Sunday 11.2.2014 New York Times Digest

02COVER-master675

1. A Natural Fix for A.D.H.D.

“People with A.D.H.D. may not have a disease, so much as a set of behavioral traits that don’t match the expectations of our contemporary culture.”

2. Even Brutes Can Learn to Cry

“I think it went pretty well considering that these things were new to me. I did not have experience with acting, and I did not have experience with crushing a man’s face with my hands.”

3. That Devil on Your Shoulder Likes to Sleep In

“A person’s ability to self-regulate declines as the day wears on, increasing the likelihood of cheating, lying or committing fraud.”

4. There Is No ‘Healthy’ Microbiome

“We cling to the desire for simple panaceas that will bestow good health with minimal effort. But biology is rarely that charitable. So we need to learn how tweaking our diets, lifestyles and environments can nudge and shape the ecosystems in our bodies. And we need ways of regularly monitoring a person’s microbiome to understand how its members flicker over time, and whether certain communities are more steadfast than others.”

5. The ‘Kind of, Sort of’ Era

“Our language is reflecting modern life.”

6. How Uber Is Changing Night Life in Los Angeles

“Mr. O’Connell is part of a growing contingent of urbanites who have made Ubering (it’s as much a verb as ‘Googling’) an indispensable part of their day and especially their night life. Untethered from their vehicles, Angelenos are suddenly free to drink, party and walk places. Even as their business models are evolving, these ride-sharing services, which include Lyft, Sidecar and others, have upended the social habits of the area, and rallied its residents to be more peripatetic.”

7. The Political Power Watch Stops Ticking

“Most office holders, in the United States anyway, seem unwilling to risk C.E.O.-level timepieces that were once the birthright of the ruling class.”

8. Bruce Springsteen: By the Book

“I just finished Moby-Dick, which scared me off for a long time due to the hype of its difficulty. I found it to be a beautiful boy’s adventure story and not that difficult to read. Warning: You will learn more about whales than you have ever wished to know. On the other hand, I never wanted it to end.”

9. The Nazis Next Door

“We welcomed approximately 10,000 Nazis, some of whom had played pivotal roles in the genocide.”

10. Take Notes From the Pros

“The real value of note-taking is not so much in the taking as in the having.”

11. A Conversation With Goucher’s New President

“Universities were created at a time when knowledge was scarce. Now knowledge is available everywhere. So If what faculty do is profess to students, their relative value has diminished. If we’re going to stay in business, we’re going to have to offer something of value that people will pay for, something that no one else does. The most important thing is that students are actively learning in your class, that they have a reason to go. If they can get the same experience online for free, we’re all going to be out of business.”

12. Demystifying the MOOC

“The average student in a MOOC is not a Turkish villager with no other access to higher education but a young white American man with a bachelor’s degree and a full-time job.”

13. The Astonishing Weaponry of Dung Beetles

“Chance mutations lead to increasingly grotesque or extreme armaments, which beat opponents with smaller weapons. And in doing so, these beetles secure opportunities to breed. Their progeny, as impressive in their weapons as their parents, quickly replace earlier forms and advance the population another notch in weapon size. As this process repeats itself, it pushes the population still further on the path to the extreme.”

14. Bernard Hopkins, Boxing’s Oldest – and Most Cunning – Champion

“Unlike most other boxers, who train down to their fighting weight only when they have a bout coming up, Hopkins keeps himself right around the 175-pound light-heavyweight limit. Fight people marvel at the ascetic rigor that has kept him perpetually in superb shape for almost three decades, his habit of returning to the gym first thing Monday morning after a Saturday-night fight, the list of pleasurable things he won’t eat, drink or do. But to fetishize the no-nonsense perfection of his body, which displays none of the extraneous defined muscular bulk that impresses fans but doesn’t help win fights, is to miss what makes Hopkins an exemplar of sustaining and extending powers that are supposed to be in natural decline. He has no peer in the ability to strategize both the round-by-round conduct of a fight and also the shifts and adjustments entailed by an astonishingly long career in the hurt business. He has kept his body supple and fit enough to obey his fighting mind, but it’s the continuing suppleness of that mind, as he strategizes, that has always constituted his principal advantage. Opponents don’t worry about facing his speed or power. They fear what’s going on in his head.”

15. The Exacting, Expansive Mind of Christopher Nolan

“Nolan’s own look accords with his strict regimen of optimal resource allocation and flexibility: He long ago decided it was a waste of energy to choose anew what to wear each day, and the clubbable but muted uniform on which he settled splits the difference between the demands of an executive suite and a tundra. The ensemble is smart with a hint of frowzy, a dark, narrow-lapeled jacket over a blue dress shirt with a lightly fraying collar, plus durable black trousers over scuffed, sensible shoes. In colder weather, Nolan outfits himself with a fitted herringbone waistcoat, the bottom button left open. A pair of woven periwinkle cuff links and rather garish striped socks represent his only concessions to whimsy or sentimentality; they have about them the sweet, gestural, last-minute air of Father’s Day presents.”

16. A Hotel Room of One’s Own

“In a perfect world, everybody would have a hotel room of one’s own. It could be treated, in the Virginia Woolf mode, as a matter of personal freedom. It needs to be somewhere you can call your own, a place that appeals to an idealized version of yourself.”

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