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Newley's Notes

NN199: Google in the Spotlight; Hong Kong Twitter Tips; Busting ‘Ballers’ on Insta; Playful Puppies

Google

Photo by Paweł Czerwiński on Unsplash

👋 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.

💕 We just celebrated our second anniversary with Ginger! I posted a few recent pics – and a special video showing her patented Ginger Pounce ™️ in action – in this blog post:

Two Years with Our Adopted New Delhi Street Dog, Ginger

🇭🇰 ⚠️ Other news: Unrest in Hong Kong appears to be escalating. The latest today from my colleagues on the ground, out just now:

"Protesters shot a police officer in the leg with an arrow, started a large fire, and blocked a key tunnel, pushing back police firing water cannons and tear gas near a fortified university as tensions flared following one of the most violent weeks in more than five months of antigovernment protests.

Late Sunday, police warned protesters to evacuate the area around Hong Kong Polytechnic University immediately, after protesters vandalized facilities, threw bricks and hurled Molotov cocktails. ‘Police are now planning for the next round of operation,’ the police said in a statement."

🐦 Meanwhile, a friend is passing through Hong Kong on a trip now and I shared with him some journalists I recommend following on Twitter for real-time updates. Very much worth your time, if you’re on the platform and keen to know the latest:

On to this week’s links…

Here are ten items worth your time this week:

🔎 1) Shot: An important story by my colleagues based on more than 100 interviews and WSJ testing: How Google Interferes With Its Search Algorithms and Changes Your Results [WSJ]

“Over time, Google has increasingly re-engineered and interfered with search results to a far greater degree than the company and its executives have acknowledged, a Wall Street Journal investigation has found.”

💊 2) …and chaser: Google’s ‘Project Nightingale’ Gathers Personal Health Data on Millions of Americans [WSJ]

“Google is engaged with one of the U.S.’s largest health-care systems on a project to collect and crunch the detailed personal-health information of millions of people across 21 states.”

🇨🇳 3) ‘Absolutely No Mercy’: Leaked Files Expose How China Organized Mass Detentions of Muslims [New York Times]

“More than 400 pages of internal Chinese documents provide an unprecedented inside look at the crackdown on ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang region.”

🗳️ 4) Why the Impeachment Fight Is Even Scarier Than You Think [Politico Magazine]

“Political scientists have a term for what the United States is witnessing right now. It’s called ‘regime cleavage,’ a division within the population marked by conflict about the foundations of the governing system itself – in the American case, our constitutional democracy. In societies facing a regime cleavage, a growing number of citizens and officials believe that norms, institutions and laws may be ignored, subverted or replaced. ”

🆕 5) Moto Razr 2019 is official: A foldable smartphone with no display crease [Ars Technica]

“One of the most iconic flip phones ever is rebooted as a $1,500 foldable smartphone. ”

🔮 6) The Myth and Magic of Generating New Ideas [New Yorker]

“A mathematician on how to get the mind into motion.”

💸 7) On the Internet, No One Knows You’re Not Rich. Except This Account [New York Times]

“In February, an Instagram account called @BallerBusters cropped up and began wreaking havoc on the flashy Instagram entrepreneur community.”

📦 8) The everything town in the middle of nowhere [Wired]

“How the tiny town of Roundup, Montana, became a hub in Amazon’s supply chain”

🚃 9) I am railing: Sir Rod Stewart reveals his epic model railway city [BBC News]

“In between making music and playing live, Sir Rod has been working on a massive, intricate model of a US city for the past 23 years. He unveiled it as part of an interview with Railway Modeller magazine.”

🐶 10) Dog video of the week: My dad who didn’t want a dog right after my family got a new puppy [Reddit]

💡 Quote of the week:

“What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.” – Gretchen Rubin (Thanks, Anasuya!)

What’s new with you? Hit reply to share your news or just say hi.

👊 Fist bump from New Delhi,

Newley

Categories
India Life

Two Years with Our Adopted New Delhi Street Dog, Ginger

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Last week – November 4 – marked two years since we adopted Ginger.

She continues to be a delight. She is clever, loyal, playful, energetic, silly, and sometimes slightly devious. And she definitely loves her long walks.

The photo at the top is from a Lodhi Garden trip. She loves that place. Here’s another pic of her there:

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And here she is at rest in the sun at home:

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One of her most endearing traits is her love of pouncing. Here’s a video of her hopping on me when I called her recently! 🙂

Dogs: What would life be without them?

Previously:

  • One Year with our Adopted New Delhi Street Dog, Ginger
  • Introducing our Desi Dog, Ginger

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    Newley's Notes

    NN 198: Amazing Oregon — Instagram’s War on Likes — ‘Hide the Pain Harold’ Dishes — Dubious Doggos

    eastern_oregon

    👋 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.

    🇺🇸 Anasuya and I are back in Delhi after a brief trip over the Diwali break to visit my dad, step-mom and siblings in…scenic Eastern Oregon!

    💯 It was a fantastic trip: chilly fall weather, stunning countryside landscapes, and – best of all – time to catch up with family and friends. I’ve been posting some photos on Instagram – I’m @Newley – with more to come.

    📍 Let me tell you: going from Delhi (population 20 million or so) to Pendleton, Oregon (population about 16,000) is nothing if not eye-opening, in a good way!

    Here are ten items worth your time this week:

    ⚖️ 1) Facebook Feared WhatsApp Threat Ahead of 2014 Purchase, Documents Show [WSJ]

    “In the months before acquiring WhatsApp in 2014, Facebook Inc. executives described the messaging service and others like it as a threat to the company’s core business, offering potential evidence to regulators in the U.S. and Europe that are pursuing antitrust probes into the social-networking company.”

    👍 2) Instagram will test hiding likes in the US as soon as next week [The Verge]

    “In tests that have rolled out so far, likes are hidden from public posts in the Feed, on the web, and in profiles. However, you should still be able to see how many likes a post gets — it’s only other people that won’t be able to. ”

    💽 3) I Got Access to My Secret Consumer Score. Now You Can Get Yours, Too. [New York Times]

    “Little-known companies are amassing your data — like food orders and Airbnb messages — and selling the analysis to clients. Here’s how to get a copy of what they have on you.”

    🕵️ 4) Inside the Phone Company Secretly Run By Drug Traffickers [Vice]

    “All over the world, in Dutch clubs like the one Kok frequented, or Australian biker hangouts and Mexican drug safe houses, there is an underground trade of custom-engineered phones. These phones typically run software for sending encrypted emails or messages, and use their own server infrastructure for routing communications.”

    🏦 5) Viral Tweet About Apple Card Leads to Goldman Sachs Probe [Bloomberg News]

    “A series of posts from David Heinemeier Hansson starting Thursday railed against the Apple Card for giving him 20 times the credit limit that his wife got.”

    📮 6) In France, Elder Care Comes with the Mail [New Yorker]

    “Every day except Sunday, postal workers inform the program’s subscribers, through an app, if their elderly relatives are ‘well’: if they require assistance with groceries, home repairs, outings, or ‘other needs.’”

    😑 7) Experience: my face became a meme [The Guardian]

    “Nine years ago, I did a reverse image search on a photograph of me and was shocked to discover it had become a meme. People online thought my smile, combined with the look in my eyes, seemed terribly sad. They were calling me ‘Hide the Pain Harold.’

    🍷 8) Useful infographic: a taste map of different types of wine [Reddit via WineFolly]

    🔭 9) Mindblowing interactive: The Size of Space [Neal.fun/Neal Agarwal]

    🐾 10) Dog video of the week: Human what’s happening here. [Reddit/aww]

    💡 Quote of the week:

    “For writers it is always said that the first twenty years of life contain the whole of experience – the rest is observation.” – Graham Greene

    What’s new with you? Hit reply to share your news or just say hi.

    👊 Fist bump from New Delhi,

    Newley

    Categories
    Newley's Notes

    NN197: Google Buys Fitbit – WhatsApp Attack – Accent Explainer – Conan’s Presser

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    Photo by Jared Verdi on Unsplash

    👋 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.

    Here are ten items worth your time this week:

    ⌚ 1) Google to Buy Fitbit, Amping Up Wearables Race [WSJ]

    “Google reached a deal to buy wearable fitness products company Fitbit Inc. for roughly $2.1 billion, a move that intensifies the battle among technology giants to capture consumers through devices other than smartphones.”

    🇮🇳 2) Indian Activists Targeted in Alleged WhatsApp Attack Demand Answers [WSJ]

    “‘It makes me wonder whether our very own government was behind it,’ said Degree Prasad Chauhan, an activist who has worked alongside Ms. Gera and was also informed that he was targeted.”

    📹 3) Emotion recognition is China’s new surveillance craze [Financial Times]

    “The technology, which is being rolled out at airports and subway stations to identify criminal suspects, is the latest development in crime prediction systems in the world’s largest surveillance market, which already relies on facial and gait recognition, eye tracking and crowd analysis.”

    🔍 4) U.S. opens national security investigation into TikTok [Reuters]

    “The U.S. government has launched a national security review of TikTok owner Beijing ByteDance Technology Co’s $1 billion acquisition of U.S. social media app Musical.ly, according to three people familiar with the matter.”

    🏠 5) I Accidentally Uncovered a Nationwide Scam on Airbnb [Vice]

    “While searching for the person who grifted me in Chicago, I discovered just how easy it is for users of the short-term rental platform to get exploited.”

    🥫 6) The first map of America’s food supply chain is mind-boggling [Fast Company]

    “Our map is a comprehensive snapshot of all food flows between counties in the U.S.—grains, fruits and vegetables, animal feed, and processed food items.”

    🌊 7) Rising Seas Will Erase More Cities by 2050, New Research Shows [New York Times]

    “The new research shows that some 150 million people are now living on land that will be below the high-tide line by midcentury. Southern Vietnam could all but disappear.”

    🗣️ 8) Video: Accent Expert Explains How to Tell Accents Apart [YouTube]

    “Have you ever had a hard time telling the difference between an Aussie and a Kiwi accent? Dialect coach Erik Singer breaks down the subtle differences between a few commonly confused regional accents. ”

    🌌 9) Photo: The Milky Way Reflected in the World’s Largest Mirror [Kottke.org]

    “I love this photograph by Peruvian photographer Jheison Huerta. It’s a shot of the Milky Way above the Salar de Uyuni salt flat in Bolivia.”

    🎤 10) Conan the hero dog holds a press conference on ‘SNL’ [CNN]

    “Conan, the dog who chased down the leader of ISIS, got his own press conference on this week’s episode of ”Saturday Night Live."

    💡 Quote of the week:

    “No man can ever be secure until he has been forsaken by Fortune.” – Boethius

    What’s new with you? Hit reply to share your news or just say hi.

    👊 Fist bump from New Delhi,

    Newley

    Categories
    Newley's Notes

    NN196: Zuckerberg in DC; TikTok Clubs; Kindle Hacking; Doggo Lifeguards

    abstract

    Photo by Scott Rodgerson on Unsplash

    👋 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.

    Here are ten items worth your time this week:

    ⚖️ 1) Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg Rebuffs Calls for Tighter Controls, Saying Free Speech Must Be Preserved [WSJ]

    "In a rare policy speech that will likely stir further debate over his company’s role in politics and global social movements, Mr. Zuckerberg said he worries that “increasingly today across the spectrum, it seems like there are more people who prioritize getting the political outcomes that they want over making sure that everyone can be heard.”

    Bonus take: Mark Zuckerberg Still Doesn’t Get It [New Yorker]

    👩‍🎓 2) Student tracking, secret scores: How college admissions offices rank prospects before they apply [Washington Post)]

    “When one student visited the site last year, the software automatically recognized who she was based on a piece of code, called a cookie, which it had placed on her computer during a prior visit. The software sent an alert to the school’s assistant director of admissions containing the student’s name, contact information and details about her life and activities on the site…”

    👂 3) Google chief: I’d disclose smart speakers before guests enter my home [BBC News]

    “‘Does the owner of a home need to disclose to a guest? I would and do when someone enters into my home, and it’s probably something that the products themselves should try to indicate.’”

    🕺 4) High Schools to TikTok: We’re Catching Feelings [New York Times]

    “The embrace of the app at this school is mirrored on scattered campuses across the United States, where students are forming TikTok clubs to dance, sing and perform skits for the app — essentially drama clubs for the digital age, but with the potential to reach huge audiences. ”

    🔧 5) Kindle Hackers Are Disabling Tracking and Ads [Medium/OneZero]

    “A community of amateur and seasoned hackers have figured out how to tinker with Kindles to make the experience a little more ‘theirs,’’ reconfiguring them with unapproved fonts and bypassing the ads Amazon injects into cheaper versions of the e-reader.”

    ⚠️ 6) Unprecedented movement detected on California earthquake fault capable of 8.0 temblor [Los Angeles Times]

    “A major California fault capable of producing a magnitude 8 earthquake has begun moving for the first time on record, a result of this year’s Ridgecrest earthquake sequence destabilizing nearby faults, Caltech scientists say in a new study released in the journal Science on Thursday.”

    📱 7) Using Old Cellphones to Listen for Illegal Loggers [New York Times]

    “Used cellphones, powered by solar panels, upload audio data. It is analyzed in real time by artificial-intelligence software capable of distinguishing the sounds of chain saws, logging trucks and other telltale audio signatures of illegal activity. The software then sends rangers instant alerts…”

    🧘‍♂️ 8) Are the Tech Bros Who ‘Dopamine Fast’ Full of Sh-t? [Mel Magazine]

    “A typical dopamine fast involves abstaining from electronic devices, the internet, books and magazines, sex and masturbation, food, music, podcasts and all other stimulants. For seriously committed fasters like Sinka, it also includes drastically minimizing conversation and interaction with other people. ”

    📸 9) Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards showcase remarkable animal drama [CNet]

    “Chinese photographer Yongqing Bao has won the Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2019 title for The Moment, a photo showing a Tibetan fox apparently about to lunge at a startled, marmot that seems almost human.”

    🆘 10) Man pretends to drown to see if his dog would save him [Reddit/r/videos]

    📖 Book I’m Currently Reading

    Thinking, Fast and Slow,” by Daniel Kahneman.

    💡 Quote of the week:

    “The reader lives faster than life, the writer lives slower.” – James Richardson

    👊 Fist bump from New Delhi,

    Newley