Sunday 7.6.2014 New York Times Digest


1. How to Redraw the World Map

“The mountains of western Colorado are totally alien from the wheat fields of eastern Colorado. And Miami is part not of Florida, but its own watery Caribbean realm. And what a terrible idea is ‘California.’ It behaves as if it covers three warring civilizations.”

2. Shaping a School System, From the Ground Up

“Ideo had been hired by a Peruvian businessman, Carlos Rodriguez-Pastor, to work on a new type of project: designing a network of low-cost private schools from scratch, including the classrooms, the curriculum, the teacher-training strategies and the business model.”

3. Rethinking the Wild

“We need to rethink the Wilderness Act. We need to toss out the ‘hands-off’ philosophy that has guided our stewardship for 50 years. We must replace it with a more nuanced, flexible approach — including a willingness to put our hands on America’s wildest places more, not less, if we’re going to help them to adapt and thrive in the diminished future we’ve thrust upon them.”

4. Less Sexy, Better for Sex

“With Google cars, there is nothing to learn, nothing to master. This car fosters passivity, nurtures infancy. It has no driver, only passengers.”

5. The Emojis We Really Need

“I’m favoriting your tweet only because you’re in a position to help me professionally.”

6. When Beliefs and Facts Collide

“More people know what scientists think about high-profile scientific controversies than polls suggest; they just aren’t willing to endorse the consensus when it contradicts their political or religious views.”

7. North Korea’s Fear of Hollywood

“Never underestimate the power of marijuana in Hollywood, and phallic jokes about rockets and cigars.”

8. Do I Have the Right to Be?

“All of us are alive today thanks at least partly to some mass atrocity that was committed in the past. This is because war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and ethnic cleansing invariably affect who is born after them.”

9. The Secret of Effective Motivation

“Instrumental motives are not always an asset and can actually be counterproductive to success.”

10. Fine Perfumes of the Animal World

“The duped males respond at first with clumsy groping and then quickly proceed to copulation, sometimes to the point of ejaculation. It gets more interesting: Some male wasps actually seem to prefer the scent of make-believe females. They will break away from a real female to have sex with a flower.”

11. A Company Liberals Could Love

“A retail chain with nearly 600 stores and 13,000 workers, this business sets its lowest full-time wage at $15 an hour, and raised wages steadily through the stagnant postrecession years. (Its do-gooder policies also include donating 10 percent of its profits to charity and giving all employees Sunday off.) And the chain is thriving commercially — offering … a clear example of how ‘doing good for workers can also mean doing good for business.’ Of course I’m talking about Hobby Lobby, the Christian-owned craft store that’s currently playing the role of liberalism’s public enemy No. 1.”

12. Looking at Photos the Master Never Saw

“Is the clicking of the camera shutter only a first step, after which — if an artistic photograph is to be distinguished from the deluge of thoughtless shots — the proofing, editing and printing of the image must follow? Or can a photographer who exposes the film but goes no further nonetheless be an artist?”

13. Casting Time as a Lead Character

“A film so formally bold that it is without an exact precedent.”

14. Social Media’s Vampires: They Text by Night

“Sometimes I look up and it’s 3 a.m. and I’m watching a video of a giraffe eating a steak,” he said. “And I wonder, ‘How did I get here?’”

15. Clicking Their Way to Outrage

“Although we tend to share the happiness only of people we are close to, we are willing to join in the rage of strangers.”

16. Empowering Words

“American society frequently sees the claims of liberty and equality as pulling in opposite directions; the more you have of one, the less you have of the other. Furthermore, in the battle between liberty and equality, the claims of individual liberty have generally trumped those of equality. Allen says this is a false dilemma. Liberty and equality are not parts of a zero-sum game, but two mutually supportive aspects of a common democratic culture. It seems hardly fortuitous that a book arguing for the centrality of equality should appear at just the moment when we have discovered the effects of inequality in our public life.”

17. Patriarch and Pariah

“He was tarred and feathered; a furious mob in Ohio once ordered a local doctor to castrate him. Some of the passions he aroused were prompted by financial chicanery.”

18. I Am the Real Nick Cave

“Cave’s public persona has been called ‘theatrical,’ but a more precise term might be cinematic. Like many self-mythologizers, charismatics and plain old eccentrics, he has always appeared to be performing in a movie only he himself could see.”

19. Zoo Animals and Their Discontents

“An animal in the wild can’t afford to be depressed.”


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