12.12.2010 New York Times Digest

1. “From Hobby to Industry”

“History shows a typical progression of information technologies, from somebody’s hobby to somebody’s industry; from jury-rigged contraption to slick production marvel; from a freely accessible channel to one strictly controlled by a single corporation or cartel — from open to closed system.”

2. “China’s Army of Graduates Struggles for Jobs”

“Chinese sociologists have come up with a new term for educated young people who move in search of work like Ms. Liu: the ant tribe.”

3. “Angry Birds, Flocking to Cellphones Everywhere”

“People around the world rack up 200 million minutes of game play each day. (Put another way, that is 16 human-years of bird-throwing every hour.)”

4. “Declassified Papers Show U.S. Recruited Ex-Nazis”

“After World War II, American counterintelligence recruited former Gestapo officers, SS veterans and Nazi collaborators to an even greater extent than had been previously disclosed and helped many of them avoid prosecution or looked the other way when they escaped, according to thousands of newly declassified documents.”

5. “Lakers’ Ron Artest Turns Defense Into an Art Form”

“In an era in which rules favor scoring and some players dismiss their defensive responsibilities, Artest takes pride in them.”

6. “Straight Outta Hoboken”

“The quality that hip-hoppers seem to find most enviable in Original Sinatra is his air of stylish menace, and in particular, one much-touted association.”

7. “What Progressives Don’t Understand About Obama”

“If President Obama behaved that way, he’d be dismissed as an angry black militant with a deep hatred of white people. His grade would go from a B- to a D. What the progressives forget is that black intellectuals have been called ‘paranoid,’ ‘bitter,’ ‘rowdy,’ ‘angry,’ ‘bullies,’ and accused of tirades and diatribes for more than 100 years.”

8. “No Jobs? Young Graduates Make Their Own”

“The lesson may be that entrepreneurship can be a viable career path, not a renegade choice — especially since the promise of ‘Go to college, get good grades and then get a job,’ isn’t working the way it once did. The new reality has forced a whole generation to redefine what a stable job is.”

9. “Technology Outpaces Privacy (Yet Again)”

“Everything old is new again.”

10. “Feel Free to Read This Later, on Your Phone”

“With our hands constantly traversing the keyboard, we forage for information. We ceaselessly search for the next task. In that heightened state of awareness and anxiety, it is very hard to just sit back, relax and read.”

11. “After Death, the Remix”

“He danced with zombies in the video for ‘Thriller’; now he returns, reanimated.”

12. “The Coen Brothers, Shooting Straight”

“Yes, you can probably bring Grandma to this one on Christmas.”

13. “It’s What She Knows: The Luxe Life”

“Observing that ‘mopey-man movies’ often get a free pass, Ms. Dunst suggested that there is less tolerance for feminine introspection. It may be no coincidence that Marie Antoinette, which Ms. Coppola calls her ‘girliest’ film, has been her most divisive, and the most acclaimed by far, Lost in Translation, in which a glum middle-aged man strikes up an intimate connection with a lovely young woman, is the one that best conforms to a male fantasy.”

14. “Shifting Amid, and Asserting, His Own Cinema”

“One of the pleasures of his work, even when the films are less than agreeable, is that they can be difficult to put into the neat (easy to write about, easy to read about), sometimes oppositional little boxes adored by critics. Such boxes are familiar and convenient — early versus late, political versus nonpolitical — but they can obscure more than they reveal. They can also become less of a descriptive tool and more of a regulatory one, a method of dealing with (or dispatching) a filmmaker whose work defies established categorization or simply displeases critics.”

15. “On DVD, Better … Stronger … Faster”

“More than a generation ago big- and small-screen science fiction was dominated by Silent Running, Soylent Green, The Omega Man, Logan’s Run, the Planet of the Apes franchise and similarly dystopian visions of the future. ‘The Six Million Dollar Man,’ by contrast, offered a rare Watergate-era hero: tough, swift, but, in the best ’70s tradition, vulnerable.”

16. “European Exotic”

“There’s nothing intrinsically wrong about changing your name or your breasts or your hairline or your voice or your accent, or with suppressing your ethnicity and background, but with Lamarr the process involved whittling away parts of an identity without quite finding a new one to inhabit.”

17. “Thunder and Lightning”

“He broad-jumped within six inches of the world record for a movie-set wager.”

18. “True to True Grit

“Portis is the author of the most perfect chapter opening I know of, in Gringos: ‘You put things off and then one morning you wake up and say — today I will change the oil in my truck.'”

19. “Looking for the Real Mark Zuckerberg”

“Hackerdom rewards spontaneity, curiosity and ingenuity. Science rewards rigor and forging solid bedrock to stand on — which means a lot of carefully dotting i’s and crossing t’s. Although scientific questions are harder, more abstract and tend to have less immediate influence in the world, the questions are deeper and the answers so uplifting and transcendently beautiful that contact with them is a genuine spiritual experience.”

20. “How Real Does It Feel?”

“We may not be fooled by images, but maybe sometimes we would like to be.”

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