Sent as an email newsletter February 28, 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.
📉 Chart of the week, above: It seems hard to believe, but coronavirus infections in the U.S. are plummeting.
Dr. Marty Makary, a professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Bloomberg School of Public Health, writes in The WSJ that the decline is down to 1) increasing numbers of people having built up natural immunity because they were infected earlier, and 2) vaccines becoming widespread.
⭐ “At the current trajectory, I expect Covid will be mostly gone by April, allowing Americans to resume normal life,” Makary writes.
I hope he’s right.
💉 Meanwhile, the latest vaccine stats: about half of people in the U.S. who are over the age of 65 have gotten a vaccine, and almost 20% of the population overall has gotten a first dose.
My latest in The WSJ:
✍️ I had two stories out this week, both about tech in India.
🐦 The first is an analytical look at Twitter’s new challenges in India, where the San Francisco firm faced a standoff with New Delhi over Twitter accounts posting material critical of the government. India is Twitter’s fastest growing market, according to analysts, and yet it’s never had so stiff a test there.
🇮🇳 The second story is about sweeping new rules the government is imposing on the likes of Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, and Netflix. The goal, authorities say: to make these U.S. tech titans accountable for problematic content in India.
👉 The big picture: the trend is clear. India continues to try to increase its control of Big Tech, a phenomenon I wrote about in a page one story in December 2019, when it was first emerging.
Here are 10 items worth your time this week:
1) 🇺🇸 For all of the potential good news about falling rates of infection – see above – the U.S. passed a sad milestone during a pandemic full of sad milestones: More than 500,000 people in America have now died from the coronavirus. Globally, more than 2.5 million have perished. Reuters has a graphic illustrating the scale of the death toll.
2) ✈️ Boeing told some carriers to ground its wide-body 777 jets after an engine in a United flight from Denver to Honolulu failed after takeoff. The plane returned to Denver, with no injuries. Check out a video of the ailing engine shot by a passenger.
3) 🇸🇦 An unclassified report from the U.S.’s Office of the Director of National Intelligence says Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman approved the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
4) 🇭🇰 The stark headline on an important story by my colleague Wenxin Fan: China’s Campaign to Crush Democracy in Hong Kong Is Working.
5) 📖 RIP Lawrence Ferlinghetti, “a poet, publisher and political iconoclast who inspired and nurtured generations of San Francisco artists and writers from City Lights, his famed bookstore.” He was 101.
6) 📷 File under: Everything old is new again. An up and coming photography app called Dispo replicates the experience of…a disposable camera. There’s a viewfinder and no editing; images “develop” and appear the next day.
7) 🎨 Art-meets-tech story of the week: Digital artist Mike Winkelmann – a father of two in Charleston, S.C. who goes by the name Beeple – makes millions auctioning his otherworldly creations online, Mickey Rapkin reports in Esquire. See Beeple’s work here.
8) 🎥 New-to-me tool of the week: JustWatch, a search engine for content across a multitude of streaming platforms. Want to know where to find a particular show or flick you’ve heard about? Check out JustWatch’s website or app. (Via Jordan Calhoun on a recent episode of the excellent Cool Tools podcast.)
9) 🦇 Heartwarming story of the week: Statler is a 33-year-old fruit bat who cuddles his human minders. (Thanks, Caitlin C.!)
10) 💅 Canine fashionistas (or, more accurately, their owners, who dress them up in adorable duds) are taking over Instagram – and powering pet clothing sales, the FT’s Kate Finnigan reports. Case in point: Tika the Iggy.
🐶 Dog-related video of the week: “5 months old puppy makes his 100 years old granny very happy.”
📕 What I’m Reading
I’ve just finished Martin Gurri’s “The Revolt of The Public and the Crisis of Authority in the New Millennium.” If you’re interested in the media studies, government, science, sociology, or just the world at large, it’s worth a read.
💡 Quote of the week:
“Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.” – Mark Twain
👊 Fist bump from Hong Kong,