Newley’s Notes 129: My Ode to ‘Wild Wild Country;’ Amazing Satellite Images; on Work and Creativity

Edition 129 of my email newsletter went out last week.

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world map of circuits

Hi, friends. Welcome to the latest edition of Newley’s Notes.

An administrative note: I’m changing the NN format slightly to provide me with a little more flexibility in assembling these missives.

You’ll notice there are no longer separate sections for 1) for my WSJ stories, 2) my blog posts, and 3) “5 cool tech-ish reads this week.” Now it’s one simpler, single list. But fret not: All the same awesomesomess remains – and now with added emoji! 👏👏

Anyway, on to this week’s NN…

10 items worth your time this week:

🙏 1) By me at Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh docu-series ‘Wild, Wild Country’ — Yes, It’s That Good [] – My notes on this fantastic Netflix series, along with links I found for more reading on the cult, ranging from a two-part 1986 New Yorker piece to various books and a new interview the Oregonian investigative journalist featured in the shows. This is one of those rare documentaries that lingers with you for days or weeks after you’ve watched it.

🐊 2) Why Zuckerberg’s 14-Year Apology Tour Hasn’t Fixed Facebook. [Wired] – Zeynep Tufekci, an academic who studies social media, provides important context: The Facebook founder has been apologizing for years. The first graf:

IN 2003, one year before Facebook was founded, a website called Facemash began nonconsensually scraping pictures of students at Harvard from the school’s intranet and asking users to rate their hotness. Obviously, it caused an outcry. The website’s developer quickly proffered an apology. “I hope you understand, this is not how I meant for things to go, and I apologize for any harm done as a result of my neglect to consider how quickly the site would spread and its consequences thereafter,” wrote a young Mark Zuckerberg. “I definitely see how my intentions could be seen in the wrong light.”

📰 3) Related: The Death of the Newsfeed [] – Noted venture capitalist and tech commentator Benedict Evans writes about how newsfeeds, like Facebook’s, go from being chronological (when there are few users), to algorithmic (when there are too many users to show every post from your friends), and what that means for user experience. Thought experiment: If WhatsApp and its groups feature existed when Facebook launched, would FB ever have achieved its massive global scale? I think not.

✍️ 4) Do Capybaras Dream of Google Docs? [] – “Google Docs, at any given moment,” Katy Waldman writes, “might be one or both things: an unremarkable feature of office life and a theatre for the mysteries of creativity.” I’m not sure I completely grasp this piece, but I do love it.

🛰️ 5) Earth’s Wonders Like You’ve Never Seen Them Before [Medium/] – A cool collection of satellite images showing cities and geographic features from “off angles.” Many are gorgeous.

🐕 6) Ancient Maya traded dogs for use in religious ceremonies, new study shows [Ars Technica] – Head scratcher of the week.

🇹🇭 7) The Surprising Reason that There Are So Many Thai Restaurants in America [Vice] TLDR: “gastrodiplomacy”! Thanks, Wendy!

👩‍💻 8) A 2-Year Stanford Study Shows the Astonishing Productivity Boost of Working From Home. [] – But don’t miss the interesting caveat.

🎨 9) Does Having a Day Job Mean Making Better Art? [NY Times] – A thought-provoking look at work and creativity.

🎤 10) One glorious thing: Marvin Gaye (Acapella) I heard it through the Grapevine. [YouTube].

What’s new in your world? Hit me with your updates.

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👊 Fist bump from New Delhi,


Published by Newley

Hi. I'm Newley Purnell. I cover 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 trends, sports, travel, and our dog Ginger. Join the growing group of readers who get my weekly email newsletter.

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