Spend Some Time With: Fake Noodles, A Forgotten Musical Genius, and Gang Wars

My weekly three recs for spending slow time with good stuff.

Eat a plate of Pad "Thai" and ponder the fact that what you think is a timelessly Thai dish was actually invented just 80 years ago as part of the government's plan to build a sense of nationhood in an ethnically patchworked country.

See: the documentary Searching for Sugarman, which tells the story of Rodriguez, a talented American folk musician of the early 1970s who bombed in the States but became, unknowingly, a megastar in South Africa, where he was an inspiration to liberal whites during Apartheid. With South Africa's election tomorrow, it's a good time to watch. And don't @ me but I really do think Rodriguez might have been better than Dylan.

Read: A gripping Times feature about block-by-block gang wars in a small city in Honduras. The epidemic of violence in Central America – and the region more broadly – is in part what is pushing so many people to seek refuge and opportunity in United States. How's this for a crazy fact? In just seven Latin American countries, violence has killed more people in recent years than the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and Yemen combined.

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.


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