Sunday 03.03.2013 New York Times Digest


1. We Are What We Quote

“Libraries may go under, cultures may go under, but single memorizable bits of rhyme and discourse persist over centuries. Shattered wholes reach us in small disconnected pieces, like the lines of the poet Sappho preserved in ancient treatises. To collect those pieces, to extrapolate lost worlds from them, to create a larger map of the human universe by laying many such pieces side by side: this can become a fever, and one that has afflicted writers of all eras.”

2. The Happy Warrior Meets the Obsessive Competitor

“Conventional wisdom is that to succeed at the highest level, you have to be boiling over with the rage of Achilles, bursting with a maniacal drive to win. Happy people are too soft to cut it … But cussedness is not the only way.”

3. Nothing ‘Mid’ About Gonzaga

“The Zags showed universities that could not invest as heavily or at all in big-time football that in basketball, at the right place, under the right circumstances, with the right resources, it could be done, and without the raft of early departures suffered by the more established programs.”

4. Alaska Airlines, Flying Above an Industry’s Troubles

“Because of the state’s topography and extreme weather, it was the first to develop satellite guidance, a navigation technique that has transformed landing at Alaska’s tricky airports. The technique is now at the heart of the Federal Aviation Administration’s plan to modernize the nation’s air traffic system, a project that is expected to cost tens of billions of dollars over the coming decades.”

5. Stand Up and Cheer, but Hit ‘Pause’ First

“The goal, arena executives say, is to reproduce the multiscreen experience that many fans have already adopted in the man caves of their dens or living rooms.”

6. Keeping an Eye on Online Test-Takers

“Now eavesdropping technologies worthy of the C.I.A. can remotely track every mouse click and keystroke of test-taking students. Squads of eagle-eyed humans at computers can monitor faraway students via webcams, screen sharing and high-speed Internet connections, checking out their photo IDs, signatures and even their typing styles to be sure the test-taker is the student who registered for the class.”

7. Why Five Days in the Office Is Too Many

“The idea that everyone must be in the office five days a week harks back to a time when workers didn’t have the proper tools to work from home. But we live in a very different world today. Given that technology has made employees accessible around the clock, and that they are often expected to work after hours, the traditional 40-hour schedule is in many ways an anachronism.”

8. The Perils of Perfection

“Sunny, smooth, clean: with Silicon Valley at the helm, our life will become one long California highway.”

9. Look Carefully at Those Seeds

“In my own vegetable beds I use no chemical heroics, and yet I had been using some conventionally produced seed that is often coddled and adapted to a life of ‘high inputs’ that it won’t get from me or from an increasing number of other chemical-averse home gardeners.”

10. This Story Stinks

“Uncivil comments not only polarized readers, but they often changed a participant’s interpretation of the news story itself.”

11. Walking the Country as a Spiritual Quest

“‘To walk across this country is to fall in love with mankind,’ Mr. Ilgunas said. He’s one of a growing number of pilgrims who are lacing up boots and sneakers to walk across America.”

12. Land of Plenty (of Government)

“A consumption bias, economists argue, is not a bad thing, as it leads to cheaper goods for Americans. And after all, someone has to do the consuming — otherwise, whom would the Germans and Chinese export to? But a consumption bias has distributional consequences that we are only beginning to understand.”

13. Big Bang Theories: Violence on Screen

“As violence permeates what we see on movie, TV and video-game screens, critics for The Times consider the impact.”

14. Conceptual Inspiration, by the Book

“‘I don’t even use a computer,’ he said unapologetically. ‘Every day I am reminded how far behind the world of technology I am. I’m not a great reader, either, but I love books, the physical objects of them.’”

15. The No-Limits Job

“The notion of the traditional entry-level job is disappearing.”

16. England Develops a Voracious Appetite for a New Diet

“The premise of this latest weight-loss regimen … is intermittent fasting, or what has become known here as the 5:2 diet: five days of eating and drinking whatever you want, dispersed with two days of fasting.”

17. The Daily Round

“Upending the mantra of most writing programs — ‘Show, don’t tell’ — he urges them to season their memories with research, ideas, analytic thinking and argument: tools borrowed from more formal essays. He reaches back to older traditions in essay writing and concludes both books with studies of literary masters (like Hazlitt and James Baldwin), pieces that, as reflections of his own sensibility, are just as personal as those on his family.”

18. By Any Other Name

“I’ve paid lifelong attention to what people choose to call themselves, both in daily life and on the page, mulling over the possibilities and repercussions. Is it, for example, an advantage for writers, many of whom pride themselves on iconoclasm, to have a name that stands out from the pack? What names sound more ‘writerly’ on a book cover?”

19. How to Enjoy Life

“I’ve engaged in a deliberate practice of regularly going into the wonders of nature. The most notable place for my family is the Grand Canyon. I’ve been down to the bottom 20 times. After a day or two, you suddenly find your biology is changing.”

20. Coach Bobby Knight on Why He’s So Unpleasant

“The worst word in the English language is ‘hope.’”

21. Who Made That Sliced Bread?

“The sliced loaf becomes a kind of small, edible promise of a better world.”

22. How to Spend 47 Hours on a Train and Not Go Crazy

“A surprisingly high percentage of long-distance-train passengers are escaping something.”

23. Smells Like Green Spirit

“A Canlis salad, properly prepared, is a revelation.”


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