Sunday 9.4.2016 New York Times Digest


1. Flooding of Coast, Caused by Global Warming, Has Already Begun

“For decades, as the global warming created by human emissions caused land ice to melt and ocean water to expand, scientists warned that the accelerating rise of the sea would eventually imperil the United States’ coastline. Now, those warnings are no longer theoretical: The inundation of the coast has begun.”

2. The Curse of a Phoenix Weatherman: Finding New Ways to Say ‘It’s Hot’

“‘I go, “It’s hot,” or, “It’s above average,” or, “It’s going to be extremely warm today,”’ he said on a 105-degree day, from the safety of a Starbucks where he sipped a strawberry smoothie to ‘take the edge off the heat,’ as he put it.”

3. Celebrity Answering Service Endures, Its Secrets Intact

“Days were rarely dull, and were typified by incidents that might seem impossible in today’s relentlessly managed culture of celebrity. Noël Coward once called in despair in the middle of the night: He needed more Scotch to keep Marlene Dietrich entertained. But it was Sunday, and the liquor stores were closed. Mrs. Printz dispatched her husband to buy a bottle from a bartender and deliver it personally.”

4. Venture Communism: How China Is Building a Start-Up Boom

“For much of China’s long economic boom, young people flocked to manufacturing zones for jobs making bluejeans or iPhones. But today China is trying to move beyond just being the world’s factory floor. Policy makers want the next generation to find better-paying work in modern offices, creating the ideas, technologies and jobs to feed the country’s future growth.”

5. The Formula for a Richer World? Equality, Liberty, Justice

“Give masses of ordinary people equality before the law and equality of social dignity, and leave them alone, and it turns out that they become extraordinarily creative and energetic.”

6. Download: Taylor Sheridan

“If you want to get an email to Robert Redford, you send it to his assistant and she prints it out. And then he will write you a letter, which is incredibly rare and incredibly classy.”

7. Political Correctness and Its Real Enemies

“If anything, the real threat to free inquiry isn’t students, but that same market imperative that First Amendment defenders claim to hold dear. Most university leaders serve not politically correct pieties but pressures to satisfy student ‘customers’ and to avoid negative publicity, liability and losses in ‘brand’ or ‘market share’ — terms that belong in corporate suites but appear, increasingly, in deans’ offices.”

8. For a Long Life, Retire to Manhattan

“The city remains completely indifferent to me, as it is to everyone. But without doing anything or talking to anyone, a walker on the street participates in the general excitement. Sitting at a diner and looking out, you see life itself on the other side of the window. Whatever your opinion of humanity, you have people to bewilder or console you. Manhattan reminds you of your utter irrelevance to the greater scheme of the universe.”

9. What Religion Would Jesus Belong To?

“Only half of American Christians can name the four Gospels, only 41 percent are familiar with Job, and barely half of American Catholics understand Catholic teaching about the eucharist.”

10. You’re How Old? We’ll Be in Touch

“Age segregation impoverishes us, because it cuts us off from most of humanity and because the exchange of skills and stories across generations is the natural order of things. In the United States, ageism has subverted it.”

11. Mike Birbiglia’s 6 Tips for Making It Small in Hollywood. Or Anywhere.

“Write. Make a short film. Go to an open mike. Take an improv class. There’s no substitute for actually doing something. Don’t talk about it anymore. Maybe don’t even finish reading this essay.”

12. Tom Wolfe Raises His Voice in an Account of Human Speech

“We are dealing with a short book by a big writer on a dull topic, further complicated — as it turns out — by an old man’s willingness to digress (surely the Spanish Civil War could have been left out of all this?), and the result is a qualified success. The scope is far too vast for such brief treatment, and the author’s lifelong commitment to carbonating even the most esoteric subjects leads him to get caught up in so many gossipy side notes — the scientist whose wife and daughter were stricken with volcanic diarrhea during his fieldwork in the Amazon; the class anxiety of a 19th-century visitor to the ­Lin­nean Society — that the reader is left to wonder what, exactly, is Wolfe’s point.”

13. How to Tickle Someone

“Do not try to tickle a stranger.”

14. Making House: Notes on Domesticity

“I have often looked at photographs of writers in their elegant book-lined studies and marveled at what seems to me a mirage of sorts, the near-perfect alignment of seeming with being, the convincing illusion of mental processes on public display, as though writing a book were not the work of someone capable of all the shame and deviousness and coldheartedness in the world.”

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