Categories
Newley's Notes

NN246: Dog Bless You

watercolor of Hong Kong

Sent as an email newsletter January 11, 2021. Not a Newley’s Notes subscriber yet? Get it here.

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.

🎨 Photo of the week, above: a recent watercolor of (part of) Hong Kong’s skyline. Want a hobby that forces you to stay in the moment, and is endlessly humbling? Try watercolors!

On to this week’s NN…

Here are ten items worth your time this week:

1) 👉 Two items on the Capitol riot. First, my colleagues in the U.S. have an important story out Sunday showing how the far-right Proud Boys “invoked the president’s rhetoric to build momentum toward violent showdown.”

2) 📹 And second: There’s more video of the attack. The New Yorker’s Luke Mogelson shot some footage (and has an accompanying story), while ProPublica has hundreds of videos that were posted to Parler before the platform was taken down.

3) 🐦 Nick Bilton, author of the 2014 book “Hatching Twitter,” writing in Vanity Fair: “Twitter has locked Donald Trump’s account for 12 hours after he used it to incite violence on a deadly day in Washington. What if they had done that years ago?” (Trump was, of course, later permanently suspended.)

4) 👉 WSJ obit: Phil Spector, Pop-Music Revolutionary Convicted of Murder, Dies at 81.

5) 📰 I love this: “At 80, She Is the Defiant Editor of ‘The Buzz’: Many retirement communities have declined to name names during the pandemic. So she started a newsletter to do just that.”

6) 💧 Dr. Peter Attia: “Do I really need 8 glasses of water a day?” TLDR: probably not.

7) ☀️ Pretty cool: “How Does the Sun Appear on Other Planets?

8) 💯 “100 Tips For A Better Life,” by Conor Barnes.

9) 🏠 “The World’s Largest – and America’s Priciest – Home Is Ready for Its Close-up.” The 105,000 square foot L.A. estate costs a reported $340 million.

10) 👏 Fun photo essay of the week: “Animals interrupting wildlife photographers. A thread…

•••

🐕 Dog-related video of the week: “Stray dog greeting devotees outside the temple.” [Reddit]

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📕 What I’m Reading

I’m enjoying “Facebook: The Inside Story,” by Steven Levy.

•••

💡 Quote of the week:

“Everything is hard before it is easy.” – Goethe

•••

👊 Fist bump from Hong Kong,

Newley

Categories
Newley's Notes

NN245: The Best Sheep Herding Dog Ever

Ginger and her hoodie

Sent as an email newsletter January 11, 2021. Not a Newley’s Notes subscriber yet? Get it here.

👋 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.

❄️ Photo of the week, above: We’re off to a chilly 2021 here in Hong Kong! As in: it’s 8 degrees Celsius/47 Fahrenheit (and windy!) as I write this.

🐾 But don’t worry: As you may have noticed in the previous NN, Ginger is just fine: She’s got a winter-themed hoodie to keep her toasty.

On to this week’s NN…

Here are ten items worth your time this week:

1) 🗞 My newest story, which I wrote with my colleague Phred Dvorak, ran on page one just after the new year.

The headline: Oyo Hotel Chain Suffered Ailments Beyond Pandemic’s Travel Slowdown. And the dek: “Thousands of hoteliers have left the company amid troubles that emerged before Covid-19, losses that threaten the hotel network’s global ambitions.” Click through for more.

2) 📚 Just out yesterday at Newley.com: The 15 Best Books I Read in 2020. TLDR: six books about China/Hong Kong, a few classic novels, some philosophical treatises, and…plenty about pandemics.

3) 👉 My colleagues Dan Frosch, Rachael Levy, Khadeeja Safdar, and Erin Ailworth have a comprehensive look at just who was in the crowd that barged into the Capitol Wednesday. The piece begins:

”An Oklahoma grandmother. The CEO of a Chicago-area marketing firm. A Florida man convicted of attempted murder. A leader of the group of far-right street brawlers known as the Proud Boys. An Iraq war veteran who works at a Seattle-area packaging plant. A newly sworn-in West Virginia lawmaker.”

What they shared: “an unfounded certainty that President Trump had won re-election.”

4) ➡️ Another WSJ must-read, this one by my colleagues Michael M. Phillips and Jennifer Levitz: how one Trump fan, Doug Sweet, became part of the mob.

5) 🗣 President Trump is losing his digital megaphones. Axios has a running list of who’s banned him: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter…

6) 🦠 Longread of the week: “The Plague Year,” by Lawrence Wright in the New Yorker.

7) 🇫🇷 In happier news: The Champs-Élysées is getting a $225 million makeover. Think: “an extraordinary garden.”

8) ✈️ Random technical observation: I had no idea flight simulators have gotten so realistic. Wow.

9) 🍴 Archaelolgists in Pompeii unearthed a snack bar from 79 A.D. More photos are here.

10) 🦥 Sentence of the week: “If Voirin’s hunch is right, the pygmy sloths might not just look stoned — like all sloths do — but they really are stoned.

•••

🐕 Dog-related video of the week: “Laziest sheep herding dog ever.”

•••

📕 What I’m Reading

Since my last dispatch I finished Nina Teicholz’s outstanding “The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet,” then turned to Cal Newport’s “Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World,” which I enjoyed.

Now it’s on to “Facebook: The Inside Story,” by Steven Levy.

•••

💡 Quote of the week:

“I was born very far from where I’m supposed to be and so I’m on my way home." — Bob Dylan, in the 2005 Martin Scorsese documentary, “No Direction Home: Bob Dylan.”

•••

🤗 What’s new with you? Hit reply to send me tips, queries, random comments, and videos of working dogs that are hardly working.

👊 Fist bump from Hong Kong,

Newley

Categories
Books

The 15 Best Books I Read in 2020

Books I read in 2020

Here’s the best of what I read in 2020.

As usual, I chose print books over ebooks whenever possible (all the better for taking notes in the margins and distilling them into my Book Notes posts).

Since we moved here to Hong Kong early in the year, and given that I continue to cover technology, you’ll see the world’s most populous country, our new home, and the themes of tech and business figure prominently in this list. Oh, and books about…pandemics, too!

As in my previous round-ups, I’m listing these titles in roughly the order I read them, and with selections not limited to books published during the year. Here goes:

1) "The Third Revolution: Xi Jinping and the New Chinese State," by Elizabeth C. Economy. An insightful explication of just why Xi is such an important figure.

2) "Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma Built," by Duncan Clark. An in-depth account of Alibaba’s rise, and of founder Ma’s background and personality. (My Books Notes entry is here.)

3) "Why Buddhism is True: The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment," by Robert Wright. The title, of course, cannot deliver, but Wright makes the case that Buddhist thought, and especially meditation, can make life easier and more rewarding.

4) "The Quiet American," by Graham Greene. A classic I can’t believe I’d never read. A memorable story, written with skill by the great Greene.

5) "Pandemics: A Very Short Introduction," by Christian McMillen. Helpful historical context. One lesson that has stuck with me, which isn’t always obvious these days: pandemics do not last forever! (My Book Notes entry is here.)

6) “Brave New World,” by Aldous Huxley. Another classic I must have dipped into at some point. Like “1984,” a book with themes that remain ever relevant.

7) “Hong Kong,” by Jan Morris. A thoughtful, highly detailed survey of this majestic city. Highly recommended.

8) “The Stand,” by Stephen King. What better to read during an actual pandemic than a 1000-word-plus novel about…the aftermath of a pandemic? I found it riveting. If long. And it’s clear to my why this is a favorite King book for many of his fans.

9) “Skinny Dip,” by Carl Hiaasen. I love Hiaasen’s humorous brand of crime fiction, set in Florida, and this 2004 novel is so, so fun. I mean, do the first few lines of a thriller get any better than this?

“At the stroke of eleven on a cool April night, a woman named Joey Perrone went overboard from a luxury deck of the cruise liner M.V. Sun Duchess. Plunging toward the dark Atlantic, Joey was too dumbfounded to panic.

I married an asshole, she thought, knifing headfirst into the waves.”

10) “Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China,” by Evan Osnos. A stunning work encompasses a grand sweep of a narrative, but is also grounded in rich detail. Osnos tells important stories about individuals in a country that outsiders sometimes view through stereotypes.

11) “12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos,” by Jordan Peterson. Thought provoking, controversial, moving.

12) “Be Free or Die: The Amazing Story of Robert Smalls’ Escape from Slavery to Union Hero,” by Cate Lineberry. I’d never heard of this book but a friend raved about it and let me borrow it. My first reaction was: WOW. A fantastic, fantastic, story. My second reaction was one of sadness, because despite the time I spent in the South Carolina Lowcountry growing up, I knew little of what Smalls accomplished. A must-read for anyone interested not just in U.S. history, but in heroism and moral courage.

13) “The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet,” by Nina Teicholz. In this painstakingly researched book, which took nearly a decade to write, Teicholz shows how faulty science and powerful personalities drove the narrative, subsequently adopted by the U.S. government and enshrined in nutritional guidelines, that saturated fat causes heart disease. But there is little, if any, significant evidence for this claim. Nevertheless it was adopted as conventional wisdom, and as Americans began eschewing animal fats, meat and dairy products, we increased our consumption of grains, refined carbohydrates, trans-fats, and sugar. That has been disastrous, a major factor in the obesity epidemic. A remarkable book.

14) “The Silence of the Lambs,” by Thomas Harris. I love thrillers and had never read this one. The ultimate page turner, with some sparkling prose thrown in.

15) “Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World,” by Cal Newport. A convincing argument for making room for what’s really important in life, and putting the rest in its proper place.

Honorable mentions:

Here are my round-ups for 2019, 2018, and 2017.

On to 2021. Happy reading, friends.

Categories
India Journalism Tech

Oyo Hotel Chain Suffered Ailments Beyond Pandemic’s Travel Slowdown

WSJ Oyo page one

That’s the (online) headline on my newest story, which I wrote with my colleague Phred Dvorak. It’s on today’s WSJ front page. It begins:

Just over a year ago, India’s Oyo Hotels & Homes was among the world’s hottest startups and the second-largest hotel chain globally. It had billions of dollars from SoftBank Group Corp.’s Vision Fund and others, and a valuation that had doubled in a year to as high as $10 billion.

Covid-19, and the destruction it dealt travel, blew up much of that. But Oyo’s issues run deeper than the pandemic. The company already faced problems from its rapid expansion, issues that won’t be fully solved by a post-vaccine travel recovery.

Oyo has seen thousands of hoteliers leave its network amid complaints from many that they have been treated unfairly. The company’s challenges outside India threaten its global ambitions.

Click through to read the rest, or pick up a copy of today’s paper.

Categories
Life

Happy New Year!

Received via WhatsApp forward.

Onward and upward, friends!

Categories
Newley's Notes

NN 244: Tenacious Terriers

happy holidays 2020

Sent as an email newsletter December 20, 2020. Not a Newley’s Notes subscriber yet? Get it here.

👋 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.

🎅 Photo of the week, above: Happy holidays from Hong Kong! (And yes, Ginger is wearing a holiday-themed hoodie.)

🚨 Administrative note: There will be no NN for the next couple of weeks. I’ll be back in 2021. I hope you have a restful and restorative end to what has been, quite simply, a year for the history books.

On to this week’s NN…

Here are ten items worth your time this week:

1) 🗞 My newest story, an exclusive with my colleague Jeff Horwitz, ran earlier this week. The headline: In India, Facebook Fears Crackdown on Hate Groups Could Backfire on Its Staff. And the sub-hed: “Social media giant’s security team cites possible attacks if extremist Hindu groups are kicked off platform.”

This is the most recent of several stories we’ve written about Facebook in India, you may recall. You can find links to our previous pieces at the bottom of this post.

2) 👏 Covid–19 vaccine update: the first Pfizer/BioNTech doses were administered in the U.S., my colleagues Peter Loftus and Melanie Grayce West reported, “kicking off the most urgent mass immunization campaign since polio shots were rolled out in the 1950s.” The first recipient: Sandra Lindsay, a critical care nurse at a hospital in the Queens.

3) 💻 Big cyber espionage news: “Multiple federal government agencies, including the U.S. Treasury and Commerce departments, have had some of their computer systems breached as part of a widespread global cyber espionage campaign believed to be the work of the Russian government, according to officials and people familiar with the matter,” my colleague Dustin Volz reports.

4) 👉 NPR: ‘New York Times’ Retracts Core Of Hit Podcast Series ‘Caliphate’ On ISIS. “The newspaper has reassigned its star terrorism reporter, Rukmini Callimachi, who hosted the series,” David Folkenflick reports. And: “On multiple occasions prior to the release of the podcast, Chaudhry had told Canadian news outlets that he had traveled to Syria in 2014 and joined ISIS. But he had denied playing any role in killings. To Callimachi and the Times, however, he claimed he had conducted executions.”

5) 🌐 Alphabet’s Google, Gmail, Google Docs, YouTube and additional services went down around the world Monday for about an hour. It was due to a problem with how users log into their accounts, the company said.

6) 🏆 2020 best of lists are here. Check out the 10 Best Books of 2020 (WSJ); the best long-form writing of 2020 (Longform); the best television series of 2020 (Economist); the best albums of 2020 (New York Times); the best films of 2020 (AV Club); and the art world’s most important moments in 2020 (New York Times).

7) 📚 Author John le Carré died at age 89. He “raised the spy novel to a new level of seriousness and respect,” Eric Homberger writes in The Guardian.

8) 🌃 New York magazine’s Curbed on an interesting photography project: This Artist Posed As a Hungarian Billionaire Buyer to Get Into 25 New York Penthouses.

9) 🚴‍♂️ BBC travel has a story on an epic bike trail in the works: “The Great American Rail-Trail is the most ambitious biking initiative the country has ever seen. Stretching an extraordinary 3,700 miles from the nation’s capital across 12 states to the Pacific Ocean, west of Seattle, it’s an idea that’s been ruminating for 50 years.” Here’s the trail’s website, and the official route.

10) ⛪ File under: nativity scenes, 2020 edition. “It’s hideous…Why do they have that one with the horns?…What is that? A turkey?”

•••

🐕 Dog-related video of the week: Fearless Terrier Sends Bear Scampering Back Into the Woods.

•••

📕 What I’m Reading

I’m almost finished with Nina Teicholz’s meticulously researched, eye-opening 2014 book, “The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet.” It it astoundingly good: alarming, maddening, fascinating. A must-read if you care about health, nutrition, policymaking, or how science is conducted.

•••

💡 Quote of the week:

“Email is a wonderful thing for people whose role in life is to be on top of things. But not for me; my role is to be on the bottom of things.” – Renowned Stanford University computer science professor Donald E. Knuth.

•••

👊 Fist bump from Hong Kong,

Newley

Categories
India Journalism Tech

In India, Facebook Fears Crackdown on Hate Groups Could Backfire on Its Staff

That’s the headline on my newest story, an exclusive with my colleague Jeff Horwitz, out Sunday. It begins:

Dozens of religious extremists burst into a Pentecostal church outside New Delhi in June, claiming it was built atop a Hindu temple. The group installed a Hindu idol in protest, and a pastor says he was punched in the head by attackers.

Members of a Hindu nationalist organization known as Bajrang Dal claimed responsibility in a video describing the incursion that has been viewed almost 250,000 times on Facebook. The social-media company’s safety team earlier this year concluded that Bajrang Dal supported violence against minorities across India and likely qualified as a “dangerous organization” that should be banned from the platform, according to people familiar with the matter.

Facebook Inc. balked at removing the group following warnings in a report from its security team that cracking down on Bajrang Dal might endanger both the company’s business prospects and its staff in India, the people said. Besides risking infuriating India’s ruling Hindu nationalist politicians, banning Bajrang Dal might precipitate physical attacks against Facebook personnel or facilities, the report warned.

Such conflicting concerns underscore the struggle Facebook faces in policing hate speech that exists in the vast sea of content posted to its platform around the world. The calculus is especially complicated in India, Facebook’s largest market by users. Facebook has staff on the ground, recently invested $5.7 billion in a new retail venture and interacts with a government whose politicians have ties to Hindu nationalist groups.

“We enforce our Dangerous Individuals and Organizations policy globally without regard to political position or party affiliation,” said Facebook spokesman Andy Stone, calling the company’s process for determining what entities to ban careful, rigorous and multidisciplinary.

Click through to read the rest.

Links to our previous stories on Facebook in India, if you missed them, are here:

Categories
Newley's Notes

NN243: Howlin’ Huskies

Ginger high five

Sent as an email newsletter December 13, 2020. Not a Newley’s Notes subscriber yet? Get it here.

👋 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.

🙌 Photo of the week, above: from a recent Hong Kong expedition. Here’s a paw-sitevly paw-some high five from Ginger, straight to you.

On to this week’s NN.

Here are ten items worth your time this week:

1) 🩺 Covid–19 vaccine update: Here we go! The FDA on Friday authorized the Pfizer/BioNTech shot. Health-care workers, people in nursing homes and long term care could be the first to get it, followed by essential workers and others. The general population may receive it in the spring or summer, by which time other vaccines may also be approved.

2) ⚖️ Big news out Wednesday: Facebook Hit With Antitrust Lawsuits by FTC, State Attorneys General. The lede from my WSJ colleagues Brent Kendall and John D. McKinnon: “The Federal Trade Commission and 46 states sued Facebook Inc. on Wednesday, accusing the social-media giant of buying and freezing out small startups to choke competition.”

3) 🎸 The great Bob Dylan has sold his entire publishing catalog to Universal Music Publishing Group for what is likely “hundreds of millions of dollars – rivaled in value and influence only by the Beatles,” my colleague Anne Steele writes. (Yes, the lede of the story is: “Bob Dylan is tangled up in green.”)

4) 🌵 Austin, Texas is seeing an influx of new residents as companies and workers relocate during the pandemic. The cost of living is lower, there’s no state income tax, the weather is warm, there’s space for social distancing, and there’s a ton of low-cost housing. (Among those moving to the Lone Star State: none other than Elon Musk.)

5) 🚢 A four-day cruise? To nowhere? During a pandemic? A Royal Caribbean vessel returned to shores in Singapore after someone on board…tested positive for Covid–19. (The company told guests it would give them a “future cruise credit for the value of one day’s worth of cruise fare paid to be used on a future sailing.”) Oh, and: it looks like result may have been a false positive.

6) 🎧 Gadget alert: Apple’s releasing over-the-ear, noise canceling headphones called AirPods Max. They cost $549 and go on sale December 15.

7) 🏢 In “Why Do We Still Love “The Office”?, Sarah Larson writes in the New Yorker that ”Though it ended seven years ago,“ it it still among Netflix’s most popular shows. And ”this year two of the most popular podcasts on iTunes and Spotify were ‘Office’ podcasts, hosted by former cast members," she writes.

8) 🍗 Headline of the week: “Love me tenders: Why KFC is pushing a sexy Colonel Sanders movie”. Please enjoy the trailer, starring Mario Lopez, aka “Saved by the Bell”’s A.C. Slater.

9) 👩‍🍳 Tweet of the week: “Nigella Lawson saying ‘Microwave’ like this has made my Christmas already.”

10) 🐶 Canine-related longread of the week, by Jeff MacGregor in Smithsonian Magazine: “The New Science of Our Ancient Bond With Dogs.” (Thanks, Anasuya!)

•••

🐕 Dog-related video of the week: “Huskie puppy doesn’t quite get the howling thing.”

•••

📕 What I’m Reading

I finished “The Great Firewall of China: How to Build and Control an Alternative Version of the Internet,” by James Griffiths, and have now turned to something altogether different: Nina Teicholz’s 2014 bestseller, “The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet.”

•••

💡 Quote of the week:

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing. A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days.” – Annie Dillard

•••

👊 Fist bump from Hong Kong,

Newley

Categories
Newley's Notes

NN242: Best Pug Reunion Ever

Dog in Causeway Bay

Sent as an email newsletter December 6, 2020. Not a Newley’s Notes subscriber yet? Get it here.

👋 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.

🐶 Photo of the week, above: spotted yesterday in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong.

On to this week’s NN.

Here are ten items worth your time this week:

1) 💉 Covid–19 vaccine news: Moderna, you may have seen, has asked regulators in Europe and the U.S. to okay its shot. “The timing keeps the vaccine on track to become possibly the second to go into use in the U.S. by year’s end – after one already under regulatory review from Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE – with inoculation available to the general public likely in spring or summer,” my colleague Peter Loftus reported Monday.

👏 There will undoubtedly be roadblocks ahead, but let’s remember: this is good news!

2) 💻 Big news in the world of artificial intelligence: Prominent AI Researcher Says Google Fired Her After Dispute Over Her Work, Impolitic Email. My colleague Rob Copeland has the story. And from MIT Technology Review: We read the paper that forced Timnit Gebru out of Google. Here’s what it says.

3) 😔 In last week’s NN I pointed to an article about the death of Zappos co-founder Tony Hsieh. Now, Angel Au-Yeung and David Jeans, writing in Forbes, have the apparent back story: “…while he directly (by the tens of thousands) and indirectly (by the millions) delivered on making other people smile, Hsieh was privately coping with issues of mental health and addiction.”

4) 🎙 The Philadelphia Inquirer talks to Marie Siravo, owner of Four Seasons Total Landscaping, about how Rudy Giuliani’s press conference thrust her small business into the global limelight.

5) 📖 Book publishing news: The new chief executive of Barnes & Noble is employing a new tactic to try to boost sales in an age of Amazon: giving local B&N managers more power to select titles they sell, rather than New York book buyers making the decisions, my colleague Jeffrey Trachtenberg reports.

6) 📰 Irish photographer Noel Bowler has been photographing newspaper newsrooms around the world, from The WSJ (New York) to The Sun (London) to Le Monde (Paris) and more. More info is available on his Kickstarter page, where he says he is documenting the “physical space and the structural layers that have formed the foundation of our modern press.”

7) 📸 And another powerful photo essay: “Hidden in Plain Sight: The Ghosts of Segregation,” by Richard Frishman in the New York Times. More info is available on his website.

8) 🎨 Wow, wow, wow: “Hailed as ‘the Sistine Chapel of the ancients’, archaeologists have found tens of thousands of paintings of animals and humans created up to 12,500 years ago across cliff faces that stretch across nearly eight miles in Colombia.” Click through for photos.

9) 📱 “On Wednesday, EU lawmakers passed a non-binding resolution arguing that individuals have a fundamental ‘right to disconnect.’”

10) ʕ·͡ᴥ·ʔ Headline of the week: “Adelaide family returns home to find koala perched on Christmas tree in lounge room.” Yes, there are photos, and even a video.

•••

🐶 Dog related video of the week: Boy meets his dog after it was lost for 2 weeks.

•••

📕 What I’m Reading

I’ve almost finished “The Great Firewall of China: How to Build and Control an Alternative Version of the Internet,” by James Griffiths. And in the meantime (as I often read a few books at a time), I’ve been racing through a classic Thomas Harris thriller I can’t believe I’d never read, despite seeing the film: “The Silence of the Lambs.” It is so, so good.

•••

💡 Quote of the week:

“In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.” – Robert Frost

•••

👊 Fist bump from Hong Kong,

Newley

Categories
Newley's Notes

NN241: An enthusiastic pup at the door

Ginger and pecan pie

Sent as an email newsletter Sunday, November 29. Not a Newley’s Notes subscriber yet? Get it here.

👋 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.

🦃 I hope you had an excellent Thanksgiving! We had a fun one here in Hong Kong.

Photo of the week, above: preparing my Aunt Cece’s world famous South Carolina pecan pie. The back story on the tradition, along with the recipe, are in this 2014 story I wrote.

🐕 Also pictured: my sous chef, Ginger.

On to this week’s NN.

Here are ten items worth your time this week:

1) ⚽ RIP Diego Maradona, one of the best soccer players – some argue the best – to have ever laced up a pair of boots. He was just 60 years old. Should you ever doubt that beauty exists in what often feels like an ugly world, just watch his legendary goal for Argentina in the 1986 world cup. (Sorry, England fans.)

🇦🇷 For more on Maradona, check out his 2005 autobiography, titled (with his customary humility) “El Diego: The Autobiography of the World’s Greatest Footballer.”

2) 📺 Speaking of soccer, have you been watchingTed Lasso?” No, seriously. It’s worth a watch.

3) 😔 Tony Hsieh, co-founder of pioneering e-commerce startup Zappos, died at age 46 following a house fire in Connecticut.

4) 🦠 Emma Graham-Harrison and Robin McKie, writing in The Guardian: “Nearly a year after doctors identified the first cases of a worrying new disease in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the country appears to be stepping up a campaign to question the origins of the global Covid–19 pandemic.”

5) 📰 “In interviews with over a half-dozen various former Drudge associates, about half suggested that the site may no longer be under his control.” That’s Armin Rosen, writing at Tablet about Matt Drudge and the Drudge Report.

6) 😄 Singaporean activist Jolovan Wham has been charged with holding an illegal public protest. He stood outside a police station displaying a smiley face drawn on a piece of cardboard.

7) 🚁 Wim Zwijnenburg at Bellingcat: “Are Emirati Armed Drones Supporting Ethiopia from an Eritrean Air Base?”

8) 👽 Officials surveying bighorn sheep in remote Utah happened upon something strange: a mysterious metal monolith 10 to 12 feet tall. It is probably (hopefully? fingers crossed?) a work of art.

🚨 Update, just discovered as I was about to hit send on this edition of NN: THE THING HAS NOW DISAPPEARED.

9) 🍺 Busch has a new (non-alcoholic) beer for dogs, called “Busch Dog Brew,” that’s made with vegetables and pork broth. More info is here. (Thanks, Tim M.!)

10) 🎨 Artvee aggregates artwork from museums that is in the public domain and available to download, searchable by artist or type of work.

•••

🐶 Dog related video of the week: “Someone is waiting inside!

•••

📕 What I’m Reading

I finished “How to Take Smart Notes: One Simple Technique to Boost Writing, Learning and Thinking – for Students, Academics and Nonfiction Book Writers.” Though brief, it contained some compelling insights.

Now I’ve moved on to “The Great Firewall of China: How to Build and Control an Alternative Version of the Internet,” by James Griffiths. (Thanks for the recommendation, Patrick N.!)

•••

💡 Quote of the week:

“In general, I feel if you can’t say it clearly you don’t understand it yourself.” – John Rogers Searle

•••

👊 Fist bump from Hong Kong,

Newley