Sunday 10.20.2013 New York Times Digest

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1. Data-Mining Our Dreams

“Artists are more likely than non-artists to have nightmares.”

2. Authors Accept Censors’ Rules to Sell in China

“Many writers say they are torn by their desire to protect their work and the need to make a living in an era of shrinking advances.”

3. To Catch Up, Walmart Moves to Amazon Turf

“A plucky Silicon Valley company, forced to compete for talented engineers, is trying it all — recruiting billboards on Highway 101; workplace perks like treadmill workstations and foosball tables; and conference rooms named after celebrities like Rihanna and Justin Bieber. The name of that arriviste company? Walmart.”

4. Policing Village Moral Codes as Women Stream to India’s Cities

“Just last month, a young man and woman studying in Rohtak were killed in public by the woman’s relatives after they were discovered violating the ban on same-village romance. The man was beheaded.”

5. The Good Men of India

“Indian cities are awash with feral men, untethered from their distant villages, divorced from family and social structure, fighting poverty, exhausted, denied access to regular female companionship, adrift on powerful tides of alcohol and violent pornography, newly exposed to the smart young women of the cities, with their glistening jobs and clothes and casual independence — and not able to respond to any of it in a safe, civilized manner. This is the world of women under siege, the medieval world of the walking undead, the rise of the zombies, targeting females rich and poor. For women, at least, winter is coming. In this context, it might appear odd to examine any other variant of the Indian male. But it is important to do so and to do so now. To bear witness to an alternate male reality that also pervades India on a daily basis.”

6. This Is War (for a Game Industry’s Soul)

“Don’t use data to decide what to do.”

7. Seeking Online Refuge From Spying Eyes

“These developments, among others, have spurred the creation of a handful of applications and services intended to give people respite and refuge from surveillance, both online and off. They have a simple and common goal: to create ways for people to use the Internet and to communicate online without surveillance.”

8. An Invention That Marinated for 19 Years

“Mrs. Hunter’s invention follows the classic arc seen in movies: she had a good idea, got it patented and found a market. But that’s the movies. In real life, it’s never that easy. For starters, Mrs. Hunter’s divine idea came to her in 1994. She’s been following through ever since.”

9. My Selfie, Myself

“We are swiftly becoming accustomed to — and perhaps even starting to prefer — online conversations and interactions that revolve around images and photos. They are often more effective at conveying a feeling or reaction than text. Plus, we’ve become more comfortable seeing our faces on-screen, thanks to services like Snapchat, Skype, Google Hangout and FaceTime, and the exhilarating feeling of connectedness that comes from even the briefest video conversation. Receiving a photo of the face of the person you’re talking to brings back the human element of the interaction, which is easily misplaced if the interaction is primarily text-based.”

10. Here Comes the Neighborhood

“This affordable housing has had zero impact on the affluent residents of that community — crime rates, property values and taxes have moved in step with nearby suburbs — while the lives of the poor and working-class families who moved there have been transformed.”

11. The Middle Class Gets Wise

“Faced with unemployment and dim job prospects, Americans made one significant change that should alter their fortunes and those of the middle class for decades: they went back to school. During the recession, there has been a sharp surge in the number of Americans who are getting a college degree.”

12. Ma’am, Your Burger Has Been Paid For

“Whereas paying it forward in drive-throughs occurred maybe once or twice a year a decade ago, now fast-food operators said it might happen several times a day.”

13. How to Feed the World

“The world has long produced enough calories, around 2,700 per day per human, more than enough to meet the United Nations projection of a population of nine billion in 2050, up from the current seven billion. There are hungry people not because food is lacking, but because not all of those calories go to feed humans (a third go to feed animals, nearly 5 percent are used to produce biofuels, and as much as a third is wasted, all along the food chain).”

14. Facing a Pitiless Void

“Survival is the theme of the season, or at least of Captain Phillips, All Is Lost and Gravity. These movies have been praised for the way they immerse audiences in the details of heroic feats of endurance. But like most movies, even the most ostentatiously naturalistic, these are also fantasies, tapping into the unacknowledged longings and superstitions of the audience. In savoring these tales of danger, we might wonder just how safe we really are, and how safe we should be.”

15. Black History’s Missing Chapters

“It is not just about the English and Africans at Jamestown, but the Spanish in the Southwest and at St. Augustine, the French in the Lower Mississippi Valley, the Dutch in New York. It’s a whole new cast of characters.”

16. The Call of the ‘Wild’ on the Pacific Crest Trail

“Cheryl’s book really made it possible and believable for women to see that doing something out of their comfort zone, or very big, was possible. Women aren’t really taught that in society.”

17. When the E-Mail Is Not Quite Spam, but Not Quite Desired

“If I want to hear your thoughts, I can find you on Twitter or drop by your Web site. I don’t need an extra bounce in my mailbox.”

18. His Subject, Himself

“The attraction to difficulty, to complexity, even to agony is real enough in an intensely bookish young man. There are numerous instances of writers who hunt down the most fantastic entanglements; they make misery their muse, or they try.”

19. Fame and Infamy

“He was, in varying combinations, a world-class drinker, feuder, provocateur, self-mythologizer and anti-feminist. He was a war protester, a mayoral candidate, a co-founder of The Village Voice, as well as a wife stabber, a serial husband (of six wives), and a father (of nine). He was a boxer, an actor, a filmmaker, a poet and a playwright. He was also a journalist and a novelist of enormous and singular narrative inventiveness and thrust, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, and one of the least boring and most tireless and tiresome public figures of the last half of the 20th century.”

20. Everyday Jet Lag

“If you consider yourself to be a born morning person or an inveterate night owl, there is new research that supports your desire to wake up early or stay up late. Each of us has a personal ‘chronotype,’ or unique circadian rhythm, says Till Roenneberg, a professor of chronobiology at Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich and one of the world’s experts on sleep. In broad strokes, these chronotypes are usually characterized as early, intermediate or late, corresponding to people who voluntarily go to bed and wake early, at a moderate hour or vampirishly late. If you are forced to wake up earlier than your body naturally would, you suffer from what Roenneberg calls ‘social jet lag.’”

21. The Not-So-Hidden Cause Behind the A.D.H.D. Epidemic

“The rapid increase in people with A.D.H.D. probably has more to do with sociological factors — changes in the way we school our children, in the way we interact with doctors and in what we expect from our kids.”

22. 22 Hours in Balthazar

“Just about everyone who works at Balthazar calls it a machine.”

23. The Octopus That Almost Ate Seattle

“Must a species be endangered to justify protection, or was just liking to look at it reason enough?”

24. Remaking Tavern on the Green, One Fork at a Time

“Over the course of three hours, they looked at probably 300 forks and actually tested some 50 possibilities. Testing meant first looking at a fork, feeling its weight in the palm of a hand and then, if it seemed especially promising, pantomiming a bite. I watched them reject one fork because they didn’t like the scalloped design on its end and two others for being ‘too squared off’ and ‘too Deco,’ respectively. Another was dismissed because, as Sparks put it, ‘that reads bistro’ rather than tavern.”

25. Los Angeles: Goat-Stew City, U.S.A.

“Read Chowhound enough, and you realize that the most obsessive posters are not writing about food so much as they are writing about themselves. Eating is an intimate activity, and when people write passionately about food, they tend to reveal intimate details. The site is helpful as a reference, but mainly I read it in order to understand other people’s obsessions.”

One response to “Sunday 10.20.2013 New York Times Digest

  1. loved the opening story for the octopus article

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