Newley's Notes

NN208: Thailand Mass Shooting — Beijing vs. Coronavirus — Brad Pitt: Underrated — Dogs, Sledding

Photo by SpaceX on Unsplash

Sent as an email newsletter Sunday February 9.

👋 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.

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🚨 Recently out, some sad news from Thailand: A soldier yesterday (Saturday) went on shooting spree in Nakhon Ratchasima, a city northeast of Bangkok, killing more than 20 people and wounding dozens.

The latest from the AP:

A soldier with a grudge gunned down 26 people and wounded 57 in Thailand’s worst mass shooting before he was fatally shot inside a mall in the country’s northeast on Sunday, officials said.

“The deadly rampage has shocked Thailand, where gun violence isn’t uncommon but mass shootings are very rare,” my WSJ colleagues write.

⚠️ Note: There will be no NN next week. Look for the next edition in your inboxes the following Sunday. On to this week’s NN…

Here are ten items worth your time this week:

🇨🇳 1) An important story about the coronavirus and political implications for Beijing: China’s Leader Wages a War on Two Fronts—Viral and Political [WSJ]

"China has quarantined entire cities, thrown up hospitals in days, and deployed military doctors and Communist Party members to the front lines, a massive effort Mr. Xi likens to a military campaign.

That effort is intended to beat the coronavirus outbreak, and also win a battle on a second front – against the most intense volleys of public rage since he took power in 2012."

📍 Bonus map, updated frequently: Coronavirus 2019-nCoV Global Cases by Johns Hopkins CSSE

📡 2) Federal Agencies Use Cellphone Location Data for Immigration Enforcement [WSJ]

“The Trump administration has bought access to a commercial database that maps the movements of millions of cellphones in America and is using it for immigration and border enforcement, according to people familiar with the matter and documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.”

💲 3) Instagram brought in $20 billion in ad revenue last year, more than a quarter of Facebook’s earnings [The Verge]

“Instagram isn’t the biggest moneymaker for Facebook, but it certainly plays a major role in generating revenue for the social media company.”

🕵️‍♀️ 4) The time I sabotaged my editor with ransomware from the dark web [BloombergBusinessweek]

“A few weeks in, though, it occurred to me that if someone like me could pull off a digital heist, it would function as a sort of hacking Turing test, proof that cybercrime had advanced to the point where software-aided ignorance would be indistinguishable from true skill. As a journalist, I’ve spent years writing about people who do things that I, if called upon, couldn’t do myself. Here was my chance to be the man in the arena.”

✝️ 5) Longread of the week: Richard Rohr Reorders the Universe [New Yorker]

“The seventy-six-year-old Franciscan friar Richard Rohr believes that Christianity isn’t the only path to salvation.”

😟 6) “Devastating” Manufacturing Plant Fire Threatens Worldwide Vinyl Record Supply [Pitchfork]

“‘There are only TWO companies that make lacquers in the world, and the other, MDC in Japan, already had trouble keeping up with demand BEFORE this development.’”

🚫 7) I Quit Yale [New York Times]

“My parents, Russian immigrants who graciously embraced my career path, were able to help me financially in small ways – a car, my books. And James Franco was in my program. He smelled nice and only attended every other class.”

👨 8) Brad Pitt and the Beauty Trap [New York Times]

“Male stars face a double standard, too, and ever since he bared his chest in ‘Thelma & Louise,’ his work has been undervalued.

(Note: Overall I was underwhelmed by “Ad Astra,” but I found Pitt’s performance captivating.)

🧀 9) Map of the week: Cheese Map of Europe [Reddit/MapPorn]

❄️ 10) Dog video of the week: This is the best thing you’ll see today [Twitter/Akkivideos]

👏 Runner up: This is some serious Barkour…. [Twitter/Akkivideos]

💡 Quote of the week:

"If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” – George Orwell

👊 Fist bump from New Delhi,


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