Category Archives: Newley’s Notes

Google CEO in India; My SE Asia Travel Tips; Print Books Will Never Die — This Week’s Newley’s Notes

2017 01 11galaxy

Edition 78 of my email newsletter went out to subscribers yesterday. It’s pasted in below.

To get these weekly dispatches delivered to your inbox before I post them on Newley.com, enter your email address here. It’s free, it’s fun, it’s brief, and few people unsubscribe.


Hi friends, thanks for reading Newley’s Notes, a weekly newsletter in which I share links to my stories and various items I think are worth highlighting.

WHAT I WROTE IN THE WSJ

Google Turns Focus to India’s Small Businesses Amid Search for Users – Chief Executive Sundar Pichai was in town and announced some new initiatives for small companies:

NEW DELHI— Alphabet Inc.’s Google is ramping up its efforts to get India’s small businesses online, the latest step in its quest to win new users in the populous nation.

Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai said on Wednesday that the Mountain View, Calif., company will launch this year a tool that allows owners of small businesses that are now offline to create mobile-friendly websites free of charge.

Google’s Sundar Pichai’s Advice to Indian Students: Loosen Up. The Chennai native had this to say:

Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai has some straightforward life advice for students at his alma mater: loosen up and have some fun.

The India-born Mr. Pichai, speaking Thursday at the elite Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur outside Kolkata, told university students who asked how they could emulate his success to pursue their passions, take risks, and be creative.

That is unconventional advice in a country where parents often pressure their children from a young age to study hard so they can secure steady employment.

H–1B Visas: U.S. Lawmaker Re-Introduces Bill to Tighten Rules. The story begins:

A prominent Republican lawmaker is taking another shot at tightening U.S. rules for high-skilled worker visas ahead of Donald Trump’s inauguration as president later this month.

Rep. Darrell Issa, one of the highest-profile Republicans in Congress and a supporter of Mr. Trump, said Wednesday in a statement on his website that he is reintroducing a bill designed to “stop the outsourcing of American jobs” and ensure laws are not “abused to allow companies to outsource and hire cheap foreign labor from abroad.”

WHAT I WROTE AT NEWLEY.COM

My Top 10 Southeast Asia Travel Tips. I’d been working on this post for some time, and am happy to finally publish it.

tl;dr:

  1. Don’t rush
  2. For longer trips, use Bangkok as a Base
  3. Next, Look Beyond Thailand to Cambodia, Laos, and Especially Vietnam
  4. More Destinations: Myanmar and Borneo
  5. Eat Liberally
  6. Disconnect
  7. If You Must, SIM Cards are Wi-Fi Widely Available
  8. Don’t Overpack, But Bring the Right Stuff
  9. Ask Friends of Friends for Advice
  10. Do Your Own Research

FIVE ITEMS THAT ARE WORTH YOUR TIME THIS WEEK:

1) Everyday Authoritarianism is Boring and Tolerable. That’s the title of an interesting blog post from Cornell political science professor Tom Pepinsky, who studies Southeast Asia.

“The mental image that most American harbor of what actual authoritarianism looks like is fantastical and cartoonish…The reality is that everyday life under the kinds of authoritarianism that exist today is very familiar to most Americans. You go to work, you eat your lunch, you go home to your family.”

Worth a read.

2) Print books are still going strong. Sales rose in 2016, the third consecutive year of growth, while e-book sales are trending downward.

Thesis: print is a pretty damned good technology; e-books work for some formats, but not all.

(I primarily use my Kindle for downloading samples, and if I want to buy a title, I’ll order the print version. I prefer reading paper books, marking them up with notes, and keeping them on our bookshelves for consulting later. Call me old fashioned)

3) Even a little exercise is better than none. A study shows similar health benefits for those who work out just a few days a week compared to those who do so regularly.

4) “I’ve left Twitter. It is unusable for anyone but trolls, robots and dictators.” Seattle writter Lindy West in a Guardian essay says she once found the service useful, but has quit due to vile tweets from trolls. A notable passage:

On 29 December, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted: “What’s the most important thing you want to see Twitter improve or create in 2017?” One user responded: “Comprehensive plan for getting rid of the Nazis.”

“We’ve been working on our policies and controls,” Dorsey replied. “What’s the next most critical thing?” Oh, what’s our second-highest priority after Nazis? I’d say No 2 is also Nazis. And No 3. In fact, you can just go ahead and slide “Nazis” into the top 100 spots. Get back to me when your website isn’t a roiling rat-king of Nazis. Nazis are bad, you see?

5) Photos of the week: These fascinating images of family’s home in Norway, within the Arctic circle, build under a geodesic dome.

Thanks for reading.

Love,
Newley

In This Week’s Newley’s Notes: Addicted to ‘The OA,’ Why 401(k)s Suck; Snowden Revisited

2017 01 04sky

Edition 78 of my email newsletter went out to subscribers yesterday. It’s pasted in below.

To get these weekly dispatches delivered to your inbox before I post them on Newley.com, enter your email address here. It’s free, it’s fun, it’s brief, and few people unsubscribe.


Hi friends, thanks for reading Newley’s Notes, a weekly newsletter in which I share links to my stories and various items I think are worth highlighting.

So, okay, first off: With some downtime last week, I started watching “The OA,” a new sci-fi series from Netflix that began last month.

Do you know this show?

It’s totally creepy and weird, there are cliff-hangers and plot twists even from the first episode, and it’s totally compelling. I’m only a few episodes in and really loving it.

I would provide more links to further reading about the show but I don’t want to subject myself to any potential spoilers. Highly recommended!

On to this week’s edition.

WHAT I WROTE AT NEWLEY.COM

My Top 10 Posts from 2016 – A re-cap of my most-clicked posts, from Singaporean barbecue to my iPhone home screen to “coyowolves.”

The Best Books I Read in 2016 – a treatise on the importance of “deep work,” and a book on Southeast Asia’s tycoons.

Are Uncontacted Tribes Increasingly Emerging from the Wilderness? – A post prompted by watching another program on Netflix, a documentary about uncontacted people in the Amazon.

FIVE ITEMS THAT ARE WORTH YOUR TIME THIS WEEK:

1) Dave Barry reviews 2016. His re-cap of what was a highly memorable year is laugh out loud funny.

2) Is Edward Snowden a whistle-blower or a tool of Russian intelligence? Edward Jay Epstein, author of the new Knopf book “How America Lost Its Secrets: Edward Snowden, the Man and the Theft,” says Snowden has consistently lied following his disclosure of NSA secrets.

3) 401(k)s don’t work. So say…the people who originally championed them. The nut from a WSJ story today:

Many early backers of the 401(k) now say they have regrets about how their creation turned out despite its emergence as the dominant way most Americans save. Some say it wasn’t designed to be a primary retirement tool and acknowledge they used forecasts that were too optimistic to sell the plan in its early days.

Others say the proliferation of 401(k) plans has exposed workers to big drops in the stock market and high fees from Wall Street money managers while making it easier for companies to shed guaranteed retiree payouts.

4) Thread of the week: “Physicians of Reddit: What’s the worst injury you’ve seen at a routine check-up?” Not for the squeamish.

5) “Your Life in Weeks.” That’s the title of this timeless post on the always-excellent blog “Wait But Why” about the preciousness of time.

Thanks for reading.

Love,
Newley

Newley’s Notes 77: Uber in India; Apple Scoop; OMGWTF: New ‘Bladerunner’?

Sunset 433626 1280

Edition 77 of my email newsletter went out to subscribers yesterday. It’s pasted in below.

To get these weekly dispatches delivered to your inbox before I post them on Newley.com, enter your email address here. It’s free, it’s fun, it’s brief, and few people unsubscribe.


Hi friends, thanks for reading Newley’s Notes, a weekly newsletter in which I share links to my stories and various items I think are worth highlighting.

I hope you had an enjoyable holiday period. Best wishes for a happy new year.

My apologies: This week’s Newley’s Notes is a couple of days late due to holiday travel.

A and I just returned to Delhi after an excellent stay at Neemrana Fort Palace, about three hours by car south of here.

It’s a 15th century fort that’s been turned into a hotel. It’s quiet, the countryside is beautiful, and there’s even a fascinating stepwell nearby. I highly recommended it for a quick getaway from Delhi.

Okay. On to this week’s edition.

WHAT I WROTE IN THE WSJ

Uber’s Drive Into India Relies on Raw Recruits – This is a story I’d been working on for some time, and I was happy with how it turned out. It begins:

NEW DELHI—How do you train a million new Uber drivers in a country where most people have never driven a car, tapped on a smartphone or even used an online map?

Uber Technologies Inc. faces that daunting task as it tries to avoid its fate in China, where it decided this year to sell its business to homegrown champion Didi Chuxing Technology Co.

The $68 billion San Francisco startup has plenty of cash and cutting-edge technology to bring to its battle in India. Also, the country hasn’t thrown up the kind of regulatory hurdles that have hindered Uber’s growth in other regions. So the company’s ability to find and teach new drivers could decide whether Uber can dominate this fast-growing market.

Click through for the rest of the piece, along with a video narrated by yours truly.

I also wrote a sidebar titled “5 Ways Uber Is Tweaking Its Strategy in India.”. These localizations include accepting cash payments, going app-less, using motorbikes and more.

Apple Is Discussing Manufacturing in India, Government Officials Say – A scoop with a colleague that was followed by Reuters and picked up by many outlets.

It begins:

NEW DELHI— Apple Inc. is discussing with the Indian government the possibility of manufacturing its products in the country, according to two senior government officials, as the company seeks to expand its sales and presence in the South Asian nation.

In a letter to the government last month, the Cupertino, Calif., firm outlined its plans and sought financial incentives to move ahead, the officials told The Wall Street Journal. Senior Trade Ministry authorities in recent weeks met to discuss the matter.

An Apple spokeswoman didn’t respond to requests for comment.

I’ve written, as you’ll recall, about Apple in India before. It’s a huge market for the firm’s potential future growth.

FIVE ITEMS THAT ARE WORTH YOUR TIME THIS WEEK:

1) Wait, there’s a new “Bladerunner” coming? How did I miss this news?

Longtime readers will know the 1982 Ridley Scott sci-fi classic is one of my favorite films.

Well, “Bladerunner 2049” will be here in October. The trailer’s on YouTube here. Wikipedia sums up the plot this way:

Thirty years after the events of the first film, a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K (Ryan Gosling), unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos. K’s discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former LAPD blade runner who has been missing for 30 years.

The trailer: meh. The idea of “Bladerunner” returning? A slightly more optimistic meh. I feel like I should be excited about this.

2) An analysis by Quartz of 36 best books of the year lists shows the title most mentioned has been Colson Whitehead’s novel “The Underground Railroad.”

I haven’t read it. Have you?

3) Jerry Lewis is a tough guy to interview.

In this seven-minute video, the famed, 90-year-old comedian had a remarkably cranky exchange with The Hollywood Reporter.

His mocking laugh is my favorite part.

4) If the less-than-robust Mosul Dam breaks, a million and a half people could perish.

That’s the thrust of this illuminating piece by Dexter Filkins in The New Yorker.

5) Was 2016 an especially bad year for celebrity deaths?

This week brought us news of George Michael’s death. Then Carrie Fisher. Then Carrie Fischer’s mom.

Snopes.com answers the question.

6) SPECIAL BONUS LINK: DESPITE WHAT YOU THINK, THE WORLD IS GETTING BETTER. There was a lot of bad news in 2016, but these six charts serve as a reminder that the world is, in the aggregate, improving.

Over the last century, extreme poverty and child mortality are down drastically, while democracy, education, literacy, and vaccinations have flourished. More info here.

Thanks for reading. Happy 2017!

Love,
Newley

This Week’s Newley’s Notes: ‘Demonitization’ Back Story; Your Brain on Running; Striking Images from the Philippines

Newleys notes

Edition 75 of my email newsletter went out to subscribers on Monday. It’s pasted in below.

To get these weekly dispatches delivered to your inbox before I post them here, enter your email address at this link. It’s free, it’s fun, it’s brief — and few people unsubscribe.


Hi friends, thanks for reading Newley’s Notes, a weekly newsletter in which I share links to my stories and various items that catch my eye.

WHAT I WROTE IN THE WSJ

NEW DELHI—Early last month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi summoned his cabinet to a room in India’s capital, told them to leave their cellphones outside and delivered a shocker: He was about to go on national television to declare that almost 90% of the country’s paper money would no longer be legal tender.

The move, prepared in secret by Mr. Modi and his advisers, kicked off a radical experiment in government control and instantly put India at the forefront of a nascent global campaign against cash. The European Central Bank has said it would stop printing the €500 note in 2018. Canada and Singapore have phased out their large-denomination bills. The Philippines, Denmark and others are tweaking regulations to nudge citizens to switch to electronic payments.

But no one has gone as far as Mr. Modi. Aiming to cut back tax dodging, terrorism and government corruption, he made India’s largest bank note and one of its most commonly used ones—the functional equivalents of America’s $100 and $20 bills—unusable overnight.

I also pitched in with a sidebar about some early winners in all of this: mobile payment companies.

“If we continue at this pace, within a month or two we will have made more progress than since our inception” in 2009, the founder of one such firm, MobiKwik, told me.

For more on demonetization, as the government’s move has been labeled, a reminder that a colleague and I did a Facebook Live video not long ago, which you can find online here.

  • Facebook at 30,000 Feet? Not Above India – A story with a colleague on why, despite boasting one of the world’s fastest-growing aviation markets, India is still blocking passengers from using Wi-Fi in flight. It begins:

As more airlines roll out in-flight internet and regulators loosen rules governing wireless devices on planes, one country is a holdout in continuing to prohibit passengers from using Wi-Fi on board: India.

Home to the fastest-growing major air-travel market and a galloping economy, India hasn’t consented to the use of onboard Wi-Fi in its airspace due to security concerns.

Carriers including Emirates Airline, Jet Airways (India) Ltd. and Indian associates of Singapore Airlines and Malaysia’s AirAsia Bhd. say they are eager to offer Wi-Fi if only the government would allow it. Some have been lobbying New Delhi to change the law, according to aviation and tech industry executives.

FIVE ITEMS THAT ARE WORTH YOUR TIME THIS WEEK:

1) A remarkable, highly graphic collection of photos from Duterte’s war on drugs in the Philippines. Simply evastating: Photographer Daniel Berehulak captured for the NYT 57 killings in 35 days. A reminder of the power of visual journalism.

2) Tweetstorm: America’s institutions are screwed, Russia is hitting us hard with disinformation and leaks, but we’ll prevail. That’s the TLDR version of a super-long series of tweets from business analyst Eric Garland that everyone’s talking about on Twitter today.

3) Best Book of 2016, according to a bunch of academics, executives and others Bloomberg polled: “Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis,” by J. D. Vance. I haven’t read it yet, but intend to.

4) Why running seems to be good for your brain. In short, aerobic exercise appears to boost the production of cells in the hippocampus, writes Melissa Dahl at NYMag.com:

Not so many years ago, the brightest minds in neuroscience thought that our brains got a set amount of neurons, and that by adulthood, no new neurons would be birthed. But this turned out not to be true. Studies in animal models have shown that new neurons are produced in the brain throughout the lifespan, and, so far, only one activity is known to trigger the birth of those new neurons: vigorous aerobic exercise, said Karen Postal, president of the American Academy of Clinical Neuropsychology. “That’s it,” she said. “That’s the only trigger that we know about.”

5) Coolest market find ever: a piece of amber containing feathers from a dinosaur’s tail. NPR has the details:

In 2015, Lida Xing was visiting a market in northern Myanmar when a salesman brought out a piece of amber about the size of a pink rubber eraser. Inside, he could see a couple of ancient ants and a fuzzy brown tuft that the salesman said was a plant.

As soon as Xing saw it, he knew it wasn’t a plant. It was the delicate, feathered tail of a tiny dinosaur.

“I have studied paleontology for more than 10 years and have been interested in dinosaurs for more than 30 years. But I never expected we could find a dinosaur in amber. This may be the coolest find in my life,” says Xing,

Thanks for reading.

Love,
Newley

In This Week’s Newley’s Notes: Our India ‘Demonetization’ Video; Best Books and Albums of 2016; Chapecoense’s Final Flight

Newleys notes

Edition 74 of my email newsletter went out to subscribers yesterday. It’s pasted in below.

To get these weekly dispatches delivered to your inbox before I post them here, sign up at this link. It’s free, it’s fun, it’s brief — and few people unsubscribe.


Hi friends, thanks for reading Newley’s Notes, a weekly newsletter where I share my stories and links to items that catch my eye.

WHAT I WROTE IN THE WSJ

Morgan Stanley Fund Cuts Valuation of Its Holding in India’s Flipkart. The story begins:

A Morgan Stanley investment fund has reduced the valuation of its holding in Flipkart Internet Pvt. by 38%, as India’s leading e-commerce firm faces increased competition from U.S. rival Amazon.com Inc. and others.

In a U.S. regulatory filing this week, the Morgan Stanley Select Dimensions Investment Series fund said for the quarter ended Sept. 30, it held 1,969 Flipkart shares, which it valued at $102,644, or $52.13 a share.

Meanwhile, on a separate topic, a colleague and I recorded a Facebook Live video on India’s “demonetization,” the government’s move to eliminate its biggest-denomination bills. Watch it on the WSJ Facebook page here; the video has been viewed more than 65,000 times.

WHAT I WROTE AT NEWLEY.COM

Top Lesser-Known (but Good) Sci-Fi Movies of 2016

On the Importance of Reading Books to Understand the World

Why We Gain Weight Over the Holidays

FIVE ITEMS THAT ARE WORTH YOUR TIME THIS WEEK:

1) Can a lowly reporter become an Instagram star? Bloomberg’s Max Chafkin embarked on a humorous quest to become an “influencer,” commanding cash for his posts:

The plan, which I worked out with my editor and a slightly confused Bloomberg Businessweek lawyer, was this: With Saynt’s company advising me, I would go undercover for a month, attempting to turn my schlubby @mchafkin profile into that of a full-fledged influencer. I would do everything possible within legal bounds to amass as many followers as I could. My niche would be men’s fashion, a fast-growing category in which I clearly had no experience. The ultimate goal: to persuade someone, somewhere, to pay me cash money for my influence.

2) People are really into boring video games in which they drive tractors and trucks. A look at why people play games with titles like “Farming Simulator 17” and “American Truck Simulator.”

3) Meta-list: Best Books of 2016. Jason Kottke has a round-up of the year’s top releases.

4) The 100 best albums of 2016. A list compiled by music writer Ted Gioia.

5) The story behind Chapecoense’s tragic final flight. This heartbreaking WSJ story explains how the Brazilian championship contenders came to be flying on the charter plane headed to Colombia, and why it went down.

Thanks for reading.

Love,
Newley

P.S. If someone forwarded you this email, you can subscribe here.

This Week’s Newley’s Notes, Turkey Day Edition: Amazon Killing it in India; Trump and Visas; Nature vs. Instagrammers

Newleys notes

Edition 72 of my email newsletter went out to subscribers yesterday. It’s pasted in below.

To get these weekly dispatches delivered to your inbox before I post them here, sign up at this link. It’s free, it’s fun, it’s brief — and few people unsubscribe.


Hi friends, thanks for reading Newley’s Notes, a weekly newsletter where I share my stories and links to items that catch my eye.

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you have a great one. Making a pecan pie? Don’t forget you can find my Aunt Cece’s famous recipe here! (Thanks for the reminder, Patrick B.!)

WHAT I WROTE IN THE WSJ

Jeff Bezos Invests Billions to Make Amazon a Top E-Commerce Player in India – This is a story I’d been working on for some time, and I’m happy with how it turned out. It begins:

NEW DELHI– Amazon.com Inc. founder Jeff Bezos, perturbed by his company’s failure to capture much of the massive Chinese market, had a pointed message for executives in India during a visit in 2014: Don’t let that happen here.

Do what it takes to succeed and don’t worry about the cost, Mr. Bezos said, according to a person who was present.

Amazon, which dominates online selling in the U.S. but so far has gained little traction in developing countries, has since invested billions of dollars to build a logistics network spanning India to reel in shoppers.

The result: the company rapidly became India’s No. 2 e-commerce player and moved within striking distance of local rival Flipkart Internet Pvt., according to some estimates. Indeed, Mr. Bezos last month declared Amazon was on top in a market it largely had ignored until recent years, though he didn’t say by which measure.

Click through for a video (you may recognize the narrator’s voice). A colleague and I also chatted about the story on Facebook Live; the video has been watched more than 40,000 times.

What President-Elect Donald Trump Said About Working Visas to the U.S.. The story begins:

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump on Monday said his administration will scrutinize what he called “abuses” of visas amid speculation that he intends to restrict the flow of skilled workers into his country.

In a two-minute video posted on YouTube, Mr. Trump for the first time since the Nov. 8 election articulated to the public what he plans to do during his first 100 days in office.

“On immigration,” Mr. Trump said, “I will direct the Department of Labor to investigate all abuses of visa programs that undercut the American worker.”

Indian Online Payments Firm Paytm Says Cash Crunch Has Boosted Business. The story begins:

Indian online payment firm Paytm says it has added 8 million new users in the two weeks since the government announced the replacement of the country’s highest-denomination bank notes.

In a bid to root out corruption, counterfeit money and tax evasion, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Nov. 8 announced the replacement of notes worth 500 rupees ($7.30) and 1,000 rupees ($14.60). That move has resulted in a cash shortage, with scores of people lining up outside ATMs and banks to deposit their cash, exchange old notes or withdraw new bills.

WHAT I WROTE AT NEWLEY.COM

Book Notes — Fooled by Randomness, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. The latest in my series of posts about books I’ve been reading. Previous such posts are here.

FIVE ITEMS THAT ARE WORTH YOUR TIME THIS WEEK:

1) The New York Times’s 100 best books of the year. Among those on the list that caught my eye and I’d like to read: “Born to Run,” Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography, and Don DeLillo’s new novel, “Zero K.” Surprised to see here, as I read it and wasn’t hugely impressed: “Before the Fall,” a thriller by Noah Hawley.

2) Great idea for a world map: every country, with their tourism slogans. I am so happy to be living in Incredible !ndia.

3) “What Is The Most Underrated American Poem?” This piece at Ploughshares puts the question to several poets, critics and academics.

4) Instagrammers are ruining America’s natural treasures. What happens to a once-unknown swimming hole when it’s suddenly overrun by hundreds of social media addicts?

5) Humorous “SNL” video: Can’t stomach the notion of a Trump presidency? Consider moving to “The Bubble.”

Thanks for reading.

Love,
Newley

In This Week’s Newley’s Notes: Explaining Trump, Arkansas Queso, Medieval Shipwrecks, Best Book Podcasts

Newleys notes

Edition 72 of my email newsletter went out to subscribers yesterday. It’s pasted in below.

To get these weekly dispatches delivered to your inbox before I post them here, sign up at this link. It’s free, it’s fun, it’s brief — and few people unsubscribe.


Hi friends, thanks for reading Newley’s Notes, a weekly newsletter where I share my stories and links to items that catch my eye.

There’s only one place to start this week: The rise of Donald Trump.

I posted on my blog links to a bunch of stuff I was reading the day after the election.

One of them is a 2014 book called “The Revolt of the Public and the Crisis of Authority in the New Millennium,” by Martin Gurri. From the book’s description. Emphasis mine:

Insurgencies enabled by digital devices and a vast information sphere have mobilized millions, toppling dictators in Egypt and Tunisia, crushing the ruling Socialist Party in Spain, inspiring “Tea Parties” and “Occupations” in the United States. Trust in political authority stands at an all-time low around the world. The Revolt of the Public analyzes the composition of the public, the nature of authority and legitimacy, and the part played by the perturbing agent: information. A major theme of the book is whether democratic institutions can survive the assaults of a public that at times appears to be at war with any form of organization, if not with history itself.

Another is a 1986 book by Arthur Schlesinger called “The Cycles of American History,” in which he argues that the U.S. always alternates between periods of liberalism and conservatism.

And yet another is “Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy,” by Chris Hayes.

And in other postmortem news, Economist Tyler Cowen discusses how major stakeholders fared – that is, who comes out of this looking good, and whose status has fallen.

WHAT I WROTE IN THE WSJ

Indian-Origin Candidates Sail to Victory in U.S. Elections. Click through for more details on Pramila Jayapal, Kamala Harris, Ro Khanna and Raja Krishnamoorthi.

What Donald Trump’s Election as President of the U.S. Could Mean for India. The story, which I wrote with a colleague, begins:

For Indian businesses, foreign-policy strategists and government officials, Donald Trump’s election victory sows uncertainty on issues ranging from information-technology outsourcing to Asian geopolitics.

FIVE (NON-ELECTION-RELATED) ITEMS THAT ARE WORTH YOUR TIME THIS WEEK:

1) Arkansas says it has the world’s best queso. Texas isn’t pleased. Don’t miss this excellent WSJ story, which begins:

In a safe in Little Rock, Ark., restaurateur Scott McGehee keeps five recipes for what he considers one of the state’s biggest culinary treasures.

Two cheese-dip recipes were handed down by his late father, Frank. One came from the long-gone Taco Kid chain and cost $2,000, with hot-sauce and chili formulas thrown into the deal. The collection represents “the greatest recipes in cheese-dip lore,” says Mr. McGehee, who melded them into the “five families cheese dip” served at his Heights Taco & Tamale Co. in Little Rock.

When it comes to food, Arkansas has long lived in the shadow of neighbors such as Texas, Louisiana and Tennessee, known respectively for their fajitas, gumbo and Memphis barbecue. Many Arkansans think cheese dip has finally given them something to call their own.

2) A guy named Calvin Seibert makes really cool modern sandcastles. Here are some images of the creations, which he constructs at beaches around New York. And here’s an interview with him.

3) Fascinating details are emerging about a medieval ship found at the bottom of the Black Sea. This NYT feature has some amazing photos of the craft, which likely sank in the 13th or 14th century, but has remained unusually intact.

4) Cool site for travel research: The Basetrip. I recently came across the site, which aggregates information on more than 200 countries, providing details on information like visa requirements, currency and electricity.

5) There are some great podcasts about books out there. The Guardian lists ten to check out. The Millions also had a roundup back in July.

Thanks for reading. If you like NN, please forward it to a friend. Any feedback? Hit me up.

– Newley

In This Week’s Newley’s Notes: Apple’s Newest Gadgets; Frontline on the election; Super-Sophisticated Poker Cheating

Newleys notes

Edition 71 of my email newsletter went out to subscribers today. It’s pasted in below.

To get these weekly dispatches delivered to your inbox before I post them here, sign up at this link. It’s free, it’s fun, it’s brief — and few people unsubscribe.


Hi friends, thanks for reading Newley’s Notes.

Reader M chastised me a few weeks ago when I said the weather here in Delhi seemed to have turned the corner, with temps starting to dip ever so slightly.

No, he said, it’s still hot here!

Well, I can say for sure this time: It really is cooling off! The other night the mercury dropped…wait for it…under 80 degrees Fahrenheit, or to about 26 Celsius. Bring it on! I am so looking forward to a real fall after a decade in steamy lowland Southeast Asia.

One programming note: Due to travel there will be no NN next week. I’ll rap at you again the week of Nov. 7 (when it will be even cooler!).

FIVE ITEMS THAT ARE WORTH YOUR TIME THIS WEEK:

1) Apple announced new laptops and a TV app. The Verge has a good rundown of the newest products. I can’t decide if it’s cool or gimmicky, but the MacBook Pro’s so-called Touch Bar – a touchable strip above the keyboard – is interesting. As for the TV app: It’s too bad, though predictable since Apple wants to sell you its own content, that it lacks Netflix and Amazon Video.

2) Frontline’s two-hour-long presidential election show is available on YouTube. It’s called “The Choice 2016.” This has been a campaign for the history books; this show looks up to the task of putting things in perspective.

3) Scientists have identified the ten most relaxing songs ever. Number one, called “Weightless,” was made with input from sound therapists. Here’s more on that one, and the rest of the list.

4) And in other music news: a Green Day fan got up on stage, grabbed a guitar, and killed it on “When I Come Around.” Apparently the guy was holding a sign at a concert in Chicago that said “I Can Play Every Song on ’Dookie,” a Green Day album. Front man Billie Joe Armstrong pulled him from the crowd, and the rest is history. Check out the video here.

5) Beware high-end poker cheating devices. Crazy story about a guy who sourced from China a sophisticated, $1,500 device inserted into a smartphone that can be used to read cards surreptitiously.

Thanks for reading. If you like NN, please forward it to a friend. Any feedback? Hit me up.

– Newley

In This Week’s Newley’s Notes: Thai King Dies; iPhone 7 Photography; Galactic Revelation; Lil Wayne

Newleys notes

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Hi friends, thanks for reading Newley’s Notes.

A huge story this week here in Asia has been the death of Thailand’s king, Bhumibol Adulyadej (an issue I’ve been following closely given the years we lived in Bangkok). Some of our WSJ stories have looked at the potential economic impact on Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy, which has already been struggling; and the beginning of the funeral process:

Tens of thousands of people, many dressed in black and weeping, knelt in the streets of Thailand’s capital Friday as a convoy carried the body of King Bhumibol Adulyadej to the city’s Grand Palace from the hospital where he died the day before.

It was the beginning of a funeral process that could take months or even years to complete. The government has declared a one-year mourning period for King Bhumibol, who was 88 and reigned for 70 years.

In the short term, 64-year-old Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn will become the country’s next monarch after he has taken time to grieve for his father, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has said.

As for the crown prince, the BBC is reporting today that government officials say he wants his coronation to be held off for a year or more.

“He said at this time everyone is sad, he is still sad, so every side should wait until we pass this sad time.”

FIVE ITEMS THAT ARE WORTH YOUR TIME THIS WEEK:

1) The new iPhone 7 takes some pretty badass photos. As this detailed blog post points out, the gadget’s dual-camera system allows for “Portrait Mode,” which is Apple-speak for depth effect. That’s he ability to achieve the kind of depth of field usually only possible with fancier cameras.

2) There are way more galaxies in our universe than previously believed. Bad news, if you’re already feeling cosmically insignificant: As The Guardian reports: “There are a dizzying 2 trillion galaxies in the universe, up to 20 times more than previously thought, astronomers reported on Thursday.” (I like this comment on story: "They’ll have to change the Monty Python Universe song again! <–video NSFW: galactically graphic depiction.)

3) "Was was the worst year in history? Slate posed that question to several authors and academics. 1914, the year World War I began, gets a lot of votes.

4) Lil Wayne gave an amazing interview to the NYT. My favorite of the rapper’s responses:

With this book, were you worried about revisiting a difficult time?

I haven’t read it, and I don’t plan on reading it. I’m not one of those people who revisit things. I don’t remember [expletive]. I could meet the president and forget it. Of course I thought it was because I smoke too much. But somebody told me: “The reason why you don’t remember things is that it’s not the same for you as it is everybody else. Because you are it.”

5) A guy put together a map of global airport WiFi passwords. It’s pretty impressive.

Have a great week, and let me know what’s new in your world.

— Newley