6.12.2011 New York Times Digest


1. “Your Own Facts”

“Citizens should not be content as mere passive recipients of tweets, pokes and bytes; they should aspire to become what some Internet scholars call ‘information flâneurs,’ treading the unbeaten paths in cyberspace and defying the narrow categories stealthily assigned to them by Web services.”

2. “U.S. Underwrites Internet Detour Around Censors”

“Some projects involve technology that the United States is developing; others pull together tools that have already been created by hackers in a so-called liberation-technology movement sweeping the globe.”

3. “Guard That Password (and Make Sure It’s Encrypted)”

“‘I believe any system will fail,’ he contends. Consequently, he says, ‘I don’t use a password manager; I write my passwords down on paper, slightly obfuscated.'”

4. “Taking Your Feelings to Work”

“In the old days — pre-Internet, pre-cellphones — it was a lot easier to believe ‘work equals rational’ and ‘home equals emotional.’ But now that work and home life constantly bleed into each other, that distinction has become anachronistic and probably self-defeating. People text and e-mail their friends and family members throughout the workday, and they receive messages from colleagues and clients on nights and weekends and during vacations.”

5. “Twitter’s Secret Handshake”

“Hashtags have transcended the 140-characters-or-less microblogging platform, and have become a new cultural shorthand, finding their way into chat windows, e-mail and face-to-face conversations.”

6. “Business Cards Go Paperless, or Almost”

“I think, culturally, you’re real and you have a real job if you have a business card. There’s something about that card that means you’re kind of official.”

7. “E. Coli Fallout: My Salad, My Health”

Some scientists predict that food-borne E. coli outbreaks will become more frequent. On an increasingly crowded planet, suffering more severe and frequent storms, it will be ever harder to keep animal production and crop production totally separate.”

8. “The Living Is Easy;The Women Are Missing”

“From now through August, American films will again be almost all male, almost all the time (the occasional decorative gal pal notwithstanding) as this year’s boys of summer — the Green Lantern and Captain America, Conan the Barbarian and Conan O’Brien — invade the multiplex, seizing media-entertainment minds and your dollars.”

9. “Seattle, a Tasting Menu”

“To eat in and around Seattle, which I did recently and recommend heartily, isn’t merely to eat well. It is to experience something that even many larger, more gastronomically celebrated cities and regions can’t offer, not to this degree: a profound and exhilarating sense of place.”

10. “The Golden Age of the Secretary”

“The downside was that while men could treat clerical jobs as the first rung of the office management ladder, women almost never made that climb. Instead, they were supposed to settle for reflected glory. One 1960s author told her readers they could ‘be a lawyer’s or a doctor’s or a scientist’s secretary because you once hoped to be a lawyer or a doctor or a scientist.'”

11. “You Blow My Mind. Hey, Mickey!”

“In order to understand what happened here, you have to know of Walt Disney’s disappointment over Disneyland, not with the park itself but with the built environment right around the park, which boomed, to accommodate the tourist trade, and sprouted seedy hotels, garish advertisements, vistas of the wrong sorts of people. Disney was heartsick over it — he, who was so visually meticulous that he used to lurk in the various animal centers and zoological gardens of Los Angeles shooting footage of little creatures, trying to ensure his animators got the musculature and locomotion right. How was he supposed to fashion a flawless dream environment, with urban blight as the backdrop? How could he open, in the words of Bob Hope, ‘an escape from our aspirin existence into a land of sparkles and lights and rainbows’? For that, he needed control over the entire context of the park. Not a land, in other words, but a world. Virgin: that was the word he used in a 1967 promotional film, made right before he died. Walt Disney died dreaming about Disney World; it’s said that while lying on his back, in his hospital room, he turned the tiles on the ceiling into a map of his precious ‘Florida project.'”

12. “Going for Broken”

“The solitude of these once-thriving canal towns and their industrial ruins is like a living memory of American ambition — of the desire for progress and all that it promised.”

13. “The Getaway Car”

“Interstate highways dull the reality of place and distance almost as effectively as jetliners do: I loathe their scary monotony. I wanted to make palpable the mileage that will stretch between us come September and feel on my own pulse the physical geography of our separation. We would take the coast road and mark out the wriggly, thousand-mile track that leads from my workroom to her future dorm in California.”

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