Sunday 11.8.2015 New York Times Digest

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1. The Case for Melancholy

“Whatever happened to experiencing the grace of melancholy, which requires reflection: a sort of mental steeping, like tea? What if all this cheerful advice only makes you feel inadequate? What if you were born morose?”

2. Web Poets’ Society: New Breed Succeeds in Taking Verse Viral

“Mr. Gregson belongs to a new generation of young, digitally astute poets whose loyal online followings have helped catapult them onto the best-seller lists, where poetry books are scarce. These amateur poets are not winning literary awards, and most have never been in a graduate writing workshop.”

3. A Family Team Looks for James Bond’s Next Assignment

“For the last 20 years, ever since their father handed over the keys to the series, the ferociously private Barbara Broccoli, 55, and her half brother, Michael G. Wilson, 73, have micromanaged Bond’s every move. While moviemaking is a collaborative process, Ms. Broccoli and Mr. Wilson have final say over every line of dialogue, every casting decision, every stunt sequence, every marketing tie-in, every TV ad, poster and billboard.”

4. A Seismic Shift in How People Eat

“Eating habits are changing across the country and food companies are struggling to keep up.”

5. The Cyberthreat Under the Street

“When we talk about the Internet, we talk about clouds and ether. But the Internet is not amorphous. You may access it wirelessly, but ultimately you’re relying on a bunch of physical cables that are vulnerable to attack. It’s something that’s been largely forgotten in the lather over cybersecurity. The threat is not only malicious code flowing through the pipes but also, and perhaps more critically, the pipes themselves.”

6. For Taylor Swift and Drake, Friends Serve the Brand

“The two most important pop figures of the last five years, Drake and Ms. Swift have both gone further by bringing others along for the ride, with varying degrees of intensity and sometimes different aims. Friendships versus partnerships: Whatever the nomenclature, they have been effective for both artists. In both cases, the alliances are loud, ingenious, public.”

7. The Big Bang of Art and Tech in New York

“‘Silicon City,’ opening Friday, Nov. 13, begins with Samuel Morse’s telegraph and the many wonders that sprang from Thomas Edison’s New Jersey laboratories. In contrast to Silicon Valley (which was still largely made up of fruit orchards as late as the 1960s), such early inventions did not lead to wave after wave of entrepreneurial innovation. Instead they gave rise to vast, monopolistic or quasimonopolistic enterprises that helped define 20th-century America — chief among them IBM and AT&T. But during the ’60s, improbably enough, this spawned a fusion of art and technology that could only have begun in New York.”

8. In All-Gender Restrooms, the Signs Reflect the Times

“Public restrooms didn’t become commonplace in this country until the late 19th century. A cholera epidemic during the Civil War made people realize that it was inappropriate to throw the contents of a chamber pot out the window, and generated a deep commitment to public hygiene. Ever since their introduction, restrooms have been a curious ground zero for civil rights, whether for African-Americans or people with disabilities. Discrimination against transgender people has brought the issue into sharp new focus.”

9. GoFundMe Gone Wild

“I think online begging has become the new economy.”

10. Steve Deace and the Power of Conservative Media

“Deace and others like him boast of being more conservative than Limbaugh or Fox News; like much of their audience, they consider themselves conservatives first and Republicans second (if only because being a Democrat is unthinkable). This strain of conservative media, and its take-no-prisoners ideology, have proliferated on websites, podcasts and video outlets, greatly complicating the Republican Party’s ability to govern and to pick presidential candidates with broad appeal.”

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