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👋 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.
This is my first NN since taking a break in late January, and I have…
🚨 A special announcement, by far the most important I have ever made here at NN:
👶 Anasuya and I had a baby boy in February!
His name is Dossett Shanti Purnell.
We named him for my great grandfather, Dossett, and Anasuya’s grandfather, Shanti, which is a Sanskrit word meaning peace.
As I mentioned in a brief post, he is big (he tipped the scales at 8.6 pounds at birth, measuring 21 inches long), he is healthy, he is a voracious eater, and he is a sound sleeper.
🤗 We are beyond happy.
My WSJ latest:
🗞 While it’s hard to follow that news, I’ve had a few stories out since returning from parental leave.
🔍 On Thursday I wrote about a pro-China online campaign that a cybersecurity firm says pumped out bogus social media posts and news articles. The goal, at least in part: to try to discredit a prominent U.S.-based anthropologist who has illuminated China’s crackdown on Muslims in the country’s Xinjiang region.
⚖️ Earlier, I wrote about Amazon suing the administrators of thousands of Facebook groups it said are used to coordinate fake reviews.
🇮🇳 In another story, a colleague and I detailed Facebook’s first global human rights report – which contained limited information on the controversial human rights impact I assessment on India that I covered in November.
🐦 And I also wrote about Twitter filing a legal challenge in India against the government’s orders to block some tweets and accounts.
I’ll likely be back with normal news links in future dispatches, but in the meantime…
Here are 10 recommendations for books, TV shows and podcasts I’ve enjoyed since I was last in touch:
1) 📱 A thought-provoking nonfiction book on tech: “Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now,” by Jaron Lanier.
2) 🤑 And another: “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism,” by Harvard Business School professor Shoshana Zuboff. Worth a read, not only because it’ll help you determine who, among the many people throwing the phrase “surveillance capitalism” around these days, has actually read the book.
3) 🔪 A masterful psychological thriller: “Hannibal,” by Thomas Harris. (I have read “The Silence of the Lambs” a couple of times, but somehow had missed its sequel.)
4) 🧠 An excellent book about the importance of the tales we tell ourselves: “The Power of Story,” by performance psychologist Jim Loehr. (He also wrote a book I read three decades ago that had a lasting impact on me: “Mental Toughness Training for Sports.”)
5) 📹 “How To with John Wilson,” is a comedic documentary series on HBO I’d heard great things about since it came out a couple years ago. It is hilarious, insightful, and quirky.
6) 🇺🇸 Another excellent HBO series, just out this year, is “Somebody Somewhere,” starring Bridget Everett. It’s about life in a small town in Kansas.
7) 🏀 A fantastic Netflix series: “Last Chance U: Basketball.” While other seasons are about football, this spin-off focuses on junior college basketball players in Los Angeles. It’s as much about the players’ lives as it is about the sport.
8) 🌮 Also on Netflix: “The Taco Chronicles.” Filmed in Mexico, each episode examines a different kind of taco – pastor, carnitas, asada, etc. – featuring interviews with chefs and critics on its historical roots and cultural importance.
9) 🎧 I’m not sure how it took me so long to finally listen to the Accidental Tech podcast, but I’m so glad I finally did. Basically: three nerds get extremely geeky on Apple/Mac tech topics, coding, cars, streaming services, video games and more. Also might have the catchiest bespoke podcast theme song ever created.
10) 🗣 Another podcast I’m loving: Chatter, hosted by the Washington Post’s Shane Harris and David Priess of Lawfare. Deep discussions about national security issues with fascinating people, including spy novelists.
🦴 Dog-related video of the week:
💡 Quote of the week:
“Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced.” ― Soren Kierkegaard
👊 Fist bump from Hong Kong,