Sunday 12.13.2015 New York Times Digest

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1. Exploring the World on Foot

“Walking for weeks, months and years in the outdoors, calipering the vast physical and human stage called landscape with my legs, is the opposite of boring.”

2. Sorry, but Your Favorite Company Can’t Be Your Friend

“Companies don’t really love their customers. They love profits. And they see gaining customers’ affection as a good way to make profits. They will let that affection wilt if it stops being an effective tool for making money.”

3. Today’s Butlers Are Trading Silver Trays for iPads

“The life of the butler has been transformed by the digital age.”

4. Soundproofing for New York Noise

“I could hear their dogs peeing on the floor upstairs.”

5. The Rise of Hate Search

“In November, there were about 3,600 searches in the United States for ‘I hate Muslims’ and about 2,400 for ‘kill Muslims.’”

6. The Lie About College Diversity

“A given college may be a heterogeneous archipelago. But most of its students spend the bulk of their time on one of many homogeneous islands.”

7. Your iPhone Is Ruining Your Posture — and Your Mood

“If you’re in a public place, look around: How many people are hunching over a phone? Technology is transforming how we hold ourselves, contorting our bodies into what the New Zealand physiotherapist Steve August calls the iHunch. I’ve also heard people call it text neck, and in my work I sometimes refer to it as iPosture.”

8. The Words That Killed Medieval Jews

“History does show that a heightening of rhetoric against a certain group can incite violence against that group, even when no violence is called for.”

9. Text Me? Ping Me? Communications Overload in the Digital Age

“I have at least a dozen apps that allow me to get in touch with people. There’s standard text messaging; video messaging apps like Snapchat and FaceTime; work-related channels (Outlook, LinkedIn); dating apps (Tinder, OKCupid); and social networks (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) — and that’s before you get into the niche and even absurd, like GroupMe (messaging for groups) and Venmo (which is for paying people, but requires you to add a message with your payment). And, of course, there are dozens (hundreds!) more that I don’t use at all.”

10. Marilynne Robinson’s ‘The Givenness of Things

“A falsely confident omniscience has instead become widespread in the Age of Information, and not only in the United States. Once we forget that our knowledge of anything can only be partial, we can, like the positivists, become arrogantly disdainful of anyone who does not share our views.”

11. So Lonely It Hurts

“Lonely people seemed inadvertently hypervigilant to social threats. Rather poignantly, such thinking itself most likely makes the loneliness worse.”

12. Serious Play

“Shore is part of a group of artists who have been successful in the conventional photography world but who also use Instagram primarily as a space for new creative work. They see Instagram not as a means to an end but as an end in itself; in this they are unlike other professionals for whom Instagram is simply a good place to promote non-Instagram projects or to be social in the same way most people are. For Shore and other established photographers like Dayanita Singh, Gueorgui Pinkhassov, David Alan Harvey and Laura El-Tantawy (to name just a few whose work I like), Instagram can be an extra studio, a place to do more.”

13. Letter of Recommendation: SmartWool Socks

“They allow me to do things that may have once seemed impossible, or at least out of bounds, like wearing boat shoes and penny loafers deep into winter without fear of getting windburn on the tops of my feet. And they make wonderful, aerodynamic replacements for bulky slippers and house shoes; for scampering over frosted pavement after the morning paper, they’re just the thing. I would even suggest them as summer wear to attendees of music festivals, who have been known, when the weather turns wet, to suffer from trench foot — a potentially flesh-rotting condition most often associated with World War I. Certainly, SmartWool socks are preferable to some of history’s earlier remedies. Like whale oil, for example.”

14. The Art of Flying in the Movies

“Movie cameras and airplanes are the twin manifestations of ancient human desires that dwelled, for most of our existence as a species, in myth and fantasy. Our ancestors made likenesses of everything under the sun in various media, to bridge the strange chasm between thing and idea. They conjured legends of bird-gods and parables in which the urge to take wing was a symbol of aspiration and of hubris. What if we could counterfeit reality so completely that the representation would partake of the essence of the original, closing the gap between the world and our imagination of it? What if we could fly? The two dreams link up almost effortlessly, and the technologies of their realization complement each other.”

15. Trudeau’s Canada, Again

“One thing people are starting to realize is that I work incredibly hard at everything I set my mind to.”

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