Sunday 11.11.2012 New York Times Digest

1. Hurricane Sandy Reveals a Life Unplugged

“The storm provided a rare glimpse of a life lived offline.”

2. With Digital Trail, an End to the Hushed Affair

“In a digital era when the details of even average citizens are cached for public view, the odds of exposure have become exponentially greater.”

3. Hurricane Sandy and the Disaster-Preparedness Economy

“It’s all part of what you might call the Mad Max Economy, a multibillion-dollar-a-year collection of industries that thrive when things get really, really bad. Weather radios, kerosene heaters, D batteries, candles, industrial fans for drying soggy homes — all are scarce and coveted in the gloomy aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and her ilk.”

4. Hitchhiking’s Time Has Come Again

“We have lost a way to humanize the landscape of the road.”

5. The Science and Art of Listening

“Hearing, in short, is easy. You and every other vertebrate that hasn’t suffered some genetic, developmental or environmental accident have been doing it for hundreds of millions of years. It’s your life line, your alarm system, your way to escape danger and pass on your genes. But listening, really listening, is hard when potential distractions are leaping into your ears every fifty-thousandth of a second — and pathways in your brain are just waiting to interrupt your focus to warn you of any potential dangers.”

6. I Cry, Therefore I Am

“Within two days an infant can imitate sad and happy faces. If a newborn mammal does not cry out (typically, in the first few weeks of life, without tears) it is unlikely to get the attention it needs to survive. Around three to four months, the relationship between the human infant and its environment takes on a more organized communicative role, and tearful crying begins to serve interpersonal purposes: the search for comfort and pacification. As we get older, crying becomes a tool of our social repertory: grief and joy, shame and pride, fear and manipulation.”

7. Death: A Nice Opportunity for Regret

“If you have no sadness or remorse, you are a liar or a denier, or worse still, you haven’t lived. No one makes it through a life without words better left unsaid, poor judgments or thoughtless omissions. I can barely make it through a day without all three.”

8. Start Me Up Once More

“Although it seems to be shambolic, it’s a very disciplined bunch.”

9. Shooting the Sass Easily as an Arrow

“One of the things I love about her is her womanliness, both in her personality and in her form.”

10. The Mamet School of Salesmanship

“Everything I knew about sales, I learned from ‘Glengarry Glen Ross.’”

11. Yale Graduates Seek a Hip-Hop Degree

“I’ve never seen him break character.”

12. Grand Bargainer

“Meacham is one of several journalists turned historians who belong to what might be called the Flawed Giant School.”

13. A Basketball Fairy Tale in Middle America

“NBA scoring champions are, as a rule, weirdos and reprobates and in some cases diagnosable sociopaths. Something about dominating your opponent, publicly, more or less every day of your life, in the most visible aspect of your sport, tends to either warp your spirit or to be possible only to those whose spirits are already warped. Michael Jordan, when he wasn’t busy scoring, was busy punching a teammate in the face and gambling away small fortunes. Allen Iverson, in his spare time, recorded an aesthetically and morally terrible rap album and gave an iconic speech denigrating the very notion of practice. Kobe Bryant is and shall forever be Kobe Bryant. Wilt, Shaq, Pistol Pete, Dominique, McGrady, McAdoo, Rick Barry — it’s a near-solid roster of dysfunction: sadists, narcissists, malcontents, knuckleheads, misanthropes, womanizers, addicts and villains.”

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