Sunday 02.24.2013 New York Times Digest


1. As Good as It Gets

“What we are not shown doing in movies is writing.”

2. Major Banks Aid in Payday Loans Banned by States

“Major banks have quickly become behind-the-scenes allies of Internet-based payday lenders that offer short-term loans with interest rates sometimes exceeding 500 percent.”

3. Emory University’s Leader Reopens Its Racial Wounds

“The president’s misstep was only the latest episode in what one Emory administrator called ‘quite a challenging year’ for the private university.”

4. Chances Are Extra Work in Off-Season Involves Baseball, Not a Second Job

“McHugh is something of a throwback, his off-season job evoking a bygone era when players packed their gear after the final out of the season and entered the work force.”

5. A Tent City for Fun and Profit

“At colleges with teams in the N.C.A.A. men’s basketball tournament, library patrons view 6 percent fewer articles a day as long as the team is in the tournament.”

6. High Debt and Falling Demand Trap New Vets

“Today, the ratio of debt to income for the average new vet is roughly double that of M.D.’s.”

7. Don’t Call Him Mom, or an Imbecile

“At one point, Dove Men+Care, a Unilever line of deodorants, soap, shampoo and other products, set up a traditional barbershop at the Four Seasons Hotel, where the conference was held. The same space became a whiskey bar one night, complete with bracing free samples. Dove, which paid six figures to serve as the conference’s main sponsor, also offered daily sword-fighting lessons with Steven McMichael, who trained the actors in The Hobbit.”

8. SimCity, for Real: Measuring an Untidy Metropolis

“The initiative at NYU is part of a broader trend: the global drive to apply modern sensor, computing and data-sifting technologies to urban environments, in what has become known as ‘smart city’ technology. The goals are big gains in efficiency and quality of life by using digital technology to better manage traffic and curb the consumption of water and electricity, for example.”

9. There Is an Algorithm for Everything, Even Bras

“But as with shoes and eyeglasses, so too with bras: it’s love at first touch and try, even in the digital age.”

10. Who Has the Guts for Gluten?

“How to determine cause or consequence?”

11. Tips for Public Speaking

“Imagine everyone in the audience naked. Empathetically conjure up the array of body-image issues they must have dealt with, especially in adolescence. Alter the direction of your speech, engaging them in a group-therapy session. To make them feel comfortable, get naked.”

12. Solitaire: Me vs. Me

“I know maybe a dozen writers hooked on computer solitaire. It’s the ideal writer’s game. It even feels a little like writing, only more relaxing. You’re sitting at the same desk, working with the same keyboard and monitor. You don’t even have to get up. Like writing, it’s entirely private, the exertion is purely cerebral; you’re playing against yourself, against your previous best, against the law of averages and the forces of chance. You’re taking random elements and trying to put them together in a pleasing way, to make order out of chaos.”

13. Ping-Pong: Head Game

“In Japan, Ping-Pong is how you keep your wits about you and your reflexes, limbs and senses intensely sharp. Almost every afternoon for nine years, I’ve walked 15 minutes uphill to our local health club, here in suburban Nara, or taken a bus to an ancient gymnasium in a nearby park, to engage in furious bouts of table tennis with a group of 30 or so Japanese neighbors who teach me about engagement in their retirement years as once they did with co-workers or family members.”

14. Poker Is America

“A poker table is America the way that television commercials portray it but it seldom is.”

15. Sending Out Smoke Signals

“The etiquette of pot smoking in social settings is largely uncodified. Yet the world needs an Emily Post to hack a pathway through this fuggy thicket, particularly given pot’s increased presence in the mainstream.”

16. Finding Peace During Noisy Trips

“It’s about silence, and how different cultures value or don’t value it — a nuance that becomes obvious when we travel.”

17. The Isles at the Center of the World

“Though the ‘why’ and ‘who’ are diverting, many of the most interesting ideas here come from the ‘how’ of empire.”

18. Idol Gossip

“Back in 1910, the now forgotten Florence Lawrence was at the center of the first movie-related street crowd, as fans tore at her clothes trying to get near her during a personal appearance in St. Louis. They had only recently learned her name, because in the earliest days actors weren’t credited on-screen.”

19. American Obsession

“There are a few Hollywood movies so thematically rich and so historically resonant they may be considered part of American literature. The Searchers is one.”

20. The Benefits of Exercising Outdoors

“While the allure of the gym — climate-controlled, convenient and predictable — is obvious, especially in winter, emerging science suggests there are benefits to exercising outdoors that can’t be replicated on a treadmill, a recumbent bicycle or a track.”

21. When Mutant Mosquitoes Attack

“As scientists consider using genetically modified mosquitoes to combat deadly diseases in the developing world, Goethe’s poem should serve as a warning. Scientists are aware that their interventions in the natural world will have unintended effects, and in order to behave ethically, these potential risks must be considered. Even something as innocuous as a mosquito net may carry a considerable downside.”

22. Who Made That Pantone Chip?

“The solution, he realized, was to create a unified color system in which each shade was expressed as a number.”

23. David Lynch Is Back … as a Guru of Transcendental Meditation

“Trying to create world peace through meditation might simply be the most Lynchian thing that Lynch has ever done.”

24. The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food

“In the process of product optimization, food engineers alter a litany of variables with the sole intent of finding the most perfect version (or versions) of a product. Ordinary consumers are paid to spend hours sitting in rooms where they touch, feel, sip, smell, swirl and taste whatever product is in question. Their opinions are dumped into a computer, and the data are sifted and sorted through a statistical method called conjoint analysis, which determines what features will be most attractive to consumers.”

25. On the Enduring Appeal of Die Hard

“A character like Rocky I totally understand. Rocky’s the underdog. Batman? He’s the haunted vigilante: the hero we deserve but not the hero we need right now, as Commissioner Gordon once put it. (Who then is the hero we need right now but not the hero we deserve? Aquaman?) And Hamlet. He’s melancholy. I get that. But who exactly is John McClane?”

One response to “Sunday 02.24.2013 New York Times Digest

  1. “It’s about silence, and how different cultures value or don’t value it — a nuance that becomes obvious when we travel.” -> adored it!!


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