5SR - March 19, 2024

Hitha on Russia's elections, washing your hands, and The Marvels

A quick refresher - I’m Hitha Palepu, the founder of #5SmartReads. If you’d like to connect with me elsewhere, I’m most active on Instagram and write a weekly newsletter about smart, random things (check out the most recent issue). Looking forward to connecting there!

You all know how important it is to wash your hands. But did you know that it was - and to an extent, remains - a matter of life and death?

This is a fascinating read on how the importance of washing one’s hands is (thanks to the intrepid Robert Eccles, who penned a seven page editorial on the subject in the 19th century).

It’s also a refresher on the legend of Typhoid Mary and how her lackadaisical hand washing routine left her with a life sentence for causing 7 household outbreaks of the infection before she was sentenced.

In short, wash your hands - and the things your hands touch frequently (like your phone!).

“So I do think that everything does come a little bit out of sacrifice, but I also do really believe in chapters of life. When it comes to the whole 'you-can't have-it-all thing,' I don't believe you can have it all at once, but you can in different chapters and phases of your life.”

Live Tinted’s Hueskin concealer is my not-so-secret beauty weapon (I use it instead of foundation, after color correcting with their Huestick in Perk). It makes me look great, which in turn makes me feel my best.

And to know that I have these products in my arsenal thanks to a fellow Telugu woman is something that means a lot to me.

Deepica Mutyala, Live Tinted’s founder and CEO, walks the multi-hypenated walk - as an entrepreneur, creator, and daughter/sister/aunt. She’s also brutally honest on what it takes to be all of those things, especially having to choose a particular role to focus on at any given time.

I appreciate her honesty as much as I value her products. And I appreciate her candor in this interview, to help me release myself from some impossible expectations I’ve placed on myself.

The debate around TikTok’s role in small business growth AND its security risks is a hot one right now. What we’re not talking about as much is who stands to win, regardless of what happens in Congress.

Jeffrey Yass is someone who will win either way, as an early ByteDance investor (TikTok’s parent company). And what will he use his funds for?

To help elect candidates who will cut taxes (his specifically) and promote his political agenda.

This detailed, exhaustive reporting is necessary to connect all the dots between TikTok, poker, investments, taxes and politics that make up Jeff Yass’ story. And it’s an important one to read as we head into the election, which has the highest stakes we’ve faced since the Civil War.

Marvel has had a rough string of releases. The Marvels, while suffering from a nonexistent promotional schedule during the strike, was one of them.

But it shouldn’t have been. As a film, it’s one of the strongest Marvel movies since Avengers: Endgame. And it certainly didn’t deserve the immense hate it received.

But when a superhero film is helmed by women - and namely women of color - and cats, you can guess what the dude bro keyboard warriors will say without even watching the trailer.

I hope you read this interview with Teyonah Parris (who plays the marvelous Captain Monica Rambeau) and stream The Marvels the next time you have a movie night. I just may download it for my flight home tonight.

Vladimir Putin’s sham re-election is notable only for the protests (The Economist)
link gifted via my subscription

At some point, Vladimir Putin will die (despite his best efforts to live and rule Russia forever).

But because I believe in democracy and I’m irrationally petty, I hope he lives to lose power and have to live with that for some period of time. And I hope that happens sooner rather than later.

“No room was left for accidents [in the election]. None of the candidates who had spoken against Russia’s war in Ukraine was allowed to stand. Threats and coercion were the main instruments of Mr Putin’s campaign. Electronic voting allowed plenty of scope for manipulation. In Ukrainian territory occupied by Russia, residents were in effect forced to cast ballots at gunpoint. This helped to ensure that the “special electoral procedure”, as Russian wags have dubbed it, went as planned. In the far east, where the polls closed eight hours before those in Moscow, zealous officials exceeded expectations: some polling stations reported turnout of 100%.”

I always seek The Economist’s reporting when reading up on global news, and this is excellent reporting on Russia’s recent election and the bravery shown by the protestors despite the threats and autocracy imposed on the voters.

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