Sunday 1.10.2016 New York Times Digest


1. You Don’t Need More Free Time

“It’s not just that we have a shortage of free time; it’s also that our free time, in order to be satisfying, often must align with that of our friends and loved ones. We face a problem, in other words, of coordination.”

2. The Lark-Owl Scale: When Couples’ Sleep Patterns Diverge

“A chief impediment to sleeping together is different preferences for what time to go to bed. As early as the 1970s, researchers began looking at the distinction between morning people and night people, often referred to as ‘larks’ or ‘owls.’”

3. When Teamwork Doesn’t Work for Women

“Women get essentially zero credit for the collaborative work with men.”

4. It’s Payback Time for Women

“The universal basic income is a necessary condition for a just society, for it recognizes the fact that most of us — men, women, parents and nonparents — do a great deal of unpaid work to sustain the general well-being. If we’re not raising children, then we may be going to school, or volunteering around the neighborhood.”

5. St. Teresa and the Single Ladies

“I am not Catholic, and yet I find myself drawn to the women saints. There is something about them that I admire. Maybe it is simply the lengths to which they went to avoid marrying. When St. Catherine’s mother said her hair would surely attract a good suitor, she cut all of it off. When St. Lucia’s pursuer said she had lovely eyes, she cut them out and presented them to him. (‘What,’ I imagine her asking him as he screamed. ‘I thought you said you liked them.’) Then there’s St. Olga of Kiev, whose feast day is my birthday. Emissaries came to her and suggested she marry their prince. She had them all buried alive.”

6. The Joy of Psyching Myself Out

“I left psychology behind because I found its structural demands overly hampering. I couldn’t just pursue interesting lines of inquiry; I had to devise a set of experiments, see how feasible they were, both technically and financially, consider how they would reflect on my career. That meant that most new inquiries never happened — in a sense, it meant that objectivity was more an ideal than a reality. Each study was selected for a reason other than intrinsic interest.”

7. To Be Happier, Start Thinking More About Your Death

“If this year were your last, would you spend the next hour mindlessly checking your social media, or would you read something that uplifts you instead? Would you compose a snarky comment on this article, or use the time to call a friend to see how she is doing?”

8. Campus Sex … With a Syllabus

“And there is a whole new vocabulary to memorize, with terms like ‘enthusiastic consent,’ ‘implied consent,’ ‘spectrum of consent,’ ‘reluctant permission,’ ‘coercion’ and ‘unintentional rape.’ Even ‘yes means yes,’ the slogan of the anti-rape movement is sort of confusing.”

9. The Confidence Game, by Maria Konnikova

“Con artists thrive in times of social and political upheaval, when instability and uncertainty reign, making it easier for emotion to overwhelm reason.”

10. The Defender, by Ethan Michaeli

“By avoiding fire-breathing newspapers like The Chicago Defender, The Baltimore Afro-American and The Pittsburgh Courier, Roosevelt insulated himself from questions about what ­African-Americans saw as the burning issue of the 1940s: the government’s decision to embrace segregation in the military.”

11. The Geography of Genius, by Eric Weiner

“It seems near impossible to will an exceptional place into being or to manufacture the conditions that lead to an outpouring of genius.”

12. Alex Haley: And the Books That Changed a Nation, by Robert J. Norrell

The Autobiography of Malcolm X and Roots helped to fundamentally transform American race relations and the understanding of black history for successive generations.”

13. Christopher Hitchens’s And Yet… and Roger Scruton’s Fools, Frauds and Firebrands

“For all of their differences in method, scholars and journalists tend to aim in their work for something like impartiality, bracketing their individual idiosyncrasies in favor of a largely selfless pursuit of objectivity through focused, meticulous research. Intellectuals, by contrast, aim to be ‘specialists in generalizations,’ as another New York intellectual (the sociologist Daniel Bell) once put it, pronouncing on the world from out of their individual experiences, habits of reading and capacity for judgment. Subjectivity in all of its quirks and eccentricities is the coin of the realm in the Republic of Letters.”

14. Words Unwired

“More than ever, we need writers who are unprofessional, whose private worlds come first.”

15. Letter of Recommendation: A Field Guide to American Houses

“McAlester’s book is the most authoritative dictionary of the language spoken by the built environment.”

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