Sunday 1.22.2017 New York Times Digest

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1. How Marches in Washington Have Shaped America

“From the suffrage processions of the early 20th century to the Tea Party rallies of 2009, marches have drawn attention to crucial issues, occasionally resulted in violence and often prompted opposing gatherings.”

2. San Francisco Asks: Where Have All the Children Gone?

“It’s starting to feel like a no-kids type of city.”

3. At Student Loan Giant Navient, Troubled Past Was Prologue

“In a lengthy complaint, the bureau said Navient, which oversees $300 billion in student loans for 12.5 million borrowers, failed customers ‘at every stage of repayment.’”

4. Wind Power Tests the Waters

“The appeal of offshore winds as an energy source goes beyond their potential role in efforts to slow global warming. As people flock to coastal cities, where land is scarce and expensive, and conventional power plants are moving toward retirement, states have looked to add new forms of power production. Moving it out to sea has become more attractive, proponents say.”

5. Seniors Welcome New, Battery-Powered Friends

“Their new pal has a screen for a head and scuttles around on wheels. The lure was being able to connect more easily with their families via video calls. The couple were immediately smitten. They have named the robot Jimmy.”

6. How to Listen to Donald Trump Every Day for Years

“The truth is that President Trump’s choppy, rambling self-expression is not so exotic. A great many thoroughly intelligent people talk more like Donald Trump than they might know. What’s new is that someone who talks like this in public has become the president of the United States.”

7. America’s Great Working-Class Colleges

“Working-class colleges have become vastly larger engines of social mobility. The new data shows, for example, that the City University of New York system propelled almost six times as many low-income students into the middle class and beyond as all eight Ivy League campuses, plus Duke, M.I.T., Stanford and Chicago, combined.”

8. The Conversation Placebo

“The simple conversation between doctor and patient can be as potent an analgesic as many treatments we prescribe.”

9. Racial Progress Is Real. But So Is Racist Progress.

“Mr. Obama sees in America’s messiness and complexity a single historical force taking steps forward and backward on race. But what if there have been two historical forces at work: a dual and dueling history of racial progress and the simultaneous progression of racism? What if President Trump does not represent a step back, but a step forward?”

10. The Internet of Things Is Coming for Us

“The modern world is full of such opportunities for chaos, often created by humans and the increasing sophistication and technology-centeredness of modern life. A solar flare has the potential to disrupt electrical networks. A tsunami can flood a nuclear reactor. The digitalization of stock markets leads to flash crashes. Russian hackers stealing Democratic Party emails seek to influence an American presidential election. Order gives way to chaos. The internet of things turns on its makers.”

11. The America We Lost When Trump Won

“Yet when I say that I have lost the America I knew, I’m not talking about policy, or even fundamental rights, disorienting as their loss would be. I mean a greater, almost spiritual faith that I had in my fellow citizens and their better instincts, something that served as my north star in all I wrote and all I did.”

12. Does Breast Milk Have a Sex Bias?

“In recent years, evidence has emerged suggesting that in various mammalian species, breast milk — which is, of course, a resource that can be given to children — is tailored for the sex of each offspring. For example, macaque monkey mothers produce richer milk (with higher gross energy and fat content) for sons than for daughters, but also provide greater quantities of milk and higher concentrations of calcium for daughters than for sons.”

13. In Beijing, and Washington, a Breath of Foul Air

“What Mr. Trump denounced during a campaign speech to West Virginia coal miners as ‘these ridiculous rules and regulations that make it impossible for you to compete’ actually kept Americans alive and made the country more competitive.”

14. The Tempting of the Media

“Trump comes to power as a destroyer of norms, a flouter of conventions, and everyone will be tempted to join the carnival — to escalate when he escalates, to radicalize whenever he turns authoritarian.”

15. Burgers, Fries and a Couple of Wiseguys

“I see how the McDonald brothers transformed, for good or for ill, how America eats — and frankly how the world eats. It was in some ways more transforming to our bodies than the Model A. I think that’s both a triumph and a bit chilling. That transforms American capitalism from personal success based on hard work and quality of work, to inventive, dominant business models. When the McDonald brothers were developing the way to get you your sandwich in 30 seconds and not 30 minutes, they didn’t foresee that it would take the place of the family dinner every day. It has ramifications around my own midsection that I didn’t see coming.”

16. The Smothers Brothers and the Birth of TV Buzz

“Some of the material that made it onto the air was pointed enough to raise eyebrows even today. A series of sketches in a December 1967 episode, for instance, mocked the American obsession with guns mercilessly. In one bit, a game-show contestant was to take shots at three hidden figures in hopes of killing either a stranger, a celebrity or his own wife.”

17. The Protest Playlist, From the Hip-Hop Duo Run the Jewels

“The Times offered the group a chance to make a playlist of protest songs, given the current wave of discontent on both sides of American politics.”

18. Melania Trump’s ‘America First’ Inaugural Wardrobe

“The politics of clothing may be subtle, and may strike some as frivolous, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t a requisite part of the pageantry that surrounds the presidency — especially on a day with more photo opportunities than speeches. They paint a picture of the family that now represents the country, of their ambitions, goals and values, at a moment when the world is watching. This time, the brush strokes swirled: not with accessibility, but with aspiration, and nationalism.”

19. For Taste of Farm Life, There’s No Place Like a Homestead

“The rise of so-called slow living has inspired many to migrate from cities to rural hamlets. For all its idiosyncrasies — walls lined with tin cans and glass bottles, rainwater collection systems, the attached greenhouse — the Earthship in Freeville, N.Y., is now one of several hundred listings appearing on short-term rental websites like Airbnb, VRBO and Hipcamp that promote a relaxed, environmentally friendly approach to travel and a 21st-century take on homesteading.”

20. What Do They Want? Graeme Wood Speaks With Supporters of ISIS

“The most novel aspect of Wood’s book is that he shows, convincingly, that the stifling and abhorrent practices of the Islamic State are rooted in Islam itself — not mainstream Islam, but in scriptures and practices that have persisted for centuries. There’s no use denying it. ‘For years now, the Islamic State and its supporters have been producing essays, fatwas, … films and tweets at an industrial pace,’ Wood writes. ‘In studying them we see a coherent view of the world rooted in a minority interpretation of Islamic scripture that has existed, in various forms, for almost as long as the religion itself.’ That goes for the most barbarous practices as well: ‘Slavery has been practiced by Muslims for most of Islamic history, and it was practiced without apology by Muhammad and his companions, who owned slaves and had sex with them.’”

21. We’ve Been Here Before: Jon Meecham on the Literature of Our Discontent

“The 45th president of the United States comes to office at a calmer time than the 32nd did, but Donald Trump’s demagogic populism and his movement’s willingness to traffic in ethnic and racial stereotypes have put many Americans in the mind of the chaos of the 1930s. From Long to Charles Coughlin, we have been here before. Some fiction from the period … repay attention as we seek our bearings now.”

22. Reading the Classic Novel That Predicted Trump

It Can’t Happen Here is a work of dystopian fantasy, one man’s effort in the 1930s to imagine what it might look like if fascism came to America. At the time, the obvious specter was Adolf Hitler, whose rise to power in Germany provoked fears that men like the Louisiana senator Huey Long or the radio priest Charles Coughlin might accomplish a similar feat in the United States. Today, Lewis’s novel is making a comeback as an analogy for the Age of Trump.”

23. How Did Rumi Become One of Our Best-Selling Poets?

“Few religious figures in the history of civilization have as successfully crossed borders of faith, language and geography as nimbly as Jalal al-Din Mohammad Rumi, the great 13th-century theologian and mystic poet.”

24. For Better Vision, Let the Sunshine In

“A lack of direct sunlight may reshape the human eye and impair vision.”

25. Letter of Recommendation: Hot-Water Bottles

“I feel about hot-water bottles the way Sylvia Plath felt about baths: There must be quite a few things they won’t cure, but I don’t know many of them.”

26. When the National Bird Is a Burden

“Harris is an idealist, the kind of all-natural farmer whose cows finish on grass, whose birds run free, whose goats and sheep transform overgrown land. His faith in biodiverse, sustainable methods has only been affirmed by his multimillion-dollar annual revenues. And not that he would, but shooting a bald eagle is punishable by a $100,000 fine and a year in prison. Whatever was to be done about the eagles, Harris’s farm would work with nature, not fight against it. But as he would discover, that’s not as easy as it sounds.”

27. To Obama With Love, and Hate, and Desperation

“At the beginning of his first term, President Obama said he wanted to read his mail. He said he would like to see 10 letters a day. After that, the 10LADs, as they came to be called, were put in a purple folder and added to the back of the briefing book he took with him to the residence on the second floor of the White House each night.”

28. Who Decides Who Counts as Native American?

“Outside the lands legally known as ‘Indian Country,’ ‘membership’ and ‘enrollment’ are such blandly bureaucratic words that it’s easy to lose sight of how much they matter there. To the 566 federally recognized tribal nations, the ability to determine who is and isn’t part of a tribe is an essential element of what makes tribes sovereign entities. To individuals, membership means citizenship and all the emotional ties and treaty rights that come with it. To be disenrolled is to lose that citizenship: to become stateless. It can also mean the loss of a broader identity, because recognition by a tribe is the most accepted way to prove you are Indian — not just Nooksack but Native American at all.”

Sunday 1.15.2017 New York Times Digest

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1. Rich Chinese, Inspired by ‘Downton,’ Fuel Demand for Butlers

“What they would like to say to their friends is, ‘Look, I have a butler, an English-style butler in my home,’ to show how wealthy they are.”

2. Ride-Hailing Drivers Are Slaves to the Surge

“There is a downside to being your own boss: To turn a profit, drivers must plan their schedules around early-morning and late-night surges and invest as much as half of their earnings into insurance and car maintenance.”

3. A Big Test for Big Batteries

“The challenge of storing electricity has vexed engineers, researchers, policy makers and entrepreneurs for centuries.”

4. The ‘Impossible’ Veggie Burger: A Tech Industry Answer to the Big Mac

“The Impossible Burger wants to be the tech industry’s answer to the Big Mac. Concocted by a team of food scientists in Silicon Valley, it is made from wheat, coconut oil and potatoes, yet it aims to be more than just another veggie patty. Thanks to the addition of heme, an iron-rich molecule contained in blood (which the company produces in bulk using fermented yeast), it is designed to look, smell, sizzle and taste like a beef burger.”

5. Making America Great Again Isn’t Just About Money and Power

“Political leaders and scholars have been thinking about national greatness for a very long time, and the answer clearly goes beyond achieving high levels of wealth.”

6. In Choosing a Job, Focus on the Fun

“Unless you find small pleasures in your daily routine, you will not stick to it.”

7. Big Sugar’s Secret Ally? Nutritionists

“The consensus among nutrition and obesity authorities has been completely aligned with sugar industry interests.”

8. Obama Hoped to Transform the World. It Transformed Him.

“The arc of recent history has not bent toward Mr. Obama’s cosmopolitan vision of an interdependent world.”

9. The Real Problem With Hypocrisy

“We contend that the reason people dislike hypocrites is that their outspoken moralizing falsely signals their own virtue. People object, in other words, to the misleading implication — not to a failure of will or a weakness of character.”

10. How Movies and TV Address Rape and Revenge

“Stories in which women seek revenge have become newly fashionable. The plots, with victims transforming into heroines, now scan as easily feminist.”

11. What August Wilson Means Now

“There’s always this assumption that black people should sing and dance in the theater. And the country’s racial history has kept a perfectly reasonable mode of artistic expression — the musical — warped with self-consciousness. Wilson wrote plays (sometimes about music and that warping), and lots of people saw them, gave them prizes, Tonys even. Gradually, it let producers and money people know that black nonmusical theater is viable, that there could be drama and ideas, and you could have artists as different as Suzan-Lori Parks and Lynn Nottage and Katori Hall and Anna Deavere Smith.”

12. What Michelle Obama Wore and Why it Mattered

“Just because something appears trivial does not mean it is any less powerful as a means of persuasion and outreach. In some ways its very triviality — the fact that everyone could talk about it, dissect it, imitate it — makes fashion the most potentially viral item in the subliminal political toolbox.”

13. Paul Auster: By the Book

“Baldwin’s prose is what I would call ‘classical American,’ in the same sense that Thoreau is classical, and at his best I believe Baldwin is fully equal to Thoreau at his best.”

14. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on Two Books About Muslim Identity

“In 1776, Thomas Jefferson’s friend Senator Richard Henry Lee expressed both of their opinions when he asserted in Congress, referring to Muslims and Hindus, that ‘true freedom embraces the Mahometan and the Gentoo as well as the Christian religion.’ In 1777, the Muslim kingdom of Morocco became the first country in the world to formally accept the United States as a sovereign nation. In 1786, when the United States needed protection from North African pirates who were stealing ships and enslaving crews, it signed the Treaty of Tripoli, which stated that ‘the government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion, as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquillity of Musselmen.’ In 1785, George Washington declared that he would welcome Muslim workers at Mount Vernon. In 1786, Jefferson triumphed in his Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom in Virginia, by persuading the Legislature to overwhelmingly reject attempts to include Jesus Christ as the religious authority in the bill.”

15. Thoreau the Weird: A New Interpretation of His Philosophy

“For better and for worse, Dann takes the road less traveled, leading a reader into out-of-the-way places, through hidden passages in Thoreau’s personal life. The book, arranged chronologically, consists in a careful (bordering on obsessive) reading of Thoreau’s journals and letters, revealing a boy interested in the occult, ghost stories and magic, a teenager who pored over Arthurian legend and Greek mythology, and a man who interpreted the workings of nature through astrology and Native American shamanism.”

16. How to Be Civil in an Uncivil World

“One man’s civility is another man’s repression.”

17. Neanderthals Were People, Too

“Neanderthals are people, too — a separate, shorn-off branch of our family tree. We last shared an ancestor at some point between 500,000 and 750,000 years ago. Then our evolutionary trajectory split. We evolved in Africa, while the Neanderthals would live in Europe and Asia for 300,000 years. Or as little as 60,000 years. It depends whom you ask. It always does: The study of human origins, I found, is riddled with vehement disagreements and scientists who readily dismantle the premises of even the most straightforward-seeming questions.”

Sunday 1.8.2017 New York Times Digest

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1. Why Trump Can’t Disengage America From the World

“The United States required the resources of an entire continent to defeat German and Japanese fascism, and later Soviet Communism. Without Manifest Destiny, there could have been no victory in World War II. But because settling that continent involved slavery and genocide against the indigenous inhabitants, American history is morally unresolvable. Thus, the only way to ultimately overcome our sins is to do good in the world. But doing good must be tempered by always thinking about what can go wrong in the process. These are all, deep down, the lessons of the interaction between Americans and their landscape.”

2. Inside a Killer Drug Epidemic: A Look at America’s Opioid Crisis

“Public health officials have called the current opioid epidemic the worst drug crisis in American history, killing more than 33,000 people in 2015. Overdose deaths were nearly equal to the number of deaths from car crashes. In 2015, for the first time, deaths from heroin alone surpassed gun homicides. And there’s no sign it’s letting up.”

3. Napping in Public? In Japan, That’s a Sign of Diligence

“In Japan, napping in the office is common and culturally accepted. And in fact, it is often seen as a subtle sign of diligence: You must be working yourself to exhaustion.”

4. Yes, It’s Your Parents’ Fault

“People who have insecure attachment models tend to be drawn to those who fit their expectations, even if they are treated badly. They may subconsciously act in ways that elicit insensitive, unreliable or abusive behavior, whatever is most familiar. Or they may flee secure attachments because they feel unfamiliar.”

5. What the Muck of Walden Pond Tells Us About Our Planet

“We are not separate from nature or immune to its laws. We are nature.”

6. Kanye West’s Year of Breaking Bad

“Mr. West’s unlikely shift suggests the maneuvers of someone who no longer believes in the systems that have previously nourished, sustained and inspired him — someone whose sense of safety has been revoked.”

7. What TV Says About Race and Money

“On shows like Donald Glover’s ‘Atlanta’ on FX and Issa Rae’s ‘Insecure’ on HBO, both about a group of late-20-somethings professionally striving and financially struggling (and both, along with ‘black-ish,’ nominated for Golden Globes), the theme of black downward mobility is put into high relief.”

8. Watching While White: How Movies Tackled Race and Class in 2016

“It’s easy enough to say that Moonlight and The Birth of a Nation and Barbershop: The Next Cut are movies about race. What would happen if we said the same about Manchester by the Sea, La La Land and Sully?”

9. The Making of Virtually Real Art With Google’s Tilt Brush

“Google has been calling on dozens of artists, animators and illustrators with a high-tech update of Mili’s concept — a virtual reality setup that enables people to paint with light that actually stays where you put it, at least for viewers wearing a VR headset.”

10. What Not to Eat: ‘The Case Against Sugar’

“The stuff kills.”

11. The War to Stay Out of the War Against War

“Most of all, it is a timely reminder of how easily the will of the majority can be thwarted in even the mightiest of democracies.”

12. Rake’s Progress: A Look at the Well-Traveled Casanova

“Casanova moved with ease in all strata of society. As well as hordes of nobility, he met Benjamin Franklin, Bonnie Prince Charlie, Frederick the Great, Catherine the Great, Pope Clement XIII, Rousseau, Voltaire and Mozart. He mixed with financiers, ambassadors, Freemasons, magicians and government ministers, in addition to an awful lot of gamblers, rakes, actors, dancers, courtesans and common prostitutes.”

13. How ‘Elites’ Became One of the Nastiest Epithets in American Politics

“United States history might be seen as a repeating cycle of anti-elite revolt.”

14. Letter of Recommendation: Instagram Explore

“A smartphone becomes the modern substitute for having an imagination.”

15. Cyberwar for Sale

“The ubiquity and utility of email has turned it into a fine-grained record of our day-to-day lives, rich with mundane and potentially embarrassing details, stored in a perpetual archive, accessible from anywhere on earth and protected, in some cases, by nothing more than a single password.”

16. One Man’s Quest to Change the Way We Die

“Don’t we all treat suffering as a disruption to existence, instead of an inevitable part of it? He wondered what would happen if you could ‘reincorporate your version of reality, of normalcy, to accommodate suffering.’”

New Persona

“The man who has just left his wife or his profession or both often stops shaving temporarily. The resulting beard, as it develops, will most obligingly give him the different successive aspects appropriate to the stages of psychological and social development he is about to pass through. That is, first it makes him look like someone caught in a natural disaster—flood, earthquake, fire; then it makes him look like a bum; then like a shipwrecked mariner; and finally like a desperado. Eventually the man either returns to his wife and/or job (or to a very similar wife and job) and shaves off his beard; or else he changes his life permanently, in which case the beard (if allowed to survive) takes its final form and becomes part of his new persona.”

—Alison Lurie, The Language of Clothes (1981)

Good Strong Coffee

“The more you use, the more you get back.”

Sunday 1.1.2017 New York Times Digest

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1. What Do We Know?

“Wisdom sometimes depends on seeing how much knowledge doesn’t know and how much every day is shaped by unexpectedness.”

2. Free Market for Education? Economists Generally Don’t Buy It

“Unswerving adherence to free, private markets will not solve the problems faced by our education system.”

3. Feminism Lost. Now What?

“In the end, it’s hard to argue that this election over all was a vote for the subordination of women. But it’s a warning that feminism, as it has been defined, did not inspire enough people in enough places around the country.”

4. Try a New Year’s Revolution

“Diets can monopolize your energy, take up your time and do a number on your self-esteem. They turn your attention inward, on changing your body, not the world. And they have a well-documented propensity to fail, no matter the level of dedication or resolve of the dieter.”

5. Hipsters Broke My Gaydar

“In cities, trendy young people — queer and straight, male, female and non-binary — are blending together, look-wise. That’s because mainstream style is now hipster style. But here’s the thing: Hipster style is just queer style, particularly queer women’s style.”

6. If Donald Trump Targets Journalists, Thank Obama

“If Donald J. Trump decides as president to throw a whistle-blower in jail for trying to talk to a reporter, or gets the F.B.I. to spy on a journalist, he will have one man to thank for bequeathing him such expansive power: Barack Obama.”

7. A Month Without Sugar

“Our national sugar habit is the driving force behind the diabetes and obesity epidemics and may be a contributing factor to cancer and Alzheimer’s.”

8. What Nutmeg Can Tell Us About Nafta

“Was there ever an unglobalized world?”

9. How to Become a ‘Superager’

“Work hard at something.”

10. Adam Driver Takes the Wheel

“I’m basking in nothing.”

11. Bernard-Henri Lévy: By the Book

“It’s strange, these great writers whose reputation looms so large that it eclipses their works and gives you the feeling of having read them in the distant past. When chance puts one of those works in your hands, you’re dazzled, as if you were reading the first words of a very young and very talented writer.”

12. A History of U.S. Foreign Affairs in Which Grandiose Ambitions Trump Realism

“Once in office American presidents are often ‘susceptible to a utopian temptation.’ They adopt a language that he describes as ‘American civil religion,’ wrapping adventurism in a gauzy, semireligious haze. Democracy becomes an export.”

13. Thinking in the Deep: Inside the Mind of an Octopus

“This is probably the closest we will come to meeting an intelligent alien.”

14. Gathering Storm: A History of the Complicated U.S.-China Relationship Since 1776

“Two and a half centuries of entanglement between America and China are about to reach their denouement.”

15. Multimediated Lives: An Erudite Tour of Digital Culture

“The book’s principal weakness may be its overarching conceit that we have all somehow become four-dimensional human beings. By this Scott seems to be referring to the many ways in which always-on connectivity, mobile technologies and various databases containing scattered bits of personal information have scrambled our relationship with the world.”

16. For Better or Worse: New Books Forecast the Next Technologies

“Futurism in the time of Donald Trump feels fraught. After all, the techno-optimists completely missed the signs of an impending revolution in their backyards: the spread of fake news enabled by social networks; the megaphonic power of Trump’s Twitter feed; the rise of the so-called alt-right, a racist, neo-fascist clique that festered on 4chan and Reddit before emerging as a viable political movement. As a result, we fawned over self-driving cars and next-generation artificial intelligence while questions about the politics of all this new technology — the emotional backlash from manufacturing workers losing their jobs to automation, the interference of foreign hackers in American elections, the ability of partisan opportunists to flood Facebook with propaganda — went mostly unanswered.”

17. Finding Inspiration for Art in the Betrayal of Privacy

“Many artists — all of us, really — were so captivated by the initial promise of the internet, they were blinded to its potential problems.”

18. Letter of Recommendation: Not Breathing

“One of free diving’s central concerns, for example, is keeping your heart rate as low as possible and relaxing deeply, all the better to embrace the essential emptiness inside.”

19. How Jukin Media Built a Viral-Video Empire

“If you’ve seen a funny clip on a late-night show, or ‘Good Morning America,’ or the 11-o’-clock news, there are pretty good odds Jukin dug it up.”

20. The Evangelical Scion Who Stopped Believing

“U.S.C. is huge, one of the five largest private schools in the country, and some of its most popular concentrations include finance, accounting, management and marketing — which is to say, the undergraduates, when faced with questions about what kind of world they want to build and what their role could be, might not think of their professors, if they even knew them, as having much guidance to offer. So Campolo suspected that some students would want to talk to him. He emailed his list, offering office hours at a picnic table on campus. Over the next week, about 15 students sought him out.”

Sunday 12.25.2016 New York Times Digest

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1. The Year in Pictures 2016

“It was a year to be confounded, shocked, humbled.”

2. When Art Conservation Means Repairing TVs, Not Canvases

“Very few people know how to work with those materials now.”

3. Tragedy Made Steve Kerr See the World Beyond the Court

“His job gives him a platform. You will excuse him if he has a few things to say.”

4. Secular Hollywood Quietly Courts the Faithful

“On the surface, Hollywood is a land of loose morals, where materialism rules, sex and drugs are celebrated on screen (and off), and power players can have a distant relationship with the truth. But movie studios and their partners have quietly — very quietly, sometimes to the degree of a black ops endeavor — been building deep connections to Christian filmgoers who dwell elsewhere on the spectrum of politics and social values. In doing so, they have tapped churches, military groups, right-leaning bloggers and, particularly, a fraternity of marketing specialists who cut their teeth on overtly religious movies but now put their influence behind mainstream works like Frozen, The Conjuring, Sully and Hidden Figures.”

5. Growth, Not Forced Equality, Saves the Poor

“Enforcing the Voting Rights Act matters. Restraining police violence matters. Equalizing possession of Rolexes does not.”

6. With Streaming, Musicians and Fans Find Room to Experiment and Explore

“Something unexpected happened near the top of the album charts this year: Pop stars were acting like artists. That is to say, they weren’t desperately chasing the broadest possible audience with the most surefire formulas; they weren’t calculating what would fit radio formats best. Instead, some of them grew eccentric and adventurous, impulsive and experimental, instinctive and personal — at times, bordering on avant-garde. And they found that listeners were willing to pay attention.”

7. Apple Music: Platform? Promoter? Both.

“Since its debut in the summer of 2015, however, Apple Music has separated itself from Spotify, the industry’s streaming leader, by trying to become a one-stop shop for major artists — part platform and part promoter.”

8. Make Room for the Hygge Hordes

“Hygge (pronounced HOO-gah, like a football cheer in a Scandinavian accent) is the Danish word for cozy. It is also a national manifesto, nay, an obsession expressed in the constant pursuit of homespun pleasures involving candlelight, fires, fuzzy knitted socks, porridge, coffee, cake and other people. But no strangers, as the Danes, apparently, are rather shy.”

9. Smaller Bathrooms on Planes Pose Challenges for Passengers

“The continuing installation of smaller and reconfigured bathrooms, which began in late 2013, has led to complaints about safety issues, say travelers and flight crew, who are concerned about restricted access for the physically disabled, as well as ease of use for other passengers.”

10. Charles Johnson: By the Book

“I’ve long argued that literature has an epistemological mission, can be the site for philosophical agency, and that the aim of great literature is the liberation of our perception.”

11. Lessons on How to Live, in 26 Books

“He argues that books save lives — literally. Theodore Roosevelt was once protected from an assassin’s bullet by a thick manuscript in his overcoat pocket. But also less literally: Reading Lolita in Tehran, one of Schwalbe’s picks, is about how books gave a group of women a sliver of light in a dark, oppressive society.”

12. The Year in Reading

“In this season of giving, we asked some notably avid readers — who also happen to be poets, musicians, diplomats, filmmakers, novelists, actors and artists — to share the books that accompanied them through 2016.”

13. What’s the Best Book, New or Old, You Read This Year?

“In The Fall Of Language in the Age of English, Minae Mizumura shows, better than anyone ever has, how English is wrecking other languages — reducing even great literary languages, including Japanese and French, to local dialects — and makes a vigorous case for the superiority of the written over the spoken word.”

14. Colson Whitehead on David Bowie

“Pick the right tool for the job, and then start over again next time. What can glam or folk accomplish here but not there, funk pull off this year, and a synthesizer the next? Why be the same artist album to album, book to book, movie to movie — if you did it once, why would you want to do it again?”

15. Quiet Places

“After the deaths of these 10 notable people, The New York Times photographed their private spaces — as they left them.”

16. John Jeremiah Sullivan on Prince

“There’s a temptation to try a thing about ‘the meaning of Prince,’ i.e., one of those half-true, crypto-competitive think pieces we tend to trot out (we including I) at times like this. When an artist you love disappears, everyone else’s ideas about that person can seem grotesque and stupid, and even if right, right for the wrong reasons.”

17. Greg Howard on Muhammad Ali

The answer, of course, is a guy who thinks himself a hero. The one constant in Ali’s life — from the 12-year-old boxer passing out fliers for his own fights to the man who withdrew from public life as Parkinson’s took hold — was his unyielding, nigh-oblivious self-belief.

18. Andy Warhol on Bill Cunningham

“Ran into Bill Cunningham on his bike, I just wish I could do what he does, just go everywhere and take pictures all day.”