2.28.2010 New York Times Digest

1. “Depression’s Upside”

“Depression has a secret purpose and our medical interventions are making a bad situation even worse. Like a fever that helps the immune system fight off infection — increased body temperature sends white blood cells into overdrive — depression might be an unpleasant yet adaptive response to affliction. Maybe Darwin was right. We suffer — we suffer terribly — but we don’t suffer in vain.”

2. “6 Months, $90,000 and (Maybe) a Great Idea”

“Most E.I.R.’s receive a monthly stipend of up to $15,000 to sit and think for about six months. In return, the venture capital firm usually gets the first shot at financing the idea that emerges from this meditation.”

3. “Redrawing the Route to Online Privacy”

“The goal is to design software that essentially sits over your shoulder and provides real-time reminders — short on-screen messages — that the information you’re about to send has privacy implications.”

4. “The Buried Treasure in Your TV Dial”

“Because we can’t create additional spectrum, we must make better use of the existing space. And the target that looks most promising in this regard is the spectrum used for over-the-air television broadcasts.”

5. “Violence That Art Didn’t See Coming”

“The Western literary tradition, from Shakespeare to Dostoevsky, teems with pathologically violent men. Norman Mailer and Truman Capote wrote nonfiction masterpieces about them. They dominate the novels of Don DeLillo and Robert Stone, not to mention films by Sam Peckinpah, Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese. But the landscape of unprovoked but premeditated female violence remains strangely unexplored.”

6. “Pay Attention to the Man Behind the Camera”

“Fleming neither fit nor broke the mold of a studio director. He transcended it. Like Hawks, Vidor and others, including George Stevens and John Ford, he helped establish just how mammoth a creative force a Hollywood director could be in the era when the big studios were erecting their dream factories.”

7. “The Free-Appropriation Writer”

“A child of a media-saturated generation, she presented herself as a writer whose birthright is the remix, the use of anything at hand she feels suits her purposes, an idea of communal creativity that certainly wasn’t shared by those from whom she borrowed. In a line that might have been stolen from Sartre (it wasn’t) she added: ‘There’s no such thing as originality anyway, just authenticity.'”

8. “Class Dismissed”

“For many American high-school seniors, especially the soberest and most studious, senior year is a holding pattern, a redundancy, a way of running out the clock on a game that has already been won. When winter vacation rolls around, many of them, thanks to college early-admissions programs, know all they need to about their futures and have no more reason to hang around the schoolhouse than prehistoric fish had need for water once they grew limbs and could crawl out of the oceans. As for students who aren’t headed to four-year colleges but two-year community colleges or vocational schools, why not just get started early and read Moby Dick for pleasure, if they wish, rather than to earn a grade that they don’t need? Kids who plan to move right into the labor force are in the same position. They may as well spend the whole year in detention — which some of them, bored and restless, end up doing. Twelfth grade, for the sorts of students I’ve just described, amounts to a fidgety waiting period that practically begs for descents into debauchery and concludes in a big dumb party under a mirror ball that spins in place like the minds of those beneath it.”

One response to “2.28.2010 New York Times Digest

  1. I don’t think senior year is like that for a lot of kids – some surely – but not all. That passage has more relevance the year between undergrad and grad school -choosing to take a year off in between is like purgatory for most people.

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