8.14.2011 New York Times Digest


1. “The Search-and-Rescue Dogs of 9/11”

“Photographs by Charlotte Dumas of privately owned dogs who were mobilized, with their owners, to search for victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. They are now retired.”

2. “With No More Cowboys Taking Vows, Monastery Quits the Cattle Business”

“They’re not cattlemen. They’re more interested in the intellectual stuff.”

3. “Working at Making the Most of Your Vacation”

“These days, because of technology, it’s very hard to disengage completely from the office during a vacation.”

4. “Two Titans Share the Seat of Power”

Watch the Throne [is] perhaps the most ambitious and effortful late-career album hip-hop has ever seen.”

5. “Black-and-White Struggle With a Rosy Glow”

“By denying the casual, commonplace quality of racial prejudice, and peering into the saddest values of the greatest generation, Hollywood perpetuates an ahistorical vision of how democracy and white supremacy comfortably co-existed.”

6. “How Crimes Have Changed”

“‘Who are you guys?’ Diamond asks, confounded by the idea of crime without personality, stripped of style and panache. The time of the independent operator is over, absorbed by a world of employees.”

7. “The Incredible, Inevitable Shrinking Album Cover”

“The digital revolution has already reduced record sales, and its impact is now being felt in packaging. Album covers appear to be growing simpler and less detailed than those in the past. The evolution reflects the way in which more and more fans will be staring at covers on their smartphones, iPads and other mobile devices, on which record jackets are now roughly the size of a postage stamp.”

8. “Maybe It’s Time for Plan C”

“In recent years, a wave of white-collar professionals has seized on a moribund job market, a swelling enthusiasm for all things artisanal and the growing sense that work should have meaning to cut ties with the corporate grind and chase second careers as chocolatiers, bed-and-breakfast proprietors and organic farmers.”

9. “Our Plugged-in Summer”

“During weekends this summer, I would pursue the opposite of an unplugged vacation: I would check screens whenever I could. Not in the service of work, but in the service of play. I would crowd-source new ideas for car games and YouTube my picnic recipes. I would test the prevailing wisdom that the Internet spoils all the fun.”

10. “The Elusive Big Idea”

“We are living in an increasingly post-idea world — a world in which big, thought-provoking ideas that can’t instantly be monetized are of so little intrinsic value that fewer people are generating them and fewer outlets are disseminating them, the Internet notwithstanding. Bold ideas are almost passé.”

11. “Download: Anthony Bourdain”

“When you’re on the road 240 days a year, listening to something that makes you feel like you’re in a film makes it better.”

12. “The Mutual Fund Merry-Go-Round”

“Individual investors should take control of their financial destinies, educate themselves, avoid sales pitches and invest in a well-diversified portfolio of low-cost index funds, like those offered by Vanguard, which operates on a not-for-profit basis. (Even Morningstar concludes, in a remarkably frank study, that low costs do a better job of predicting superior performance than do the firm’s own five-star ratings.)”

13. “A Hacker Tells All”

“While he excelled at infiltrating computer systems from a keyboard and had a sharp memory for numbers, Ghost in the Wires really showcases another of Mitnick’s skills: social engineering, or what he describes as ‘the casual or calculated manipulation of people to influence them to do things they would not ordinarily do.’ By doing his research and impersonating authority figures over the phone or by e-mail, Mitnick found he could persuade just about anybody — programmers, technicians, even the nice lady at the Social Security Administration — to give him the things he wanted, like passwords, computer chips and personal information about F.B.I. informants on his tail.”

14. “Love, the Many-Splendored Emotion”

“A rat will grow up fat and sassy if well-­licked by its mother, nervous and underdeveloped if licked poorly or not at all.”

15. “Explaining it All: How We Became the Center of the Universe”

“Deutsch is so smart, and so strange, and so creative, and so inexhaustibly curious, and so vividly intellectually alive, that it is a distinct privilege, notwithstanding everything, to spend time in his head.”

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