5.30.2010 New York Times Digest

1. “Our Fix-It Faith and the Oil Spill”

“Americans have long had an unswerving belief that technology will save us — it is the cavalry coming over the hill, just as we are about to lose the battle. And yet, as Americans watched scientists struggle to plug the undersea well over the past month, it became apparent that our great belief in technology was perhaps misplaced.”

2. “The Hard Sell on Salt”

“You might be surprised by what foods are enhanced by its briny kiss.”

3. “Handmade Hoops Put the Clang Into New York Courts”

“Other cities, including those with their own share of contributions to basketball lore like Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and Newark, buy modern, factory-made rims. New York is among the few places, and possibly the only one, where municipal rims used at more than 700 public parks are still made by hand.”

4. “A Sidekick Adds Luster to a Star”

“When Kerr joined the Bulls in 1993, Jordan was on his baseball-playing sabbatical, returning to the team before the 1995 playoffs, where Chicago lost in the second round. Jordan, according to Kerr, was ‘a man possessed’ during training camp the following fall, lashing teammates verbally, jamming elbows into their chests. Kerr one day took offense, talked back and was promptly punched in the face.”

5. “YouTube Wants You to Sit and Stay Awhile”

“This fall, YouTube says it will introduce a radically different, uncluttered look, with YouTube Leanback. It will have a separate Web address and will start playing a video the moment a user clicks on the site. When one video ends, another will start automatically, eliminating those dreaded ‘decision points’ that invite abandonment. Viewers will be able to select channels, but the flow of programs, whether short or long, will be continuous.”

6. “Are 5,001 Friends One Too Many?”

“Facebook discourages adding strangers as friends, adding that only a tiny fraction of its 400 million users have reached the 5,000 threshold, at which point Facebook wags its digital finger and says: That’s enough.”

7. “Just Don’t Call It a Corset”

“Spanx for Men has been a huge retail hit.”

8. “In Ink on a Flyleaf, Forever Yours”

“If e-books end up largely replacing traditional books, where would the extra personality that comes with an inscription go?”

9. “Follow My Logic? A Connective Word Takes the Lead”

“‘So’ also echoes the creeping influence of science- and data-driven culture. It would have been unimaginable a few decades ago that ordinary people would quantify daily activities like eating, sex and sleeping, or that software would calculate what songs we will like. But in the algorithmic times that have come, ‘so’ conveys an algorithmic certitude. It suggests that there is a right answer, which the evidence dictates and which must not be contradicted. Among its synonyms, after all, are ‘consequently,’ ‘thus’ and ‘therefore.'”

10. “Further Thoughts of a Novice E-Reader”

“All the e-books I’ve read have been ugly … though the texts have been wonderful. But I didn’t grow up reading texts. I grew up reading books. The difference is important.”

11. “Noises Off”

“He questions why American culture in general seems to be on the loud side, examines ‘the historic relationship between noise and violence, between the arrogance of power and contempt for the weak.’ He happily cites other sources in generous footnotes, everyone from the music critic Alex Ross to the historian Emily Thompson, who was ‘undoubtedly correct in pointing to the concept of “noise pollution” as an outgrowth of the environmentalist mind-set that emerged in the 1970s.'”

12. “Wish You Were Here”

“Living in the closing years of the American century, struggling with his own impulses and appetites, Wallace developed a vision of a society whose pursuit of pleasure was shutting itself off from true feeling and experience.”

13. “Cool”

“What we think of as modern cool (‘Cool, man!’) does not come on the scene in a serious way until the early 1940s, in jazz circles — with the credit often given to the hipper-than-hip saxophonist Lester Young. It would take another decade for the slang word to hit the American mainstream, taking off among white teeny-boppers circa 1952.”

14. “Bare Necessity”

“FiveFingers signals an ideology, a defiant embrace of a naked message to, and about, Big Footwear: the emperor has shoes, but I refuse to buy them. It borders on a product-enabled subversive critique of a multibillion-dollar industry’s innovations. But that critique has its own critics, and it’s fair to at least wonder about the dissonance involved in the slogan ‘Run Barefoot, Wear FiveFingers.’ What does it mean when even going ‘barefoot’ requires a $100 object?”

15. “M.I.A.’s Agitprop Pop”

“Unity holds no allure for Maya — she thrives on conflict, real or imagined. ‘I kind of want to be an outsider,’ she said, eating a truffle-flavored French fry. ‘I don’t want to make the same music, sing about the same stuff, talk about the same things. If that makes me a terrorist, then I’m a terrorist.'”

One response to “5.30.2010 New York Times Digest

  1. Thank you for this Sunday Edition. LOTS of good things here! So I enjoyed the remarks on “so” and the history of cool. What is cool anyway? :) Noises off is interesting to me as I am currently graduating from a Sound Healing program, which does expound the use of silence to sooth. Oh, and the Oil Spill fiasco is absolutely horrendous, and Male Corsets are absolutely titillating….

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