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NN246: Dog Bless You

watercolor of Hong Kong

Sent as an email newsletter January 11, 2021. Not a Newley’s Notes subscriber yet? Get it here.

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: a recent watercolor of (part of) Hong Kong’s skyline. Want a hobby that forces you to stay in the moment, and is endlessly humbling? Try watercolors!

On to this week’s NN…

Here are ten items worth your time this week:

1) 👉 Two items on the Capitol riot. First, my colleagues in the U.S. have an important story out Sunday showing how the far-right Proud Boys “invoked the president’s rhetoric to build momentum toward violent showdown.”

2) 📹 And second: There’s more video of the attack. The New Yorker’s Luke Mogelson shot some footage (and has an accompanying story), while ProPublica has hundreds of videos that were posted to Parler before the platform was taken down.

3) 🐦 Nick Bilton, author of the 2014 book “Hatching Twitter,” writing in Vanity Fair: “Twitter has locked Donald Trump’s account for 12 hours after he used it to incite violence on a deadly day in Washington. What if they had done that years ago?” (Trump was, of course, later permanently suspended.)

4) 👉 WSJ obit: Phil Spector, Pop-Music Revolutionary Convicted of Murder, Dies at 81.

5) 📰 I love this: “At 80, She Is the Defiant Editor of ‘The Buzz’: Many retirement communities have declined to name names during the pandemic. So she started a newsletter to do just that.”

6) 💧 Dr. Peter Attia: “Do I really need 8 glasses of water a day?” TLDR: probably not.

7) ☀️ Pretty cool: “How Does the Sun Appear on Other Planets?

8) 💯 “100 Tips For A Better Life,” by Conor Barnes.

9) 🏠 “The World’s Largest – and America’s Priciest – Home Is Ready for Its Close-up.” The 105,000 square foot L.A. estate costs a reported $340 million.

10) 👏 Fun photo essay of the week: “Animals interrupting wildlife photographers. A thread…

•••

🐕 Dog-related video of the week: “Stray dog greeting devotees outside the temple.” [Reddit]

•••

📕 What I’m Reading

I’m enjoying “Facebook: The Inside Story,” by Steven Levy.

•••

💡 Quote of the week:

“Everything is hard before it is easy.” – Goethe

•••

👊 Fist bump from Hong Kong,

Newley

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Newley's Notes

NN245: The Best Sheep Herding Dog Ever

Ginger and her hoodie

Sent as an email newsletter January 11, 2021. Not a Newley’s Notes subscriber yet? Get it 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.

❄️ Photo of the week, above: We’re off to a chilly 2021 here in Hong Kong! As in: it’s 8 degrees Celsius/47 Fahrenheit (and windy!) as I write this.

🐾 But don’t worry: As you may have noticed in the previous NN, Ginger is just fine: She’s got a winter-themed hoodie to keep her toasty.

On to this week’s NN…

Here are ten items worth your time this week:

1) 🗞 My newest story, which I wrote with my colleague Phred Dvorak, ran on page one just after the new year.

The headline: Oyo Hotel Chain Suffered Ailments Beyond Pandemic’s Travel Slowdown. And the dek: “Thousands of hoteliers have left the company amid troubles that emerged before Covid-19, losses that threaten the hotel network’s global ambitions.” Click through for more.

2) 📚 Just out yesterday at Newley.com: The 15 Best Books I Read in 2020. TLDR: six books about China/Hong Kong, a few classic novels, some philosophical treatises, and…plenty about pandemics.

3) 👉 My colleagues Dan Frosch, Rachael Levy, Khadeeja Safdar, and Erin Ailworth have a comprehensive look at just who was in the crowd that barged into the Capitol Wednesday. The piece begins:

”An Oklahoma grandmother. The CEO of a Chicago-area marketing firm. A Florida man convicted of attempted murder. A leader of the group of far-right street brawlers known as the Proud Boys. An Iraq war veteran who works at a Seattle-area packaging plant. A newly sworn-in West Virginia lawmaker.”

What they shared: “an unfounded certainty that President Trump had won re-election.”

4) ➡️ Another WSJ must-read, this one by my colleagues Michael M. Phillips and Jennifer Levitz: how one Trump fan, Doug Sweet, became part of the mob.

5) 🗣 President Trump is losing his digital megaphones. Axios has a running list of who’s banned him: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter…

6) 🦠 Longread of the week: “The Plague Year,” by Lawrence Wright in the New Yorker.

7) 🇫🇷 In happier news: The Champs-Élysées is getting a $225 million makeover. Think: “an extraordinary garden.”

8) ✈️ Random technical observation: I had no idea flight simulators have gotten so realistic. Wow.

9) 🍴 Archaelolgists in Pompeii unearthed a snack bar from 79 A.D. More photos are here.

10) 🦥 Sentence of the week: “If Voirin’s hunch is right, the pygmy sloths might not just look stoned — like all sloths do — but they really are stoned.

•••

🐕 Dog-related video of the week: “Laziest sheep herding dog ever.”

•••

📕 What I’m Reading

Since my last dispatch I finished Nina Teicholz’s outstanding “The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet,” then turned to Cal Newport’s “Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World,” which I enjoyed.

Now it’s on to “Facebook: The Inside Story,” by Steven Levy.

•••

💡 Quote of the week:

“I was born very far from where I’m supposed to be and so I’m on my way home." — Bob Dylan, in the 2005 Martin Scorsese documentary, “No Direction Home: Bob Dylan.”

•••

🤗 What’s new with you? Hit reply to send me tips, queries, random comments, and videos of working dogs that are hardly working.

👊 Fist bump from Hong Kong,

Newley

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Newley's Notes

NN 244: Tenacious Terriers

happy holidays 2020

Sent as an email newsletter December 20, 2020. Not a Newley’s Notes subscriber yet? Get it 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.

🎅 Photo of the week, above: Happy holidays from Hong Kong! (And yes, Ginger is wearing a holiday-themed hoodie.)

🚨 Administrative note: There will be no NN for the next couple of weeks. I’ll be back in 2021. I hope you have a restful and restorative end to what has been, quite simply, a year for the history books.

On to this week’s NN…

Here are ten items worth your time this week:

1) 🗞 My newest story, an exclusive with my colleague Jeff Horwitz, ran earlier this week. The headline: In India, Facebook Fears Crackdown on Hate Groups Could Backfire on Its Staff. And the sub-hed: “Social media giant’s security team cites possible attacks if extremist Hindu groups are kicked off platform.”

This is the most recent of several stories we’ve written about Facebook in India, you may recall. You can find links to our previous pieces at the bottom of this post.

2) 👏 Covid–19 vaccine update: the first Pfizer/BioNTech doses were administered in the U.S., my colleagues Peter Loftus and Melanie Grayce West reported, “kicking off the most urgent mass immunization campaign since polio shots were rolled out in the 1950s.” The first recipient: Sandra Lindsay, a critical care nurse at a hospital in the Queens.

3) 💻 Big cyber espionage news: “Multiple federal government agencies, including the U.S. Treasury and Commerce departments, have had some of their computer systems breached as part of a widespread global cyber espionage campaign believed to be the work of the Russian government, according to officials and people familiar with the matter,” my colleague Dustin Volz reports.

4) 👉 NPR: ‘New York Times’ Retracts Core Of Hit Podcast Series ‘Caliphate’ On ISIS. “The newspaper has reassigned its star terrorism reporter, Rukmini Callimachi, who hosted the series,” David Folkenflick reports. And: “On multiple occasions prior to the release of the podcast, Chaudhry had told Canadian news outlets that he had traveled to Syria in 2014 and joined ISIS. But he had denied playing any role in killings. To Callimachi and the Times, however, he claimed he had conducted executions.”

5) 🌐 Alphabet’s Google, Gmail, Google Docs, YouTube and additional services went down around the world Monday for about an hour. It was due to a problem with how users log into their accounts, the company said.

6) 🏆 2020 best of lists are here. Check out the 10 Best Books of 2020 (WSJ); the best long-form writing of 2020 (Longform); the best television series of 2020 (Economist); the best albums of 2020 (New York Times); the best films of 2020 (AV Club); and the art world’s most important moments in 2020 (New York Times).

7) 📚 Author John le Carré died at age 89. He “raised the spy novel to a new level of seriousness and respect,” Eric Homberger writes in The Guardian.

8) 🌃 New York magazine’s Curbed on an interesting photography project: This Artist Posed As a Hungarian Billionaire Buyer to Get Into 25 New York Penthouses.

9) 🚴‍♂️ BBC travel has a story on an epic bike trail in the works: “The Great American Rail-Trail is the most ambitious biking initiative the country has ever seen. Stretching an extraordinary 3,700 miles from the nation’s capital across 12 states to the Pacific Ocean, west of Seattle, it’s an idea that’s been ruminating for 50 years.” Here’s the trail’s website, and the official route.

10) ⛪ File under: nativity scenes, 2020 edition. “It’s hideous…Why do they have that one with the horns?…What is that? A turkey?”

•••

🐕 Dog-related video of the week: Fearless Terrier Sends Bear Scampering Back Into the Woods.

•••

📕 What I’m Reading

I’m almost finished with Nina Teicholz’s meticulously researched, eye-opening 2014 book, “The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet.” It it astoundingly good: alarming, maddening, fascinating. A must-read if you care about health, nutrition, policymaking, or how science is conducted.

•••

💡 Quote of the week:

“Email is a wonderful thing for people whose role in life is to be on top of things. But not for me; my role is to be on the bottom of things.” – Renowned Stanford University computer science professor Donald E. Knuth.

•••

👊 Fist bump from Hong Kong,

Newley

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Newley's Notes

NN243: Howlin’ Huskies

Ginger high five

Sent as an email newsletter December 13, 2020. Not a Newley’s Notes subscriber yet? Get it 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.

🙌 Photo of the week, above: from a recent Hong Kong expedition. Here’s a paw-sitevly paw-some high five from Ginger, straight to you.

On to this week’s NN.

Here are ten items worth your time this week:

1) 🩺 Covid–19 vaccine update: Here we go! The FDA on Friday authorized the Pfizer/BioNTech shot. Health-care workers, people in nursing homes and long term care could be the first to get it, followed by essential workers and others. The general population may receive it in the spring or summer, by which time other vaccines may also be approved.

2) ⚖️ Big news out Wednesday: Facebook Hit With Antitrust Lawsuits by FTC, State Attorneys General. The lede from my WSJ colleagues Brent Kendall and John D. McKinnon: “The Federal Trade Commission and 46 states sued Facebook Inc. on Wednesday, accusing the social-media giant of buying and freezing out small startups to choke competition.”

3) 🎸 The great Bob Dylan has sold his entire publishing catalog to Universal Music Publishing Group for what is likely “hundreds of millions of dollars – rivaled in value and influence only by the Beatles,” my colleague Anne Steele writes. (Yes, the lede of the story is: “Bob Dylan is tangled up in green.”)

4) 🌵 Austin, Texas is seeing an influx of new residents as companies and workers relocate during the pandemic. The cost of living is lower, there’s no state income tax, the weather is warm, there’s space for social distancing, and there’s a ton of low-cost housing. (Among those moving to the Lone Star State: none other than Elon Musk.)

5) 🚢 A four-day cruise? To nowhere? During a pandemic? A Royal Caribbean vessel returned to shores in Singapore after someone on board…tested positive for Covid–19. (The company told guests it would give them a “future cruise credit for the value of one day’s worth of cruise fare paid to be used on a future sailing.”) Oh, and: it looks like result may have been a false positive.

6) 🎧 Gadget alert: Apple’s releasing over-the-ear, noise canceling headphones called AirPods Max. They cost $549 and go on sale December 15.

7) 🏢 In “Why Do We Still Love “The Office”?, Sarah Larson writes in the New Yorker that ”Though it ended seven years ago,“ it it still among Netflix’s most popular shows. And ”this year two of the most popular podcasts on iTunes and Spotify were ‘Office’ podcasts, hosted by former cast members," she writes.

8) 🍗 Headline of the week: “Love me tenders: Why KFC is pushing a sexy Colonel Sanders movie”. Please enjoy the trailer, starring Mario Lopez, aka “Saved by the Bell”’s A.C. Slater.

9) 👩‍🍳 Tweet of the week: “Nigella Lawson saying ‘Microwave’ like this has made my Christmas already.”

10) 🐶 Canine-related longread of the week, by Jeff MacGregor in Smithsonian Magazine: “The New Science of Our Ancient Bond With Dogs.” (Thanks, Anasuya!)

•••

🐕 Dog-related video of the week: “Huskie puppy doesn’t quite get the howling thing.”

•••

📕 What I’m Reading

I finished “The Great Firewall of China: How to Build and Control an Alternative Version of the Internet,” by James Griffiths, and have now turned to something altogether different: Nina Teicholz’s 2014 bestseller, “The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet.”

•••

💡 Quote of the week:

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing. A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days.” – Annie Dillard

•••

👊 Fist bump from Hong Kong,

Newley

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Newley's Notes

NN242: Best Pug Reunion Ever

Dog in Causeway Bay

Sent as an email newsletter December 6, 2020. Not a Newley’s Notes subscriber yet? Get it 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.

🐶 Photo of the week, above: spotted yesterday in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong.

On to this week’s NN.

Here are ten items worth your time this week:

1) 💉 Covid–19 vaccine news: Moderna, you may have seen, has asked regulators in Europe and the U.S. to okay its shot. “The timing keeps the vaccine on track to become possibly the second to go into use in the U.S. by year’s end – after one already under regulatory review from Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE – with inoculation available to the general public likely in spring or summer,” my colleague Peter Loftus reported Monday.

👏 There will undoubtedly be roadblocks ahead, but let’s remember: this is good news!

2) 💻 Big news in the world of artificial intelligence: Prominent AI Researcher Says Google Fired Her After Dispute Over Her Work, Impolitic Email. My colleague Rob Copeland has the story. And from MIT Technology Review: We read the paper that forced Timnit Gebru out of Google. Here’s what it says.

3) 😔 In last week’s NN I pointed to an article about the death of Zappos co-founder Tony Hsieh. Now, Angel Au-Yeung and David Jeans, writing in Forbes, have the apparent back story: “…while he directly (by the tens of thousands) and indirectly (by the millions) delivered on making other people smile, Hsieh was privately coping with issues of mental health and addiction.”

4) 🎙 The Philadelphia Inquirer talks to Marie Siravo, owner of Four Seasons Total Landscaping, about how Rudy Giuliani’s press conference thrust her small business into the global limelight.

5) 📖 Book publishing news: The new chief executive of Barnes & Noble is employing a new tactic to try to boost sales in an age of Amazon: giving local B&N managers more power to select titles they sell, rather than New York book buyers making the decisions, my colleague Jeffrey Trachtenberg reports.

6) 📰 Irish photographer Noel Bowler has been photographing newspaper newsrooms around the world, from The WSJ (New York) to The Sun (London) to Le Monde (Paris) and more. More info is available on his Kickstarter page, where he says he is documenting the “physical space and the structural layers that have formed the foundation of our modern press.”

7) 📸 And another powerful photo essay: “Hidden in Plain Sight: The Ghosts of Segregation,” by Richard Frishman in the New York Times. More info is available on his website.

8) 🎨 Wow, wow, wow: “Hailed as ‘the Sistine Chapel of the ancients’, archaeologists have found tens of thousands of paintings of animals and humans created up to 12,500 years ago across cliff faces that stretch across nearly eight miles in Colombia.” Click through for photos.

9) 📱 “On Wednesday, EU lawmakers passed a non-binding resolution arguing that individuals have a fundamental ‘right to disconnect.’”

10) ʕ·͡ᴥ·ʔ Headline of the week: “Adelaide family returns home to find koala perched on Christmas tree in lounge room.” Yes, there are photos, and even a video.

•••

🐶 Dog related video of the week: Boy meets his dog after it was lost for 2 weeks.

•••

📕 What I’m Reading

I’ve almost finished “The Great Firewall of China: How to Build and Control an Alternative Version of the Internet,” by James Griffiths. And in the meantime (as I often read a few books at a time), I’ve been racing through a classic Thomas Harris thriller I can’t believe I’d never read, despite seeing the film: “The Silence of the Lambs.” It is so, so good.

•••

💡 Quote of the week:

“In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.” – Robert Frost

•••

👊 Fist bump from Hong Kong,

Newley

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Newley's Notes

NN241: An enthusiastic pup at the door

Ginger and pecan pie

Sent as an email newsletter Sunday, November 29. Not a Newley’s Notes subscriber yet? Get it 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.

🦃 I hope you had an excellent Thanksgiving! We had a fun one here in Hong Kong.

Photo of the week, above: preparing my Aunt Cece’s world famous South Carolina pecan pie. The back story on the tradition, along with the recipe, are in this 2014 story I wrote.

🐕 Also pictured: my sous chef, Ginger.

On to this week’s NN.

Here are ten items worth your time this week:

1) ⚽ RIP Diego Maradona, one of the best soccer players – some argue the best – to have ever laced up a pair of boots. He was just 60 years old. Should you ever doubt that beauty exists in what often feels like an ugly world, just watch his legendary goal for Argentina in the 1986 world cup. (Sorry, England fans.)

🇦🇷 For more on Maradona, check out his 2005 autobiography, titled (with his customary humility) “El Diego: The Autobiography of the World’s Greatest Footballer.”

2) 📺 Speaking of soccer, have you been watchingTed Lasso?” No, seriously. It’s worth a watch.

3) 😔 Tony Hsieh, co-founder of pioneering e-commerce startup Zappos, died at age 46 following a house fire in Connecticut.

4) 🦠 Emma Graham-Harrison and Robin McKie, writing in The Guardian: “Nearly a year after doctors identified the first cases of a worrying new disease in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the country appears to be stepping up a campaign to question the origins of the global Covid–19 pandemic.”

5) 📰 “In interviews with over a half-dozen various former Drudge associates, about half suggested that the site may no longer be under his control.” That’s Armin Rosen, writing at Tablet about Matt Drudge and the Drudge Report.

6) 😄 Singaporean activist Jolovan Wham has been charged with holding an illegal public protest. He stood outside a police station displaying a smiley face drawn on a piece of cardboard.

7) 🚁 Wim Zwijnenburg at Bellingcat: “Are Emirati Armed Drones Supporting Ethiopia from an Eritrean Air Base?”

8) 👽 Officials surveying bighorn sheep in remote Utah happened upon something strange: a mysterious metal monolith 10 to 12 feet tall. It is probably (hopefully? fingers crossed?) a work of art.

🚨 Update, just discovered as I was about to hit send on this edition of NN: THE THING HAS NOW DISAPPEARED.

9) 🍺 Busch has a new (non-alcoholic) beer for dogs, called “Busch Dog Brew,” that’s made with vegetables and pork broth. More info is here. (Thanks, Tim M.!)

10) 🎨 Artvee aggregates artwork from museums that is in the public domain and available to download, searchable by artist or type of work.

•••

🐶 Dog related video of the week: “Someone is waiting inside!

•••

📕 What I’m Reading

I finished “How to Take Smart Notes: One Simple Technique to Boost Writing, Learning and Thinking – for Students, Academics and Nonfiction Book Writers.” Though brief, it contained some compelling insights.

Now I’ve moved on to “The Great Firewall of China: How to Build and Control an Alternative Version of the Internet,” by James Griffiths. (Thanks for the recommendation, Patrick N.!)

•••

💡 Quote of the week:

“In general, I feel if you can’t say it clearly you don’t understand it yourself.” – John Rogers Searle

•••

👊 Fist bump from Hong Kong,

Newley

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NN240: Brave Baby Bulldogs

Ginger in Hong Kong

Sent as an email newsletter Sunday, November 22. Not a Newley’s Notes subscriber yet? Get it 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.

Photo of the week, above: Out and about with Ginger here in Hong Kong.

On to this week’s NN.

Here are ten items worth your time this week:

🦠 1) Hospitals Know What’s Coming [The Atlantic]

💉 2) Moderna and Pfizer Are Reinventing Vaccines, Starting With Covid [WSJ]

💊 3) Amazon Launches Online Pharmacy [WSJ]

😔 4) Jan Morris, Celebrated Writer of Place and History, Is Dead at 94 – [New York Times] Sad news. I recently read and loved her 1997 book “Hong Kong.”

✏️ 5) The Rise and Fall of Getting Things Done – [Cal Newport, author of the excellent “Deep Work,” writing in the New Yorker.]

⚽ 6) Gio Reyna is primed for his USMNT debut. And he’s only 17. [Washington Post] Thanks, Duncle!

🧠 7) My daughter was a creative genius, and then we bought her an iPhone [Stephanie Gruner Buckley, writing at Medium]

🏠 8) Zillow Surfing Is the Escape We All Need Right Now [New York Times]

🍺 9) Waffle House Is Getting an Official Beer – and It Smells Like Bacon [Food & Wine] Thanks, Andrew!

🎧 10) Why Is The Obscure B-Side “Harness Your Hopes” Pavement’s Top Song On Spotify? It’s Complicated. [Stereogum]

•••

🐕 Dog related video of the week: “A True leap of faith.” [Reddit]

•••

📕 What I’m Reading

I’ve seen people raving online about a slim book that came out in 2017 called “How to Take Smart Notes: One Simple Technique to Boost Writing, Learning and Thinking – for Students, Academics and Nonfiction Book Writers,” and am diving in. Stay tuned.

•••

💡 Quote of the week:

“Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you criticize them, you are a mile away from them and you have their shoes.” – Jack Handey

•••

👊 Fist bump from Hong Kong,

Newley

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Newley's Notes

NN238: Champ and Major Head to the White House

WSJ front page Biden

Sent as an email newsletter Monday, November 9. Not a Newley’s Notes subscriber yet? Get it 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.

🇺🇸 Photo of the day, above: Today’s WSJ front page. The headline: “Biden Charts New Course.”

More on that below.

🚨 Breaking: A new story out just this morning U.S. time: Pfizer’s Covid–19 Vaccine Proves 90% Effective in Latest Trials.

“A vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc. and partner BioNTech proved better than expected at protecting people from Covid–19 in a pivotal study, a milestone in the hunt for shots that can stop the global pandemic.”

🤞 “The vaccine proved to be more than 90% effective in the first 94 subjects who were infected by the new coronavirus and developed at least one symptom…”

💬 Meanwhile, in non-political news, I had a brief story out Friday. The headline: Facebook’s WhatsApp Gets Green Light to Expand Mobile Payments in India. It begins:

Regulators in India granted Facebook Inc.’s WhatsApp permission to expand its digital payments service, a win for the company after a delay of nearly three years in its largest market by users.

🔮 BUT: As I note, they’re limited to 20 million users. That’s a lot, yes, but they have a staggering 400 million people on the platform in India, so it’s only about 5% of their user base. Reminder: Facebook has big plans for India, and back in April said they’re plowing $5.7 billion – their biggest foreign investment ever – into a partnership with a mobile operator owned by India’s richest man.

On to this week’s NN.

🗞 1) So: We have a president-elect! My colleague Scott Austin created a fantastic Twitter thread featuring newspaper front pages, ranging from Biden’s hometown paper (“Mr. President”) to Scranton’s Times-Tribune (“Made in Pa.”) to a paper in Stockholm (“You’re Fired”) to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (“After Long Week, a New President”) and many more.

🎧 2) “He had one message that was at the core of his candidacy. And that was the country is in search of unity and a return to some sense of normalcy and stability.” My DC-based colleague Sabrina Siddiqui, who covered the Biden campaign, joined our The Journal podcast to explain how he won.

★ 3) I really like this map, “Purple States of America.” Rather than the familiar red and blue states, it shows in a more nuanced fashion how people voted.

» 4) FiveThirtyEight: Biden Is Projected To Be The President-Elect. Here’s How It All Went Down. “In our era of political polarization, competitive elections are the norm and our country remains deeply divided,” Sarah Frostenson writes. “Trump might not have won a second term, but the question of where the country heads next is an open one.”

✴️ 5) Buzzfeed News: “…one figure in particular was credited with flipping Pennsylvania — the myth, the legend, the one-and-only Gritty.”

❓6) The Philadelphia Inquirer: "No, not that Four Seasons: How Team Trump’s news conference ended up at a Northeast Philly landscaping firm. (And speaking of Four Seasons – and Gritty – there exists a T-shirt of said business, with Gritty riding a tractor.)

😷 7) Axios’s Hans Nichols: “Joe Biden plans Monday to name a 12-member task force to combat and contain the spread of the coronavirus, sources tell Axios.”

🗣 8) The Verge’s Adi Robertson: “Trump will lose his Twitter ‘public interest’ protections in January.

📱 9) What does Biden’s win mean for Silicon Valley? “D.C’s spotlight will brighten on privacy, surveillance and hate speech online,” Axios’s Ina Fried writes. “These issues animate Democrats, and Biden has already pledged a task force to study ties between online harassment and real-world extremism, violence and abuse. ”

🐕 10) Dog-related video of the week: Here is Champ & Major Biden’s video debut! – yes, those are Joe and Jill Biden’s pups. Major, who the Bidens got in 2018 from the Delaware Human Association, will be the White House’s first rescue dog. You can follow the doggie duo on Twitter here. (Thanks, Anasuya and Mike W.!)

•••

💡 Quote of the week:

“It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that they are difficult.” – Seneca

•••

👊 Fist bump from Hong Kong,

Newley

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NN235: Golden Retriever Snuggles

Shiba inu in a raincoat

Sent as an email newsletter Sunday, October 4. Not a subscriber yet? Get it 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.

🐕 Photo of the week, above: Out and about in rainy Hong Kong.

Yes, that’s what appeared to be a shiba inu clad in a red raincoat and boots. (Unclear if it was one of the two I spotted a few weeks back, dining with their owners.)

Hashtag: #ShibaLife.

✍️ In other news: The headline on my latest story, out Thursday with my colleague Natasha Khan: Hong Kong’s Leader Says Stability Has Been Restored, With City Under Heavy Police Presence.

The lede:

Chief Executive Carrie Lam said stability had been restored in Hong Kong three months after Beijing imposed national-security legislation, as thousands of police officers fanned out to pre-empt any protests that might disrupt Thursday’s celebration of China’s National Day.

And:

“Stable and happy is what the Hong Kong government imagines us to be,” said a man in his 20s who identified himself as Mr. Wong, standing near police officers in a shopping district where some demonstrators had appeared. “But we are still so angry.” He said Mrs. Lam only wants what China’s Communist Party wants, not the city’s people.

🚨 Administrative note: There will be no NN next week. I’ll be back the week of October 18.

Here are ten items worth your time this week:

🇺🇸 1) What a week for news. First up, there’s one story dominating headlines these last few days: President Trump has Covid–19.

The latest from my WSJ colleagues Catherine Lucey and Rebecca Ballhaus yesterday (Saturday):

“President Trump had a fever and rapidly dropping blood-oxygen levels on Friday morning, but his condition has since improved, the White House chief of staff said late Saturday…”

Related reads:

👉 My colleague Andrew Restuccia reports on what working conditions have been like inside the White House:

“The president’s attitude about the virus is reflected in the culture at the White House and his re-election campaign, where few staffers regularly wear masks and there is little social distancing, according to people familiar with the matter.”

⏳ And the Washington Post has the ticktock, beginning last weekend with a White House Rose Garden ceremony for Judge Amy Coney Barrett, Trump’s Supreme Court nominee:

"Spirits were high. Finally, Trump was steering the national discussion away from the coronavirus pandemic — which had already killed more than 200,000 people in the United States and was still raging — to more favorable terrain, a possible conservative realignment of the Supreme Court.

Attendees were so confident that the contagion would not invade their seemingly safe space at the White House that, according to Jenkins, after guests tested negative that day they were instructed they no longer needed to cover their faces."

💰 2) And another big news item this week: The New York Times reported that in 2016 and 2017 Trump paid just $750 in federal income taxes. “His reports to the I.R.S. portray a businessman who takes in hundreds of millions of dollars a year yet racks up chronic losses that he aggressively employs to avoid paying taxes,” wrote Russ Buettner, Susanne Craig and Mike McIntire.

🗣 3) And there’s been more news this week, of course: the Trump-Biden debate. “This was maybe the worst presidential debate in American history,” NPR’s Domenico Montanaro wrote. “Trump doesn’t play by anyone’s rules, even those he’s agreed to beforehand. He’s prided himself on that. But even by his standards, what Trump did Tuesday night crossed many lines.”

📺 PBS has a video re-cap of the event.

🇮🇹 4) Meanwhile, outside the Beltway: Italians have long been resistant to e-commerce, opting to pay cash and shop in actual stores. Then the pandemic hit. Amazon is capitalizing. Not everyone is happy about it.

☢ 5) Researchers are MIT and a sister company may be just three our four years away from completing the construction of what scientists have long dreamed of: a small nuclear fusion reactor. Testing would then be needed, but this kind of reactor, unlike a conventional fission one, could – repeat: could – produce electricity without as much radioactive waste.

👟 6) The latest trend in casual footwear is…the Grateful Dead. Recent collaborations include officially licensed tie-dyed Crocs and fake fur Nikes, my colleague Jacob Gallagher writes. Some are selling for more than $700 on resale websites.

🇪🇬 7) Egypt has just put on display 59 wooden sarcophagi – many painted, bearing hieroglyphics, and containing mummies – that are more than 2,500 years old.

🏃‍♂️ 8) 2020 has been a tough year, Hong Kong resident Iain Marlow writes for Bloomberg CityLab, but the place offers a special benefit even amid a pandemic: a vast network of trails for running and hiking. Marlowe has been putting them to good use, as have I.

🧠 9) Author Ryan Holiday shares a useful roundup of tips, tricks and advice: “33 Things I Stole From People Smarter Than Me.”

🐶 10) Dog-related video of the week: “I think I’ll just – plop

•••

📕 What I’m Reading

I finished Evan Osnos’s excellent “Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China” – a Book Notes blog post is coming soon – and have moved on to something yet closer to home. I’ve just started Jeffrey Wasserstrom’s “Vigil: Hong Kong on the Brink,” about the city’s protest movement.

•••

💡 Quote of the week:

“Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.” – Philip K. Dick

•••

👊 Fist bump from Hong Kong,

Newley

Categories
Newley's Notes

NN234: Water dogs vs. herding dogs

mango mochi

Sent as an email newsletter Sunday, September 27. Not a subscriber yet? Get it 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.

🥭 Photo of the week, above: a snack for the ages. Yes, that’s mango mochi – you read that right – a specialty on Cheung Chau, a small outlying island here in Hong Kong. And the answer is yes: mango mochi is every bit as tasty as it sounds.

Cheung Chau makes for a fun day trip or weekend getaway if you live, as we do, in a more bustling part of HK. (With the pandemic making travel difficult, I feel fortunate to be here, a city with many sights to see and countless hiking trails to explore, especially as we’re still new to the place.)

The island was once a simple fishing village but is now a popular tourist destination thanks to its beaches, seafood and street food (did I mention the mango mochi?), and growing numbers of boutiques. Its narrow streets can’t accommodate cars, so people get around on foot or bike.

📸 See my Instagram feed for a few images from a recent visit – there are short, easy hikes, beautifully maintained houses, a Taoist temple built in the 18th century, and the most diminutive ambulances you will ever see.

Here are ten items worth your time this week:

🦠 1) My colleagues Tim Martin and Dasl Yoon had a story out Friday about Covid–19 that’s worth a read. “South Korea appears to have cracked the code for managing the coronavirus,” they write. The country has blended “technology and testing like no other country, centralized control and communication—and a constant fear of failure.”

🇺🇸 2) Shot: Joe Biden leads President Trump 53 percent to 43 percent among registered voters in a new Washington Post/ABC News poll. Among likely voters, Biden leads 49 percent to 43 percent.

❓ 3) Chaser: Longread of the week. What happens if President Trump loses – or it’s a standoff like Bush vs. Gore in 2000 – and Trump doesn’t concede? The prospects are grim, Barton Gellman writes in The Atlantic. “We are not prepared for this at all,” Julian Zelizer, a historian at Prince­ton, is quoted as saying. “We talk about it, some worry about it, and we imagine what it would be. But few people have actual answers to what happens if the machinery of democracy is used to prevent a legitimate resolution to the election.”

📕 4) A lot of people, apparently, can’t stand Goodreads but its ubiquity makes it hard to escape. Can a new service called The Story Graph succeed where Goodreads has failed?

👷‍♂️ 5) Ask Reddit: “What’s an industry secret in the field you work in?”

🐕 6) Researchers in Finland have trained dogs to sniff out Covid–19, and the canines are now being deployed in a trial run at Helsinki airport to identify passengers who might be infected.

🔉 7) The BBC has released a collection of 16,000 sound effects, ranging from acetylene torches to yacht sounds, that are available for personal or educational purposes.

🔍 8) Newspaper Navigator is a cool new project that lets you search more that 1.5 million historic newspaper photos from 1900 through 1963. You can search by state, year, and keyword.

👏 9) The finalists for this year’s Comedy Wildlife Photography awards have been announced.

🐶 10) Dog-related video of the week: “A water dog and a herding dog run into a lake…”

•••

📺 What I’m watching

The Cohen Brothers’ movies are some of my favorite films of all time, but I had never seen their first, 1984’s “Blood Simple.” I recently decided it was time to give it a watch.

Right the beginning you can see in it what would become their hallmarks: Hitchcockian plot twists, dark humor, the themes of right and wrong, loyalty and betrayal, and the sense that in this world – or in Texas, in the case of this film – it’s everyone for himself or herself. Also features Frances McDormand in her cinematic debut, and it was Barry Sonnenfeld’s first cinematographic effort.

•••

💡 Quote of the week:
“Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

•••

👊 Fist bump from Hong Kong,

Newley