Sunday 04.28.2013 New York Times Digest


1. When One Man’s Game Is Also a Marauding Pest

“The pigs – ill-tempered eating machines weighing 200 pounds or more – roam city streets, collide with cars, root up cemeteries and provide plot lines for reality TV shows like Hog Hunters.”

2. A Bit of Writing, and Various States of Loll

“Being a writer, work is pretty much never-ending. You have to keep the hours of a Kwik-E-Mart. You always have to be available to your own work. Ideas don’t arrive with a 9-to-5 regularity, and I sometimes let them collect and on a weekend will answer them.”

3. How Big Data Is Playing Recruiter for Specialized Workers

“In all, Gild’s algorithm crunches thousands of bits of information in calculating around 300 larger variables about an individual: the sites where a person hangs out; the types of language, positive or negative, that he or she uses to describe technology of various kinds; self-reported skills on LinkedIn; the projects a person has worked on, and for how long; and, yes, where he or she went to school, in what major, and how that school was ranked that year by U.S. News & World Report.”

4. When Your Data Wanders to Places You’ve Never Been

“When consumers fill out warranty cards, enter sweepstakes, answer online surveys, agree to online privacy policies or sign up to receive e-mails from brands, they often don’t realize that certain details — linked to them by name or by customer ID code — may be passed along to other companies.”

5. Today’s Dream House May Not Be Tomorrow’s

“An ever-changing economy requires constant geographical repositioning.”

6. Diagnosing the Wrong Deficit

“I don’t doubt that many people do, in fact, have A.D.H.D.; I regularly diagnose and treat it in adults. But what if a substantial proportion of cases are really sleep disorders in disguise?”

7. No Rich Child Left Behind

In the United States over the last few decades these differences in educational success between high- and lower-income students have grown substantially.”

8. Wikipedia’s Sexism

“It appeared that, gradually, over time, the volunteer editors who create the site had begun moving women, one by one, from the ‘American Novelists’ category to the ‘American Women Novelists’ subcategory.”

9. Whither Moral Courage?

“This new idea — that writers, scholars and artists who stand against orthodoxy or bigotry are to blame for upsetting people — is spreading fast.”

10. The Dark Side of Energy Independence

“America’s oil and gas bonanza will drive down global energy prices, undercutting the foundations of petrostates everywhere.”

11. The Art of the Hunt

“Collecting, at its highest levels, is more like hunting than shopping.”

12. In the Season of Marriage, a Question. Why Bother?

“Marriage has become a status symbol – a highly regarded marker of a successful personal life.”

13. The Adulterous Sins of Our Father Figures

“So what do you do when you discover you belong to a class of men you hate?”

14. He’s a Mess, and That Makes It Funny

“Mr. Maron’s comedy is made up of riffs rooted in the humor of his intense, searching character. His insights about politics and culture were never terribly original. He’s a good storyteller, but there are better ones. He has a resonant, scratchy voice and a playful theatricality, but what distinguishes him from other bluntly honest comics is the gravity of the questions he asks and the doggedness with which he pursues them.”

15. From Red Zone to Red Carpet

“The importance of self-branding has probably never been more powerful in sports, part of the legacy of Mark McCormack, the lawyer who founded the sports management powerhouse now known as IMG, and who — recognizing early the commercial capability of sports stars – encouraged his clients to think of themselves less as athletes than as potential endcaps at Walmart.”

16. Twitter Shows Its Rude Side

“If Twitter is an excellent shopping mall full of boutiques offering specialized news and wit and opinion, it is also a crowded barroom that bristles with a certain kind of white male rage.”

17. The Year of the Cat

“2013 is shaping up to be the Year of the Cat.”

18. Many Selves

“The scholars of cross-cultural cognition, who reject the universality of Western models of the mind, maintain that this emphasis on social context translates into a measurable divergence in how Easterners and Westerners literally see the physical world.”

19. Out of the Oven…

“A life involving no home cooking, Pollan convincingly argues, is a life diminished. It’s not just that you probably eat food that’s of worse quality (in Pollan’s world, cooks seldom burn things or give their guests food poisoning). It’s also because the noncook suffers a loss of engagement ‘with the material world.’”

20. Contested State

“In 1860 Florida ranked last in the Union in its spending on education. It held the same position in 2010 as measured by the proportion of income devoted to schooling.”

21. Who Says New York Is Not Affordable?

“Highly paid, college-educated people are increasingly clustering in the college-graduate-dense, high-amenity cities where they get good deals on the stuff they like, while low-skilled people are increasingly flowing out to cheaper places with a worse quality of life.”

22. The Mind of a Con Man

“What the public didn’t realize, he said, was that academic science, too, was becoming a business. ‘There are scarce resources, you need grants, you need money, there is competition,’ he said. ‘Normal people go to the edge to get that money. Science is of course about discovery, about digging to discover the truth. But it is also communication, persuasion, marketing. I am a salesman. I am on the road. People are on the road with their talk. With the same talk. It’s like a circus.’”

23. The Problem With How We Treat Bipolar Disorder

“Despite having these feelings in my mid-30s, when my kids were 8, 5 and 3, I was thriving professionally: I had recently completed my Ph.D. in geography, had just finished co-teaching a semester at M.I.T. as a lecturer and was revising my dissertation on spec for a respected university press. Yet several nights a week, I drove to the reservoir near my home, sat under a tree and, as joggers and their dogs ran past, thought about ending it all. There was a gun shop on the way to my poetry group; I knew exactly where to go when the time came.”

24. Why Your Grandpa Is Cooler Than You

“So many modern sources of cultural credibility – the underground, with its exclusivity in the hard to find; the retro, with its crate-excavated nostalgia for some prelapsarian age of hip – have, in one way or another, been undermined or negated. To someone living out his 20s online, being 90 and, to an extent, immune to cultural trends might look like a last bastion of unmediated cool.”


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