4.15.2012 New York Times Digest

1. “Robert Caro’s Big Dig

“There was never a plan. There was just a series of mistakes.”

2. “Increasingly in Europe, Suicides ‘by Economic Crisis’

“Researchers have found that severe economic stress corresponds to higher suicide rates.”

3. “The Chic, Lethal Salons on the Screens of France

“We ask you to share your story, and then we try to destroy you.”

4. “How the Tech Parade Passed Sony By

“Sony makes too many models, and for none of them can they say, ‘This contains our best, most cutting-edge technology.’ Apple, on the other hand, makes one amazing phone in just two colors and says, ‘This is the best.’”

5. “The Rise of the Independent Work Force

“I am 36 years old and a 21st-century employee.”

6. “A Veteran’s Death, the Nation’s Shame

“An American soldier dies every day and a half, on average, in Iraq or Afghanistan. Veterans kill themselves at a rate of one every 80 minutes.”

7. “The Downside of Cohabiting Before Marriage

“Couples who cohabit before marriage (and especially before an engagement or an otherwise clear commitment) tend to be less satisfied with their marriages – and more likely to divorce – than couples who do not.”

8. “Lefties Aren’t Special After All

“After reviewing hundreds of such studies for a book on left-handers, I found that the evidence of positive qualities associated with left-handedness was anecdotal at best, while the scores of studies associating left-handedness with all manner of afflictions were generally too unreliable to have any practical consequence.”

9. “The Provocateur

“He cut an odd figure for a conservative, holding forth with lectures on political theory that name-dropped Michel Foucault and other leftist thinkers. He could also be mordantly funny. (His Twitter avatar was an echo of the apocryphal Jesus imprint on a piece of toast.) … He was conversant in pop culture – the Cure and New Order were particular musical favorites – and thought nothing of wearing in-line skates, his longish hair trailing behind him, as he confronted protesters at a rally outside a conservative event hosted by David and Charles Koch in Palm Springs, Calif., in 2011. Once he was done berating the protesters, he took some of them to dinner at Applebee’s.”

10. “No Scrolling Required at New Dating Sites

“They’re trying to combine the power of the Internet with the best of retro dating, with singles parties so big they are organized through Web sites, and real-life matchmakers who use Klout scores to help match couples.”

11. “Truly Food for Thought

“This new academic field, taking shape in an expanding number of colleges and universities, coordinates the food-related instruction sprinkled throughout academia in recognition that food is not just relevant, but critical to dozens of disciplines. It’s agriculture; it’s business; it’s health; it’s the economy; it’s the environment; it’s international relations; it’s war and peace.”

12. “How My Aunt Marge Ended Up in the Deep Freeze …

“The big things, the weirdest things, the things you’d assume would have to be made up, happened exactly as the movie says they did. The trial lawyers really did wear Stetsons and cowboy boots and really were named Danny Buck Davidson and Scrappy Holmes. Daddy Sam’s barbecue and bail bonds, just a few blocks from the courthouse in Carthage (population: 6,700), really does have a sign that says, ‘You Kill It, I’ll Cook It!’ And they really did find my Aunt Marge on top of the flounder and under the Marie Callender’s chicken potpies, wrapped in a Lands’ End sheet. They had to wait two days to do the autopsy. It took her that long to thaw.”

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