Sunday 4.3.2016 New York Times Digest


1. Less Disinfectant, More Rioja

“Since moving back to the United States, I no longer reach for the triclosan-laced soaps that gleam from the supermarket shelf. As it turned out, the best remedy for such impulses was to move to southern Europe. Years of drinking Spanish wines and hearing ‘no pasa nada’ several times a day — spoken by people who know well the value of work and sacrifice — will retool the most threat-wired brain.”

2. Rift Among Navy SEALs Over Members Who Cash In on Brand

“Current and former members have widely circulated a pointed critique — titled ‘Navy SEALs Gone Wild: Publicity, Fame, and the Loss of the Quiet Professional’ — that laments the commercialization and warns that it is doing harm.”

3. With Romance Novels Booming, Beefcake Sells, but It Doesn’t Pay

“Few romance models, if any, make enough money to eke out a living. Mr. Baca, for example, works at the Housing Authority of the Santa Clara County, Calif., as a customer-service clerk. And although he has an agent, he said he earned only $20,000 in his best year. This, despite the fact that he is a tireless self-promoter who fancies himself the next Fabio.”

4. A $700 Juicer for the Kitchen That Caught Silicon Valley’s Eye

“Many of the tycoons who inhabit Silicon Valley are obsessed with health and longevity while harboring the conviction that technology can improve anything, even one of nature’s most elementary foodstuffs — in this case, juice. And they believe that niche trends, if properly disrupted, can become billion-dollar markets. Juicero is the latest expression of these techno-utopian impulses.”

5. The Tampon of the Future

“People who suffer from a problem are uniquely equipped to solve it.”

6. When Whites Just Don’t Get It, Part 6

“The big factor isn’t overt racism. Rather, it seems to be unconscious bias among whites who believe in equality but act in ways that perpetuate inequality.”

7. Our Natural History, Endangered

“Natural history museums are so focused on the future that they have for centuries routinely preserved such specimens to answer questions they didn’t yet know how to ask, requiring methodologies that had not yet been invented, to make discoveries that would have been, for the original collectors, inconceivable.”

8. Spain in Our Hearts, by Adam Hochschild

“For Americans on the left who know their history, no more tragic — or more romantic — event took place in the entire 20th century than the civil war in Spain. From 1936 to 1939, a freshly elected secular republic backed by most of the nation’s wage-earners, artists and intellectuals battled for its life against a professional army — the Nationalists — that was firmly aligned with the Roman Catholic Church and big landowners, and endowed with advanced aircraft and crack troops from both Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. For its defense, the Republic had to draw on an ideological potpourri of untrained but fiercely revolutionary militias, a steady trickle of weapons from the Soviet Union, and some 40,000 volunteers from other nations organized in the Communist-led International Brigades, whose American detachment took the name of ‘Abraham Lincoln.’”

9. James McBride’s Kill ’Em and Leave

“It is one thing to suggest that Brown is ‘nearly as important … in American social history as, say, Harriet Tubman,’ and another thing to demonstrate the hypothesis through biographical narrative.”

10. Which Authors Did You Have to Grow Into?

“I was in my early 20s, at the start of a doctoral program in literature and just beginning to realize that for the first time in my experience, being a ‘good reader’ — which then meant, in my narrow understanding of the term, a relatively speedy, indiscriminately voracious, knowledge-­accumulating kind of reader — might not be enough to sustain me in my intellectual and professional life. All around me, it soon became clear, were examples of a different kind of reader, people (some of them professors, some colleagues and friends, some critics I knew only on the page) who read slowly but intensely, who measured their encounters with the written word in depth rather than in volume. These were readers who could spelunk into the literary and philosophical abyss and come back with insights that made me want to follow them down on their next expedition.”

11. Letter of Recommendation: Segmented Sleep

“It looked embarrassing in a modern context, but it was once the most normal thing in the world.”

12. What Happened When Venture Capitalists Took Over the Golden State Warriors

“Silicon Valley — the place itself, but also the society of smart, technologically savvy people who surround it — is full of basketball fans. Many of them made a lot of money in their 30s and 40s. Now in their 50s, they’re looking for something gratifying to do with it. In 2002, Wyc Grousbeck, a principal at Highland Capital Partners who spent two years at Stanford’s business school, bought the Boston Celtics along with a group of investors that included Lacob. In recent years, venture capitalists, private-equity investors and hedge-funders have been acquiring N.B.A. teams. The Detroit Pistons, Milwaukee Bucks, Philadelphia 76ers and Atlanta Hawks all belong to this new class of investor. The Sacramento Kings and the Memphis Grizzlies are both owned by Silicon Valley engineers. If you include Lacob’s Warriors, that’s more than a quarter of the league.”

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