New
The pandemic-induced economic downturn and the panic caused by environmental crumbling have brought with them a new trend in the fashion world. Designers are making new articles of clothing with discarded garments. Gabriela Hearst has acquired 50 second-hand versions of the brand’s once-popular Edith bag from eBay for a collection. H&M-owned COS and ARKET have introduced capsule collections with materials sourced from worn garments gathered from in-store recycling bins. Patagonia and North Face both sell refurbished garments and bags that have been traded in by customers.
A flood of lava from the eruption of Mount Nyiragongo in the Congo last week killed at least 15 people, with dozens missing and at least 20,000 left homeless. Check out some of the world’s other dangerous active volcanoes.
The Aztecs called the 17,694 ft high peak the “smoking mountain” for good reason. A sacred site for them, Popcatépetl is a smoldering, shaved cone of a mountain emerging from green forests. It’s been active since 2005 with emissions and tremors continuing as recently as January 2021. It’s a great sight — best seen from afar.
2. Taal, Philippines
Nestled in the Pacific ring of fire, Taal is a deceptive volcano. What you see is a caldera — a crater caused by the eruption after a volcano — filled into a beautiful lake. But daily eruptions, mostly small ones, send up plumes of smoke from underneath the water, in a reminder of the danger that lurks.
3. Novarupta, Alaska
A more recent addition to the dangerous volcanoes club is Novarupta in Alaska. It is aptly named, as it popped onto the scene in 1912, in the largest eruption of the 20th century. The resulting ash cloud covered much of Alaska and parts of Canada and caused respiratory symptoms for the nearby Kodiak community.
Posting a photo with your vaccination record card is the new verification badge on Tinder that’s likely to find you a match. Believing in science is sexy — and not contracting or spreading COVID-19 even sexier. Move over bars, vaccination sites could be the next hunting ground for singles looking to pick up a date.
Have you ever wished that your life could look like a season of the Bachelor or Bachelorette? Well, the answer might just be asking your friends to help you fill the bench. Even better? Throw a party where your friends present the potential matches (make sure they’re vaccinated!).
3. Give It a Second Date
So, your first date was “meh,” and you’re debating whether a second one is worth your time. Experts suggest giving the connection another shot. Let’s face it: We’re all a little rusty after a year of lockdown. Maybe it’s a good call to judge a person by the second impression as we are all getting used to socializing again.
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