Sunday 8.31.2014 New York Times Digest


1. Is Owning Overrated? The Rental Economy Rises

“Entrepreneurs say the rental economy is part of a growing, post-recession movement to value experiences over possessions.”

2. ISIS Displaying a Deft Command of Varied Media

“ISIS is online jihad 3.0. Dozens of Twitter accounts spread its message, and it has posted some major speeches in seven languages. Its videos borrow from Madison Avenue and Hollywood, from combat video games and cable television dramas, and its sensational dispatches are echoed and amplified on social media. When its accounts are blocked, new ones appear immediately. It also uses services like JustPaste to publish battle summaries, SoundCloud to release audio reports, Instagram to share images and WhatsApp to spread graphics and videos.”

3. In E-Sports, Video Gamers Draw Real Crowds and Big Money

“If you don’t want to call it athletics or sports, that doesn’t mean anything to me. That doesn’t change the reality of the massive growth we’re seeing.”

4. Using Gambling to Entice Low-Income Families to Save

“Instead of attacking lotteries, a growing number of credit unions and nonprofit groups are using them to encourage low-income families to save.”

5. No Canvas, No Leather: A Reboot for the Sneaker

“Created by DuPont in 1955, it is made from high-density polyethylene fibers and was originally used, and continues to be used, for things like labels and book jackets. Tyvek has also been used in hazmat suits, banners, medical and industrial packaging, and covers for cars and boats. Now designers are fashioning shoes, bags and other accessories from it.”

6. For a Career Guide, 42 Years of Soft Landings

“Three main points in the book still hold, as Mr. Bolles explained in a personal note he sent along with the book:

  • The traditional job-hunting system is a numbers game that is ‘heavily loaded toward failing the job hunter.’
  • A ‘creative minority’ has come up with nontraditional, highly successful methods of job hunting that involve choosing the places you want to work and approaching the people there who can hire you.
  • Before choosing those places, job hunters must look inward, figuring out what they would most love to do — and where, geographically, they want to do it.

Those three concepts are as relevant in 2014 as they were in 1972, as are the shock of rejection, the loss of self-esteem, and the depression that can result from a prolonged round of job hunting, which Mr. Bolles also covers.”

7. Saving Our Birds

“The passenger pigeon taught us that even the most numerous species can undergo population collapses in astonishingly short periods of time. Cod fishermen of the North Atlantic learned the same painful lesson just two decades ago. It is far more effective and cost-efficient to conserve a species while it is abundant than to wait until it reaches the brink.”

8. Download: Zubin Mehta

“I’m not online. My life is not that. I have a homepage but I have never seen it myself. My secretary does that.”

9. Losing Our Touch

“For all the fascination with bodies, our current technology is arguably exacerbating our carnal alienation. While offering us enormous freedoms of fantasy and encounter, digital eros may also be removing us further from the flesh.”

10. Handmade Landscapes

“If we are learning anything in the Anthropocene, it is that we are not really separate from the plants and animals. An important part of the landscape now, our built environments are also an expression of nature — termites erect mounds, humans erect farms and cities.”

11. When Whites Just Don’t Get It

“United States now has a greater wealth gap by race than South Africa did during apartheid.”

12. Of Pot and Percocet

“Implementation of a medical marijuana law was associated with a 25% lower yearly rate of opioid painkiller overdose deaths, on average.”

13. The Original Charter School Vision

“Mr. Shanker believed deeply that unions played a critical role in democratic societies and wanted charter schools to be unionized. But he also wanted to take democratic values to an even higher level: Students would see workplace democracy in action firsthand in charter schools because they would see teachers who were active participants in decision making. Likewise, students in economically and racially integrated schools would learn on a daily basis that we all deserve a seat at democracy’s table.”

14. André 3000 Is Moving On in Film, Music and Life

“A few hours before the Coachella show, I get a message that Prince and Paul McCartney are going to be there. My spirit is not right, and idols are standing side-stage, so as the show started, I’m bummed. This is horrible. In my mind I was already gone to my hotel room halfway through. So Prince called a couple days after. It was my first time actually talking to Prince. He said: ‘When you come back, people want to be wowed. And what’s the best way to wow people? Just give them the hits.’ I’m explaining to him that I really didn’t want to do it. He said: ‘I’ve been there. I’ve tried to do other things. After you give them the hits, then you can do whatever.’”

15. David Lynch, Who Began as a Visual Artist, Gets a Museum Show

“When I found out adults could do that, that’s all I wanted to do. I wanted to smoke cigarettes, drink coffee and paint.”

16. Bubbles Carry a Lot of Weight

“The three dots shown while someone is drafting a message in iMessage is quite possibly the most important source of eternal hope and ultimate letdown in our daily lives.”

17. The Invasion of the Lobster Legs

“Every summer, it seems, red pants threaten to become a thing. Every summer, they seem trapped by the same old cultural baggage.”

18. Freud’s City, From Couch to Cafes

“Freud’s working life as a young man was erratic; the path to his couch zigzagged. He spent time in Paris studying with the hypnotist Charcot and explored everything from the sexual anatomy of eels to the use of cocaine as an anesthetic. But once Freud settled into his practice and apartment at Berggasse 19, he became a creature of almost obsessional habit. He had his beard trimmed daily by a barber. He would take his dinner at the same hour (1 p.m.), demanding the whole family present, before a stroll to buy cigars or walk his dog. He owned just three suits, three pairs of shoes and three sets of underclothes.”

19. The Delusions We Deserve

“What biological psychiatry has elided in its rush to reduce mental illness to brain dysfunction: the environment as a causal factor in mental breakdown.”

20. Choose Your Own Race

“Martin becomes black not to teach anyone a lesson but to better reflect his ‘true self.’ As in Adam Mansbach’s novel Angry Black White Boy, Martin’s condition speaks to a generation of suburban white kids who came up in the 1990s possessed by a vibrant hip-hop culture that let them access sincere rage at the world’s injustice in a way music hadn’t done since punk.”

21. Does Where You Live Make a Difference in How and What You Write?

“Places do things to you.”

One response to “Sunday 8.31.2014 New York Times Digest

  1. Thanks Matt. Pleased to have found your informative and entertaining blog. Lots to explore. Regards from Thom at the immortal jukebox (drop a nickel!).


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