3.13.2011 New York Times Digest

1. “The Road to the White House Is Paved With Pizza”

“Pizza, Dutch jokes, gay marriage: out of such elements consensus will be forged.”

2. “The Allure of a Man’s Uncertainty”

“The women who found the men most attractive of all were those who weren’t sure just how much the men liked them.”

3. “Casting Call: Bit Player, Male”

“As I get older I’ve started acknowledging in tangible ways that while the longing for a cinematic relationship is universal and, obviously, keeps Hollywood romantic comedies in business, the hardest relationship isn’t always the best.”

4. “Don’t Take This Hunk at Face Value”

“Mr. Cooper takes evident pleasure in portraying alpha males, and Eddie’s superhuman I.Q. notwithstanding, he is not such a far cry from Phil or Face: same silver-tongued sure-footedness, same lady-killer swagger.”

5. “A Director’s Toughest Competition”

“It seems that all these directors, like all great filmmakers, are drawn to the same themes.”

6. “Now Playing: The Usual Chaos”

“Hollywood has never been in the risk business; it’s in the same-but-different business. Every so often a visionary shakes up the screen, like Orson Welles did with Citizen Kane — and look what happened to him.”

7. “A Changed Starbucks. A Changed C.E.O.”

“Mr. Schultz usually rises at 4 a.m., without an alarm, downs a Starbucks Sumatran coffee at home, followed by a short double latte or espresso macchiato from one of two Starbucks stores he visits on his way to work. He arrives in his office by 6:30.”

8. “Google’s Quest to Build a Better Boss”

“For much of its 13-year history, particularly the early years, Google has taken a pretty simple approach to management: Leave people alone. Let the engineers do their stuff. If they become stuck, they’ll ask their bosses, whose deep technical expertise propelled them into management in the first place. But Mr. Bock’s group found that technical expertise — the ability, say, to write computer code in your sleep — ranked dead last among Google’s big eight. What employees valued most were even-keeled bosses who made time for one-on-one meetings, who helped people puzzle through problems by asking questions, not dictating answers, and who took an interest in employees’ lives and careers.”

9. “This Data Isn’t Dull. It Improves Lives.”

“Take data that you and I have already paid a government agency to collect, and post it online in a way that computer programmers can easily use. Then wait a few months. Voilà! The private sector gets busy, creating Web sites and smartphone apps that reformat the information in ways that are helpful to consumers, workers and companies.”

10. “Green Development? Not in My (Liberal) Backyard”

“Professor Cialdini’s research has found that the best way to get a guest to reuse towels is to inform him that a majority of the previous guests in that room did not switch towels daily.”

11. “The Limits of Safeguards and Human Foresight”

“All technology can do in the face of such force is to minimize damage to communities and infrastructure.”

12. “Pay Teachers More”

“A basic educational challenge is not that teachers are raking it in, but that they are underpaid. If we want to compete with other countries, and chip away at poverty across America, then we need to pay teachers more so as to attract better people into the profession.”

13. “A Cocktail Party With Readers”

“Twitter, to hear Times staffers talk about it, is an environment.”

14. “The Digital Pileup”

“Because electronic information seems invisible, we underestimate the resources it takes to keep it all alive.”

15. “Montaigne’s Moment”

“It’s been said … that Montaigne was the first blogger. His favorite subject, as he often remarked, was himself (‘I would rather be an expert on me than on Cicero’), and he meant to leave nothing out (‘I am loath even to have thoughts which I cannot publish’).”

16. “The Ascension of Peter Zumthor”

“Ask for an appointment with him, and you may get no response for days or weeks. He employs no publicist, dedicates no aide to media relations. Zumthor has long done what he wants and only what he wants. This has been his virtue and burden, inviting comparison with the late American genius Louis Kahn, another proud perfectionist who built just a few buildings, making the most of a coterie of committed clients to leave behind a handful of masterpieces.”

17. “Little Big Man”

“To understand how he is able to generate so much power from such a small frame, think of his body as a huge rubber band. Each sequential part of his motion — from the rocking back at the start to the long, low stride at the end — is intended to stretch out his various muscles, the force behind them slowly building until his arm whips through at release: snap!”

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