2.13.2011 New York Times Digest

1. “The Computer Made Me Do It”

“Humanity is migrating to cyberspace.”

2. “No Argument: Thomas Keeps 5-Year Silence”

“If he is true to form, Justice Thomas will spend the arguments as he always does: leaning back in his chair, staring at the ceiling, rubbing his eyes, whispering to Justice Stephen G. Breyer, consulting papers and looking a little irritated and a little bored. He will ask no questions.”

3. “Miriam Hansen, a Scholar of Cinema, Dies at 61”

“If films are made to be seen, then they engender, in turn, particular ways of seeing.”

4. “Indomitable Russell Values One Accolade Above the Rest”

“When he was about 77, my father and I were talking. And he said: ‘You know, you’re all grown up now, and I want to tell you something. You know, I am very proud of the way you turned out as my son, and I’m proud of you as a father.'”

5. “Assessing Sloan: Call Him Coach”

“Fed up with Sloan’s postgame harangue about a Utah Jazz loss, the 7-foot-2 Ostertag chucked the handiest missile he could find at the silver-haired Sloan. Witnesses said Sloan simply ducked and continued his lecture unfazed.”

6. “Adam Smith, Marriage Counselor”

“One secret, my co-author and I concluded, was to think like an economist: apply the rational laws of Adam Smith, as well as recent findings about why we do some of the weird things we do — mining the field of behavioral economics — to increase marital happiness.”

7. “Psst, So-and-So’s Got a Crush”

“If an extraterrestrial appeared before me and demanded to know why the human race should not be vaporized, I’d take him to a Prince concert. I’d also introduce him to the Dalai Lama, but I wouldn’t want to skip Prince.”

8. “Hollywood’s Whiteout”

“With a few exceptions … it was perhaps the whitest year for Hollywood since the post-Richard Pryor, pre-Spike Lee 1980s.”

9. “Steven Tyler Escapes From Idolatry”

“In that moment Mr. Tyler was both deeply practiced and deeply humane.”

10. “The Dirty Little Secrets of Search”

“The digital age’s most mundane act, the Google search, often represents layer upon layer of intrigue.”

11. “Shorter E-Books for Smaller Devices”

“We are seeing a new category take shape that reflects a new paradigm of what it means to read on a new device.”

 

12. “Why Innovation Doffs an Old Hat”

“The tools we use also bear marks of the evolutionary process from which they arose.”

13. “The Closing of the American Erotic”

“American filmmakers shy away from sex, especially the hot, sweaty kind. The old production code might have crumbled in the 1960s and couples can now share a bed, but the demure fade to black and the prudish pan — coitus interruptus via a crackling fire and underwear strewn across the floor — endures.”

14. “Table Disservice”

“Unwholesome things have always happened wherever people drink coffee together.”

15. “Fun Stuff”

“Best of all, we don’t even have to deal with these collections as physical things; we can simply enjoy them as digital presentations. It is everything we love about stuff — but without the stuff.”

16. “Coffee’s Slow Dance”

“I followed the lead of the professionals and started buying gear — a grinder, a drip cone, a pouring kettle — that was simple, functional and beautiful. They were low-tech, high-fidelity gadgets that cost $15 to $50 and changed how I make coffee. For the most part, the key components came from Japan.”

17. “Daniel Bell, Master Builder”

“To submerge Bell’s career into a generational or ideological subculture is to obscure the breadth of his ambition, which verged on the Faustian in its quest for totalizing knowledge. Others might formulate more novel arguments, or present them with more élan. But no one read so much and so diligently recorded it all. Bell’s major books … contain whole libraries of thought, ancient and modern, on philosophy, sociology and psychology, economics and technology, history and law, with excursions into literary theory and computer science.”

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