Sunday 8.21.2016 New York Times Digest


1. Think It’s Hot Now? Just Wait

“By the end of the century, the number of 100-degree days will skyrocket, making working or playing outdoors unbearable, and sometimes deadly. The effects on our health, air quality, food and water supplies will get only worse if we don’t drastically cut greenhouse gas emissions right away.”

2. Affluent and Black, and Still Trapped by Segregation

“Affluent black families, freed from the restrictions of low income, often end up living in poor and segregated communities anyway.”

3. The Obama Years: The Best of Times to Be a Stock Investor

“The facts are inescapable: The Obama years have been among the best of times to be a stock investor, going all the way back to the dawn of the 20th century.”

4. Becoming Disabled

“The fact is, most of us will move in and out of disability in our lifetimes, whether we do so through illness, an injury or merely the process of aging.”

5. Handwriting Just Doesn’t Matter

“Debates over handwriting reveal what a society prizes and fears; they are not really about the virtues or literacy levels of children.”

6. A Natural Cure for Lyme Disease

“What’s behind the rise of Lyme? Many wildlife biologists suspect that it is partly driven by an out-of-whack ecosystem.”

7. The Virtues of Reality

“This mix of youthful safety and adult immaturity may be a feature of life in a society increasingly shaped by the internet’s virtual realities.”

8. Conquering the Freshman Fear of Failure

“Regardless of their credentials, many freshmen doubt that they have the necessary brainpower or social adeptness to succeed in college. This fear of failing hits poor, minority and first-generation college students especially hard. If they flunk an exam, or a professor doesn’t call on them, their fears about whether they belong may well be confirmed. The cycle of doubt becomes self-reinforcing, and students are more likely to drop out.”

9. White Rappers, Clear of a Black Planet

“We have arrived in the post-accountability era of white rap, when white artists are flourishing almost wholly outside the established hip-hop industry, evading black gatekeepers and going directly to overwhelmingly white consumers, resulting in what can feel like a parallel world, aware of hip-hop’s center but studiously avoiding it.”

10. Werner Herzog Says ‘The Internet Has Its Glorious Side’

“I started using the internet, but basically for emails. Very early on. But I do not have a cellphone, because I don’t want to be connected all the time. When I look among the circle of my friends, almost everybody’s complaining about being a slave of their two cellphones. They exaggerate, but they are partially addicted. I thought, I don’t need to be connected all the time.”

11. ‘Post-Gender’ Baby Names Are on the Rise.

“Researchers at Nameberry analyzed the baby name registry from the Social Security Administration and found that the number of babies given unisex names like Harper, Tatum and Quinn had risen 60 percent in the last decade, to 67,831 babies in 2015.”

12. From Montreal to Minnesota, by Inland Sea

“In my mind, it was difficult to connect Montreal and Minnesota by water at all. I was so used to driving and flying, the shape of the continent had been distorted. You get on a plane or Interstate in New York and get off in Minneapolis. Or Chicago. Or Los Angeles. Most people don’t travel anymore. They arrive. Unless you are riding the slow boat. Then you see every mile.”

13. Joseph O’Neill on The Glamour of Strangeness

“Unlike the traveler or the tourist, who belongs somewhere and intends to return there, the exote is a ‘voluntary exile who goes to distant lands in search of a new home with no intent to repatriate.’”

14. Human Cells Make Up Only Half Our Bodies. A New Book Explains Why.

“Human cells and microbial cells are incredibly interdependent, because we have evolved together. We provide their habitats; they provide their labor.”

15. In a New Biography, How Marconi’s Start-Up Changed the World

“When somebody registers a powerful, attention-grabbing message, we say that person is ‘making waves.’ Marconi was the original wave maker. He made dead air come alive.”

16. The Easiest Way to Get Rid of Racism? Just Redefine It.

“It’s not that anyone denies that institutional racism once existed. But the belief now is that systemic racism is a national cancer that was excised long ago, in an operation so successful it didn’t even leave lasting effects. All that remains is individual hatred in the souls of the most monstrous among us — or else, depending on whom you ask, in vengeful minorities who want to nurse grievances and see whites suffer for the sins of past generations. Through the willful perversion of shared history, whites have been able to appropriate the victimhood of minorities and, in an audacious reversal, insist that an obvious thing isn’t real — otherwise known as gaslighting. And as in any case of sustained abuse, gaslighting is integral to institutional racism.”

17. How Do You Tell a Better Story in Sports?

“Despite the growing influence of the rationalists — the analysts and wonks who want to tear this all down — the mainstream sports industrial complex, especially in the loftier parts of the media, doesn’t share their vision. Narrative, with all its lies, still dominates.”

18. Letter of Recommendation: Cheddar and Sour Cream Ruffles

“To enjoy Cheddar and Sour Cream Ruffles is to revel in the human-made, in the old Enlightenment project of our scientific conquest of nature.”

19. How to Pass a C.I.A. Background Check

“Prepare to be spied on.”

19. David’s Ankles: How Imperfections Could Bring Down the World’s Most Perfect Statue

“We are conditioned to believe that art is safe, beyond the reach of the grimy world. We don’t hang the Mona Lisa next to an archery range. We put her in a fortress: walls, checkpoints, lasers, guards, bulletproof glass. There are scholars, textbooks, posters — a whole collective mythology suggesting that the work will live forever. But safety is largely an illusion, and permanence a fiction. Empires hemorrhage wealth, bombs fall on cities, religious radicals decimate ancient temples. Destruction happens in any number of ways, for any number of reasons, at any number of speeds — and it will happen, and no amount of reverence will stop it.”

20. Flint’s Water Crisis and the ‘Troublemaker’ Scientist

“In the sciences, normal professors with tenure do not maintain websites on which they publish incriminating emails obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. Or habitually refer to unethical bureaucrats as ‘pathological lying scumbags.’ Or allude frequently to Orwell’s 1984, Arendt’s The Origins of Totalitarianism and Ibsen’s ‘An Enemy of the People,’ an 1882 political drama about polluted water contaminating the profitable baths in a Norwegian town. Of his fellow tenured scientists, a normal professor doesn’t say things like, ‘We are the greatest generation of cowards in history.’”

21. Has Waiting for Things Become the Ultimate Luxury?

“The most beautiful, highest-quality things cannot be crafted quickly.”

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