06.30.2013 New York Times Digest

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1. I Love L.A.

“I like that things change fast. Trees and cactuses and flowers that have been planted for only a few months start taking over hillsides and sidewalks. Buildings come and go, but even though the facades change, the light doesn’t.”

2. Actors Today Don’t Just Read for the Part. Reading IS the Part.

“That development is good for publishers and authors, of course. But it has also created a burgeoning employment opportunity for actors pursuing stardom on the stage and screen, allowing them to pay their bills doing something other than waiting on tables.”

3. Philip E. Slater, Social Critic Who Renounced Academia, Dies at 86

“He studied hard, graduated from Harvard, became a tenured professor of sociology and wrote a best-selling book, The Pursuit of Loneliness. The book, published in 1970, warned that a national cult of individualism and careerism threatened to turn America into a country of hypercompetitive loners ruled by tyrants. It sold some 500,000 copies, established Mr. Slater’s reputation and earned him hefty publishers’ advances. It also marked the beginning of the second half of Mr. Slater’s life. Having re-examined his life through the lens of his own book, Mr. Slater decided in 1971 to resign as the chairman of the sociology department at Brandeis University, where he had taught for 10 years, and take a different path. He took up acting, wrote novels and began culling his personal possessions down to two boxes.”

4. Stealth Wear Aims to Make a Tech Statement

“It’s a catchy description for clothing and accessories designed to protect the wearer from detection and surveillance.”

5. The New Prostitutes

“At the top of the pay scale, technology is delivering on its promise. Workers can increase their hours and their output from home and even work second jobs with more ease than ever. But toward the bottom, anxiety lingers, and the Web enables some people to take risks they never would have imagined.”

6. The End of Car Culture

“Has America passed peak driving?”

7. Germans Loved Obama. Now We Don’t Trust Him.

“When courts and judges negotiate secretly, when direct data transfers occur without limits, when huge data storage rather than targeted pursuit of individuals becomes the norm, all sense of proportionality and accountability is lost.”

8. The Gospel According to ‘Me’

“In the gospel of authenticity, well-being has become the primary goal of human life. Rather than being the by-product of some collective project, some upbuilding of the New Jerusalem, well-being is an end in itself. The stroke of genius in the ideology of authenticity is that it doesn’t really require a belief in anything, and certainly not a belief in anything that might transcend the serene and contented living of one’s authentic life and baseline well-being.”

9. Bringing Art and Change to Bronx

“Some people think I am a priest or an eccentric rich man, and some people just think I’m a loser. But that is O.K. as long as they understand that I am serious.”

10. Save My Blockbuster!

“Working with Jordan Roberts, a veteran Hollywood script doctor, we came up with a pitch for a fake summer movie. We wanted it to be silly, but also not out of the realm of possibility. Then we sought out experts in various Hollywood disciplines – producing, marketing, screenwriting – and asked, What would make our movie more sellable?”

11. Nice to Meet You … Again

“Life used to be much simpler before computers, didn’t it?”

12. How Diane von Furstenberg Is Like a Cowboy

“I was a seductress. But you don’t seduce in the same way at my age. You seduce with brains, with talent. Yesterday for lunch I met the most incredible 90-year-old woman. She survived Auschwitz, she was beautiful, she didn’t have white hair, she didn’t wear glasses. She was totally seductive. I just thought, Oh, my God, I still have time ahead of me.”

13. Want to Understand Mortality? Look to the Chimps

“Are they just animals, or are they something closer to us? Understanding how chimpanzees cope with death is part of that increasing sense of closeness.”

14. The Artist Who Talks With the Fishes

“In her ideal metropolis, more people would commute by zip-line.”

15. The Suicide Detective

“Each data point Nock collects moves him one step closer to his ultimate goal: to be able to give people a series of tests that could tell them – and their psychiatrists or primary care physicians or school nurses – how high their risk of suicide is at any given moment, much the way cardiologists can use blood-pressure and cholesterol readings combined with weight and height to calculate a person’s risk of heart disease.”

16. Jimmy Wales Is Not an Internet Billionaire

“He may now travel the world giving speeches and even include Bono as a friend, but Wales’s celebrity relies largely on being the guy who made the sum of the world’s information free without making a penny himself. As such, his reputation remains inextricably linked to the noisy, online volunteers who got him there. It’s a tricky balancing act, and it all seemed to work fine until Wales moved to London and began to, or at least tried to, enjoy some of the trappings of his success.”

17. The All-Important Present Moment

“It’s actually very complex when you start to think about it.”

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