3.18.2012 New York Times Digest

1. “Creature Comfort


2. “63 Years Flying, From Glamour to Days of Gray

“More than 40 percent of the roughly 110,000 flight attendants in the United States are 50 or older.”

3. “John Demjanjuk, 91, Dogged by Charges of Atrocities as Nazi Camp Guard, Dies

“Had he been, as he and his family claimed, a Ukrainian prisoner of war in Germany and Poland who made his way to America and became a victim of mistaken identity? Or had he been, as prosecutors charged, a collaborating guard who willingly participated in the killing of Jews at the Treblinka, Majdanek and Sobibor death camps?”

4. “Lessons on Vice, Liberties and the Law

“The book recounts the details of a party attended by Stanford White and the sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens at which 144 bottles of Champagne were consumed by 33 people, before a near-naked 16-year-old girl emerged from an enormous pie.”

5. “As Cars Are Kept Longer, 200,000 Is New 100,000

“In the 1960s and ’70s, when odometers typically registered no more than 99,999 miles before returning to all zeros.”

6. “My Life’s Sentences

“My work accrues sentence by sentence. After an initial phase of sitting patiently, not so patiently, struggling to locate them, to pin them down, they begin arriving, fully formed in my brain. I tend to hear them as I am drifting off to sleep. They are spoken to me, I’m not sure by whom. By myself, I know, though the source feels independent, recondite, especially at the start. The light will be turned on, a sentence or two will be hastily scribbled on a scrap of paper, carried upstairs to the manuscript in the morning. I hear sentences as I’m staring out the window, or chopping vegetables, or waiting on a subway platform alone. They are pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, handed to me in no particular order, with no discernible logic. I only sense that they are part of the thing.”

7. “The Way We Read Now

“Are some reading materials better suited to one platform than another?”

8. “When Office Technology Overwhelms, Get Organized

“To be successful in the new world of work, we need to create a structure for capturing, clarifying and organizing all the forces that assail us; and to ensure time and space for thinking, reflecting and decision making.”

9. “In New Office Designs, Room to Roam and to Think

“Some employees don’t even claim permanent workspaces; they call themselves free-deskers, and they simply take whatever is available each day – with a preference, naturally, for good views and proximity to their teams.”

10. “Making Sure Your Exit Music Is Loud and Clear

In 1974, Ron Rosenbaum at The Village Voice approached his new boss, ripped up a paycheck, declared that no amount of money could keep him at the paper – and stormed off. ‘Who was that?’ the editor, Clay Felker, said.”

11. “Bypassing the Password

“Continuous monitoring of a user’s behavior is an essential element of Darpa’s requirements.”

12. “My Personal To-Do List? The Concierge Has It

“Time, as the saying goes, is money, which is why companies and organizations like Campbell’s Soup, Meridian Health and the Boston Red Sox, to name a few, are also spending big bucks to offer personal concierge services to their employees.”

13. “In India, Eternal Rhythms Embody a National Spirit

“India has no fewer than eight genres of dance that have been officially deemed classical (as well as innumerable folk forms).”

14. “Napoleon Is Lost, Long Live Napoleon!

“When you find yourself with a completed film, you are still far from having realized your dream.”

15. “Please Won’t You Be My Inspiration?

“I feel so strongly that deep and simple is far more essential than shallow and complex.”

16. “The Enthusiast

“I couldn’t tan, hated cars, refused to surf and flunked volleyball, grunion-hunting and puberty rite. Like lonely kids everywhere, I entered into books as if into a conspiracy – for company, of course, and for narrative and romance and advice on how to be decent and brave and sexy. But also for transcendence, a zap to the synaptic cleft; for a slice of the strange, the shock of an Other, a witness not yet heard from, archaeologies forgotten, ignored or despised; that radioactive glow of genius in the dark: grace notes, ghosts and gods.”

17. “Without Gods

“While universities have achieved unparalleled expertise in imparting factual information about culture, they remain wholly uninterested in training students to use it as a repertoire of wisdom.”

18. “Why Some Countries Go Bust

“The wealth of a country is most closely correlated with the degree to which the average person shares in the overall growth of its economy.”

19. “Who Made That Lawn Mower?

“I used to walk five miles a day, but that’s boring. I’d rather walk behind a lawn mower.”

20. “Whit Stillman and the Song of the Preppy

“His preferred place to write is Dunkin’ Donuts. He says he has no assets but finds having no assets to be ‘pathologically exhilarating.’ His having no assets is, in and of itself, confounding given his lineage of prosperous sea captains, merchants and bankers, including his great-grandfather James Jewett Stillman, the president of National City Bank and one of the richest men in America when he died in 1918.”

21. “Is Silence Going Extinct?

“Last March, a group of ecologists and engineers taking advantage of advances in collecting, storing and analyzing vast quantities of digital data declared a new field of science: soundscape ecology.”

22. “The Everyday, Anytime Egg-Combination Generator

“You know that eggs are simple, almost infinitely useful; these are clichés I can barely bring myself to repeat. That people have trouble embracing them – this is perpetually baffling.”

23. “How to Be a Pioneer Woman Without Ever Leaving the Couch

“It’s not that we crave suffering so much as we crave suffering for valid reasons.”


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