8.19.2012 New York Times Digest

1. Good Stuff

“There’s something about getting control over stuff that makes us feel more in control of life. While we’re constantly bombarded with messages of ‘More!’ and ‘Buy now!’ we’re also offered the tantalizing promise ‘You’ll be happier with less!’

2. Skilled Work, Without the Worker

“This is the future.”

3. Do Argentines Need Therapy? Pull Up a Couch

“When it comes to choosing a psychologist, we are like women searching for the perfect perfume. We try a bit of this and a bit of that before eventually arriving at the right fit.”

4. Punting Less Can Be Rewarding, but Coaches Aren’t Risking Jobs on It

“His high school team does onside kicks after almost every score. It does not use a punt returner, because Kelley believes fumbles and penalties occur more often than strong returns. And it does not punt. Last season, the Bruins went 14-0 and won the Class 4A state title.”

5. Secret E-Scores Chart Consumers’ Buying Power

“It is a Google-esque business, one fueled by almost unimaginable amounts of data and powered by complex computer algorithms. The result is a private, digital ranking of American society unlike anything that has come before.”

6. The Sun Hasn’t Set on the Drive-In

“Drive-ins are where thriftiness and a fondness for the past converge with escapist entertainment — under the stars, no less.”

7. The Cost of Cool

“We can’t live with air-conditioning, but we can’t live without it.”

8. Be More Productive. Take Time Off.

“At 37signals, the software company I’ve run for the past 13 years, we take inspiration from the seasons and build change into our work schedule.”

9. Raising the Ritalin Generation

“If ‘accelerated’ has become the new normal, there’s no choice but to diagnose the kids developing at a normal rate with a disorder. Instead of leveling the playing field for kids who really do suffer from a deficit, we’re ratcheting up the level of competition with performance-enhancing drugs. We’re juicing our kids for school.”

10. Deluded Individualism

“We tend to see ourselves as self-determining, self-conscious agents in all that we decide and do, and we cling to that image. But why? Why do we resist the truth? Why do we wish — strain, strive, against the grain of reality — to be autonomous individuals, and see ourselves as such?”

11. The World Is Flat, Again

“What’s lost when we lose sight of globes?”

12. Nakedness in Dance, Taken to Extremes

“Where is the line between art and pornography? But there’s always been a huge overlap between the two; you can see scenes of copulation on Greek vases and Indian temples. What’s more, many works of art have seemed pornographic without nakedness. Many of us are tempted to talk as if art = good, pornography = bad. Yet that’s wrong too. Much art is poor, while the novels of the Marquis de Sade are pornography taken to a brilliant, horrifying and extraordinary peak.”

13. Artists Caught on a Camera’s Canvas

“The New York Times made a convention of photographing artists with both their works of art and the people (or pets) depicted in those works.”

24. Shorts Have Men Showing a Little Leg

“In dapper pockets of New York City like Williamsburg and the Lower East Side, well-dressed men can be spotted at brunch, running errands and going to the flea market in dress shorts, often worn with summer blazers and gingham shirts.”

15. Working 9 to 12

“Americans value leisure, but it is expensive leisure, and so they have to work hard in order to pay for it. As a result they have less leisure time than if their preferred form of leisure were lying in a hammock, but on balance they obtain more pleasure.”

16. The Mind of a Flip-Flopper

“Whether you’re changing your own mind or someone else’s, the key is emotional, persuasive storytelling.”

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