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Happy Wednesday! The past year has sucked any notion of well-being or happiness out of many of us. Today you’ll read about an Indonesian concept that’s central to keeping the Javanese happy in the toughest of times. Meet the Mexican designer who’s shaming the Dutch about gender bias in their public toilets, read about how Australia has made ranked choice voting successful even as New York has struggled with it and visit China’s Venice. Read to the end for winners of last week’s caption contest.
Charu Sudan Kasturi, Senior Editor, and Liam Jamieson, Reporter
A group of unidentified men assassinated Haitian President Jovenel Moïse at his private residence, the country’s interim prime minister said Wednesday, in a stunning development in a nation already torn by political and economic chaos. (Source: AP)
The force is certainly not with Microsoft’s JEDI, with the Pentagon scrapping a $10 billion contract for the ambitious cloud computing project amid a legal challenge from Amazon and criticism from Congress. (Sources: WSJ, CNBC)
3. New Sheriff in Town
Former cop Eric Adams was projected by the AP to have won the Democratic mayoral primary in New York, effectively making him the next chief executive of the predominantly blue city. Are former police officers like Adams best suited to lead America’s cities? Vote here or on Twitter. (Sources: WaPo, NYT)
4. Dressing Up Murder
A Colombian court has accused 10 members of the country’s military of killing at least 120 civilians and calling them guerilla fighters, and of the forced disappearance of 24 other people, in 2007 and 2008. (Source: Reuters)
5. Jab By the Beach
Packed flights are bringing Taiwanese visitors to Guam with the promise of a vacation … and vaccination. The Asian nation has fully inoculated only 0.2% of its population against COVID-19, while the U.S. territory has vaccinated 75% of its people and is now offering shots to boost its tourism. (Source: Guardian)
Thieves in California have a new target to steal: pistachios. They’re pilfering pistachios, repackaging the expensive nuts and then reselling them.
Crushing your goals is as easy as pressing “start” on the microwave with nutritious heat-and-eat meals from Factor. Eat smart with 23 dietitian-approved, chef-made options — including keto, paleo, plant-based and more — delivered each week. Factor meals are fully prepared but never frozen, so every bite tastes as good as it makes you feel.
When he talks about urine, he’s not taking the piss out of you. The University of Cape Town researcher is leading an unlikely toilet revolution, taking urine from waterless urinals and turning it into bricks that can be used in construction. Randall’s among a flood of innovators across South Africa, Ghana, Kenya, Zambia and Uganda who are rethinking the toilet economy. Read more on OZY.
2. Elisa Otañez
The Netherlands might come across as a bastion of freedom and feminism, but its streets are a testament to deep-seated gender bias: As of 2018, Amsterdam had just 35 free public toilets, and all of them were designed for men. Otañez, a Mexican designer who’s a graduate of the Design Academy of Eindhoven, is leading the charge to change that landscape, with Yellow Spot, a mobile, free and gender-neutral toilet that’s waterless and emerged out of protests against the Dutch government’s apathy to the needs of women. Read more on OZY.
3. Brian Arbogast
His friends call him “Mr. Shit” — and that’s a compliment. The former Microsoft VP has gone from software to toilet tech. Now the director of water, sanitation and hygiene at the Gates Foundation, Arbogast is paving the way for life-saving tech at a time when 4.5 billion people lack access to safe sanitation. The Gates Foundation has created a global challenge that over the past decade has encouraged innovators to design toilets that effectively and affordably manage human waste — from solar-powered ones to “Tiger Toilets” that utilize a worm to break down waste.
The country has used RCV for over a century and the method has helped it diversify its polity in ways that seemed impossible. What was once a three-party system has flourished under RCV, with an average of nearly seven candidates per ballot and about 40 parties represented in the 2019 national elections. The system eliminates the possibility of “spoiler” candidates and incentivizes politicians to seek support beyond their core base — forcing them to build coalitions and campaign across party lines.
Ireland’s ranked choice voting is called the single transferable vote, or STV system. It’s specialty? Not only do you get to vote for your candidates of choice but you can also shape the trajectory of a vote count. For each contest, a minimum vote bar is set. A candidate who clears that on the first count then has their surplus votes distributed among the second choices of those voters, giving them a leg up too.
3. Maine, United States
After Republican Governor Paul LePage was elected twice with vote totals less than 50%, a movement started to implement ranked choice voting, approving the method in a 2016 referendum drive. Though not in use for state races, Maine voters were the first to use the method in a presidential election last November.
Today on ‘The Carlos Watson Show’
Legendary performer Steve Harvey stops by to share his secrets to great comedy — and who he thinks are comedy’s GOATs. Could he make a comeback? What does he think about the Black Lives Matter movement? Watch later today.
You’ve probably heard of hygge, the Danish term that captures the country’s love for coziness and comfort. Now check out some other cultural recipes for happiness from around the world.
A melancholic sense of longing for the past, for a person or simply for a dream world doesn’t sound very happy. Yet scientists have found that a tiny dose of sadness actually helps us heal better, and feel happier in the process. That’s where this Brazilian emotion comes in. It’s such a central part of the country’s culture there’s even an annual day — Jan. 30 — for it.
No one word or phrase in English can do justice to this beautiful and rich Javanese concept: that a sense of community is central to fostering happiness. So if you’ve lost your job, know that others in your Indonesian society will look after you while you’re searching for work. Broken-hearted? You’re never alone.
Or do it the Dutch way. Niksen or “do nothing” is a philosophy that encourages you to just stare at nature, laze around or listen to music ... you’re fine as long as you’re not looking for any purpose. After all, shouldn’t happiness be a purpose in itself?
They’re not on the sea — but they’re water wonders nonetheless.
As the sun sets and lights come on,this eastern Chinese city — one of a series that dot this part of the country — will transport you to a fairytale-like atmosphere, with lamps lighting up the water and a canal town coming alive. Beautiful gardens, ancient bridges and sumptuous food add to the experience as you immerse yourself in a community that’s lived by water for nearly two millennia.
Perched on the Lagos lagoon in Nigeria, theworld’s largest floating slum is often called the“Venice of Africa.” Don’t expect tourist luxuries in this mostly unplanned urban neighborhood. What you can expect is a slice of the rich diversity of West Africa, with multiple languages echoing in Makoko’s narrow by-lanes, courtesy of the fisherfolk from neighboring Benin and Togo who too have made the township their home.
3. Uros Floating Islands
Sailing slowly on Lake Titicaca, the world’s highest navigable lake, these human-made islands constitute afloating city built by the Uro community to defend themselves against political rivals, including the Incas. Today, they’re a majestic visual reminder of Peru’s rich history and the innovative spirit that has long guided its native communities.
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