Newley's Notes

NN 150: China Spy Attack; Hi-Fi Cafes; Banksy’s Hoax; Dachshunds Chasing Kangaroos

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Hi, friends. Welcome to the latest edition of Newley’s Notes.

This marks, amazingly, the 150th edition of my modest newsletter. I launched NN in Feb. 2015, or about three and a half years ago. Thanks for subscribing. Here’s to 150 more!

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Here are ten items worth your time this week:

🖥️ 1) Bombshell tech story of the week: The Big Hack: How China Used a Tiny Chip to Infiltrate U.S. Companies [Bloomberg Businessweek] – The dek on the story by Jordan Robertson and Michael Riley: “The attack by Chinese spies reached almost 30 U.S. companies, including Amazon and Apple, by compromising America’s technology supply chain…” (Apple and Amazon refute the account.)

🕵️ 2) Techno-sleuthing story of the week: Police Use Fitbit Data to Charge 90-Year-Old Man in Stepdaughter’s Killing [NY Times] – The victim’s heartbeat stopped when the alleged killer was in her house, the device showed.

📚 3) Literature-related top 100 list of the week: A Premature Attempt at the 21st Century Canon [Vulture] – A look at the top books so far in the 2000s.

🔊 4) Music-related story of the week: Active listening? Hi-fi bars arrive in Los Angeles… [LA Times] – Audiophiles are gathering in Japanese-inspired “high-fi bars” in L.A. to…simply listen to music on amazing sound systems. I love it.

📓 5) Ivory tower-related hoax of the week: Academic Grievance Studies and the Corruption of Scholarship [Areo Magazine]. “Something has gone wrong in the university – especially in certain fields within the humanities,” write Helen Pluckrose, James A. Lindsay and Peter Boghossian. “Scholarship based less upon finding truth and more upon attending to social grievances has become firmly established…”

TLDR: Over the course of a year, the three scholars published several ludicrous papers (e.g. “Dog Park: Human Reactions to Rape Culture and Queer Performativity in Urban Dog Parks in Portland, Oregon” and “Fat Bodybuilding: Who Are They to Judge? Overcoming Anthropometry and a Framework for Fat Bodybuilding”) to illustrate what they see as “cultural studies” or “identity studies” gone awry.

Related: the WSJ opinion piece that brought the issue to a head. And a Chronicle of Higher Education story putting the project into perspective.

🖼️ 6) Art-related hoax of the week: ‘Going, Going, Gone…’: Banksy Artwork Shreds Itself After Sale [WSJ] – The artist’s 2006 painting “Girl With Balloon“ sold at auction for $1.4 million – and then, as my colleague Michael Wright reports, ”the canvas passed through a shredder that appeared to be hidden inside the frame, emerging underneath in thin strips." Here’s a video.

🔘 7) Fun tech-related blog of the week: Control–, a repository of photos of old “dials, toggles, buttons, and bulbs.”

⚽ 8) Uplifting aging-athlete story of the week: Kazu Miura and the Never-Ending Soccer Career [NY Times] – Jeré Longman on the 51-year-old striker who is still playing professionally – and scoring goals (video here).

🗡️ 9) Story of the week that most sounds like the beginning of an awesome sci-fi/fantasy series: Girl, 8, pulls a 1,500-year-old sword from a lake in Sweden [BBC] – And yes, her first name is…“Saga.”

🌭 10) This week’s moment of sausage dog zen: A Dachshund named Kingsley chases some kangaroos [Instagram video] – Fantastic.

What’s new with you? Just hit reply and share your news. I love hearing from folks.

👊 Fist bump from New Delhi,

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