Categories
Newley's Notes

NN206: Bezos in India — Oscar Noms — RIP Neil Peart — Clever Mutts

Photo by Thomas Griesbeck on Unsplash

Sent as an email newsletter Friday, January 17.

👋 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.

📬 Not a subscriber yet? Get it here.

🙏🏻 Apologies for the tardiness of this week’s edition. There’s been a lot of news here in India this week. To wit, I’ve had three stories out in recent days:

On Monday: India Orders Antitrust Probe of Amazon and Walmart’s Flipkart. The lede:

India’s antitrust watchdog ordered a probe into whether Amazon.com Inc. and Walmart Inc.’s Flipkart have violated competition laws, New Delhi’s latest move to try to rein in American tech giants that dominate its burgeoning internet economy.

Then on Tuesday: India Orders WhatsApp, Google to Save Data on Mob Attack. The lede:

An Indian court ordered Facebook Inc.’s WhatsApp and Alphabet Inc.’s Google to preserve data connected to an attack on a university campus earlier this month in the latest attempt by authorities in the country to wrangle more control over the messaging and search giants.

And finally, on Wednesday: Amazon’s Bezos Pledges New $1 Billion India Investment Amid Pushback. TLDR: he promised to pour more funds in India – and also, understandably, played to the local audience:

On Wednesday, Mr. Bezos praised U.S.-India ties and said he believes the 21st century “is going to be the Indian century.” At the end of his talk, the executive, dressed in an indigo Nehru jacket, clasped his hands together and bowed before the crowd to great applause.

After touching down in New Delhi on Tuesday, Mr. Bezos posted a video on his Twitter account showing him paying tribute at a memorial to Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi.

⚠️ Editor’s note: I will be tied up over the coming days, so the next NN will land in your inbox the weekend of Feb. 1.

Here are ten items worth your time this week:

💬 1) Facebook Backs Off Controversial Plan to Sell Ads in WhatsApp [WSJ]

“Facebook Inc. is backing away from efforts to sell ads in WhatsApp, in a retreat from a controversial plan that drove the creators of the popular messaging service to resign more than 18 months ago, according to people familiar with the matter.”

♾️ 2) Does Consciousness Pervade the Universe? [Scientific American]

“Philosopher Philip Goff answers questions about ‘panpsychism’

🆕 3) The Verge Awards at CES 2020: welcome to the land of the concept [The Verge]

“Oh, what a difference 12 months makes. At last year’s CES, we found fewer concepts and more tangible products than ever before. Apparently this year, the exhibitors saw our reaction and felt they had to work overtime to correct it because if there was a theme to 2020’s CES, it was that CES is the land of the concept.”

⛔ 4) The Evil List [Slate]

“Which tech companies are really doing the most harm? Here are the 30 most dangerous, ranked by the people who know.”

😥 5) Neil Peart, Drummer and Lyricist for Rush, Dies at 67 [New York Times]

“Neil Peart, the pyrotechnical drummer and high-concept lyricist for the Canadian progressive-rock trio Rush, died on Tuesday in Santa Monica, Calif. He was 67.”

🥁 Bonus: Neil Peart’s Essential Songs: Hear 10 Tracks.

📽️ 6) ‘Joker’ leads Oscar noms; ‘1917,’ ‘Irishman’ close behind [Associated Press]

“Female filmmakers were shut out, ‘Parasite’ made history and ‘Joker’ edged out ‘The Irishman,’ ‘1917’ and ‘Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood’ in Monday’s Oscar nominations.”

💊 7) 7 Biohacks to Master Before Worrying About Other Biohacks [The Atlantic]

“Unlike the biohacks that the other gurus are out there selling, these are all-natural. I call them – and I insist on the capitalization here – NATURAL BIOHACKS .”

🖊️ 8) Stamps, Scientific Charts, and Hand-Drawn Maps Occupy Every Inch of Travel Notebooks by José Naranja [Colossal]

“Author and artist José Naranja ensures he won’t forget any detail of his year-round travels across the globe through a meticulous and unique documentation process.”

🇯🇵 9) Why Japan is so successful at returning lost property [BBC News]

“Cultural norms, complex religious influences and friendly neighbourhood police officers make losing something in Japan no big deal.

🐕 10) Dog video of the week: I SEE YOU!!!!!! [Imgur]

💡 Quote of the week:

“The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.” – Ludwig Wittgenstein

👊 Fist bump from New Delhi,

Newley

Categories
India Journalism Tech

Amazon’s Bezos Pledges New $1 Billion India Investment Amid Pushback

That’s the headline on my newest story, with my colleague Krishna Pokharel, out Wednesday. It begins:

NEW DELHI— Amazon.com Inc. Chief Executive Jeff Bezos pledged to invest an additional $1 billion in the company’s Indian operations, part of a charm offensive in a promising but challenging market.

Mr. Bezos told a gathering of local Amazon sellers that the intent is to help more small businesses start selling on the company’s marketplace. The new funds will supplement the $5 billion that Amazon has said it is spending to build out its Indian business, a spokeswoman said.

Click through to read the rest.

Categories
India Journalism Tech

India Orders WhatsApp, Google to Save Data on Mob Attack

That’s the headline on my newest story, with my colleague Krishna Pokharel, out Tuesday. It begins:

NEW DELHI — An Indian court ordered Facebook Inc.’s WhatsApp and Alphabet Inc.’s Google to preserve data connected to an attack on a university campus earlier this month in the latest attempt by authorities in the country to wrangle more control over the messaging and search giants.

According to an attorney involved in the case, the Delhi High Court said Tuesday that the companies, local police and university authorities must try to save messages, photos and videos connected to the Jan. 5 attack, when several dozen people stormed the campus of New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University, injuring 32 students and two faculty members.

Click through to read the rest.

Categories
India Journalism Tech

India Orders Antitrust Probe of Amazon and Walmart’s Flipkart

That’s the headline on my newest story, out Monday. It begins:

NEW DELHI–India’s antitrust watchdog ordered a probe into whether Amazon.com Inc. and Walmart Inc.’s Flipkart have violated competition laws, New Delhi’s latest move to try to rein in American tech giants that dominate its burgeoning internet economy.

The investigation launched by the Competition Commission of India Monday said it would focus on allegations that the U.S. titans promote “preferred sellers” of goods on their platforms, which may have hurt smaller rivals.

“It has been alleged that most of these preferred sellers are affiliated with or controlled by Flipkart or Amazon, either directly or indirectly,” the order said.

Categories
Newley's Notes

NN205: Best Books I Read in 2019; Suleimani Longread; German Expressions; Jenga-Playing Dogs

Photo by Emerson Peters on Unsplash

Sent as an email newsletter Tues., January 7.

👋 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.

📬 Not a subscriber yet? Get it here.

🌟 Recently posted on Newley.com: The 10 Best Books I Read in 2019.

TLDR: My pics include books about tech giants such as Airbnb, Uber and Google; titles on economic development and Indian billionaires; a true spy story from the Cold War; and a sprinkling of classic fiction…

What memorable books did you read last year? Hit reply and let me know.

Here are ten items worth your time this week:

🔮 1) A 2013 longread that’s been doing the rounds given recent events: The Shadow Commander [The New Yorker)]

“Qassem Suleimani is the Iranian operative who has been reshaping the Middle East. Now he’s directing Assad’s war in Syria.”

🔎 2) ‘Shattered’: Inside the secret battle to save America’s undercover spies in the digital age [Yahoo News]

“The OPM hack was a watershed moment, ushering in an era when big data and other digital tools may render methods of traditional human intelligence gathering extinct, say former officials.”

🗑️ 3) The Global Garbage Economy Begins (and Ends) in This Senegalese Dump [The Nation]

“How Dakar’s trash depot became a battleground for Chinese industry, the World Bank, and Senegalese organized labor.”

⌨️ 4) The Strange Life and Mysterious Death of a Virtuoso Coder [Wired]

“Jerold Haas was on the brink of blockchain riches. Then his body was found in the woods of southern Ohio.”

🇲🇳 5) This dad took his son to Mongolia just to get him off his phone [BBC News]

“How do you get a teen to put down their phone and talk to you? Jamie Clarke went all the way to Mongolia to find out.”

⏳ 6) Aging-related chart of the week: how life satisfaction changes with age [Danny Blanchflower/Twitter]

“I have a new paper available on request showing that happiness is U-shaped in age minimizing at around age fifty in 132 countries – here it is for Europe from 1.2 million observations.”

⚡ 7) Amid shut-off woes, a beacon of energy [Washington Post]

“A Native American tribe has insulated itself from California’s blackouts by creating a microgrid utility.

🧠 8) For the New Year, Say No to Negativity [WSJ]

“By recognizing it and overriding our innate responses, we can break destructive patterns, make smarter decisions, see the world more realistically and also exploit the benefits of this bias. Bad is stronger than good, but good can prevail if we know what we’re up against.”

🇩🇪 9) The power of naming: 10 German Expressions that don’t exist in English and their Wisdom [Leo Widrich]

“In German, certain words exist that describe some of our human experiences so accurately and precisely that I’ve marveled at how much helps us to express ourselves.”

🐕 10) Dog-related video of the week: A Jenga-playing canine [Steve Stewart-Williams/Twitter]

“Holy crap, this is incredible: A dog playing Jenga. Turn-taking, fine motor control, apparent understanding of the aim of the game. I would not have guessed a dog could do this.”

💡 Quote of the week:

“If you have good habits, time becomes your ally. You just need to be patient. You just need to let that compounding process work for you. But if you have bad habits, time becomes your enemy.” – James Clear

👊 Fist bump from New Delhi,

Newley