2.12.2012 New York Times Digest

1. “Whitney Houston, Pop Superstar, Dies at 48

“Ms. Houston’s range spanned three octaves, and her voice was plush, vibrant and often spectacular. She could pour on the exuberant flourishes of gospel or peal a simple pop chorus; she could sing sweetly or unleash a sultry rasp.”

2. “Even Critics of Safety Net Increasingly Depend on It

“The government safety net was created to keep Americans from abject poverty, but the poorest households no longer receive a majority of government benefits. A secondary mission has gradually become primary: maintaining the middle class from childhood through retirement.”

3. “It’s the Economy, Honey

“Economics pervades their personal lives.”

4. “It’s Not About You, Facebook. It’s About Us.

“Facebook has begun creeping ever deeper into the texture of life, rolling out new features and partnerships that help bind it even more tightly to the fabric that keeps us connected. This has alarmed some people, convincing them that it’s time to pull the plug and forgo the service altogether.”

5. “Here’s Looking at You (but I’m Still Texting)

“Researchers have created a prototype for a touch screen that can be used to send messages while it’s concealed in a jacket or pants pocket.”

6. “The Age of Big Data

“There is no area that is going to be untouched.”

7. “The M.R.S. and the Ph.D.

“They are more likely to receive as well as give oral sex, to use a greater variety of sexual positions and to experience orgasm regularly.”

8. “The Dubious Science of Online Dating

“Can a mathematical formula really identify pairs of singles who are especially likely to have a successful romantic relationship?”

9. “In Hitchcock’s World of Fallible Mortals

“It’s with Hitchcock that many of us begin to sense the presence of the director, to understand that movies are more than a matter of attractive people reciting their lines in front of a camera. Along with Orson Welles, Hitchcock is the filmmaker most responsible for making viewers aware of form, for showing us that what we have here is something distinct from novels and plays, a medium with its own things to say and its own way of saying them.”

10. “Don’t Tell Me, I Don’t Want to Know

“A study published last month in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking found that the more time people spent on Facebook, the happier they perceived their friends to be and the sadder they felt as a consequence.”

11. “A Nation Lulled to Sleep

“Americans spent $740 million on sleeping pillows in 2010.”

12. “America: Single, and Loving It

“We need to make a distinction between living alone and being alone.”

13. “Tramps Like Them

“The problem, Murray argues, is not that members of the new upper class eat French cheese or vote for Barack Obama. It is that they have lost the confidence to preach what they practice, adopting instead a creed of ‘ecumenical niceness.’ They work, marry and raise children, but they refuse to insist that the rest of the country do so, too.”

14. “Inside Intelligence

“It’s time to establish ‘a greater balance of power’ between those who rush to speak and do and those who sit back and think.”

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