3.25.2012 New York Times Digest

1. “The Brain on Love

“Loving relationships alter the brain the most significantly. Just consider how much learning happens when you choose a mate. Along with thrilling dependency comes glimpsing the world through another’s eyes; forsaking some habits and adopting others (good or bad); tasting new ideas, rituals, foods or landscapes; a slew of added friends and family; a tapestry of physical intimacy and affection; and many other catalysts, including a tornadic blast of attraction and attachment hormones – all of which revamp the brain. When two people become a couple, the brain extends its idea of self to include the other; instead of the slender pronoun ‘I,’ a plural self emerges who can borrow some of the other’s assets and strengths. The brain knows who we are. The immune system knows who we’re not, and it stores pieces of invaders as memory aids. Through lovemaking, or when we pass along a flu or a cold sore, we trade bits of identity with loved ones, and in time we become a sort of chimera. We don’t just get under a mate’s skin, we absorb him or her.”

2. “From Exile to Everywhere

“Nearly 25 years after the publication of The Satanic Verses, which forced Mr. Rushdie into hiding for a decade after Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini condemned the novel and issued a fatwa calling for his death, Mr. Rushdie has emerged as an indefatigable presence on the New York night-life scene.”

3. “A Smartphone Future? But Not Yet

“I’m just one member of a small but hardy contingent (a convoy, if you will) of smartphone holdouts, people who seem like the ideal iPhone owner (under 40, urban, professional) but shun it and its app-friendly cousins for a low-tech ‘dumbphone.’”

4. “It Riles a Village

“What does N.Y.U. want?”

5. “Funny, You Don’t Look Fetish

“I once dated a very frugal guy in New York City who expected me to walk 16 blocks to dinner in seven-inch heels. Maybe that’s why we never twice dated.”

6. “How the West Was Filled With Loss

Fort Apache is one of the great achievements of classical American cinema, a film of immense complexity that never fails to reveal new shadings with each viewing. It has been the subject of reams of critical discourse, most often fastened on its historical and ideological aspects.”

7. “Real ‘Mad Men’ Pitched Safety to Sell Volvos

“Our advertising was tough. It was not done with nuance; it was done with a stylish hammer in the face.”

8. “Download: Vincent Kartheiser

“I’m an adult. I don’t do blogs. I’m not a fan of the Twitter. I’m not a fan of the Facebook. I’m vehemently anti-, actually. I think those things are – stupid. I search for things online, but I feel I shouldn’t tell you the things I’ve searched for recently. They’re probably dirty.”

9. “The Case for Sleep Medicine

“Sleep deprivation ratchets up the stress system, leaving you more susceptible to even relatively mild sources of strain.”

10. “Just the Facts. Yes, All of Them.

“The world is one big data problem.”

11. “Insuring Hollywood Against Falls (but Not Flops)

“As movies become more expensive and complex, so has insuring them.”

12. “Avalanches of Words, Sifted and Sorted

“We don’t have the human power to read and tag all this information.”

13. “Not-So-‘Mad’ Ideas About Taxes

“In April 1968, Fortune magazine published a list of those Americans whose net worth exceeded $100 million; the list ended at 153.”

14. “Leaving His Footprints on the City

“Many people have walked every street in Manhattan. The local historian John McNamara, who died in 2004, walked every street in the Bronx. But Mr. Green believes he is the first to try for every block in all five boroughs – a distance he calculates at roughly 8,000 miles, counting parks, paths, cemeteries and occasional overlaps. He estimates that the project will take him more than two years of full-time walking to complete.”

15. “Where the Sheen on Your Shoes Says, ‘Respect’

“Regulars have this to say about the merits of a shined shoe: The way you dress says something about the way you do business. Some liken dirty shoes to a dirty car; others to a filthy mind.”

16. “Why Won’t They Listen?

“If you want to change people’s minds … don’t appeal to their reason. Appeal to reason’s boss: the underlying moral intuitions whose conclusions reason defends.”

17. “Edison Illuminated

“Edison was quite capable of experimenting for 95 hours at a stretch, neglecting food and sleep in his obsessive quest for ‘life & Phenomenon.’”

18. “Mall Rats

“For Ballard, who died in 2009 at the age of 78, the true horrors of our collective future don’t concern what might happen hundreds of years from now in a spaceship; rather, they reverberate in the very ordinary now-ness of freeway overpasses, sports stadiums, high-rise apartment complexes and gated communities.”

19. “You Can’t Ruffle Sandra Lee

“It’s shtick. That’s how some people get their press. There are 17 million children in this country going hungry every day, and we’re worried about my Kwanzaa cake from 10 years ago? That’s what I think is ridiculous. Yes, I can laugh about it.”

20. “Do Women Like Child Care More Than Men?

“Is it really true that women end up shouldering more of the parenting burden simply because they like it more – or at least dislike it less?”

21. “The Best Nanny Money Can Buy

“How does a nanny earn more than the average pediatrician? The simple answer is hard work – plus a strange seller’s market that follows a couple of quirky economic principles.”

22. “Mark Leyner, World-Champion Satirist, Returns to Reclaim His Crown

“I never thought of what I did as ironic. And I think that’s a fundamental mistake in David’s take on my work. I always thought of my work as being animated by a spirit of unhinged generosity. And transparency. Neither of which can be defined as irony.”

23. “Jungleland

“For six and a half years, the neighborhood has undergone a reverse colonization – nature reclaiming civilization.”

24. “Post-Traumatic Stress’s Surprisingly Positive Flip Side

“The name for Beltran’s change is post-traumatic growth.”

25. “Hello, Cruel World

“Classicists aren’t particularly in demand even when the economy’s thriving, but I was optimistic that I’d at least be able to find an opening as a barista, which, considering my love for tea and coffee, would actually be pretty fun for me. I never would have thought that researching and writing a 10-page paper about societal attitudes toward marriage in ancient Rome and Greece would be easier than finding a part-time job.”

26. “Why Talk Therapy Is on the Wane and Writing Workshops Are on the Rise

“If you wanted to spend several hours a week baring your soul to a stranger who was professionally obligated to listen and react, you went into therapy. Today you join a writing workshop.”

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