Sunday 07.05.2015 New York Times Digest

Digital Lives
1. Days of Our Digital Lives

“Search rates for ‘how to roll a joint’ peak between 1 and 2 a.m.”

2. Facing a Selfie Election, Presidential Hopefuls Grin and Bear It

“Who wants their babies kissed or their yard signs autographed anymore? This is the Selfie Election. And if you are running for president, you have no choice but to submit.”

3. Teenager’s Jailing Brings a Call to Fix Sex Offender Registries

“His story is a parable of the digital age: the collision of the temporary relationships that young people develop on the Internet and the increasing criminalization of sexual activity through the expansion of online sex offender registries.”

4. My Own Private Baltimore

“The city is ideally positioned between New York and Washington so that all the ambitious people are siphoned off — the ones who crave wealth and fame to the north, the ones who lust for power to the south — leaving the lazier, saner remainder in peace to enjoy low rents, cheap beers and a life undisturbed by the clamorous egos of the driven. There were a few ambitious go-getters in Baltimore, but in that city they always seemed somehow ludicrous to me, like Machiavellians on the P.T.A. If they were really so ambitious, why were they in Baltimore?”

5. Download: Tim Tucker

“I haven’t watched a movie since 1996.”

6. Enduring Summer’s Deep Freeze

“Being able to make people feel cold in the summer is a sign of power and prestige.”

7. The Myth of Big, Bad Gluten

“The modern immune system appears to have gone on the fritz.”

8. The Science of Inside Out

“Emotions organize — rather than disrupt — rational thinking. Traditionally, in the history of Western thought, the prevailing view has been that emotions are enemies of rationality and disruptive of cooperative social relations. But the truth is that emotions guide our perceptions of the world, our memories of the past and even our moral judgments of right and wrong, most typically in ways that enable effective responses to the current situation. For example, studies find that when we are angry we are acutely attuned to what is unfair, which helps animate actions that remedy injustice.”

9. Heroines Triumph at Box Office, but Has Anything Changed in Hollywood?

“Just to put my own cards on the table: Some of my best friends are self-absorbed heterosexual white men (not naming any names here). Some of my favorite works of narrative, including ‘Spider-Man’ comic books, John Updike novels, murder ballads and episodes of ‘Louie,’ are chronicles of male angst, desire and heroism. But those can’t be the only stories, and our culture has often, especially since the middle of the 20th century, been governed by the assumption that the big stories, the universal stories, the stories with a claim on cultural centrality and serious attention, have to be stories about men.”

10. Joe Manganiello Shows Off His Moves in Magic Mike XXL

“A bet is made: Richie, who Mike contends could make a girl’s day just by tying his shoe, must coax a smile from a female clerk working at a gas station minimart or go back to his old firefighter routine. It’s a mighty task: Glued to her phone, she’s as animated as a slug. But Richie’s prop-heavy dance, performed with just the right touch of desperation and awkward vulnerability by Mr. Manganiello, is a delight.”

11. By the People and Wages of Rebellion

“n the absence of any perceptible contractions of revolt, two writers — Charles Murray on the libertarian right, Chris Hedges on the apocalyptic left — have given up waiting and decided to induce labor. Their methods are different: Murray’s By the People administers a strong but targeted dose of Pitocin, while Hedges’ Wages of Rebellion counsels lots of sex, which is called “sublime madness.” But the most interesting aspect of these two books is where their authors overlap. Both are appalled by the collusion between the federal government and corporations. Both describe the legal system as essentially lawless. Neither has any faith that electoral politics, the three branches of government or the Constitution itself can make a difference. Neither fits with any sizable faction of either of the two parties. Both despise elites. Both are willing, even eager, to see Americans break the law, in nonviolent ways, to force change.”

12. Skyfaring, by Mark Vanhoenacker

“In Skyfaring, a superb chronicle of his career as an airline pilot, Mark Vanhoenacker makes jet travel seem uncanny and intriguing all over again, finding delight in clouds, airports, rainstorms, fuel loads, sky gates, fragments of jargon, lonely electric lights on the plain, suns that rise and set four times in a single daylong journey and the fanciful names of waypoints on flight maps (one near Kansas City is BARBQ; another near St. Louis is AARCH).”

13. Do Genre Labels Matter Anymore?

“I await the day when the compulsion to sort every cultural artifact that comes along into the proper genre category — dismissing a movie because it’s ‘just a horror film’ or a book because it’s ‘just a Y.A. novel’ — becomes as déclassé as it’s rapidly becoming to categorize and dismiss people on the basis of their gender identity or sexual orientation.”

14. Letter of Recommendation: The Oxford English Dictionary

“Maybe 20 years ago, my husband bought the supersize 20-­volume 1989 edition of the O.E.D. from an old friend, this half-­crazy bond trader. It has been my favorite possession ever since, and by a wide margin, handily beating out all books, paintings and drawings, souvenirs, jewels — shoes, even. To own these books is to dwell alongside your own personal Eighth Wonder of the World, something to wander and delight in as you please. That such a thing should even exist in this chaotic world seems impossible — the painstaking record of not only a language but also value systems and cultures and ways of life, alphabetized and arranged in 20 beautiful volumes bound in midnight-­blue cloth with gilt-­lettered spines, weighing about seven pounds apiece.”

15. Arianna Huffington’s Improbable, Insatiable Content Machine

“Huffington may be the Internet’s most improbable media pioneer. This is her first job as an editor or publisher, and few would describe her as a techie. But as one of the first major media properties born in the full light of the digital age, The Huffington Post has always been a skunk works for the sorts of experiments that have come to define the news business in the Internet era.”

16. The Man Who Saw America

“To Bruce Springsteen, who keeps copies of The Americans around his home for songwriting motivation, ‘the photographs are still shocking. It created an entire American identity, that single book. To me, it’s Dylan’s Highway 61, the visual equivalent of that record. It’s an 83-picture book that has 27,000 pictures in it. That’s why Highway 61 is powerful. It’s nine songs with 12,000 songs in them. We’re all in the business of catching things. Sometimes we catch something. He just caught all of it.’”

17. Dinesh D’Souza Isn’t the Real Criminal

“At its highest level, America is a crime syndicate.”

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