Newley's Notes

NN314: Baffled Bull Terriers

Sent as a newsletter July 31, 2023. Not on my list? Subscribe here.

👋 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:

Your faithful correspondent as a Ken doll. Via the endlessly entertaining, a website that lets you upload photos to be transformed into Barbie or Ken. (Via EC.)

My WSJ latest:

I had two stories out last week.

🧵 The first, out Wednesday: Meta’s Threads Isn’t Labeling Propaganda Accounts From Russia, China State Media <– free link.

It begins:

State-backed news outlets from Russia and other authoritarian governments have rushed to join Meta Platforms’ new Threads microblogging service, posting propaganda such as a fake video purporting to show President Biden in a store perusing books on dementia.

Unlike on Facebook and Instagram, their verified accounts on Threads aren’t labeled as state-controlled media, raising questions over how the Facebook parent intends to police content on its Twitter rival that launched this month. Twitter, now being rebranded as X, in 2020 began applying labels to state-run news organizations; under Elon Musk, it removed them in April.

After inquiring about the Biden video, the post began showing a label describing it as “False information.” In a statement after the story was published, a spokesman said the labels would be added soon. (As of today the labels remain absent.)

🇭🇰 And the second story, from Friday: Hong Kong Loses Court Bid to Ban Protest Song Appearing on Google <– free link.

The lede:

A judge rejected a government bid to ban the dissemination online of a popular pro-democracy song, dealing a blow to Hong Kong’s efforts to extend a national-security crackdown to online platforms such as Google.

Here are 10 items worth your time this week:

1) 🪱 SHOT – file under “I’m sure it’s nothing to worry about”: Scientists have revived 46,000-year-old Siberian parasitic worms.

2) 🌋 CHASER – also cool, no doubt: Magma under the earth appears to be causing a “gravity hole” in the Indian Ocean.

3) 💉 The “excess death rate among Republican voters was 43% higher than the excess death rate among Democratic voters” after Covid vaccines became available to all adults in Ohio and Florida.

4) 💻 A look at some the world’s last remaining Internet cafes.

5) 🥎 A lack of unsupervised free play time is ruining kids’ mental health.

6) ✍️ What artificial intelligence chatbots like ChatGPT can teach us about good writing

7) 💼 …And how AI could change the way corporations are organized.

8) 👏 All foster children in California will now be able to attend a state university or community college for free.

9) 📺 My90sTV is a website that lets you watch TV from that decade, by year. You’re welcome.

10) 🇮🇪 RIP Sinéad O’Connor. She was 56.


🦴 Dog-related video of the week:

“am trapped fren”


💡 Quote of the week:

“Character – the willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life – is the source from which self-respect springs.” — Joan Didion


👊 Fist bump from Hong Kong,


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