Newley's Notes

Newley’s Notes 186: RIP Toni M. and David B.; Skype Snooping; Vegetarian Butchers; Adorable Bomb Dogs


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

Here are ten items worth your time this week:

😢 1) Two remarkable artists passed away this week. The first: Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison Dies at 88 [WSJ]

“Toni Morrison, a literary lion whose narrative voice soared from deep tenderness to searing power in ‘Beloved,’ ‘Song of Solomon’ and other novels, died Monday night in New York, her publisher Alfred A. Knopf said. She was 88 years old.”

✒️ Bonus link: An Appreciation: Toni Morrison and the Need for Tomorrows [WSJ]

“Toni Morrison liked to note, when importunate interviewers wondered when she was going to write about something other than the African-American experience, that Tolstoy didn’t intend his books to be read by black girls from Ohio. Her point was that notion of universalism is fraudulent. To be a writer of any worth one must be a regionalist.”

😔 2) And the second: David Berman, Silver Jews Leader and Indie-Rock Poet, Dies at 52 [New York Times]

“With wry songs full of black humor, his band became an underground favorite in the 1990s, and a new group, Purple Mountains, was set to tour.”

🎵 Bonus link: “By sharing his stories of characters at the margins who laugh into the void,” The WSJ’s Mark Richardson wrote in a review of Berman’s newest album, released just last month, “he makes life’s absurdities seem less menacing, and existential loneliness becomes a setup for a punchline.”

🖥️ 3) The Techlash Has Come to Stanford [Slate]

“Even in the famed computer science program, students are no longer sure they’d go to work for Facebook or Google (and definitely not Palantir).”

👂 4) Revealed: Microsoft Contractors Are Listening to Some Skype Calls [Vice/Motherboard]

“Contractors working for Microsoft are listening to personal conversations of Skype users conducted through the app’s translation service, according to a cache of internal documents, screenshots, and audio recordings obtained by Motherboard. ”

⌨️ 5) The Lonely Work of Moderating Hacker News [New Yorker]

“Can a human touch make Silicon Valley’s biggest discussion forum a more thoughtful place?”

🏠 6) This startup wants to put a free tiny house in your backyard [Fast Company]

“Rent the Backyard will get a tiny house into your backyard in a matter of weeks – and hopes it can add some cheaper apartments in cities to help alleviate the housing crisis. ”

🥩 7) The Vegetarians Who Turned Into Butchers [New York Times]

“Referring to themselves as ethical butchers, they have opened shops that offer meat from animals bred on grassland and pasture, with animal well-being, environmental conservation and less wasteful whole-animal butchery as their primary goals.”"

🎉 8) Dazzling Color Photos of the Legendary Romanov Costume Ball of 1903 [The Vintage News]

“Outside the Winter Palace, the social pressures that would hurl the country into revolution were intensifying, but 14 years before the forced abdication of Czar Nicolas II, the society of St. Petersburg put on quite a show, dubbed by many Europe’s ‘last great royal ball’.”

🛎️ 9) You Can Actually Stay In These Giant Animal-Themed Hotels [The Dodo]

“While many animal lovers will try to find activities that are centered around animals, there’s actually a way to take your obsession to the next level…”

🐶 10) “Oh this is precious.. bomb squad dog got a break from work for a min.” [Twitter: @TheSolutionBaba]

💡 Quote of the week:

“We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives.” – Toni Morrison.

👊 Fist bump from New Delhi,


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