Sunday 06.16.2013 New York Times Digest

1. Can’t Hide in the Cloud

“The problem is that we have collectively ceded our privacy bit by bit as we have moved more social and business interactions from the physical realm to the so-called cloud, powered by tens of thousands of computers at server farms owned and managed by companies like Google, Amazon and Facebook. And it might be incredibly hard, if not impossible, to regain what we have given up.”

2. Even Pessimists Feel Optimistic About the American Economy

“New technologies like artificial intelligence and online education, increased domestic energy production and slowing growth in the cost of health care have prompted Mr. Cowen to reappraise the country’s prospects.”

3. For Snowden, a Life of Ambition, Despite the Drifting

“Great minds do not need a university to make them any more credible: they get what they need and quietly blaze their trails into history.”

4. Faces of the Minimum Wage

“The recession took middle-class jobs, and the recovery has replaced them with low-income ones, a trend that has exacerbated income inequality.”

5. Messages Galore, but No Time to Think

“We can now use cellphones, texts, instant messaging, text messaging, social media, corporate intranets and cloud applications to communicate at work. Something may have been lost as we adopted these new communication tools: the ability to concentrate.”

6. No Country for Slow Broadband

“America’s broadband networks lead the world by many measures, and they are improving at a more rapid rate than networks in most developed countries.”

7. Facebook Made Me Do It

“Our growing collective compulsion to document our lives and share them online, combined with the instant gratification that comes from seeing something you are doing or experiencing get near-immediate approval from your online peers, could be giving us more reason to act out online, for better or for worse.”

8. I Know What You Think of Me

“I’ve often thought that the single most devastating cyberattack a diabolical and anarchic mind could design would not be on the military or financial sector but simply to simultaneously make every e-mail and text ever sent universally public. It would be like suddenly subtracting the strong nuclear force from the universe; the fabric of society would instantly evaporate, every marriage, friendship and business partnership dissolved. Civilization, which is held together by a fragile web of tactful phrasing, polite omissions and white lies, would collapse in an apocalypse of bitter recriminations and weeping, breakups and fistfights, divorces and bankruptcies, scandals and resignations, blood feuds, litigation, wholesale slaughter in the streets and lingering ill will.”

9. Don’t Blame the Work Force

“Corporate executives have valuable perspectives on the economy, but they also have an interest in promoting the notion of a skills gap.”

10. The Not-So-Good Old Days

“You can’t just stroll through the past, picking the things you like and skipping the ones you don’t, as if historical eras were menus, and you could pick one from column A and one from column B. They are, rather, interconnected social, economic and political systems. Whether someone would really want to return to a particular time depends on socioeconomic class, age, sex, race and health.”

11. Where We Are Shapes Who We Are

“These studies tell us something profound, and perhaps a bit disturbing, about what makes us who we are: there isn’t a single version of “you” and “me.” Though we’re all anchored to our own distinct personalities, contextual cues sometimes drag us so far from those anchors that it’s difficult to know who we really are – or at least what we’re likely to do in a given circumstance.”

12. Behind Kanye’s Mask

“I am the nucleus.”

13. Man of Moment in the 1920s

“The image maintains its force and piquancy as a metaphor of urban anxiety: modern man uncertainly suspended over the chasm of an uncaring, impersonal metropolis, struggling to hold on to something, anything, as his feet churn the void and the minutes of his life click away.”

14. From Fish, Birds and Ants, Undead Hordes

“The animal kingdom figured heavily into his conception of the zombies. In addition to birds and fish, the filmmakers also paid careful attention to the movements of ants.”

15. Luke Janklow: Not Exactly Bookish

“He may be the last man having fun in book publishing, an industry that has gone from late nights at Elaine’s to hand-wringing about the Kindle.”

16. The Mother of All ‘Housewives’

“Ten million people were watching your show by the end of the 12th hour. That’s huge.”

17. Paul Cavaco: Finding the Look That Suits His Age

“I love sneakers, but there’s a point where you have to stop wearing certain styles because it looks like toddler-wear. The colors can be so bright. You’d think there is enough distance between your foot and your face that you can get away with it, but it doesn’t go with the older face. I’m still trying to figure out what an older person is supposed to wear.”

18. Even Michael Pollan Breaks Rules on the Road

“Even the worst pork, if you cook it for 20 hours, tastes fantastic.”

19. I’ll Have What She’s Having

“The experiments and data Bergner writes about vary widely and don’t all point in the same direction, but he sets this tour of contemporary sex research against one particular shibboleth: the notion that women are naturally less libidinous than men, ‘hard-wired’ to want babies and emotional connection but not necessarily sex itself.”

20. Feelings?

“We have only her word that Thomas is the woman she says she is: a sociopath as well as ;an accomplished attorney and law professor,’ who is just as comfortable ‘in summer dresses as I am in cowboy boots,’ is super-popular – ‘in a world filled with gloomy, mediocre nothings,’ people ‘are attracted to the sociopath’s exceptionalism like moths to a flame’ – has ‘never had an insecurity,’ feels no anxiety and possesses ‘remarkably beautiful breasts.’”

21. Visible Men

“The forces that bring us to our present lives are tangled and complex. Each of our stories contains both wrongdoing and grace, and it is not my job to unravel the skein of their guilt, to judge or absolve. I am here as a witness. I am here in the name of story and its power to transform.”

22. Invisible Men

“His client Shaker Aamer, a former resident of Britain, took a liking to George Orwell. ‘I sent him a copy of 1984, and he said he read it about three times and that it perfectly captured the psychological reality of being at Gitmo.”

23. Lionel Shriver Does It the Hard Way

“I’ve never envied people with early success; it’s easy to become a funny combination of overconfident and insecure.”


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