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Newley's Notes

NN293: Goldens on Guard

AI art

Sent as a newsletter September 5. Not on my list? Sign up 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: “Theatre d’Opera Spatial," by Jason Allen, via Discord. (See item eight below.)

My WSJ latest:

💻 My latest story, out Thursday: Global VPN Providers Pull India Servers Over New Cybersecurity Rules.

It begins:

Major global providers of virtual private networks, which let internet users shield their identities online, are shutting down their servers in India to protest new government rules they say threaten their customers’ privacy.

The Indian agency overseeing computer security will soon require VPN operators in India to collect information such as customer’s names, email addresses and the IP addresses they use to connect to the internet. Providers must maintain the data for at least five years and furnish the information to authorities when asked.

Among those shutting down their India servers: NordVPN, Private Internet Access, IPVanish, TunnelBear, ExpressVPN and Surfshark.

It’s the latest example of New Delhi getting tough with foreign tech firms.

Here are 10 items worth your time this week:

1) 🇷🇺 Mikhail Gorbachev, who brought about “perestroika” and “glasnost” as the final leader of the Soviet Union, died at age 91. (Here’s the back story on his much-shared 1997 Pizza Hut commercial.)

2) 🐦 Twitter is testing a feature that would let paying users edit tweets up to thirty minutes after they’re published.

3) 🇨🇳 My colleagues Josh Chin and Liza Lin have a WSJ essay out that’s adapted from their new book, “Surveillance State: Inside China’s Quest to Launch a New Era of Social Control.”

4) 🇭🇰 More than two years into the pandemic, Hong Kong is still requiring people arriving in the city to quarantine in hotels. But that mandate may be lifted in November, Bloomberg reports.

5) ✍️ Politico has a profile of Jelani Cobb, the new dean of the Columbia Journalism School.

6) 🌏 RandomStreetView.com: click a button to be transported to a new part of the world.

7) 📱 Where do memes come from? More and more, from TikTok.

8) 🤖 A man won first place in a digital art competition for a work he made using an AI generator, sparking controversy online.

9) 🍝 Pasta-sauce related mishap of the week: “Memphis, TN police say a tractor-trailer spilled Alfredo sauce all over I–55.”

10) 🦦 This week’s moment of zen: petting an otter’s hands.

•••

🦴 Dog-related video of the week:

“Found my dog crying at the back door.”

•••

💡 Quote of the week:

“A good photograph is knowing where to stand.” – Ansel Adams

•••

👊 Fist bump from Hong Kong,

Newley

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Newley's Notes

NN292: Brilliant Border Collies

Sent as a newsletter Aug. 29, 2022. Want to join my email list? Sign up 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: a Corgi named Lego I encountered here in Hong Kong recently. Yes, Lego was wearing angel wings and a Los Angeles Dodgers baseball cap.

My WSJ latest:

🍎 A story with my colleague Rajesh Roy on Tuesday: Apple to Cut New iPhone 14 Production Lag Between India and China

It begins:

NEW DELHI–Apple Inc. is preparing to manufacture its new iPhone in India months earlier than it did previous models, a sign the company is boosting production outside its traditional base of China, where Covid-related shutdowns and geopolitical tensions have raised risks for foreign businesses.

🇺🇸 🇨🇳 🇹🇼 And one yesterday: U.S. Warships Sail Through Taiwan Strait for First Time Since Nancy Pelosi’s Visit

The lede:

HONG KONG–Two U.S. warships sailed through the Taiwan Strait, U.S. and Taiwan defense officials said Sunday, the first such activity publicized since U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan earlier in August.

Here are 10 items worth your time this week:

1) 🐦 Twitter’s former security chief alleged in a whistleblower complaint that executives have misled the company’s board of directors on a wide range of issues. Here’s a redacted, PDF version of the complaint.

2) 📱 Don’t buy a new iPhone right now! Apple announced a Sept. 7 event at which they’re expected to unveil the new iPhone 14, which would come out not long afterward. Among the anticipated upgrades: an enhanced camera system.

3) 💰 President Biden is canceling student debt of as much as $20,000 for some borrowers.

4) 🏢 Shot: After more than two years of remote working, bosses really want their employees back in the office

5) 🤣 …And chaser: Some workers are obliging…but going in on Fridays, when no one else is there.

6) 📷 Tim Page, a prominent Vietnam War photographer who was a model for Dennis Hopper’s character in “Apocalypse Now," died at age 78, Seth Mydans writes in a vivid obituary.

7) 🍄 Psilocybin combined with therapy curbed drinking among people with alcohol abuse disorder, a new study found.

8) 🎨 DALL-E 2 shows how AI Art is making rapid strides.

9) 🌭 Snackfood-related quote of the week: “After the overwhelming fan excitement for our beloved Cold Dog, it was a no-brainer to make this hot dog-inspired frozen pop a reality.”

10) 🗣 “Still the greatest clip the BBC has ever aired”: “Neanderthal voice.”

•••

🦴 Dog-related video of the week:

The difference between a border collie and a husky

•••

💡 Quote of the week:

“The greatest wealth is to live content with little.” – Plato

•••

👊 Fist bump from Hong Kong,

Newley

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Newley's Notes

NN291: Buoyant Boxers

Sent as an email newsletter Aug. 22, 2022. Want to join my email list? Sign up 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 had two stories out last week.

💬 The first, on Tuesday: Hong Kong’s Crackdown on Dissent Hits Facebook Pages. It began:

HONG KONG—-A national-security crackdown in Hong Kong has extended to Facebook pages on which many workers and residents traded gossip.

Several prominent Facebook pages that were used to share anonymous comments about government and educational institutions in Hong Kong have shut down in recent days, following the arrest last week of two men by national-security police on suspicion of sedition. The men were administrators of a social-media group and suspected of publishing posts that “promote feelings of ill-will,” police said.

💻 And the second, an exclusive with a colleague on Friday: Roblox Poaches Seasoned Meta Executive as It Chases Growth in Asia

It began:

HONG KONG—-Roblox Corp. has poached a Meta Platforms Inc. executive for the newly created role of Asia-Pacific head of public policy, as the videogame company chases growth in the region.

Steve Park, the longtime government relations head for South Korea and Japan at Facebook’s parent company, will join Roblox next week, a spokeswoman for the San Mateo, Calif.-based company said.

Mr. Park has been at Meta for more than eight years and in a previous position worked on the company’s Oculus virtual-reality business, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Here are 10 items worth your time this week:

1) 🗞 A Washington Post longread: “Road to war: U.S. struggled to convince allies, and Zelensky, of risk of invasion.”

2) ⚽ A very cool sporting milestone yesterday: 21-year-old New Jersey native Brenden Aaronson became the first American to score for an American manager in the Premier League, helping underdog Leeds beat perennial power Chelsea. Watch the goal here. It was all about dogged running, a defining Aaronson quality.

3) 📺 For the first time ever, more people in the U.S. watched streaming services than broadcast TV or cable in the same month (July).

4) 👂 Some hearing aids will now be available for purchase over the counter in the U.S.

5) 😲 “Max Headroom” is being rebooted as a dramatic series.

6) 🏝️ A massive piece of environmental artwork by Michael Heizer, in the Nevada desert, is about to open after a half century. It’s remarkable.

7) ☕ Starbucks is leaving Russia. The eerily similar Stars Coffee is now popping up around the country.

8) 💇‍♂️ Three words: USA Mullet Championship. (Via Chris D.)

9) 📸 Wonderful: portraits of American sightseers at national parks in the 1970s, by Roger Minick. (Via Benjamin L.)

10) 🎧 An excellent episode of “Cool Tools,” one of my favorite podcasts: Larry Keely, Innovation Scientist.

•••

🦴 Dog-related video of the week:

“my dog was supposed to run over to me and sit”

•••

💡 Quote of the week:

“Above all, do not lie to yourself.” — Fyodor Dostoevsky

👊 Fist bump from Hong Kong,

Newley

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Newley's Notes

NN290: Surfin’ Skyler the Cattle Dog

Sent as a newsletter August 15, 2022. Want to join my email list? Sign up 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.

My WSJ latest:

🇨🇳 🇹🇼 I had a story with a colleague out Monday, and on Tuesday’s WSJ page one, about Taiwan suffering sustained cyberattacks following House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit.

The Chinese Communist Party “didn’t go easy on the internet,” said Taiwanese Lt. Gen. Lu Chien-chung.

Here are 10 items worth your time this week:

1) 😔 Terrible news: Author Salman Rushdie was attacked and suffered multiple apparent stab wounds on Friday. As of Saturday he had been taken off a ventilator and was speaking. Iran has denied any link to the incident.

2) ⚖️ My WSJ colleague Valerie Bauerlein has a long-read out on the Murdaugh saga in South Carolina, focusing on a new angle: the legal battles.

3) 📱 New research from Pew underscores a social media trend: Teens in the U.S. are abandoning Facebook and flocking to TikTok.

4) 🎾 Forty-year-old Serena Williams, who’s won 23 tennis majors, indicates she’s retiring from the game.

5) 🔢 The World Excel Championship 1) is a thing, 2) is being broadcast on ESPN2.

6) 🚁 Coming to United Airlines: electric flying taxis?

7) 🎙 “How a Phoenix record store owner set the audiophile world on fire.”

8) 🔮 Hacker News discussion: “What’s the next big thing that few people are talking about?”

9) 🌏 Here is a clickable map showing where the world’s notable people were born.

10) ✒️ Reddit thread: “What is the piece of writing advice that has helped you most, personally?”

•••

🦴 Dog-related video of the week:

World Dog Surfing Championship Makes A Big Splash In California

•••

💡 Quote of the week:

– “When stumped by a life choice, choose ‘enlargement’ over happiness.” – Oliver Burkeman

•••

👊 Fist bump from Hong Kong,

Newley

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Newley's Notes

NN289: Welcome, Dossett Shanti Purnell!

Sent as a newsletter Sunday, August 7. Want to join my email list? Sign up 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.

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:

he’s stealing his brother’s bone while he’s asleep 😂

•••

💡 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,

Newley

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Newley's Notes

NN288: See You in the Spring

WSJ page one Facebook

Sent as a newsletter January 27, 2022. Want to join my email list? Sign up 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.

🚨 Administrative note:

Newley’s Notes will be taking a break until the spring. After 288 (mostly) weekly dispatches since 2015, I’m going to take a few months to recharge and regroup. But I’ll be back before you know it, friends.

I may send a one-off email here or there with any special announcements, and in the meantime, I may post to Newley.com or Twitter (@Newley).

My WSJ latest:

🗞 Image of the week, above: my latest story, with my colleagues Justin Scheck and Tom McGinty, on Tuesday’s WSJ front page. The headline:

Facebook Promised Poor Countries Free Internet. People Got Charged Anyway.

And the lede:

Facebook says it’s helping millions of the world’s poorest people get online through apps and services that allow them to use internet data free. Internal company documents show that many of these people end up being charged in amounts that collectively add up to an estimated millions of dollars a month.

Click through to read the rest.

While I’m gone….

Here are 10 great newsletters you should check out:

For online oddities and digital tools:

1) ⭐ In Rusty’s Electric Dreams, Rusty Blazenhoff catalogues wonderful and weird stuff she finds online.

2) 🔨 Jeremy Caplan’s Wonder Tools is full of helpful websites, note taking suggestions, email recommendations and more.

For news and views on technology:

3) 💻 Benedict’s Newsletter, by Benedict Evans. What’s new and important in tech, by a seasoned tech investor.

4) 🌏 Rest of World’s newsletter contains the news org’s most recent stories on international tech issues.

5) 📱 Exponential View, by Azeem Azhar. Cutting edge tech: all things AI, climate, crypto, EVs, etc.

For health, books and general interest reads:

6) 💪 Peter Attia’s newsletter focuses on longevity, fitness, and nutrition.

7) 📖 Five Books is one of my all-time favorite websites. Their newsletter is a good way to ensure you don’t miss any posts.

8) 📈 Another of my all time favorite websites is Marginal Revolution, by economists Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabarrok. You can get their posts via email (the sign up box is on the left).

9) ✍️ Artist and author Austin Kleon’s newsletter always inspires me to create.

10) 🌧️ In Ready for Rain, author and digital guru Lee LeFever documents life in a house he and his wife recently built in Orcas Island, Washington.

•••

🦴 Dog-related video of the week:

“anatolian shepherd dog puppy in training.”

•••

💡 Quote of the week:

“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill

•••

📚 What I’m Reading

I recently read, and really loved, Emily St. John Mandel’s 2014 novel “Station Eleven.” Here’s a brief Book Notes post.

•••

👊 Fist bump from Hong Kong – and see you before long,

Newley

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Newley's Notes

NN287: Pyrotechnics-loving Pups

Sent as a newsletter January 10, 2022. Want to join my email list? Sign up 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: I hope your holiday season was restful, and that you got a chance to see friends and family. Onward and upward to 2022!

Here are 10 items worth your time this week:

1) 👉 Out just before the new year, a WSJ Facebook Files story I helped with: What happened inside the company when whistleblower Frances Haugen stepped forward. The hed: Facebook’s Pushback: Stem the Leaks, Spin the Politics, Don’t Say Sorry.

2) 🍎 A story I wrote last Monday: India Hits Apple With Antitrust Investigation Over App-Store Practices

3) 🇭🇰 And one I wrote Friday: Hong Kong Officials Quarantined After Covid–19 Case at Tapas Birthday Party

4) 📚 New on Newley.com: The Best Books I Read in 2021.

5) 🎨 Also on Newley.com: a recent watercolor I like. Viewable on Instagram, as well.

6) 🩸 Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes was convicted on four counts of fraud. But her legal fight is far from over.

7) 😔 RIP Sidney Poitier.

8) 😿 And RIP Betty White.

9) 💫 Here is a gorgeous, close-up image of a comet.

10) 👏 100 things Austin Kleon enjoyed in 2021.

•••

🦴 Dog-related video of the week:

Good boi attends the fireworks.”

•••

💡 Quote of the week:

“The most erroneous stories are those we think we know best – and therefore never scrutinize or question.” – Stephen Jay Gould

•••

🤗 What’s new with you? Hit reply to send me tips, queries, random comments, and brave dogs who just want to join in the fun.

•••

👊 Fist bump from Hong Kong,

Newley

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Newley's Notes

NN286: Super-Stoked Service Dogs

Sent as a newsletter December 19, 2021. Want to join my email list? Sign up 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.

🙏 If you like NN, please share this link so others can subscribe.

Image of the week, above: a Hong Kong building that caught my eye the other night. I love how it’s bathed in a pinkish glow from neon lights across the street.

🚨 Programming note: There will be no NN for the next two weeks. I’ll return after the holidays. I hope you have a restful break with friends and family, if you’re taking time off. See you in January!

Here are 10 items worth your time this week:

1) 🐦 A story I wrote Tuesday: India is investigating how Prime Minister Modi’s Twitter account was hacked. Someone posted a message to his more than 73 million followers falsely saying India is adopting bitcoin.

2) 📺 And one I wrote Thursday: Netflix slashed its prices in India, where it’s trailing rivals Amazon and Disney. Its least expensive plan is now $1.95 per month – but that’s still more than others charge.

3) 🇭🇰 And one more from me on Thursday: The prominent RISE tech conference, an international gathering of tech execs and startups, is postponing until 2023 a gathering that was set for March here in Hong Kong, citing uncertainties over Covid.

4) 😔 The U.S. surpassed 800,000 Covid–19 deaths. More than 5.3 million people have now died worldwide.

5) 🦠 As the Omicron variant spreads, parts of the U.S. and Europe are readying for a surge and canceling events.

6) 💊 But there’s some good news: Pfizer’s antiviral Covid pill appears quite effective.

7) 📚 ’Tis the season for best-of–2021 book lists. Enjoy picks from some of my favorite sources: the WSJs ten best in fiction and nonfiction; Five Books’s best of 2021; and the Economist’s selections.

8) 📆 Other good 2021 compilations: the best longform writing, and Bloomberg Businessweek’s Jealousy List. And for lighter fare: the best fails of 2021 and the best goals of the year.

9) 🦦 My WSJ colleague Jon Emont has a magnificent A-hed (the quirky stories we run on Page One) out this week about otters running wild in Singapore, centering on a recent attack on a British man. Contains the quote: “It was like somebody stapling my buttocks." Don’t miss it.

10) 👏 Please enjoy this remarkable obituary for Renay Mandel Corren. It begins: “El Paso, TX – A plus-sized Jewish lady redneck died in El Paso on Saturday.”

•••

🦴 Dog-related video of the week:

Ezra the service dog takes a well earned break to meet her favourite character.”

•••

💡 Quote of the week:

“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” – Anne Lamott

•••

👊 Fist bump from Hong Kong,

Newley

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Newley's Notes

NN285: Halcyon Huskies

Sent as a newsletter December 12, 2021. Want to join my email list? Sign up 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: a recent (and delicious) hot pot meal with friends.

Here are 10 items worth your time this week:

1) 📖 My newest Books Notes post at Newley.com: “Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World,” by Cal Newport.

2) 🦠 Good news: A third shot of Pfizer/BioNTech’s Covid-vaccine neutralized the Omicron variant in lab tests.

3) 🍎 Apple may be working on the hottest new device since the iPhone, my WSJ colleauge Christopher Mims reports: an augmented reality headset or glasses.

4) 🎥 The best movies of 2021, via The New York Times’s A.O. Scott and Manohla Dargis.

5) 🗣 Related: Why it’s so hard to understand movie dialogue these days.

6) 🍽 A review of “the worst Michelin starred restaurant, ever” lit up the internet. And the chef appears to have responded in a unique fashion.

7) 👉 The most mispronounced words of 2021.

8) 🦦 A group of otters attacked a British man in Singapore, biting him 26 times in ten seconds.

9) 🚀 Forget using rockets to launch satellites. A startup in California wants to fling them into space instead. (Thanks, Dad!)

10) 🎧 The 50 best albums of 2021, according to Pitchfork.

•••

🦴 Dog-related video of the week:

“Husky i don’t want stress.”

•••

💡 Quote of the week:

“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet." – Aristotle

•••

👊 Fist bump from Hong Kong,

Newley

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Newley's Notes

NN284: Pooches in Paradise

Sent as a newsletter December 5, 2021. Want to join my email list? Sign up 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: a building in Hong Kong’s Central district that I spotted recently. I love it for its monolithic beauty. It almost looks like it could be a slice of the Death Star.

Here are 10 items worth your time this week:

1) 📖 My newest Books Notes post at Newley.com: “The Happiness Trap: How to Stop Struggling and Start Living,” by Russ Harris. It came out in 2008 and I’ve enjoyed it over the years. I finally typed up my main take-aways.

2) 🐦 Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey stepped down as chief executive of the company. He’s also CEO of Square, a financial services company. Then a few days later Square changed its name to Block, a nod to cryptocurrencies and the blockchain.

3) ⚖️ Longread of the week: “Lina Khan’s Battle to Rein in Big Tech,” by Sheelah Kolhatkar in the New Yorker.

4) 💻 Lede of the week, by By Nilay Patel at The Verge: “KatKat Norton is a Microsoft Excel influencer.”

5) 🥃 The creator of a new and apparently good American whiskey is…Coors? (Via Mike W.)

6) 📺 Ridley Scott, director of the original “Blade Runner,” is working on a TV series based on the film.

7) 🍎 Beautiful HD video of Manhattan in 1993 (yes, 1993 – all of 28 years ago, which now somehow feels like a century ago). (Via PB.)

8) 🍟 Why some shapes of fries taste better than others, according to science.

9) 🎸 Inspiring, music-related video snippet of the week: the moment Paul McCartney created the hit song “Get Back.” From a popular new Peter Jackson documentary series on The Beatles (trailer is here).

10) 👏 Emoji, ranked from smallest (mosquito) to biggest (the sun) real-life size.

•••

🦴 Dog-related video of the week:

When you dress up as your dogs favorite toy.

•••

📚 What I’m reading

I first read Ken Follett’s classic 1978 spy thriller “Eye of the Needle” in high school, and loved it. I recently gave it another read, and found it equally compelling. Perfect pacing. Evocative characters. And pairs nicely with simultaneous nonfiction reading about World War II.

•••

🎥 what I’m watching

🇮🇹 “Azzurri: Road to Wembley” is an entertaining, hour-long documentary on Netflix featuring behind the scenes footage from the Italian national soccer team’s path to victory in last summer’s Euro championship. What team spirit!

•••

😂 Meme of the week, above: George Costanza’s wallet meets Omicron fatigue.

•••

💡 Quote of the week:

“True friendship multiplies the good in life and divides its evils. Strive to have friends, for life without friends is like life on a desert island… To find one real friend in a lifetime is a good fortune; to keep him is a blessing.” – Baltasar Gracian

•••

🤗 What’s new with you? Hit reply to send me tips, queries, random comments, and videos of dogs encountering life-sized versions of their beloved chew toys.

•••

👊 Fist bump from Hong Kong,

Newley