Newley's Notes

NN 151: Google Data Bombshell; Alexa: Creepy?, Emotional Support Squirrels

The latest edition of my email newsletter, below, went out on Sunday. Subscribe to get future dispatches in your inbox before they’re posted here.

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

🕉️ Shubho Durga Puja from New Delhi!

Durga Puja, an important Hindu holiday in West Bengal and other places, is just kicking off.

So this evening Anasuya and I met a friend to see the festivities and sample some of the food on offer in the city’s C.R. Park neighborhood, home to many Bengalis. It was great fun. Here are some photos I posted to Twitter.

The temps are dropping ever so slightly in the mornings and evenings; Diwali is just a few weeks away. Winter is almost upon us!

⚠️ One administrative note: There will be no NN next Sunday. I’ll be back Oct. 28.

Wanna help me out? Forward this email to your smartest, coolest friends, so they can join our list. If you received this from a pal, sign up here.

Here are ten items worth your time this week:

🔍 1) Tech story of the week, by my colleagues Douglas MacMillan and Robert McMillan: Google Exposed User Data, Feared Repercussions of Disclosing to Public [WSJ] – The lede:

Google exposed the private data of hundreds of thousands of users of the Google+ social network and then opted not to disclose the issue this past spring, in part because of fears that doing so would draw regulatory scrutiny and cause reputational damage, according to people briefed on the incident and documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

🗣️ 2) Tech-related #longread of the week: Alexa, Should We Trust You? [The Atlantic] – The dek on the story by Judith Shulevitz: “The voice revolution has only just begun. Today, Alexa is a humble servant. Very soon, she could be much more—a teacher, a therapist, a confidant, an informant.”

⌚ 3) File under: wearables and law enforcement investigations: How Jamal Khashoggi’s Apple Watch Could Solve His Disappearance. [Wired] – “The question now is whether the wearable transmitted any forensically useful information to either of his mobile phones,” Robbie Gonzalez writes of Saudi dissident who appears to have disappeared after visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last week.

🇸🇦 4) Related opinion piece: Silicon Valley’s Saudi Arabia Problem [NY Times] – “Long before the dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi vanished, the kingdom has sought influence in the West – perhaps intended, in part, to make us forget what it is,” Anand Giridharadas writes. “But lately the Saudis have been growing their circle of American enablers, pouring billions into Silicon Valley technology companies.”

🗯️ 5) Big picture political story of the week: Americans Strongly Dislike PC Culture [The Atlantic] ** – Don’t be distracted by “Team Woke” and “Team Resentment,” Harvard lecturer Yascha Mounk writes. Most Americans “share more common ground than the daily fights on social media might suggest – including a general aversion to PC culture.”

💓 6) Semi-morbid but quite useful career-related #protip of the week: Write your own obituary before planning your next career move [Quartz] – “It is often by envisioning the end point that we are able to see clearly what must be done right now,” writes Rakuten Chief Executive Hiroshi “Mickey” Mikitani.

🖼️ 7) Art “hoax” follow-up of the week: Myth Busting Banksy [Artnome] – “I believe that while Sotheby’s was likely not fully aware of what was going to happen, they had a suspicion that something was up and played along for the sake of theater,” Jason Bailey writes.

💊 8) Runner-up, award for most 2018 story of the year: French drug dealer in US beard contest gets 20 years’ prison [ABC News/AP] – The lede: “A Frenchman who was arrested when he arrived in the U.S. for a world beard-growing championship was sentenced Tuesday to 20 years in prison for online drug trafficking using the alias ”OxyMonster.""

🐿️ 9) Winner, award for most 2018 story of the year: Flight Delayed After Woman Brings ‘Emotional Support Squirrel’ on Plane [AP/Bloomberg] –
Don’t miss this video of the passenger being wheeled off the flight.

🎃 10) Dog-related link of the week: 19 Best Halloween Dog Costumes from Around the Internet [Chewy]. Title says it all.

What’s new with you? Just hit reply and share your news. I love hearing from folks.

👊 Fist bump from New Delhi,

By Newley

Hi. I'm Newley Purnell. I cover technology and business for The Wall Street Journal. I use this site to share my stories and often blog about the books I'm reading, tech trends, sports, travel, and our dog Ginger. For updates, get my weekly email newsletter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *