Sunday 9.21.2014 New York Times Digest

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1. Climate Realities

“The world is now on track to more than double current greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere by the end of the century. This would push up average global temperatures by three to eight degrees Celsius and could mean the disappearance of glaciers, droughts in the mid-to-low latitudes, decreased crop productivity, increased sea levels and flooding, vanishing islands and coastal wetlands, greater storm frequency and intensity, the risk of species extinction and a significant spread of infectious disease.”

2. After Surgery, Surprise $117,000 Medical Bill From Doctor He Didn’t Know

“In an increasingly common practice that some medical experts call drive-by doctoring, assistants, consultants and other hospital employees are charging patients or their insurers hefty fees. They may be called in when the need for them is questionable. And patients usually do not realize they have been involved or are charging until the bill arrives.”

3. A Writerly Chill at Jeff Bezos’ Fire

“There are impressive dinners, accompanied by live music. There is horseback riding, skeet shooting and lazing by the pool. In the mornings, there are formal talks on highbrow topics. One guest fondly recalled that the swag included down vests, fleeces, shoulder bags and small suitcases to carry all the loot home. Getting back to mundane reality was postponed for the attendees who took one of the private jets. (Others say they took scheduled flights.)”

4. Coming Soon, a Century Late: A Black Film Gem

“Williams’s use of blackface, used by whites to mimic and mock black people, has been the subject of fascination to scholars and critics. African-American performers appeared to have donned blackface for different reasons: to mollify white audiences by obscuring their individuality, to continue the minstrel tradition, or even to heighten the absurdity of the convention. So was Williams’s use of it pragmatic, ironic, subversive or just sad? W. C. Fields once commented that Williams was ‘the funniest man I ever saw and the saddest man I ever knew.’”

5. Many Veterans Adapt to a Strange World, One With Walls

“The department embraced a ‘housing first’ philosophy — that people are better able to deal with underlying mental health and substance abuse problems if they have a stable place to live.”

6. Jack Devine: The Spymaster Who Goes to Mass

“When I was in the business, I would be highly focused when I was going to do something that was clandestine. And truly, you can feel what’s going on. You don’t look in windows. You don’t look over your shoulder. You actually begin to develop patterns of walking that after a while you can feel surveillance.”

7. In Scotland and Beyond, a Crisis of Faith in the Global Elite

“There has been an implicit agreement in modern democracies: It is fine for the wealthy and powerful to enjoy private jets and outlandishly expensive homes so long as the mass of people also see steadily rising standards of living. Only the first part of that bargain has been met, and voters are expressing their frustration in ways that vary depending on the country but that have in common a sense that the established order isn’t serving them.”

8. The Phone Call Is Back

“As much as I enjoy sending and receiving messages, they can be confusing, particularly when it comes to conveying sarcasm or sincerity. And as much as I love using emoji — those colorful cartoons that can be inserted into text messages to infuse them with warmth and humor, they don’t have all that much nuance. Using them isn’t always a guaranteed way of getting my feelings across.”

9. In Suburban Seattle, New Nests for China’s Rich

“Wealthy Chinese have become far and away the biggest foreign buyers of real estate in Seattle in recent years.”

10. Why Federal College Ratings Won’t Rein In Tuition

“From 1988 to 2013, average tuition at four-year public colleges more than doubled, even after adjusting for inflation.”

11. In Checking Accounts, the Less You Have, the More You May Pay

“People with more money tend to pay lower fees.”

12. Dancing With the Start-Ups

“I think it’s a fair statement to say most people would rather be Mark Zuckerberg than Will Smith. I think that’s a fair statement, and that’s pretty fascinating.”

13. What ‘ASAP’ Really Means

“You get a request to fill out a report — or whatever — ‘as soon as possible.’ You consider how soon you might actually be able to do it, given everything else you’re dealing with. Then you add some extra time.”

14. Can a Computer Replace Your Doctor?

“Silicon Valley is bringing a host of new data-driven technologies to health care, many of them with enormous potential. But before we rush to measure every human attribute in real time, it would be a good idea to ask: When is more data actually useful to promote and ensure better health? And when does technology add true value to health care? The results have been mixed.”

15. The New Conservative Love Affair With Canada

“The things conservatives love about Canada are closely linked to the things they hate most about Canada.”

16. Too Young to Die, Too Old to Worry

“When should we set aside a life lived for the future and, instead, embrace the pleasures of the present?”

17. Sad Dads in the Empty Nest

“Men’s identity is now invested in a more intimate, hands-on fatherhood; fathers see themselves not just as breadwinners but as caregivers and confidants, and feel deeply attached to kids they have changed and bathed and driven.”

18. Who Runs the Girls?

“V.I.P. night life is an industry run by men, for men, and on women, who are ubiquitously called ‘girls.’ The girls are brought in to attract big-spending clients from among the young global elite, willing to spend thousands of dollars on alcohol. Hence the V.I.P. party is sometimes half-jokingly described as ‘models and bottles.’ The girls are seen as interchangeable; one club owner calls them ‘buffers’ because rows of them frame his Instagram party pictures. They are recruited through friends of friends, scouted on the streets of SoHo, with its clusters of fashion agencies, or tracked down at model castings.”

19. The Case for Delayed Adulthood

“Prolonged adolescence, in the right circumstances, is actually a good thing, for it fosters novelty-seeking and the acquisition of new skills.”

20. On Film, a City Shows Its Noir Side

“Boston is a city of venerable neighborhoods, rich cultural history and academic distinction. But lately, at least on film, it seems as if it’s a city of melancholy. It has taken a turn for the bleak on the big screen, where in little more than a decade, films like The Town, The Departed, and Mystic River have depicted a sense of corruption and unrest, with characters often at a breaking point. The darkened streets and bad behavior are once again illuminated in The Equalizer, opening Sept. 26 and featuring Denzel Washington as a man with a mysterious past who seeks solace, and an ordinary life, in the city. But trouble is often nearby (mostly in the form of Russian gangsters and crooked cops), and he must take matters into his own hands in an effort to make the dark side of the city a little brighter.”

21. The Paleo Lifestyle: The Way, Way, Way Back

“Lately, Paleo has charged toward the mainstream, not only as a hugely popular diet … but also as a cave-man-inspired lifestyle that has spawned a fast-growing industry.”

22. Amy Cuddy Takes a Stand

“Adopting a confident pose — or simply visualizing one … — delivers almost instant self-assurance.”

23. Making a Splash on Campus

“In the university recreation center arms race … the latest thing is to turn a piece of campus into something approaching a water theme park.”

24. Man Down

“That one man can contain such contradictions makes for an astonishing, tragic story. In Hobbs’s hands, though, it becomes something more: an interrogation of our national creed of self-invention. It reminds us that there are origins in this country of ours that cannot be escaped, traumas that have no balm, holes that Medicaid and charter schools and better mental health care and prison reform can never fill.”

25. Stand-Up Man

“Bill Cosby was once just a comic working out his act.”

26. Be Polite With Your Books

“An academic I once met, jealous of the sales figures a colleague was yielding with his popularizations of history, used to walk into bookstores, scoop up any of the colleague’s books in sight, and reshelve them in Humor.”

27. Will Portland Always Be a Retirement Community for the Young?

“People move to New York to be in media or finance; they move to L.A. to be in show business. People move to Portland to move to Portland.”

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