7.10.2011 New York Times Digest

1. “What You See Is What You Get”

“Viewers think they are free to look where they want, but, due to the subtle influence of the director and actors, where they want to look is also where the director wants them to look.”

2. “Tough Calculus as Technical Schools Face Deep Cuts”

“27% of people who get a vocational license or certificate after high school, whether at a community college or a profit-making institution, earn more than the average for those with a bachelor’s degree.”

3. “With Suzuki, There’s Less Than Meets the Eye”

“I’ve come to realize that Suzuki, perhaps more than any other player, has an ability to trick you into believing that he is a far more valuable player than he actually is.”

4. “The First Lady of the N.B.A.”

“Converting their marriage into a business partnership simply made sense.”

5. “The Life (and Death) of the Party”

“Good conversation is as central to a successful dinner party as good food, wine and flowers. Yet it’s the area that gets the least planning and thought.”

6. “New Technology, but the Same Old Lies”

“We’ve always lied; new technologies are merely changing the ways and the reasons we lie.”

7. “There’s No Quiet Without Noise”

“The machine is designed quite simply to make noise. It starts with a simple tone, which, as one turns a dial that gradually increases the frequency, jumps up regularly, like stairs, to a higher tone. Or almost regularly, that is. In between tones, as the pitch gets higher, there is the unmistakable and scratchy sound of noise. Its appeal is in the noise. Or rather the idea of the noise, since the noise itself is not exactly mellifluous.”

8. “In Defense of Antidepressants”

“The claim that antidepressants do nothing for this common condition — that they are merely placebos with side effects — is based on studies that have probably received more ink than they deserve.”

9. “Instant Music Gratification”

“The mystery of music was the calling card of that pop age. Comic books were equally esoteric, alluding to back issues that would take months to procure, or that simply couldn’t be procured at all. Favorite cartoons would come and go — mid-continuity, plotlines dangling — without explanation. The star receiver of your favorite football team would vanish, leaving you in wonder, until years later when an announcer’s off-hand mention of a tragic car crash brought you up to speed. But the distance between what you knew and what you didn’t was magic, was a shared realm of legitimate fact and fan fictions. It demanded interpretation, completion, creation.”

10. “Erotic Vagrancy, Anyone?”

“No doubt a galaxy of today’s stars are angling to play yesterday’s. But there’s the rub. What makes superstars blaze is how inimitable they are. You can’t replicate what’s unique or measure up to what’s immeasurable.”

11. “Is Sex Passé?”

“Sex itself may not be dead, but it seems sexual passion is on life support.”

12. “Somehow, the Unemployed Became Invisible”

“Many Americans have simply given up.”

13. “The Therapist Will See You Now, via the Web”

“Proponents of Internet-based therapy point to some research suggesting that it is effective for certain kinds of conditions, like depression and anxiety.”

14. “Don’t Fret. Just Ask for What You Need.”

“Often, women’s speech is peppered with tentative and indirect phrases that scream a lack of confidence, such as, ‘I’m not really sure, but you could try it this way,’ or, ‘Now, I’m not an expert, but …’ or, ‘I think this is a good idea — do you?'”

15. “2,000 Years of Popes, Sacred and Profane”

“The pope’s sexual proclivities aroused a good deal of speculation. He seems to have had two weaknesses — for good- looking young men and for melons — though the contemporary rumor that he enjoyed watching the former being tortured while he gorged himself on the latter is surely unlikely.”

16. “Bubble? What Bubble?”

“Believe it or not, this goes deep into the interior mentality of the engineer, which is very truth-oriented. When you’re dealing with machines or anything that you build, it either works or it doesn’t, no matter how good of a salesman you are. So engineers not only don’t care about the surface appearance, but they view attempts to kind of be fake on the surface as fundamentally dishonest.”



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