Hi, friends. Welcome to the latest edition of Newley’s Notes.
🚨 Breaking news just out from my WSJ colleague Krishna Pokharel: Indian Election Dates Set for April and May. The big picture:
India announced the rolling dates Sunday for national elections, setting the stage for the world’s biggest democracy to decide this spring whether to leave popular Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his conservative party in power.
And the details: “Elections will happen in seven stages starting on April 11 and ending May 19, with counting of votes to begin on May 23.”
📰 Meanwhile, I had two stories out this week.
The first: India Wants Facebook to Curb Fake News Ahead of Elections. It begins:
India is pushing Facebook Inc. to do more to combat fake news ahead of coming national elections, underscoring global scrutiny on the social-media titan.
All eyes on are on social media platforms like Facebook.
And the second: Uber Partner Picks Up $1.5 Billion From SoftBank. The lede:
Southeast Asian ride-hailing company Grab Holdings Inc. has raised $1.46 billion in fresh funding from Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp., which it will use to fuel its expansion beyond transportation services.
More moolah for Grab. Watch out, Go-Jek.
Here are ten items worth your time this week:
🔮 1) Facebook Plans New Emphasis on Private Communications [WSJ]
Facebook Inc., which became the world’s biggest social network by encouraging people to share photos and messages publicly, said it is now betting on the opposite: that the future of social media lies in private messaging and small-group chats.
Our tech columnist, Chris Mims, writes:
“Nothing in Mr. Zuckerberg’s manifesto or subsequent statements question the fundamental premise of Facebook’s business, which is gathering more data about us in order to reach us with more-targeted and effective advertising.”
(On the “pivot” to private, you may recall what I wrote in NN 144 last year, when I linked to a story about a new messaging app popular with college students: “Who needs Facebook when you have WhatsApp groups?”)
✖ 2) Elizabeth Warren says she wants to break up Amazon, Google, and Facebook [The Verge]
“The proposal is the most stringent stance taken by a candidate in the presidential campaign so far. Warren, pointing to the antitrust battle over Microsoft in the 1990s, said the companies must be broken up to stimulate competition in a monopolistic market.”
💊 3) FDA Approves Esketamine, the First Major Depression Treatment to Reach U.S. Market in Decades [Scientific American]
“The drug is related to ketamine, a common anesthetic that’s sometimes misused recreationally. Many experts have hailed esketamine as a critical option for patients in dire need of new treatments–particularly because it might work faster than existing antidepressants.”
📍 4) The Geography of Partisan Prejudice [The Atlantic]
“In general, the most politically intolerant Americans, according to the analysis, tend to be whiter, more highly educated, older, more urban.”
👓 5) How badly are we being ripped off on eyewear? Former industry execs tell all [LA Times]
“‘You can get amazingly good frames, with a Warby Parker level of quality, for $4 to $8,’ Butler said. ‘For $15, you can get designer-quality frames, like what you’d get from Prada.’”
🍴 6) The A.I. Diet [NY Times]
“Only recently, with the ability to analyze large data sets using artificial intelligence, have we learned how simplistic and naïve the assumption of a universal diet is…A good diet, it turns out, has to be individualized.”
✋ 7) Code hidden in Stone Age art may be the root of human writing [New Scientist]
“The moment she flipped the first one, she knew the trip had been worthwhile. The X and straight lines were symbols she had seen together and separately on various cave walls. Now here they were, with the X sandwiched between two lines to form a compound character. ”
👫 8) Couple has eaten at the same Wichita restaurant six nights a week for 15 years [The Wichita Eagle]
"‘It’s just about as cheap as going to the grocery store, buying your groceries, coming home, heating up the kitchen and doing the dishes,’ he said. ’If your time’s worth anything to you, it’s about the same as eating at home but you get a lot better service.’”
📖 9) African American History Books recommended by Imani Perry [5 Books]
“Bringing to light the long hidden suffering of human beings or their agency in earning freedom is a matter of urgency for me. I became a historian because I wanted to flesh all that out.”
🌭 10) What, Never saw a hotdog wiggle so much? [Reddit video] – (Thanks, Anasuya!)
Quote of the week:
💡 “We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.”
– Kurt Vonnegut, “Mother Night.”
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👊 Fist bump from New Delhi,