Sunday 09.22.2013 New York Times Digest


1. Who Made That T-Shirt?

“In 1920, the garment was reborn under another name, thanks partly to F. Scott Fitzgerald. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the author was the first to use the word ‘T-shirt’ in print; it appears in the novel This Side of Paradise, in a list of accouterments that a character carries with him to boarding school.”

2. For Migrants, New Land of Opportunity Is Mexico

“More Americans have been added to the population of Mexico over the past few years than Mexicans have been added to the population of the United States.”

3. Tomato Can Blues

“Rowan was desperate. Then, while he was watching TV at his girlfriend’s house, a show caught his attention. It was on the Investigation Discovery channel, something about a guy who staged his own death so he could start his life anew.”

4. Intimacy on the Web, With a Crowd

“The cam business, a kind of digital-era peep show, has been around for a few years, but as the technology has become better and cheaper, the concept of camming is proving well more than passing: it has created a money-making opportunity in a pornography business eroded by the distribution of free sexual content on the Internet.”

5. Life as Instant Replay, Over and Over Again

“The way we share, watch, read and otherwise consume content doesn’t happen on a linear timeline. It loops in on itself. And even when major events unfold online and social media sites broadcast happenings minutes, or even hours, before major news organizations cotton on to them, the discussions and dissections that bubble up in the aftermath are the most interesting parts. This phenomenon is something I’ve taken to calling the replay Web.”

6. Quandary of Hidden Disabilities: Conceal or Reveal?

“If you announce your condition, you risk being stigmatized; if you keep it a secret, you risk poor performance reviews or even being fired.”

7. The Mental Strain of Making Do With Less

“If a cookie can tax our mental resources, imagine how much more psychological impact other forms of scarcity can have.”

8. Dinner Is Printed

“I would immerse myself in the world of 3-D printing. I would live for a week using nothing but 3-D-printed objects — toothbrushes, furniture, bicycles, vitamin pills — in order to judge the technology’s potential and pitfalls.”

9. The Importance of the Afterlife. Seriously.

“However self-interested or narcissistic we may be, our capacity to find purpose and value in our lives depends on what we expect to happen to others after our deaths.”

10. When I Moved Online …

“Before the Internet, my parents were privy to most of my world … After the Internet, my parents were privy to much less and would only rarely, and with decreasing frequency, ask about what they no longer knew.”

11. Why We Like Sad Music

“What if, despite their apparent similarity, sadness in the realm of artistic appreciation is not the same thing as sadness in everyday life?”

12. A Writer’s Life Measured in Movies

“The only thing I ever walked out of was Dr. Doolittle with Eddie Murphy,” he said. “It’s remarkable what I’ll sit through — it really is.”

13. With Antonio Monda, It’s Dine, Drink, Discuss

“At a time when so many Manhattan gatherings can seem as transactional as a conference call, Mr. Monda reigns as the host of the city’s liveliest, some say only remaining, cultural salon.”

14. Step Away From the Phone!

“As smartphones continue to burrow their way into our lives, and wearable devices like Google Glass threaten to erode our personal space even further, overtaxed users are carving out their own device-free zones with ad hoc tricks and life hacks.”

15. Online Book Clubs: Talk That Stays on the Page

“I had long dismissed online book clubs, believing they lacked the intimacy and spontaneity of in-person get-togethers and that they were the terrain of quiet loners who feared eye contact and physical closeness. These days I’ve come to think book club intimacy is largely overrated and, depending on who’s on the other end, eye contact can be quite terrifying.”

16. What Happened to the Maxim Man?

“Though he no longer reads the magazine, Mr. Golin is certain that the Maxim man is still out there. What’s changed, he suggested, is the culture that surrounds him. What had once been what Mr. Golin called a treehouse for a certain kind of guy, has perhaps become the forest.”

17. Hate-Reading: Love to Loathe You, Baby

“People look around at others’ ‘perfect lives’ on Facebook, feel bad about themselves, boost their self-regard by putting out their own ‘perfect lives’ and/or hate-reading others’ pages, and then their ‘perfect lives’ make others feel bad about their own lives in turn.”

18. Shine On

“King is right at the center of an American literary taproot that goes all the way down: to the Puritans and their belief in witches, to Hawthorne, to Poe, to Melville, to the Henry James of The Turn of the Screw, and then to later exemplars like Ray Bradbury. In the future, I predict, theses will be written on such subjects as ‘American Puritan Neo-Surrealism in The Scarlet Letter and The Shining,” and “Melville’s Pequod and King’s Overlook Hotel as Structures That Encapsulate American History.”

19. Sting: By the Book

“I never throw a book away now. I have kept every dog-eared paperback I have ever read. Books are the only things I’m acquisitive about. And no, I don’t lend my books … join the library!”

20. How Robots Can Trick You Into Loving Them

“We’re hard-wired to attribute states of mind to fellow beings — even dumb robots, provided they at least appear autonomous.”

21. Into the Wildfire

“The way to make wildfires, and the people living near them, safer is by making peace with the idea that we need to let more of them burn longer.”

22. No Comments

“When we complain about comments, I’ve noticed, we do so as if we’re dealing with some emanation of human nature or the lusty democratic energies of the American soul.”


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