💃 Newley’s Notes 108: Netflix Gems, Musk’s Mars Dreams, Airport Dancing


Edition 108 of my email newsletter, Newley’s Notes, just went out.

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Hi, friends. Welcome to the latest issue of Newley’s Notes, a newsletter in which I share my Wall Street Journal stories, posts from my blog, and links about tech and life.

So, I got sick this week – don’t worry, it was a brief illness and I’m fine now. As I was laid up in bed for a bit, I took to Netflix to see what was new, (or new-ish), to pass the time. Here are a few items I enjoyed:

  • Betting on Zero.” – This 2016 documentary tells the story of billionaire investor Bill Ackman’s big bet against nutritional-products firm Herbalife, which he contends amounts to a pyramid scheme. A fascinating look at the man, and the company he wants to topple
  • Last Chance U.” – A Netflix original show about the players and staff at East Mississippi Community College, a junior college football powerhouse where players who’ve had troubles in the past often come for a shot a redemption. As much about American society as it is about sports. The first season debuted last year, and it’ll be back for a third one (this time set in Kansas).

  • Ozark.” – Another Netflix original, this one stars Jason Bateman and Laura Linney, who play parents who flee Chicago with their two kids to start life again in the Missouri Ozarks. (There’s some good acting here, but I after several episodes I’m losing interest; for one thing, I just can’t seem to imagine Bateman as anyone other than Michael Bluth from “Arrested Development.”)

📲 5 Cool Tech-ish Reads This Week

1. Amazon upped its war for the living room, unveiling new Echo connected speakers, a new Fire TV set-top box, and more. Axios has a round-up. Bezos’s firm is also working on smart glasses, according to the Financial Times.

2. Elon Musk outlined his vision for Mars missions. The SpaceX founder is working on huge rockets that would put humans on the Red Planet by 2022 or 2024. That’s “more than a decade before the U.S. or any other governments anticipate coming close,” my WSJ colleague Andy Pasztor wrote.

3. Sign of the times: Pop songs are now tailored for streaming services. An illuminating PitchFork piece shows how songwriters are ratcheting up the catchiness at the very beginnings of songs to ensure listeners keep the track going long enough to trigger royalties.

4. Are college textbooks dying? Perhaps. Reflective of a larger trend, Glen Hubbard, dean of Columbia University’s business school, is ditching his printed economics tome for a virtual version.

5. Not all global financial titans think Bitcoin is bogus. Some corporate, academic and regulatory bigwigs aren’t as pessimistic about cryptocurrencies as you might think, this Quartz roundup shows. (Many of them reckon Bitcoin’s a fraud, to be sure.)

💫 1 Silly Thing

1. Video: “‘All Night Long’ at the Airport.” Mahshid Mazooji got stuck overnight in the Charlotte airport, so she made a video with airport staff and fellow travelers set to the Lionel Richie classic.

💬 Quote of the week

Not giving a shit takes the wind out of an asshole’s sails.

That’s according to Stanford psychology professor Robert Sutton, who spoke with Vox about his new book, “The Asshole Survival Guide.”

What’d I miss? Send me links, rants, raves, juicy news scoops and anything else. Thanks for reading, amigos, and please do forward this email to friends or mention it on Facebook or Twitter.

Fist bump 👊 from New Delhi,

Published by Newley

Hi. I'm Newley Purnell, a journalist covering technology and business for The Wall Street Journal, based in New Delhi. I use this site to share my stories and often blog about the books I read, tech, sports, travel and more. Join the growing group of readers who get my email newsletter.