12.04.2011 New York Times Digest

1. “The New Digital Divide”

“Telecommunications, which in theory should bind us together, has often divided us in practice.”

2. “Selling Books by Their Gilded Covers”

“If e-books are about ease and expedience, the publishers reason, then print books need to be about physical beauty and the pleasures of owning, not just reading.”

3. “Know What You’re Protesting”

“Ironically, the topic of the lecture that the protesters chose to boycott was economic inequality.”

4. “Software That Listens for Lies”

“A small band of linguists, engineers and computer scientists, among others, are busy training computers to recognize hallmarks of what they call emotional speech — talk that reflects deception, anger, friendliness and even flirtation.”

5. “Don’t Just Sit There, Work Out at Your Desk”

“Every little bit helps.”

6. “Talking Face to Face Is So … Yesterday”

“Face time — or what used to be known as spending time with friends and family — is exhausting. Maybe that’s why we’re all so quick to abandon it. From grandfathers to tweenies, we’re all taking advantage of the ways in which we can avoid actually talking, much less seeing, one another — but still stay connected.”

7. “Riot Gear’s Evolution”

“Following the ‘Battle in Seattle’ protests against the World Trade Organization in 1999, a more restrictive, preemptive and aggressive form of protest policing emerged at the 2003 protests in Miami over the Free Trade Area of the Americas.”

8. “The Junking of the Postal Service”

“Do Americans need Saturday mail delivery … or daily mail delivery … or a state-run postal service at all? Should mail be a guaranteed government service — like primary education — because it is essential to our well-being? Or has this once hallowed institution, like pay phones, outlived its utility?”

9. “Getting Far, Far Away From It All”

“The idea of going for more than an hour or two without checking some sort of device for a text or e-mail, never mind face-to-face interaction, is unfathomable to many people in the professional world Mr. Trippetti inhabits. But there are overworked, overcommitted professionals in big cities like New York who periodically do just that.”

10. “One More Thing Goes to the Web: Subway Ogling”

“To unsuspecting subjects, an admiring photographer is as likely to be checking e-mail as snapping a shutter.”

11. “The Cardboard Beginnings of the Credit Card”

“At first, the very notion spooked people.”

12. “The Foul Reign of Emerson’s ‘Self-Reliance’”

“Oh, the deception! The rank insincerity! It’s just like the Devil in Mutton Chops to promise an orgiastic communion fit for the gods, only to deliver a gospel of ‘self-conceit so intensely intellectual,’ as Melville complained, ‘that at first one hesitates to call it by its right name.'”

13. “Me and My Man Shed”

“There is a model clipper ship made entirely out of Budweiser cans — Palace’s favorite brew. There are black-and-white photographs of Muhammad Ali, John Wayne, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Ernest Hemingway and a yellowing newspaper cutout of Joe Namath throwing a touchdown pass.”

14. “Viggo Talks and Talks”

“He never had Champagne dreams and caviar wishes, and much of what passes for ‘a celebrity lifestyle’ is, he thinks, rather banal and grim. ‘I don’t have lots of friends in the business, and the ones I do have are probably more like me, in that they’re not the kind of people to go places just so they can be seen. I see people doing that stuff and to me, it seems pathetic and ridiculous and kind of . . . well, humiliating. Life’s too short.'”


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