Siddhant Pyasi

Another Weird Car, a New US President, and an Acid Reflux Dam

Nov 11, 2020 | Read time: 6 min | 1059 words

Here’s another milestone - 20 newsletters! Thank you all for reading what I write. I fell into a bit of a stupor the last couple of months, so I’m trying to start this thing again. Let’s see how long I last. This one’s gonna be shorter than usual. Here goes -

Here’s another weird car. You know how millions of drivers are terrorised by their better halves to drive under a (completely arbitrary) speed limit? Well, Chevrolet decided to do their bit in helping the spouses keep their maniacal other halves under control. They built a very unique system into the new Chevy Corvette (which is absolutely stunning, by the way) that stops the car from going beyond 80mph (128.7 kmph ish). What’s the system? A malfunctioning door.

The Corvette has a trunk in the front (because the engine is in the middle of the car). Because of a manufacturing defect, the trunk’s door has been known to open inadvertently sometimes (YouTube link), and if the trunk is open, the car’s speed is limited to 80mph by default, because GM doesn’t want you driving around like a jackass with your front trunk door open, unable to see anything, at more than 80mph. The company ended up voluntarily recalling all cars delivered thus far to fix the issue.

As a bonus, I would like to leave you with the sound of the Corvette’s glorious 6.2 litre V8 (this video is not for the weak, i.e, the Tesla lovers).

Trump lost, Biden won (although if some people are to be believed, and I am one of them, Trump won’t leave so easily - but let’s assume that he will). Good for Biden, I wish him luck. My view on the election - the US is incredibly polarised right now. The best thing that could have happened to the US was a centrist getting elected - because only a centrist can coax and cajole the two different parts of the country to come together as one. Remember, Trump still managed to get a little more than 45% of the total number of votes cast. What does that mean?  

It means that the people who voted for Trump are not idiots, as opposed to what Saturday Night Live and all the other reductionist Late Night show anchors (and people who live in the large urban agglomerations on the East and West Coasts) would have you believe. The 45% see Trump for what he is, but they have more pressing issues to think of. Their jobs have left American shores, never to return. More jobs may now leave, because the world is open, and there are people in Vietnam who will do your job for a fraction of the rate they’re charging. The social mobility that made America the land of opportunity is probably gone, too, unless they have the ability to take crippling amounts of educational debt to gamble on themselves, hoping to build a life that was hopefully better than the ones their parents had. Add to this volatile mix some idiotic left-leaning Democrats going around chanting “defund the police” - even though the police have kept your small town safe thus far, with no untoward incidents happening. All in all, not a good state of affairs.  The only viable candidate (thanks to the 2-party system) who they thought addressed their issues was Trump, and if he came with his warts and all, then so be it. Therefore, calling this 45ish percent of the electorate “stupid” will not help. They have genuine needs, needs that have not been addressed by the people they’ve chosen to lead them thus far.    

Mr. Biden - do not alienate these people, please. Do not make the mistake of treating them as the unwashed, illiterate masses that the US is saddled with. Accept their anxieties, and work with them. And do not, for god’s sake, do not let yourself be pulled in by the “left” in your party (which you have very smartly and successfully managed to avoid doing throughout your campaign) - you’re a centrist, stay that way. And before anyone hits “Reply” on this email to complain about why Democrats are the ones who are always asked to compromise, may I remind you - a Dem won this election. Which is why it is the Dems who will have to compromise, simple.

Egypt and Ethiopia are not on the best of terms right now. Ethiopia has been building what it calls the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD - by the way, GERD also stands for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, where yes, you guessed correctly, one gets a lot of acid reflux) for a while now, and sometime last month, they announced that they’d begun to fill the GERD’s reservoir.  

Why does one build a dam? To control the flow of water along a river. And what about the people living downstream of a dam’s proposed site? Will they be impacted? Well, if those people belong to another country, then that’s just too bad. Which is pretty much how Egypt ended up getting shafted by Ethiopia’s acid-reflux-dam.    

Egypt is called “the gift of the Nile” and it contends that the dam will lead to droughts because Ethiopia’s gonna store all the water from the river, leaving Egypt with very little. Egypt’s not the only country that has a problem with the dam - Sudan’s affected too. The three countries have been in talks about it, and at one point the US got involved, when Trump warned the Ethiopians that Egypt might “blow up” the dam, and he’d be powerless to stop them from doing so. Needless to say, the Ethiopians weren’t chuffed. The latest round of talks between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan broke down recently. The talks are about coming up with an agreement on sharing water between the three countries, and so far, Ethiopia does not seem to want to budge. We hope for the best, then, because the last thing the world needs right now is a fight over water (which, is a very likely scenario in my view because the challenge to Egypt from the dam is almost existential in nature - and when someone’s backed against a wall like that, the only way out is to fight).

That’s all we have time for today, and a new one shall come out soon! Take care and stay safe, everyone!

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