Sunday 9.18.2016 New York Times Digest


1. Why Do Anything? A Meditation on Procrastination

“That which is yet to be born — be it the world, a person, a piece of furniture or a piece of writing like this one — may be nothing, but at this stage it is at its utmost. Its nothingness is fuller and richer than any ordinary existence. To fall into existence is to enter time, and with time comes decay, aging and death.”

2. Swamps, Marijuana, Moonshine: 2 Prison Escapees’ 3 Weeks on the Run in New York

“They managed to avoid capture for three weeks in the rugged northernmost reaches of New York State. Navigating by the stars and using evasion tactics gleaned from Vietnam War movies, they pillaged peanut butter and pasta — as well as moonshine and marijuana — from remote hunting cabins. They stole sleep by the hour and tracked their pursuers’ movements via news reports on a purloined transistor radio. In the end, feet worn bloody by flight, they argued and went their separate ways before their bids for freedom ended — one in capture, one in death.”

3. Scuba, Parrots, Yoga: Veterans Embrace Alternative Therapies for PTSD

“Traditional medical approaches generally rely on drugs and controlled re-experiencing of trauma, called exposure therapy. But this combination has proved so unpopular that many veterans quit before finishing or avoid it altogether. This has given rise to hundreds of small nonprofits across the country that offer alternatives: therapeutic fishing, rafting and backpacking trips, horse riding, combat yoga, dogs, art collectives, dolphin swims, sweat lodge vision quests and parrot husbandry centers, among many, many others.”

4. Baseball’s Stirrups: Always in Season, if Not in Fashion

“In the 1860s, players were said to have started wearing colored high socks to display their calves, under the notion that it would entice female fans. As more players embraced the fashion, a health problem arose — blood from spike wounds could easily mix with the toxic dyes used at the time. A white sanitary sock under a stirrup, though, could prevent infection.”

5. Fictional New York City Apartments Get Real

“As rising rents squeeze young New Yorkers, the TV apartment has become grittier, dirtier and ever more cramped. You could almost say it is angry.”

6. So You Think Your Place Is Small?

“It would be nice if I could use the stove to cook eggs and potatoes on. Everything else I can eat without cooking. I assure you, the items listed are the extent of my limited diet. Occasionally I will bring home a jalapeño.”

7. Can You Have a Good Life if You Don’t Have a Good Job?

“Slowly, incrementally, Americans have been moving away from a system in which a good job with a generous employer was the key to having a good life to a new system in which even people with low-wage jobs can have access to the basic goods and services that define a decent life in a modern society.”

8. Why College Rankings Are a Joke

“The rankings nourish the myth that the richest, most selective colleges have some corner on superior education; don’t adequately recognize public institutions that prioritize access and affordability; and do insufficient justice to the particular virtues of individual campuses.”

9. Put Globalization to Work for Democracies

“We must reassess the balance between national autonomy and economic globalization. Simply put, we have pushed economic globalization too far — toward an impractical version that we might call ‘hyperglobalization.’”

10. Would You Hide a Jew From the Nazis?

“In the 1930s and ’40s, the United States denied visas to most Jews.”

11. Hollywood, Separate and Unequal and Hollywood in Black and White: 6 Moments From Film History

“Early in their history, the movies were greeted as the great equalizer, a democratic ideal in beautiful celluloid, a mass medium for the masses. That’s a reassuring fantasy, because, as anyone who watches an old Hollywood movie knows, most movies didn’t speak to everyone equally. They still don’t, despite occasional efforts to change.”

12. Want to Find Fulfillment at Last? Think Like a Designer

“The two professors claim that you can design an amazing life in the same way that Jonathan Ive designed the iPhone. They say the practices taught in the class and the book can help you (in designing-your-life-speak) ‘reframe’ dysfunctional beliefs that surround life and career decisions and help you ‘wayfind’ in a chaotic world through the adoption of such design tenets as bias-for-action, prototyping and team-building.”

13. Colin Kaepernick and the Question of Who Gets to Be Called a ‘Patriot’

“When a black American protests the demoralizing practices of American government, there is always a white person eager to unfurl the welcome mat to Africa. This is where racism and patriotism tend to point: toward the exits. For some, we learn, being American is conditional on behaving like a grateful guest: You belong here because we tolerate your presence. We don’t yet appear to have settled the matter of citizenship — not even for our president, another black man backhandedly accused of harboring terrorist sympathies. We operate on the old logic that only members of the family are allowed to tell hard truths about the family’s flaws. And when black people speak about America, they’re informed that they do not actually have a seat at the grown-ups’ table and that they should be grateful to be around at all.”

14. What Playing Madden Teaches Us About Football — and What It Doesn’t

“The accumulation of all the years of Madden has provided a safer, more manageable facsimile of what we watch on Sunday.”

15. How to Escape a Sinking Ship

“Leaping into the water should be your last resort.”

16. Could Ancient Remedies Hold the Answer to the Looming Antibiotics Crisis?

“As far as organic drug factories go, it’s difficult to beat the complexity and ingenuity of plants. Plants are nature’s chemical wizards.”

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