👋 Hi, friends. Welcome to the latest edition of Newley’s Notes, a weekly newsletter containing my recent Wall Street Journal stories, must-read links on tech and life, and funny dog videos.
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🇭🇰 Big news on the personal front: Anasuya and I have moved here to Hong Kong!
Our three and a half years in India were extremely rewarding. Now it’s time for a new adventure. We are thrilled to be here.
😷 (What’s Hong Kong like, given the coronavirus? So far it’s similar to when I’ve visited before, except that 1) fewer folks seem to be out in public, so the streets are less crowded; 2) the vast majority of people are wearing face masks when they’re on the streets and especially on public transportation, though most people in bars and restaurants aren’t wearing them.)
✍️ As I mentioned on Twitter, I’ll be covering – much like I did from New Delhi – U.S. tech titans and their battles across Asia. It is a beat I have loved exploring from New Delhi and look forward to continuing to write about from this new perch.
🐕 Oh, and since I know many NN readers are fans of Ginger, our beloved New Delhi street dog, I will say this: fret not. She is also, of course, joining us here in HK soon. More on that soon!
On to this week’s NN…
Here are ten items worth your time this week:
🦠 1) The latest on the coronavirus from The WSJ today: Coronavirus Cases Mount as Second Person Dies in U.S.
Health officials are focused on a cluster of confirmed cases in Washington, including the two deaths. Those infections, and several others in states such as Oregon and California – many with no clear path to exposure – signal that there might be wider spread of the virus in some communities, with many cases still undiagnosed. New cases were also reported in New York, Florida and Rhode Island.
The CDC has a good overview of the virus.
And from The WSJ: How to Prepare for the Coronavirus:
“Public health experts advise staying calm and following the same precautions recommended for preventing flu or any other respiratory virus. Stick with the basics: Wash your hands, cover your coughs and sneezes, and stay at home from work or school when you’re sick.”
🗣️ 2) The Coronavirus and How Political Spin Has Worsened Epidemics [New Yorker]
"Throughout history, diseases have posed an unsparing test of political leaders and their fidelity to the facts. According to Howard Markel, a medical historian at the University of Michigan, ’From the political to the purely mercenary, secrecy has almost always contributed to the further spread of a pandemic and hindered public health management.’”
🔮 3) On governments and Covid–19: The virus is coming [The Economist]
Officials will have to act when they do not have all the facts, because much about the virus is unknown. A broad guess is that 25–70% of the population of any infected country may catch the disease. China’s experience suggests that, of the cases that are detected, roughly 80% will be mild, 15% will need treatment in hospital and 5% will require intensive care.
➡️ 4) Absolutely riveting corporate story of the week, by my WSJ colleagues: SoftBank’s Rajeev Misra Used Campaign of Sabotage to Hobble Internal Rivals
His rise to the top of SoftBank Group Corp.’s $100 billion Vision Fund isn’t a traditional tale of corporate ladder-climbing. He succeeded, in part, by striking at two of his main rivals inside SoftBank with a dark-arts campaign of personal sabotage.
The tactics included planting negative news stories about them, concocting a shareholder campaign to pressure SoftBank to fire them and even attempting to lure one of them into a “honey trap” of sexual blackmail, according to people familiar with the matter and documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.
📚 5) Freeman Dyson, Math Genius Turned Visionary Technologist, Dies at 96 [New York Times]
“‘Life begins at 55, the age at which I published my first book,’ he wrote in ‘From Eros to Gaia,’ one of the collections of his writings that appeared while he was a professor of physics at the Institute for Advanced Study – an august position for someone who finished school without a Ph.D. The lack of a doctorate was a badge of honor, he said.”
“An organization called Vista Group recently uploaded dozens of VHS and cassette tapes from the 90s and early 2000s to the Internet Archive, and the content within is worth a retro-nostalgia trip back to a simpler, weirder, more wavy time.”
🎧 7) The Joy of Watching TV With Headphones On [WSJ]
“I’m not sure why I resisted this sonic refuge for so long. With advances in noise-cancelling tech and Bluetooth’s ease of connectivity with smart TVs, soundbars and streaming devices like Apple TV, headphoned TV fans don’t have to worry about intrusive noise.”
🌟 8) My Ex-Boyfriend’s New Girlfriend Is Lady Gaga [New York Times]
“How do you compare yourself with one of the most famous women in the world?”
🏖️ 9) Wacky internet gem of the week: Poolside.fm
“Poolside FM was conceived one awfully rainy summer in the Highlands of Scotland – a virtual vacation, if you will. The audio and video streams are curated to inject a healthy dose of serotonin into your brain.”
🐶 10) Dog video of the week: Double H Canine Training Academy… Epic Service Dog Training Failure [YouTube]
💡 Quote of the week:
“How do you get good ideas? You have a lot of ideas and throw out the bad ones.” – Linus Pauling.
👊 Fist bump from Hong Kong,