Sunday 4.27.2014 New York Times Digest

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1. On Their Death Bed, Physical Books Have Finally Become Sexy

“A new kind of hard-copy bibliomania has without question sprung up along the banks of digital reading. I don’t really have a friend, either heavy reader or the sort still getting through the Malcolm Gladwell she got for Christmas, who doesn’t want, have or feverishly dream of floor-to-ceiling bookshelves.”

2. Getting Into the Ivies

“Top colleges are admitting fewer American students than they did a generation ago. Colleges have globalized over that time, deliberately increasing the share of their student bodies that come from overseas and leaving fewer slots for applicants from the United States.”

3. Hey, Big Thinker

“However original Mr. Piketty’s economic argument may be, he is the newest version of a familiar, if not exactly common specimen: the overnight intellectual sensation whose stardom reflects the fashions and feelings of the moment.”

4. Feuding in 140 Characters

“Does the medium by which we hold grudges and wage feuds affect the shelf life of those grudges and feuds?”

5. Matthew Weiner: By the Book

“I prefer print books, but I have purchased a lot of e-books. There’s an incredible power to holding the iPad or the Kindle and seeing all the choices available, but it’s a little bit like opening Netflix. It can be overwhelming and feel like a collection instead of a library. Deep down, I prefer paperbacks that I can bend the pages in, and write in with a ballpoint pen and take in the bath. Also, e-books completely nullify the adventure of used books. With a used book, I love reading inscriptions, finding business cards and notes, and constructing another narrative about who it belonged to.”

6. Vision Quest

“It took Ehrenreich so long to learn that her visions were a part of human experience not because the visions were so foreign, but because human experience was altogether foreign to her, too.”

7. Nothing to Cheer About

“When Duke made the deliberate decision in the 1980s to transform itself from a fine regional university into — in its telling and invariable phrase — a ‘world-class’ institution, there were two planks to the program. The first was to import expensive academic talent. This meant that, in the humanities, it was getting a large group of scholars whose attitudes toward heterosexual white males were at best skeptical. The second was to pour a deep river of cash into the athletic program so that Duke would be on par with Stanford and Northwestern: academically elite institutions that could also compete with the meatheads at State. No one in the brain trust seemed to grasp that these two missions were on a crash course.”

8. Status Update

“The American bourgeoisie is more devoted to buying free-range meat than raising free-range children. In this anodyne, restricted America, social media is the only way teenagers can effectively get a life.”

9. If a Bubble Bursts in Palo Alto, Does It Make a Sound?

“The perks-laden, savior-and-ninja-saturated, TED-talking beast that has seemingly taken over Northern California in recent years might be a byproduct of high corporate profits and Fed policy as much as anything else.”

10. Should a Chimp Be Able to Sue Its Owner?

“I knew if I was going to begin breaking down the wall that divides human and nonhumans, I first had to find a way around this issue of personhood.”

11. Get Cracking

“Hard-boiled eggs are worthy both as self-contained snacks and as main ingredients in more substantial dishes.”

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