2.7.2010 New York Times Digest

1. “Turncoats Who Become Heroes”

“The unease these movies express, and the problem they try, in their various pop-philosophical ways, to address, is an old one that has taken on some chilling new dimensions in our environmentally anxious, technologically accelerating world. What does it mean to be human?”

2. “Better Loving Through Chemistry”

“These dating sites offer you a list of romantic candidates whose selection is based on proprietary analyses of personality characteristics or biological markers.”

3. “The New Math on Campus”

“Women have represented about 57 percent of enrollments at American colleges since at least 2000, according to a recent report by the American Council on Education. Researchers there cite several reasons: women tend to have higher grades; men tend to drop out in disproportionate numbers; and female enrollment skews higher among older students, low-income students, and black and Hispanic students.”

4. “Apolitics and the War Film”

“When it comes to current military engagements on the Asian landmass, Karl von Clausewitz’s assertion that war is ‘the continuation of politics by other means’ is one memo — and perhaps one of the few clichés — that American filmmakers have largely chosen to ignore.”

5. “Cue the Director’s Adrenaline”

“I like watching Out of the Past repeatedly.”

6. “A Reluctant Return to the Spotlight”

“Sade emerged in the music-video era (her debut album, Diamond Life, appeared a year after Madonna’s did), when many pop stars believe they need maximum media exposure to sustain a career. Instead Sade has hung back, letting the songs alone define her. It’s a decision that may, in the end, make her more cherished.”

7. “He’s So Vain”

“After Collins, there were Natalie Wood, Leslie Caron and Julie Christie. He had sex with Cher when she was 16. He used to call Sandra Bernhard in the middle of the night, asking her to talk dirty to Uncle Warren. He dated Diane Keaton and Mary Tyler Moore at the same time, while they were living in opposite towers of the San Remo on Central Park West. He apparently dated not only Simon, but also the actress Joyce Hyser, Michelle Phillips, Twiggy, Liv Ullmann, Joni Mitchell, Jackie O. (briefly), Isabelle Adjani, Elle Macpherson and Stephanie Seymour. He even courted Lillian Hellman and Kitty Car­lisle Hart in their golden years; nothing happened, probably, but he wouldn’t have minded if it had.”

8. “Tales Out of School”

“Of the top 20 universities in the world, according to one 2008 reckoning, just three were outside the United States.”

9. “The Book of Self-Love”

“How had the radical changes in American economic and social arrangements since the 19th century affected the individual?”

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