Sunday 7.24.2016 New York Times Digest

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1. The Long War on Terror

“The stark truth is that the Western political elite remains in denial, and not just about terrorism but about the anger and frustration over the effects of globalization, which have nourished xenophobia in most if not all rich countries. Until elites fully acknowledge these problems, the rise of the demagogues is all but assured. If the only choice people have is between a political elite that denies or dismisses the legitimacy of their fears and politicians who, whatever their motives, tell them they’re not wrong to harbor them, more people will join the parties of fear.”

2. One Police Shift: Patrolling an Anxious America

“On the streets of every town and city, each shift is a search for safety. Here’s a look at one such shift, compiled through ridealongs last week with officers in 10 departments — big, small, rural, suburban — across the United States.”

3. Migrants and Smugglers Won’t Be Stopped by Donald Trump’s Wall, Ranchers Say

“Here is one aspect of everyday life along the southern border, where national demarcations are blurred by the supply and demand for what the United States continues to crave: drugs and cheap labor. The attendant casualties include human rights, property rights, civil discourse and the security of sovereignty.”

4. In Africa, Birds and Humans Form a Unique Honey Hunting Party

“The findings cast fresh light on one of only a few known examples of cooperation between humans and free-living wild animals, a partnership that may well predate the love affair between people and their domesticated dogs by hundreds of thousands of years.”

5. The Batter’s Box Gets a Little Boring

“In an age of advanced metrics, enhanced video and intensified coaching, the idiosyncrasies have been pretty much ironed out of the game.”

6. They Promised Us Jet Packs. They Promised the Bosses Profit.

“X is trying to make corporate research systematic by borrowing working ideas from the past, while adding a few wrinkles — like giving people a financial incentive to admit when something is not working out — in hopes of not making the same mistakes.”

7. A Healthier Way to Feed Your Cat: Hide Its Meals

“In their natural environment, cats eat about 12 times a day, feasting on small prey like mice and birds that are appropriate for their stomachs, which are about the size of a table tennis ball. They also toss their prey around in a form of play that is essential to their well-being.”

8. Evolution Is Happening Faster Than We Thought

“For a long time, biologists thought evolution was a very, very slow process, too tardy to be observed in a human lifetime. But recently, we have come to understand that evolution can happen very quickly, as long as natural selection — the relative benefit that a particular characteristic bestows on its bearer — is strong.”

9. Why Men Want to Marry Melanias and Raise Ivankas

“Men want different things in their wives than in their daughters. Changing gender roles look less threatening when it’s their children who benefit.”

10. The Common Core Costs Billions and Hurts Students

“If we really cared about improving the education of all students, we would give teachers the autonomy to tailor instruction to meet the needs of the children in front of them and to write their own tests.”

11. Enlightening Books, and Why Viggo Mortensen Read Them

“Before shooting began, the film’s director, Matt Ross, provided Mortensen with a reading list to help him understand his character. As it turned out, however, Mortensen was already familiar with everything on it except for, he says, ‘a couple very specialized books about Olympic athlete training.’”

12. For Generous Parental Leave and Great Schools, Move to Finland

“She acknowledges that Americans like the sound of independence too, but in their fixation on individualism they have created a society that paradoxically makes them even more dependent on one another: Without strong state support for education, universal health care and other benefits, Americans must rely on their partners and their employers to take care of them, in sickness and in health. In Finland and other Nordic countries, Partanen argues, that kind of dependence would be intolerable.”

13. The Dark History of the Olympics

“Black ties and top hats were worn for medal ceremonies, in which it was the silver medal, not a gold one, that was the top prize.”

14. What Makes Florida So Weird? A Native Tries to Explain.

“The deal with Florida is the charlatans and lunatics and Snapchat-famous plastic surgeons. It is the Ponzi schemes, the byzantine corruption, the evangelical fervor and the consenting-adult depravity. It is the seasonless climate. The lack of historical consciousness. The way in which this nation’s unctuous elements tend to trickle down as if Florida were the grease trap under America’s George Foreman grill. It is all of the above, and then some, and then more on top of that.”

15. Can Silicon Valley Really Do Anything to Stop Police Violence?

“Ultimately, what the tech industry really cares about is ushering in the future, but it conflates technological progress with societal progress. And perhaps all of us have come to rely too deeply on machinery and software to be our allies without wondering about the cost, the way technology doesn’t fix problems without creating new ones.”

16. How to Breathe

“Relax. Inhale deeply. Sit up straight. Appreciate your lungs.”

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