03.24.2013 New York Times Digest

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1. The Attachment That Still Makes Noise

“Even as data moves to computers and the cloud, staplers continue to help people keep it together.”

2. The Mayor’s Geek Squad

“I think of us as the Get Stuff Done Folks. All we do is take and process massive amounts of information and use it to do things more effectively.”

3. Acceptance by Example, on the Field and at Home

“Sometimes, people ask me what any of this has to do with football. Some think football players like me should just keep our mouths shut and focus on the game. But we’re people first, and football players a distant second. Football is a big part of what we do, but a very small part of who we are. And historically, sports figures like Jackie Robinson, Billie Jean King and Muhammad Ali have been powerful agents for social change. That’s why the messages athletes send — including the way they treat others and the words they use — can influence many people, especially children.”

4. Tackling Concerns of Independent Workers

“The Freelancers Union, with its oxymoronic name, is a motley collection of workers in the fast-evolving freelance economy — whether lawyers, software developers, graphic artists, accountants, consultants, nannies, writers, editors, Web site designers or sellers on Etsy.”

5. Big Data Is Opening Doors, but Maybe Too Many

“Imagine spending a few hours looking online for information on deep fat fryers. You could be looking for a gift for a friend or researching a report for cooking school. But to a data miner, tracking your click stream, this hunt could be read as a telltale signal of an unhealthy habit — a data-based prediction that could make its way to a health insurer or potential employer.”

6. Grand Exits That Never Earn Applause

“After careful consideration, you may determine that your only option is to resign, but do so politely, and with plenty of notice. If you quit in a huff and make a dramatic exit, you can probably forget about using your employer as a reference, and word will most likely get out that you left your company in the lurch.”

7. Life After Oil and Gas

“It’s absolutely not true that we need natural gas, coal or oil — we think it’s a myth. You could power America with renewables from a technical and economic standpoint. The biggest obstacles are social and political — what you need is the will to do it.”

8. Pity Earth’s Creatures

“Call it progress or metastasizing, what we have done as a race, a species or a civilization is dumbfounding. Every inch of the planet is ours, we claim, and elements of clear improvement are intertwined with cancerous excess: the two-car American dream empowering women’s independence but engendering horrendous African droughts. Would Emerson and Aristotle find their hair standing on end, or would they grin so hard their mouth muscles finally wore out?”

9. The Extreme (Existential) Makeover

“I had vowed not to quote F. Scott Fitzgerald’s over-cited adage about how there are no second acts in American lives. There are, and maybe even third and fourths. But in order to get the part you have to learn new lines, not just recite the old ones.”

10. Unhappy? Clean House

“Of course one’s home can be a source of happiness. But if we imagine that its primary role is to make us happy, we could end up believing that if we are unhappy, our home is primarily to blame. The marketers prefer it this way, because they have a solution: whatever it is they’re selling.”

11. Imprisoned by Innovation

“Smart technology, thanks to its ubiquity and affordability, offers us the cheapest — and trendiest — fix. But the gleaming aura of disruption-talk that often accompanies such fixes masks their underlying conservatism. Technological innovation does not guarantee political innovation; at times, it might even impede it.”

12. Your Phone vs. Your Heart

“The more attuned to others you become, the healthier you become, and vice versa.”

13. Myth Making on Motorcycles

The Place Beyond the Pines continues the somewhat unexpected run of tough-guy roles for Mr. Gosling, not so long ago known for sensitive romances and indie dramas. This interest in violence, he acknowledged, began with Nicolas Winding Refn’s stylized, blood-soaked Drive (2011). Mr. Gosling has since worked with Mr. Refn again, playing a vigilante in the Thai boxing world in Only God Forgives, due this year. “Drive is a dream, Only God Forgives is a nightmare,’ Mr. Gosling said. ‘I feel very fortunate to be able to go back and forth between those wildly different realities.'”

14. Straight Through the Heart

“I realized that what I’m really instructing them in is reading as a process of seduction. Consider how one falls in love: by fixating on certain attributes of the beloved. The way he looks in his brown cords. The way she flips her hair from her face. The flecks in her eyes, the twitch in his smile. We do not yet know the whole person, but we are lured by primal responses to a few details.”

15. Becoming the All-Terrain Human

“He regularly runs all day eating only wild berries and drinking only from streams.”

16. A Mad Romance

“Nothing compared to my romance with Indian cinema.”

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