5.1.2010 New York Times Digest


1. “Data Privacy, Put to the Test”

“You’d have to be living off the grid not to realize that just about everything there is to know about you — what you buy, where you go — is worth something to someone. And the more we live online, the more companies learn about us.”

2. “Gosh, Sweetie, That’s a Big Gun”

“The question is why are so many violent girls and women running through movies now, especially given that the American big screen hasn’t been very interested in women’s stories, violent or not, in recent decades.”

3. “Oh, Kahuna, What Became of That Endless Summer?”

“California was, in those days, where you went to be free of the past: for grown-ups, a place to start again, and for the young, a place to begin life unencumbered by the responsibilities and expectations of previous generations. The air on the beach was fresh and clear and new, the sand was pillowy, the waves broke endlessly, invitingly, and the bathing suits were skimpy.”

4. “Sunny-Season Faves”

“Without a doubt the most thrilling parts of the movie were the live performances, because all of the music was so incredible, but what was even cooler was that for the first time we were getting to hear the band speak. Not to mention discovering that Prince is a great actor. He also happens to be terribly funny.”

5. “Inmates, Gumshoes and Aristocrats”

“Hammer is out of the gutter just far enough to be able to see over the curb.”

6. “Law Students Lose the Grant Game as Schools Win”

“Sure it’s a sport. It’s just that the animals don’t know they’re in a game.”

7. “Opt-In Rules Are a Good Start”

“Here’s the key: the feature, called Login With Facebook, is opt-in only, and users can opt out any time. If they do revoke their permission, all information that was pulled in from Facebook must be purged.”

8. “Quality Time, Redefined”

“One family. One room. Four screens.”

9. “Modern Love: College Essay Contest”

“In these entries the focus shifted to technology-enabled intimacy — relationships that grow and deepen almost exclusively via laptops, webcams, online chats and text messages.”

10. “Contest Winner: Even in Real Life, There Were Screens Between Us”

“One night, when we talked too late, I fell asleep with my laptop open and woke up seven hours later, tangled in cords. He was still there, asleep in the light from an open window, pale and young and pixelated. Eventually he stirred, blinked at the camera and said, ‘Hey, you.'”

11. “Where to Live to Avoid a Natural Disaster”

“Here are maps that might offer some ideas.”

12. “The High Cost of Low Teacher Salaries”

“In the next 10 years, over half of the nation’s nearly 3.2 million public school teachers will become eligible for retirement. Who will replace them?”

13. “Lost in the Meritocracy”

“In 2009, only 24.4 percent of American faculty members were tenured or tenure-track.”

14. “Eating Your Cultural Vegetables”

“In college, a friend demanded to know what kind of idiot I was that I hadn’t yet watched Tarkovsky’s Solaris. ‘It’s so boring,’ he said with evident awe. ‘You have to watch it, but you won’t get it.’ He was right: I had to watch it, and I didn’t get it. I had to watch it — on a laserdisc in the university library — because the intimation that there was a film that connoisseurs knew that I’d never heard of was too much to bear. I didn’t get it because its mesmerizing pace was so far removed from my cinematic metabolism that several times during its 165 minutes, I awoke in a panic, only to find that the same thing was happening onscreen as was happening when I closed my eyes. (Seas roiling; Russians brooding.) After I left the library, my friend asked me what I thought. ‘That was amazing,’ I said. When he asked me what part I liked the best, I picked the five-minute sequence of a car driving down a highway, because it seemed the most boring. He nodded his approval.”

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