Spend Some Time With: A spliff of history, an actual newspaper, an Ethio-Pioneer

My weekly three recs for escaping the hell of breaking news and views.

See: As cannabis legalization spreads, Grass is Greener, a smoky and spectacular new Netflix documentary by visual artist and hip-hop legend Fab 5 Freddy, surveys the history and future of the plant in America by looking at a hundred years of popular music, racial discrimination, and the destructive legacy of the "War on Drugs."

Read: An "Urgent Quest for Slower, Better News" in which The New Yorker's online editor Michael Luo goes on a "media diet," argues that profit and principle are at odds in today's digital journalism, and wonders what we might do about it.

Hear: Ethiopia has lately become an optimistic story of political reform and renewed openness, but you may also know it as the birthplace of Mulatu Astatke, who half a century ago pioneered a bewitching blend of Afro-Latin rhythms, melancholy soul grooves, and Ethiopian scales that came to be known as Ethio-Jazz. New York-based readers can catch him in concert in May. I'll be there.

Is WhatsApp safe?

WhatsApp had a crazy hack! Hackers were able to get on your phone just by calling it. That's been patched but it's a reminder nothing is ever completely safe in 2019.

Why didn't Uber's IPO perform as promised?

Because they're losing tons of money. Because Lyft didn't do that well. Because their expansion into international markets, where they planned to go, has been harder than expected. Tough times at Uber.

Will cutting Huawei off from American technology hurt?

Trick question! Will it hurt Huawei? Yes, definitely. Will it hurt the American companiesthat supply Huawei? Yes definitely. Will it hurt consumers everywhere? Probably. Unless it changes the dynamics of the U.S. - China trade relationship in such a way that helps everybody, which is possible.

Should more cities ban facial recognition technology?

There's a tradeoff between privacy and safety. San Francisco just blocked facial recognition technology to help privacy but I think most cities are going to care more about their police departments being maximally effective and will choose safety.

In recent years, the accelerating cross-border flow of migrants fleeing violence and poverty has remade the politics of Europe and the United States. A startling new study from Stanford University warns that the conflicts we've seen to date may just be the opening act of a much larger and more dangerous drama.

Here's the study's argument in brief:

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President Donald Trump again dramatically escalated the stakes in the US-China rivalry on Wednesday with a move that made headlines in the US while landing like a grenade in Beijing.

The US Commerce Department announced yesterday that Huawei, China's leading tech company and already the source of major controversy, has been added to a list that prevents US tech suppliers from selling to Huawei without a license. That's even more important than the executive order, also published yesterday, that bans US telecom companies from using Huawei equipment.

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Voters in Australia head to the polls tomorrow to elect a new government. Though few outsiders closely follow politics in this country, this election tells interesting stories about three of the most important issues in today's world: Immigration, climate change, and managing changing relations with China. It's also a country with a steady economy—but lots of political turnover.

Consider:

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