Sunday 11.18.2012 New York Times Digest

1. The Quiet Ones

“People with this personality type are so infuriating — even when the inconvenience they cause us is negligible — because they refuse to recognize the moral reality of those around them.”

2. As Boom Lures App Creators, Tough Part Is Making a Living

“Technology is always destroying jobs and always creating jobs, but in recent years the destruction has been happening faster than the creation.”

3. Goodbye, Frustration: Pen Put Aside, Roth Talks

“I do not believe the novel is dying. I said the readership is dying out. That’s a fact, and I’ve been saying it for 15 years. I said the screen will kill the reader, and it has. The movie screen in the beginning, the television screen and now the coup de grâce, the computer screen.”

4. Your Online Attention, Bought in an Instant

“On the Web, powerful algorithms are sizing you up, based on myriad data points: what you Google, the sites you visit, the ads you click. Then, in real time, the chance to show you an ad is auctioned to the highest bidder.”

5. How to Live Without Irony

“How would it feel to change yourself quietly, offline, without public display, from within?”

6. Our Hard Drives, Ourselves

“Cyberspace gives people more than an illusion of protection. It gives them nerve, freeing them to engage in a kind of explicit and assertive dialogue that two people sitting across from each other, or even talking on the phone, would in most cases be too shy to broach. It allows for false fronts, a false bravado and, with both, a false, reckless velocity.”

7. The Prayer of an Unconventional Family

“Thank you for a dad who got up at 5:30 every morning, rain, flu or hangover notwithstanding, who taught me the habits of writing: that you sit down at the same time every day, and you just do it, scribble away scratchily on legal pads, tap tap tap away on the old Olympia. You had to slide in a sheet of carbon paper between the original and the copy, and you didn’t whine. No one was making you do it — it was a privilege, for the few, we happy few.”

8. You Can’t Say That on the Internet

“Silicon Valley doesn’t just reflect social norms — it actively shapes them in ways that are, for the most part, imperceptible.”

9. Considering the Excesses of Protest

“I found this rather disturbing that September morning at 7 a.m., over my morning coffee. I found it more so two hours later.”

10. Alfred Hitchcock’s Secret Weapon Becomes a Star

“She deserves 100 percent of the recognition she’s getting.”

11. P. J. O’Rourke: By the Book

“Behold the book with its brilliant, nonlinear search engine called flipping-through-the-pages. A Kindle returns us to the inconvenience of the scroll except with batteries and electronic glitches. It’s as handy as bringing Homer along to recite the Iliad while playing a lyre. I dog-ear all my books, underline passages and scribble ‘Huh?’ and ‘How true!’ in the margins. The only fit snack while reading is the olive in a martini.”

12. The Science of Sizzle

“Firewood was scarce, and with a wok you could cook more quickly after chopping food into bite-size morsels with a tou, or Chinese cleaver.”

13. Wearing the Mask

“White high schools were putting on minstrel shows as late as the 1960s. Only the black power movement put an end to the mugging. Or did it?”

14. How Dead Is the Book Business?

“There are two competing predictions about commerce in the digital age. One is that companies will get smaller and more disruptive as nimble entrepreneurs can take on giant corporations with little more than 3-D printers and Web sites. The other envisions a few massive companies — like Procter & Gamble, Apple and Nike — that design everything themselves, have it manufactured cheaply in Asia and use their e-commerce sites to gather information about their customers.”

15. Robert De Niro: In Conversation

“You gotta be part gangster. You’ve got to fight for what you want. You’ve got to listen to everybody’s opinion, then finally at the end of the day, you have to do what you feel is right.”

16. The Hazards of Growing Up Painlessly

“There was the time she burned the flesh off the palms of her hands when she was 2. John was using a pressure-washer in the driveway and left its motor running; in the moments that they took their eyes off her, Ashlyn walked over and put her hands on the muffler. When she lifted them up the skin was seared away. There was the one about the fire ants that swarmed her in the backyard, biting her over a hundred times while she looked at them and yelled: “Bugs! Bugs!” There was the time she broke her ankle and ran around on it for two days before her parents realized something was wrong.”

17. How to Survive Societal Collapse in Suburbia

“Douglas made it clear that he doesn’t even like the word ‘survivalist.’ He believes the word is ruined, evoking ‘the nut job who lives out in the mountains by himself on the retreat.’ Instead, he prefers ‘self-reliance.’”

18. ‘Girls Love Math. We Never Stop Doing It.’

“I can’t believe how much of my youth I squandered on feeling old.”

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