Sunday 5.8.2016 New York Times Digest


1. Grit, by Angela Duckworth

“A focus on grit decouples character education from moral development. Duckworth never questions the values of a society geared toward winning, nor does she address the systemic barriers to success.”

2. Masters of Prose Warm Up to Children’s Picture Books

“Following the blockbuster success of series like Twilight and Harry Potter, a growing number of best-selling authors have migrated into the booming market for young adult and middle-grade fiction, including James Patterson, John Grisham, Ms. Smiley and Jennifer Weiner. Picture books, typically written for 3- to 7-year-olds, could represent the next frontier for writers seeking to further expand their audiences by reaching an even younger demographic.”

3. What Makes Texas Texas

“As the world grows smaller, as technology obliterates the significance of where we live and work, as Americans become more transient, Texas resists. It declares, to itself and the nation: Place matters. America needs a superstate, or to put it another way, an antistate. Sometimes we love it here and sometimes we are disgusted here, but, to twist Gertrude Stein’s line about Oakland, Calif., there is a here here. We tattoo Texas on our arms, buy Texas-built trucks and climb fire escapes with Texas dirt in our pockets. Place, we are unsubtly suggesting, matters.”

4. What Do Consumers Want? Look at Their Selfies

“Allison Shragal, 28, of Chicago, isn’t a model, or Internet famous — she’s an administrative assistant for a general contracting company. But almost every day companies pay her to snap photos of herself engaging in routine activities — brushing her teeth, eating breakfast, cleaning the bathroom.”

5. The Economy Is Rigged, and Other Presidential Campaign Myths

“Here are six economic myths that underlie much of the recent rhetoric.”

6. Why You Can’t Lose Weight on a Diet

“No one knows how to get more than a small fraction of people to sustain weight loss for years.”

7. A Confession of Liberal Intolerance

“When perspectives are unrepresented in discussions, when some kinds of thinkers aren’t at the table, classrooms become echo chambers rather than sounding boards — and we all lose.”

8. Is Your Pet Lonely and Bored?

“The number of pets has grown more rapidly since the mid-1970s than the human population, to the point where there are now about as many pets as there are people.”

9. Sex Talk for Muslim Women

“Countless articles have been written on the sexual frustration of men in the Middle East — from the jihadi supposedly drawn to armed militancy by the promise of virgins in the afterlife to ordinary Arab men unable to afford marriage. Far fewer stories have given voice to the sexual frustration of women in the region or to an honest account of women’s sexual experiences, either within or outside marriage.”

10. Is Britney Spears Ready to Stand on Her Own?

“According to the arrangement, which is typically used to protect the old, the mentally disabled or the extremely ill, Ms. Spears cannot make key decisions, personal or financial, without the approval of her conservators: her father, Jamie Spears, and a lawyer, Andrew M. Wallet. Her most mundane purchases, from a drink at Starbucks to a song on iTunes, are tracked in court documents as part of the plan to safeguard the great fortune she has earned but does not ultimately control.”

11. Has the Replay Taken the Fun Out of Watching Sports?

“We pause or at least hiccup in our response to make sure that the whole thing won’t be overturned upon review. The pursuit of official certainty, in other words, has bred an epistemological uncertainty. I no longer worry that a game will swing on a bad call, but I constantly worry that I will end up cheering for a fiction.”

12. How to Make a Citizen’s Arrest

“Announce loudly: ‘You’re under citizen’s arrest.’”

13. The Amateur Cloud Society That (Sort Of) Rattled the Scientific Community

“The W.M.O. hadn’t added a new cloud type to the International Cloud Atlas since 1953.”

14. Should Prostitution Be a Crime?

“It’s a pragmatic argument. But the sex-workers’ movement also hinges on an ideological conviction — the belief that the criminal law should not be used here as an instrument of punishment or shame, because sex work isn’t inherently immoral or demeaning. It can even be authentically feminist.”

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