Sunday 05.12.2013 New York Times Digest

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1. Party of One

“I believe that traveling alone is the last great test of who you are in a world where everyone aches to be the same.”

2. On a College Waiting List? Sending Cookies Isn’t Going to Help

“Given the high stakes and the opaque proceedings, however, some students just cannot hold back.”

3. Brooklyn, the Remix: A Hip-Hop Tour

“For many, the word ‘Brooklyn’ now evokes artisanal cheese rather than rap artists. The disconnect between brownstone Brooklyn’s past and present is jarring in the places where rappers grew up and boasted about surviving shootouts, but where cupcakes now reign. If you look hard enough, the rougher past might still be visible under the more recently applied gloss.”

4. Hidden Threats to Young Athletes

“The No. 1 killer of young athletes is sudden cardiac arrest, typically brought on by a pre-existing, detectable condition that could have been treated. Another substantial yet hidden lethal threat is heat stroke, a condition considered completely preventable.”

5. The Long Shadow of Bad Credit in a Job Search

“Someone loses their job so they can’t pay their bills — and now they can’t get a job because they couldn’t pay their bills because they lost a job? It’s this Catch-22 that makes no sense.”

6. The Posture Guru of Silicon Valley

“She believes that people suffer from pain and dysfunction because they have forgotten how to use their bodies. It’s not the act of sitting for long periods that causes us pain, she says, it’s the way we position ourselves.”

7. Sunday Dialogue: How Goods Are Produced

“Our willingness to buy garments sewn under dangerous conditions, chocolate made from cocoa picked by captive children, or cellphones and laptops containing ‘conflict minerals’ from Congo create the demand that underwrites these tragedies.”

8. The Hidden World Under Our Feet

“Forget the term ‘dumb as dirt.’ The complex soil ecosystem is highly evolved and sophisticated. It processes organic waste into soil. It filters and cleans much of the water we drink and the air we breathe by retaining dust and pathogens. It plays a large role in how much carbon dioxide is in the atmosphere. Soil, with all of its organic matter, is second to the oceans as the largest carbon repository on the planet. Annual plowing, erosion and other mismanagement releases carbon in the form of carbon dioxide, and exacerbates climate change.”

9. Romantic Triangle: Star, Director, City

“It is a deeply romantic film with no real romance at its center, a love letter to a city that is depicted, at times, as anything but lovable.”

10. A Messy Look at the Family Mystery

“The voyeurs among us can be forgiven for finding the subject interesting — who doesn’t love juicy family secrets, especially if they aren’t our own? — but reviewers so far have embraced Ms. Polley’s vision.”

11. Early Salvos From ‘Bloody Sam’

“His frontier community is not an early bloom of civilization but rather a center of cruelty and hypocrisy; the Apaches the travelers will encounter on route are not Ford’s noble warriors but savages, pure and simple; the characters are driven not by the pioneer spirit but by vengefulness, bitterness and base profit.”

12. The Boy Toy’s Story

“Another reason he looks different: the chin implant is gone. Mr. Thorson had it removed in an attempt to reverse one of the creepier episodes in the history of plastic surgery. Early in their relationship, Liberace plucked an oil painting of himself from a room in his Las Vegas mansion and asked a visiting doctor to reshape Mr. Thorson’s face to look like Liberace’s as a young man. Liberace wanted a boy toy and a son. With sex and fatherhood disturbingly twined, Mr. Thorson wound up with a new chin, a nose job and enhanced cheekbones.”

13. A Line Between Sweet and Skimpy

“On the one hand, I’ve internalized all the messages that I should not criticize my daughters’ bodies, compliment them merely for their looks, or in any way stifle their emerging sexuality. On the other hand, I don’t want them to leave the house dressed as pole dancers.”

14. Network TV Is Broken. So How Does Shonda Rhimes Keep Making Hits?

“The key to the appeal of ‘Scandal’ may be, simply, that it’s more fun than anything else on television.”

15. The Scientific 7-Minute Workout

“Even a few minutes of training at an intensity approaching your maximum capacity produces molecular changes within muscles comparable to those of several hours of running or bike riding.”

16. Who Would Kill a Monk Seal?

“We live in a country, and an age, with extraordinary empathy for endangered species. We also live at a time when alarming numbers of protected animals are being shot in the head, cudgeled to death or worse.”

17. Casa Es Mi Cas

“Airbnb, for its part, might bill itself as a cheaper, roomier, warmer way to overnight — less deracinated than a hotel, but without the creaky-floorboard unease of a bed and breakfast — but the great unadvertised draw is the chance to spend time amid somebody else’s trappings.”

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