Sunday 2.21.2016 New York Times Digest

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1. Why Do We Teach Girls That It’s Cute to Be Scared?

“Girls are often warned away from doing anything that involves a hint of risk.”

2. Apple Sees Value in Its Stand to Protect Security

“The company is playing the long game with its business.”

3. Kanye West Is Fixing His Album in Public. You’ll Want to Read the Edits.

“Mr. West has turned the album release process — historically a predictably structured event, and lately rewritten by stars like Beyoncé as precise, sudden assault — into a public conversation, one taking place on Twitter, YouTube, Periscope and in Madison Square Garden as much as in the studio.”

4. SiriusXM Fights to Dominate the Dashboard of the Connected Car

“SiriusXM has hit on the formula for getting people — nearly 30 million of them — to pay for radio, a form of media that has always been free. But while the company likes to emphasize the awesomeness of its audio ‘mosaics,’ there is another, more mundane, explanation for its success: cars.”

5. How to Help More College Students Graduate

“The United States has a dropout crisis. Sixty percent of people go to college these days, but just half of the college students graduate with a bachelor’s degree. Some people earn a shorter, two-year associate’s degree. But more than a quarter of those who start college drop out with no credential.”

6. WarGames and Cybersecurity’s Debt to a Hollywood Hack

“One week later, the general returned to the White House with his answer. WarGames, it turned out, wasn’t far-fetched. ‘Mr. president,’ he said, ‘the problem is much worse than you think.’”

7. That (Very, Very) Old Black Magic in The Witch

“He wanted his film to feel like ‘a Puritan’s nightmare.’”

8. What Does the Academy Value in a Black Performance?

“In the history of the Oscars, 10 black women have been nominated for best actress, and nine of them played characters who are homeless or might soon become so.”

9. A. O. Scott’s Better Living Through Criticism

“Scott’s survey leads him to a conclusion with which, you suspect, most authors, filmmakers, painters and poets who have ever received a stinging review are likely to disagree: that criticism, rather than being a lesser sibling of Art, is its equal — codependent and symbiotically related to the creative arts, each unthinkable without the other. ‘Criticism, far from sapping the vitality of art, is instead what supplies its lifeblood, … not an enemy from which art must be defended, but rather another name — the proper name — for the defense of art itself.’”

10. Pagan Kennedy’s Inventology and Adam Grant’s Originals

“Famous creators were also often epic procrastinators: Michelangelo put off painting the Sistine Chapel for years, and Martin Luther King Jr. didn’t sit down to write the final version of his historic I Have a Dream speech until 10 p.m. the night before he was slated to deliver it. Procrastination, Grant notes, gives ideas time to bake — and if you’re an entrepreneur, it gives you the time to watch others in your field make mistakes from which you can learn. The iPhone, after all, was a very late entry to the mobile-phone game. Moving slowly, and coming to conclusions slowly, is often a virtue.”

11. Indentured, by Joe Nocera and Ben Strauss

“When (rich, white) men convince themselves that (poor, black) athletes need to be shielded from the corrupting influence of money, measures to keep them from it — even as the world of collegiate sports begins clearing more than $900 million a year in revenue — are not seen as plunder; they are seen as noble, just and vital. That those men end up keeping so much of that money for themselves? Hey, it has to go somewhere.”

12. David Denby’s Lit Up

Lit Up arrives as fast-paced changes are rocking high school English — from a growing emphasis on science and math over the humanities to the Common Core requirement that literature classes include significant readings in nonfiction. In response, Denby argues eloquently for “the character-forming experience of reading difficult books.” And in the face of proliferating interest in digital education, he illustrates the irreplaceable role of great flesh-and-blood teachers who unlock knowledge day in and day out for students who otherwise wouldn’t have access to it.”

13. Are We Doomed to Slow Growth?

“Does technological advancement, and the improvement in average people’s material conditions that it creates, continue upward at a steady rate? Or has it already peaked?”

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