01.08.2012 New York Times Digest


1. “Why Authors Tweet

“Many authors have little use for the pretension of hermetic distance and never accepted a historically specific idea of what it means to be a writer. With the digital age come new conceptions of authorship. And for both authors and readers, these changes may be unexpectedly salutary.”

3. “The Critics Rave … for Microsoft?

“It looks like nothing we’ve seen before from Microsoft.”

4. “Sifting the Professional From the Personal

“My Facebook friends are all my real friends.”

5. “Building the Team That Built Watson

“Scientists, by their nature, can be solitary creatures conditioned to work and publish independently to build their reputations. While collaboration drives just about all scientific research, the idea of ‘publishing or perishing’ under one’s own name is alive and well.”

6. “Paved, but Still Alive

“As the critic Lewis Mumford wrote half a century ago, ‘The right to have access to every building in the city by private motorcar in an age when everyone possesses such a vehicle is the right to destroy the city.’ Yet we continue to produce parking lots, in cities as well as in suburbs, in the same way we consume all those billions of plastic bottles of water and disposable diapers. What to do?”

7. “From the Cage to the Screen, With Fists Flying

“The first thing you need to do is just immediately get back to work.”

8. “Wary of Energy Drinks in an Adrenaline Sport

“We’re saying, ‘Do whatever you want, but you can drink water and be just as cool.’”

9. “Be It Resolved

“People with the best self-control, paradoxically, are the ones who use their willpower less often. Instead of fending off one urge after another, these people set up their lives to minimize temptations. They play offense, not defense, using their willpower in advance so that they avoid crises, conserve their energy and outsource as much self-control as they can.”

10. “The Myth of Japan’s Failure

“The Japanese are dressed better than Americans. They have the latest cars, including Porsches, Audis, Mercedes-Benzes and all the finest models. I have never seen so many spoiled pets. And the physical infrastructure of the country keeps improving and evolving.”

11. “Theater for Twits

“The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra has tweet seats from which patrons can carry on what organizers call ‘digital conversations’ during concerts. In Florida, the Palm Beach Opera set up a tweet section for a performance of Madama Butterfly. Last month, The Public Theater in New York said via Twitter: ‘We think we may be the first of the large theaters to do some Tweet Seats, don’t know about smaller theaters.'”

12. “Get a Midlife

“The most recent research on middle age has looked at gains as well as deficits.”

13. “Return to a Darker Age

“Artificial illumination has arguably been the greatest symbol of modern progress.”

14. “Alone Again, Naturally

“Most men seem unable to live alone for longer than, say, at the outside … three months. Most single women I know really love their lives.”

15. “My Back Pages: Digital Diary Traces Memories

“We are beginning to see ourselves not just from the inside, as an actor doing something on a daily basis, but from the outside — understanding what we look like to the world around us and developing a kind of hybrid identity.”

16. “Striking on the Modern Matchbook

“By the 1940s, it was estimated that more than one million Americans had become phillumenists, or matchbook collectors. During World War II, Gen. Douglas MacArthur had matchbooks bearing the words ‘I shall return’ dropped behind enemy lines in the Philippines.”

17. “How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body

“Black has come to believe that ‘the vast majority of people’ should give up yoga altogether. It’s simply too likely to cause harm.”

18. “How Many Stephen Colberts Are There?

“There used to be just two Stephen Colberts, and they were hard enough to distinguish. Lately, though, there has emerged a third Colbert. This one is a version of the TV-show Colbert, except he doesn’t exist just on screen anymore. He exists in the real world and has begun to meddle in it.”

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