Sunday 01.11.2015 New York Times Digest

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1. When Will the North Face Its Racism?

“High profile-cases of police brutality have recently come to be associated with the North rather than the South.”

2. Warning: That Tan Could Be Hazardous

“Indoor tanning might seem like a fashion that faded with the 1980s, but it remains a persistent part of American adolescence, popular spring, summer and fall but especially in winter, when bodies are palest. Salons with names like Eternal Summer and Tan City dot strip malls across the country, promising prettiness and, in some cases, better health, despite a growing body of evidence that links indoor tanning to skin cancer.”

3. College Football Is Powerful: The Proof Is in the Alcohol

“The NCAA does not permit alcohol sales — or even its advertising — at the 89 championships it administers. But on Monday night, about 80,000 fans will flock to the same stadium for the first College Football Playoff title game, between Oregon and Ohio State, and they will be able to select from an array of beer, wine and spirits.”

4. Should Schools Teach Personality?

“An emphasis on children’s personalities could take attention away from problems with their schools.”

5. The Backlash Against African Women

“Street harassment is often a sign of deep-seated resentment of women’s changing status in society.”

6. Old Nazis Never Die

“Many of the most notorious Nazi fugitives — members of the SS and the Gestapo — fled to South America after the war, but hundreds fanned out through the Middle East, primarily to Egypt and Syria.”

7. Hearing Is Believing

“Progress doesn’t always mean going forward.”

8. Getting Grief Right

“Grief is as unique as a fingerprint.”

9. When Art Is Dangerous (or Not)

“There are still cultures in which art is not a harmless diversion or commodity, but something real and volatile, a potential threat to be violently suppressed.”

10. Stop Checking Email So Often

“Could the frequency with which you check your email play a role in causing stress?”

11. How to Make Yourself Go to the Gym

“By inducing a habit with cash payments, and then reinforcing that habit with self-funded payments, the researchers were able to permanently change workout habits for at least some people.”

12. Always on His Own Terms

“Twenty years ago next week, the artist Ray Johnson jumped off a low bridge in Sag Harbor, N.Y., and backstroked placidly out to sea. Two teenage girls saw him plunge into the frigid water and tried to alert the police, but when they found the station closed they went to see a movie instead, a detail many of Mr. Johnson’s friends said would have delighted him.”

13. Big-Budget Effects Without the Budget

“Visual effects have quietly become part of small films in ways you might not expect. Hidden away in art-house movies, including a recent crop of dramas, are digital tricks that reduce the cost of potentially expensive shots or, more subtly, help filmmakers heighten the visual impact of seemingly naturalistic tales.”

14. Who Will Be America’s Next Top Mentor?

“Is it possible that women now suffer from a surfeit of supportive you-go-sister pompoms?”

15. To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This

“Love is a more pliable thing than we make it out to be.”

16. Masters of Crime

“Raymond Chandler is a bit like Rimbaud: a great artist who left behind no great art. The plot of his most famous book, The Big Sleep, makes no sense, as he admitted himself, and none of his novels hold up — their characters thin, their wisecracking growing quickly stale, unless you happen to adore wisecracking. Yet Joan Didion might not exist without him, or Bret Easton Ellis, or, in the present moment, a writer like Dana Spiotta. What he bequeathed them was the idea of existential weariness as the essential idiom of modern life. And glittering, empty Los Angeles as the place it lived.”

17. Why Do We Hate Cliché?

“Many of the people I know who use the most platitudes are the ones who have led the hardest lives.”

18. Retrograde Beliefs

“To understand the illusion of its movement means to realize that we are not at the center of things, that there is a reality beyond the one we see.”

19. Death by Robot

“Computer scientists are teaming up with philosophers, psychologists, linguists, lawyers, theologians and human rights experts to identify the set of decision points that robots would need to work through in order to emulate our own thinking about right and wrong.”

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