Newley's Notes

NN257: Microphone-Munching Mongrels

KitKat pop-up in HK

KitKat pop-up in HK

Sent as an email newsletter April 5, 2021. Enter your email address to get future editions.

👋 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.

🐰 I hope you had a restful Easter, friends.

🍫 Image of the week, above, amid a chocolate-centric holiday: There is a new KitKat popup store here in Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay shopping district.

Special “limited edition” flavors for sale include matcha, ruby chocolate, and yuzu. Open until May 2. Find more info here. (Well spotted and photographed, Anasuya!)

Here are 10 items worth your time this week:

1) 🗞 My latest, an exclusive that went online Friday and was in Saturday’s print WSJ: Facebook Staff Fret Over China’s Ads Portraying Happy Muslims in Xinjiang. The story begins:

HONG KONG – Facebook Inc. is blocked in China, but Beijing is a big user of the platform to spread its political views to hundreds of millions of people overseas, sometimes via advertisements.

Now, some Facebook staff are raising concerns on internal message boards and in other employee discussions that the company is being used as a conduit for state propaganda, highlighting sponsored posts from Chinese organizations that purport to show Muslim ethnic minority Uyghurs thriving in China’s Xinjiang region, according to people familiar with the matter.

🧵 I wrote more in this Twitter thread.

2) ✈️ People in America are traveling again as the vaccine roll-out continues. On Friday the TSA screened the highest number of people – more than 1.5 million – since the Covid–19 pandemic began.

3) 🔍 Video cameras, facial recognition, license plate readers, cell tower records: “How America’s surveillance networks helped the FBI catch the Capitol mob.”

4) 🏠 U.S. housing boom 2.0? "Limited housing supply, low rates, a global reach for yield, and what we’re calling the institutionalization of real-estate investors has set the stage for another speculative investor-driven home price bubble.” Smart story by my colleague Ryan Dezember.

5) 🪙 Two fascinating archeology stories caught my eye this week. The first: Arabian coins from the 17th century found in New England could provide a hint as to the fate of pirate Henry Every.

6) 🦜 …and the second: mummified parrots found in Chile show how people during the 12th and 15th centuries ferried goods – via llama – from the Amazon jungle through the Andes to the Atacama Desert.

7) 🎧 Hua Hsu in the New Yorker on the growing popularity of podcasts by professional athletes: “If athlete-driven podcasts were once shoestring affairs, they’ve now been absorbed into the sports-media economy.”

8) ❓Reddit thread full of interesting tips: “What is the most effective psychological ‘trick’ you use?”

9) 🏀 Buzzer-beater of the week: Jalen Suggs’s bank shot from just inside mid-court, sending Gonzaga past UCLA and into the NCAA final.

10) 🛰 See a satellite tonight: “No telescope required. Click to search for viewing times at your location.”


🦴 Dog-related video of the week: “A dog in Russia grabbed the reporter’s microphone and ran away during a live broadcast.” (Bonus, related video: “Interviewing Pets With a Mini Microphone Compilation.”)


📖 What I’ve been reading:

I finished Yuval Noah Harari’s “Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow” and then turned to the Steven Pressfield classic “The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles,” which I enjoyed. Searching for my next nonfiction read…


💡 Quote of the week:

“The happiness of those who want to be popular depends on others; the happiness of those who seek pleasure fluctuates with moods outside their control; but the happiness of the wise grows out of their own free acts.” – Marcus Aurelius


🤗 What’s new with you? Hit reply to send me tips, queries, random comments, and videos of spotlight-stealing dogs.

👊 Fist bump from Hong Kong,


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