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👋 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: I love Hong Kong’s unique, and apparently disappearing, corner buildings, known for their rounded edges. I came across this one as the sun was going down and liked the lines and colors.
Here are ten items worth your time this week:
🤳 1) Microsoft was in advanced discussions to acquire TikTok’s U.S. operations from China’s Bytedance, but in recent days has “paused negotiations,” my WSJ colleagues report, after President Trump’s statements that he wouldn’t support such a transaction. If a deal happened, Microsoft would get a massive and rapidly growing social media platform, while Bytedance would be able to exit a market where it faces a potential ban.
⚖️ 2) The chief executives from the “GAFA” tech powerhouses – Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon – faced a congressional antitrust hearing. The session “laid bare deep-rooted frustration with some of the country’s most successful companies, at a moment when Americans rely on them more than ever,” my WSJ colleague wrote. The Verge has videos and a blow-by-blow from the day.
🔍 3) And speaking of Google: The Markup studied more than 15,000 search queries on the service and discovered Google “devoted 41 percent of the first page of search results on mobile devices to its own properties and what it calls ‘direct answers,’ which are populated with information copied from other sources.”
🐦 4) Authorities arrested the alleged mastermind of the recent Twitter hack that compromised accounts from the likes of Joe Biden, Kanye West and Barack Obama: a 17-year-old in Tampa, Florida. Prosecutors say he used a spear phishing attack, tricking Twitter employees to turn over passwords by pretending to be a Twitter IT worker.
😔 5) RIP Wilford Brimley. The “portly actor with a walrus mustache who found his niche playing cantankerous coots in ‘Absence of Malice,’ ‘The Natural,’ ‘Cocoon’ and other films, died on Saturday at age 85,” the New York Times’s obit reads.
🌳 6) All the rage amid the pandemic: labyrinth making. “The labyrinth is a sure path for uncertain times,” Lars Howlett, who has a California-based labyrinth making business, tells Bloomberg CityLab. “It brings order out of a sense of chaos.”
💦 7) Here’s a look at the history of the popular Pocari Sweat sports drink, “Asia’s answer to Gatorade.” Yes, the “Sweat” refers to perspiration: it’s designed for maximum re-hydration during exercise.
🏆 ⚽ 8) My favorite Premier League team, Arsenal, came from behind to beat Chelsea and win the FA Cup on Saturday! I suffered immense cognitive dissonance watching the staggeringly good Christian Pulisic (An American! With skill a Brazilian would be jealous of! At the age of just 21! As a standout player for Chelsea! Who then had to come off injured!) dance his way through our defense to score the opener. But Arsenal rallied thanks mostly the the phenomenal Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang up front and the unflappable Dani Ceballos in midfield. Onward, manager Mikel Arteta!
🏍 9) Here’s a fun video about motorbike riders in Indonesia who take pride in modifying Vespas in creative ways. (Thanks, Dad!)
🧀 10) Dog-related video of the week: “This is Lola. She likes cheese.”
📕 What I’m Reading
I continue to make my way through Evan Osnos’s 2014 book, “Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China.” It is exceptional.
💡 Quote of the week:
“We make the moment as the moment is making us.” – Shinshu Roberts
🤗 What’s new with you? Hit reply to send me tips, queries, random comments, and videos of dogs stealing bits of cheese.
👊 Fist bump from Hong Kong,