2.15.2009 New York Times Digest

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1. “Do We Need a New Internet?”

“At Stanford, where the software protocols for original Internet were designed, researchers are creating a system to make it possible to slide a more advanced network quietly underneath today’s Internet.”

2. “Movies That Go Squish in the Night”

“The mind-body-machine games Mr. Cronenberg plays in movies like Videodrome and eXistenZ are elaborate, suggestive and inventively worked out, but they are games, not deep philosophical statements. He always wins them too, in part because he’s a terrific bluffer: he has the knack of convincing academics and other lofty-minded viewers that he’s holding better cards than he is. A midnight audience isn’t as easy to fool, and will probably see these films for what they are: funky, macabre science fiction comedies that tease the brain without effecting any significant alteration in its structure, or causing permanent damage.”

3. “Hotel Designs With Cinematic Flavor”

“For his largest Manhattan property — the Bowery Hotel, in the East Village — Mr. MacPherson turned to an even more surprising source: Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining (1980), a horror film that takes place in the Overlook, a fictional hotel in the Rocky Mountains.”

4. “Death: Bad?”

“Broadly speaking, philosophy has three concerns: how the world hangs together, how our beliefs can be justified, and how to live. Arguably, learning how to die fits under the third of these. If you wanted to get rhetorically elastic about it, you might even say that by learning how to die we learn how to live.”

5. “Being There”

“People point out that there’s a significant sleight-of-hand in every status update, because the real answer to ‘What are you doing right now?’ is always just ‘Updating my status.’”

6. “A Successful Failure”

“To certain particularly dedicated users of the online social-networking service Twitter, the ‘Fail Whale’ is as iconic as any corporate logo, and far more beloved.”

7. “The No-Stats All-Star”

“Here we have a basketball mystery: a player is widely regarded inside the N.B.A. as, at best, a replaceable cog in a machine driven by superstars. And yet every team he has ever played on has acquired some magical ability to win.”

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