07.30.2012 New York Times Digest

1. “The Fretful Birth of the New Western

“There is no greater western, and certainly no more tragic one.”

2. “In Texas, Arguing That Heat Can Be a Death Sentence for Prisoners

“All of them were found to have died of hyperthermia, a condition that occurs when body temperature rises above 105 degrees.”

3. “Britain’s Living Legacy to the Games: Sports

“The two remnants of the British empire are language and sport.”

4. “Want to Graduate? First, Create a Company

“For tuition of less than $1,000, students attend classes with one goal in mind: to create a fully operational company. In fact, they are required to incorporate before they can graduate.”

5. “It’s Hard to Stay Friends With a Digital Exercise Monitor

“This is just the start in terms of pure data capture.”

6. “Is Algebra Necessary?

“Mathematics, both pure and applied, is integral to our civilization, whether the realm is aesthetic or electronic. But for most adults, it is more feared or revered than understood. It’s clear that requiring algebra for everyone has not increased our appreciation of a calling someone once called ‘the poetry of the universe.’”

7. “Poverty in America: Why Can’t We End It?

“Six million people have no income other than food stamps.”

8. “Is Depression Inherited?

“Biology is not destiny.”

9. “The Sound of a Damaged Habitat

“A soundscape contains three basic sources: the geophony, which includes all nonbiological natural sounds like wind or ocean waves; the biophony, which embraces the biological, wild, nonhuman sounds that emanate from environments; and the anthrophony – man-made sounds, commonly referred to as noise.”

10. “Scorched Earth in the Midwest

“At home, breakers are thrown, then reset and kicked back on. The AC runs nearly nonstop. Neighborhood pets lie in the shade panting. No one is mowing. Anything with a pulse is feeling the sun.”

11. “Blissfully Lost in the Woods

“In our modern society, we have structured the world to obey us; we can often use a keyboard or remote to alter our surroundings. Yet all this gadgetry focused on our comfort doesn’t always leave us more content or grounded. It is striking how often people who are feeling bewildered or troubled seek remedy in the wilderness.”

12. “Did Your Brain Make You Do It?

“It is crucial that as a society, we learn how to think more clearly about causes and personal responsibility – not only for extraordinary actions like crime but also for ordinary ones, like maintaining exercise regimens, eating sensibly and saving for retirement.”

13. “Looking Past the Smile and the Sheen

“Few symbols of all-American girlhood have proven more enduring in the last half century than that of the high school cheerleader.”

14. “’70s Portrait of Harlem, Gathered for Today

“It wasn’t just illustrative. It was subjective and interpretive. These photos began to point to a direction, to show that photos of ordinary people, evocatively described, could be meaningful.”

15. “In Session

“The therapists, Phil Stutz and Barry Michels, have obviously had some success with these types. When that article came out writers were asking other writers, ‘Did you read it?’ It generated what the authors call a Grateful Flow. (Yes. One of the Tools.) Because, if someone had found – well, a cure would sound too eager and sweaty, but a method for handling writer’s block and writers’ insecurities, which is pretty much the whole catastrophe, well, where do we all sign up? We professionals, we wannabes, fried-outs, come­backers, coo-coos, dream-jobbers. Us.”

16. “How to Write

Rule No. 8: Is secret.”

17. “How to Write Great

“Let us speak about great writing – not brilliant writing or clever writing or, most tempting of all, exquisite writing.”

18. “Easy Riders

“My main goal with this book is to point out what I see as bike racing’s bad influence on bicycles, equipment and attitudes, and then undo it.”

19. “Honing Skills

“If you’re one of the four people in the English-speaking world who really care how to sharpen pencils, you’ll find out. As might be expected in an artisan’s labor of love, this purist dedicates an entire chapter to the proper way to smash an electric sharpener, that Visigoth of office-­equipment brutishness, to smithereens.”

20. “My Big Fat Belizean, Singaporean Bank Account

“Earlier this month, I decided to see how hard it would be to set up my own offshore bank account.”

21. “‘No, Flash! It’s a Trick!’

“I was 10 in 1951. Every Saturday morning, my father would give me two dollar bills so I could take two buses from Fairfield into Bridgeport, Conn., where I would go to the Globe movie theater for the kids’ matinee from noon to 5 o’clock.”

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