Sunday 8.7.2016 New York Times Digest


1. Of Thee I Read: The United States in Literature

“Reporters and editors on the National Desk of The New York Times were asked to suggest books that a visitor ought to read to truly understand the American cities and regions where they live, work and travel.”

2. We’re in a Low-Growth World. How Did We Get Here?

“An entire way of thinking about the future — that children will inevitably live in a much richer country than their parents — is thrown into question the longer this lasts.”

3. Making Olympic Boxing Safer by Eliminating Head Guards

“The removal of the gear for the first time in more than three decades is based on a counterintuitive and debatable premise — that the boxers will be safer without the extra protection.”

4. A Surreal Life on the Precipice in Puerto Rico

“There are fully stocked supermarkets and vacant houses. Gleaming commuter trains rolling past boarded-up storefronts. Patriots who denounce Yankee imperialism and shop at Walmart. Twelve percent unemployment and no one to pick the coffee crop. Teenagers dancing in sequined prom dresses while the homeless sleep outside on the sidewalk. It is America, beneath a surreal veneer.”

5. Ready to Snap at Work? Get in Touch With Your Inner Animal

“These simple solutions to anxiety are not so easy to practice in an era of multitasking, multiple screens and mindless distractions.”

6. When Every Company Is a Tech Company, Does the Label Matter?

“These days every company is a tech company.”

7. Dinner, Disrupted

“These restaurants must satisfy a venture-capital and post-I.P.O. crowd for whom a $400 dinner does not qualify as conspicuous consumption and for whom the prevailing California-lifestyle fantasy is less about heirloom tomatoes than recognizing inefficiencies in the international medical technology markets, flying first-class around the planet to cut deals at three-Michelin-Star restaurants in Hong Kong or London and then, back home, treating the kids to casual $2,000 Sunday suppers.”

8. Fifty States of Anxiety

“Google searches for anxiety tend to be higher in places with lower levels of education, lower median incomes and a larger part of the population living in rural areas.”

9. Are We Loving Our National Parks to Death?

“No nation had ever set aside such a magnificent place for that reason. Wild reserves had been the exclusive property of nobility or the rich. Decisions by Congress to protect Yellowstone and other wonders reflected a different idea: In a democracy, such landscapes should belong to everyone.”

10. When Blood Pressure Is Political

“Blood pressure is often constant till about age 6, but then it rises quickly as children detach from their parents and have to become vigilant against real or perceived threats. By age 17 almost half of all boys have blood pressures in the prehypertensive range, and about 20 percent have full-blown hypertension.”

11. Do Your Friends Actually Like You?

“Recent research indicates that only about half of perceived friendships are mutual. That is, someone you think is your friend might not be so keen on you. Or, vice versa, as when someone you feel you hardly know claims you as a bestie.”

12. The Problem With Slow Motion

“Seeing replays of an action in slow motion leads viewers to believe that the actor had more time to think before acting than he actually did. The result is that slow motion makes actions seem more intentional, more premeditated.”

13. Why Self-Help Guru James Altucher Only Owns 15 Things

“On LinkedIn, where he publishes original free essays, Mr. Altucher has more than 485,000 followers and is ranked the No. 4 ‘influencer,’ after Bill Gates, Richard Branson and Mohamed A. El-Erian, the financier and author.”

14. Working From Home With a Spouse in the Next Room

“Mixing business and cohabitation can sometimes be challenging, even for couples who enjoy each other’s company.”

15. Rosa Brooks Examines War’s Expanding Boundaries

“In impressive and often fascinating detail, she documents that the boundaries between war and peace have grown so hazy as to undermine hard-won ­global gains in human rights and the rule of law. She has no simple formula for reconciling refinements of civil rights with the raw imperatives of a moment.”

16. The Innovation Campus: Building Better Ideas

“Where once the campus amenities arms race was waged over luxury dorms and recreation facilities, now colleges and universities are building deluxe structures for the generation of wonderful ideas. They and their partners in industry are pouring millions into new buildings for business, engineering and applied learning that closely resemble the high-tech workplace, itself inspired by the minimally partitioned spaces of the garage and the factory.”

17. Fighting for Free Speech on America’s Campuses

“Students are, wittingly or not, becoming vocal opponents of free speech by demanding protections and safe spaces from offensive words and behaviors.”

18. Why Calls for a ‘National Conversation’ Are Futile

“It’s always national-conversation time somewhere. Whenever the mood around an issue ought to change — guns, policing, marriage, the Oscars — somebody will say we need to talk about it. We should be sitting around and figuring this thing out. We need to have ‘real,’ ‘substantive,’ ‘difficult’ exchanges — about our personal biases, about our bad policies — that reach far and go deep. ‘It’s time for a national conversation’ about mental health, retirement savings, drones.”

19. Jonah Hill Is No Joke

“The best way to make sense of Hill’s career is to divide it roughly in half, not chronologically but by the two kinds of movies he makes: on one side, the goofy com­edies, and on the other side, well-received movies by respected directors, like Django Unchained and The Wolf of Wall Street and Hail, Caesar! After Superbad, it would have been easy for Hill to take the Adam Sandler route and ride the wave of his own typecasting, making bad copies of the same movie over and over again. Instead, he exercised discretion in his roles and did a good-enough job to hammer out the kind of career that hilarious sidekicks in gross-out teen com­edies have not traditionally enjoyed. (Jason Biggs offers a useful point of comparison; it took him a decade and a half to recover from the abasement of American Pie.)

20. The Brain That Couldn’t Remember

“A great deal of what we know about how our brains work has come about through intensively scrutinizing individuals whose brains don’t work.”


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