Newley's Notes

NN249: Contrite Canines

Mai Po Nature Reserve

Sent as an email newsletter February 7, 2021. Sign up to receive future dispatches in your inbox.

👋 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.

Image of the week, above: on a walk Saturday through Hong Kong’s Mai Po Nature Reserve. More on this soon!

🐦 TLDR: we saw a ton of birds, including two spoonbills. And the weather was amazing.

Here are ten items worth your time this week:

1) 🇲🇲 Myanmar’s military on Monday staged a coup, marking “a major blow to the country’s transition from military rule to democracy, which began about a decade ago,” my colleagues Niharika Mandhana, Feliz Solomon and Sabrina Siddiqui wrote…

2) 💬 …and I pitched in with an exclusive about Facebook removing a Myanmar military television network page from its platform. Facebook banned the network in 2018 as part of a wider crackdown, but it reappeared. From the story:

After The Wall Street Journal asked Monday why the Myawaddy page was operational given its earlier ban, Facebook removed it and it now displays a message saying “This Page Isn’t Available.”

3) 💻 And more on Facebook in Myanmar: it was blocked on Thursday, as I wrote, after some people took to the platform to challenge the coup.

🚨 Meanwhile, the latest on the situation as of today (Sunday): tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Yangon, the country’s largest city, my colleague Niharika Mandhana wrote.

4) 🐦 Elsewhere, on another topic, my colleague Rajesh Roy and I had a story out Wednesday about Twitter in India. The lede:

India threatened to punish Twitter if it doesn’t comply with a government request to restore a block on accounts connected to tweets about farmers’ protests that the government says are inflammatory.

5) 🛒 And hey: How about Jeff Bezos saying he’ll step down as Amazon chief executive to become executive chairman? Andy Jassy, the head of Amazon’s massive AWS cloud business, will take over later this year.

👉 The company’s success has been without parallel, but “The walls of [Bezos’] highly compartmentalized empire have been crumbling for some time,” writes Bloomberg’s Brad Stone, author of the excellent book about Bezos and Amazon, “The Everything Store.” “It’s becoming increasingly difficult to be Jeff Bezos (at least by Bezos’s standards),” Stone writes.

6) 🦠 File under: heartbreaking: This WSJ story on Covid–19’s toll on essential workers – delivery drivers, grocery workers – contains one of the hardest-hitting ledes you’ll ever read.

7) 🗣 Invitation-only group voice chat app Clubhouse is all the rage among tech types. It is, writes Will Oremus at OneZero, the opposite of the flat, open Twitter: it’s “hierarchical and closed — more oligarchic than democratic.”

8) 👏 Longread of the week: “Louis Theroux’s Weird America,” by Anna Russell in the New Yorker.

🎧 I love Theroux’s work, including his pandemic-inspired podcast, “Grounded with Louis Theroux.” (Don’t miss his episodes with Boy George, Watford FC’s Troy Deeney, and actress Leah Remini.)

9) 👕 An interesting quantified self-meets-fashion project from digital consultant Olof Hoverfält: “Why I’ve tracked every single piece of clothing I’ve worn for three years.

10) 💯 A roundup of life tips from the Metafilter community: “What do you always recommend to people?


🐕 Dog-related video of the week: “The you on social media vs. The you in real life.


📕 What I’m Reading

I’m a day or two away from finishing “Facebook: The Inside Story," a 500-page-plus look at the history and future of the world’s biggest social media platform. It has been an enlightening read.

For fiction, I’ve been delving into a Dan Brown’s first novel, the 1998 thriller “Digital Fortress.” What pacing!


💡 Quote of the week:

“The enemy is a very good teacher.” – The Dalai Lama


👊 Fist bump from Hong Kong,


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