Newley's Notes

🌌 Newley’s Notes 108: Google’s New Gadgets; Fake News Consequences; Creepy Owls


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Well, the temperature is dropping ever so slightly here in New Delhi as we inch toward Diwali, which is just under two weeks away. The festival period typically ushers in cooler temps. Bring it on, I say!

Diwali is also a time when the country’s big e-commerce sites unleash huge advertising campaigns and launch mammoth sales as they battle each other to gain new users. For a flavor of the branding and deals, check out the home pages of, and

Customers certainly benefit when well-funded online shopping sites go head to head, trying to out-duel one another by slashing prices. At stake, they reckon, is users’ loyalty in the years ahead, as more and more folks start buying stuff online in this country of 1.3 billion.

📰 What I Wrote in The WSJ

Uber’s Indian Rival in Talks to Raise Up to $2 Billion

TLDR: Ola could receive the funds from SoftBank and perhaps one or more other investors. The money would give Ola fresh ammo to battle Uber here. (A trend similar to what’s happening in e-commerce is happening in ride-hailing.)

✏️ What I Wrote at

Warren Buffett’s System for Sharpening Your Career Focus — a simple exercise for determining what’s most important.

Video: Why Did the New Delhi Street Dog Cross the Road? — You tell me: Am I anthropomorphizing here?

📲 5 Cool Tech-ish Reads This Week

  • 1. Google launched some new gadgets. Among them: two new smartphones (the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL), a new laptop (the Pixelbook), new VR headset (the Daydream View). wireless headphones (Pixel Buds), and new connected home devices.

Perhaps most frightening, at least to me, is the new Google Clips camera, which, The Verge says, “takes pictures for you, using machine learning to recognize and learn faces and look for interesting moments to record.”

  • 2. Speaking of machine learning and the years ahead,, Cathy O’Neil writes that there are four kinds of futurist.

They are: People who are down with “the Singularity” — when humans and machines will one day merge, the theory goes — and aren’t worried about the future; those who believe in the Singularity and are concerned; “technoutopianists,” who are often selling a corporate vision; and those who fret about how new tech threatens “the very concept of social mobility.”

A key point: How you view the future may depend on how your favorite futurist views it.

  • 3. Museums seem to be catering to Instagram users. The likes of The Museum of Ice Cream in New York and the Renwick Gallery at the Smithsonian in Washington are proving extremely popular selfie backdrops, Wired reports.
  • 4. Fake news has real consequences. In this excellent New York Times story, Caitlin Dickerson shows how rural Twin Falls, Idaho was roiled by baseless rumors about Muslim refugees. A sobering reminder that viral news spread on Facebook can seriously affect peoples’ lives.
  • 5. THE NEW BLADERUNNER IS OUT! We’re off to see it tomorrow. If you’ve yet to take it in and want to brush up on the storylines, Vox has a guide to the various versions of the original 1982 film.

Meanwhile The WSJ’s Joe Morgenstern has a positive review, writing: “Daring in its own right, this broodingly sumptuous saga explores the primacy of feelings, the nature of memories and the essence of being human, framed as the difference between being manufactured or born.”

💫 1 Silly Thing

  • 1. Weirdest. Owl Video. Ever: Who knew the birds could…run?. (The responses to the Tweet are pretty funny, too.)

💬 Quote of the week

“It seems that with this kind of shoes which are basically just leather socks, the way that you walk is a very natural one.”

In this video, a guy decked out in medieval garb shows how the way we walk has, he says, changed over time.

Thanks for reading, amigos. Please share this newsletter on Facebook or Twitter if you like it.

👊 Fist bump from New Delhi,