Newley’s Notes 128: China and 5G; Smartphones and our Eyes; Earthworm Jerky

2018 04 08 sunset

Edition 128 of my email newsletter went out last week.

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Hi, friends. Welcome to the latest edition of Newley’s Notes, in which I share the best of what I write and the best of what I read.

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🇨🇳 What I Wrote in The Wall Street Journal

China’s Huawei Is Determined to Lead the Way on 5G Despite U.S. Concerns — For this story, which I wrote with my colleague Stu Woo, I traveled down to Chennai to see an obscure technical standards setting conference up close. The piece begins:

CHENNAI, India—The U.S. government is trying to thwart Huawei Technologies Co.’s ascent in wireless technology, but the Chinese company is determined to prevail.

Far from Washington, where the government has called Huawei a national security threat, the world’s largest maker of cellular-tower equipment is trying to guide the development and design of the next generation of mobile networks, dubbed 5G.

Huawei is sending large teams to industry-sponsored meetings—including one held recently in this south India port city. Just as the home-movie industry agreed years ago on specifications for DVD players, wireless-technology companies are now meeting to establish 5G standards.

The story ran in the print WSJ and attracted more than 80 comments online.

📲 5 Cool Tech-ish Reads This Week

😬 1. More fuel for the Facebook user data fire: Buzzfeed News’s Ryan Mac, Charlie Warzel and Alex Kantrowitz reported on an internal 2016 Facebook memo in which a vice president talked about aggressive tactics to grow its user base, such as “questionable contact importing practices” and “subtle language that helps people stay searchable.”

The upshot, they write: The memo “reveals the extent to which Facebook’s leadership understood the physical and social risks the platform’s products carried — even as the company downplayed those risks in public.”

📊 2. Speaking of which: How to Opt Out of Data Broker Sites.The Facebook/Cambridge Analytica user data scandal is really about how third parties use our personal details. Here’s a list of several such sites, with links to their opt out pages.

🚗 3. Searching for a peaceful drive in the U.S. countryside? Look no further than the America’s Quietest Routes website, which tells you the sleepiest routes to drive in each state, based on traffic counts.

🍴 4. Nutrition-related read of the week: Grubstreet’s “The Last Conversation You’ll Ever Need to Have About Eating Right” actually delivers on that ambitious headline. Mark Bittman and Yale University’s Dr. David L. Katz talk paleo, keto, carbs, and more.

(None of this will be a surprise to those who took my advice in 2012 and read “Why Calories Count: From Science to Politics.” It remains the most instructive book on food I’ve ever read.)

👓 5. On eyesight and smartphones. In Wired, the always-excellent Virginia Heffernan tackles the thorny subjects of aging, our failing vision, and gadgets. “If you were a nomadic goatherd in the Mongolian grasslands, you might not even consider presbyopia a pathology,” she writes.

🌲 Quote of the week

Humans had lived in nature for 5 million years. We were made to fit a natural environment. So we feel stress in an urban area…When we are exposed to nature, our bodies go back to how they should be.

That’s from Japanese scientist Yoshifumi Miyazaki, whose studies have shown that exposure to nature — or “forest bathing” — can lower stress hormones.

🥩 1 Silly, High-Protein Thing

Speaking of healthy (?) eating, you can buy earthworm jerky on Amazon. Product description: “This bag of earthworm contains 5 grams of 100% edible dehydrated large Earthworms.” One bag will set you back $14.99.

👊 Fist bump from New Delhi,

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