Sunday 11.6.2016 New York Times Digest


1. The Walls in Our Heads

“Do walls work? The real question is: as what? Looking at early walled cities in his study The City in History, Lewis Mumford observed that ‘the exaggerated height and thickness of these walls in the earliest cities, rivaling even eighth-century Khorsabad, is significantly out of all proportion to the military means that existed for assaulting them.’ The excess was symbolic, rather than strategic; more about prestige than security.”

2. New Item on the College Admission Checklist: LinkedIn Profile

“Public schools from San Francisco to New York City are teaching online conduct skills as part of a nationwide digital citizenship push to prepare students for colleges and careers. Teenagers who set up LinkedIn profiles in the hope of enhancing their college prospects represent the vanguard of this trend.”

3. Want Co-Workers to Vote Your Way? Then Stop Pestering Them

“When people ask for your opinion before making a choice, they typically incorporate it into their decision. Sometimes they value it greatly. But if you offer advice without being asked — watch out.”

4. Using Airbnb to Sample Someone Else’s Style

“If you’re a design-obsessed traveler, the opportunity to try on someone else’s style for a night is hard to resist…. And if you’re a style-minded host, Airbnb offers what may be your best chance to share your taste with others — or even to market it, if your work involves design.”

5. The Men Feminists Left Behind

“While women have steadily made their way into traditionally male domains, men have not crossed the other way. Men do more at home than they used to, but women still do much more — on an average day, 67 percent of men do some housework compared with 85 percent of women. Male identity remains tied up in dominance and earning potential, and when those things flag, it seems men either give up or get angry.”

6. Schools That Work

“Many charter schools fail to live up to their promise, but one type has repeatedly shown impressive results.”

7. The Post-Familial Election

“Everywhere across the developed world, families have grown more attenuated: fewer and later marriages, fewer and later-born children, fewer brothers and sisters and cousins, more people living for longer and longer stretches on their own. It’s a new model of social life, a ‘post-familial’ revolution that’s unique to late modernity.”

8. Trump’s Inconvenient Racial Truth

“When Trump claims Democratic governance has failed black people, when he asks ‘the blacks’ what they have to lose, he is asking a poorly stated version of a question that many black Americans have long asked themselves. What dividends, exactly, has their decades-long loyalty to the Democratic ticket paid them? By brushing Trump’s criticism off as merely cynical or clueless rantings, we are missing an opportunity to have a real discussion of the failures of progressivism and Democratic leadership when it comes to black Americans.”

9. Time to Dump Time Zones

“Let us all — wherever and whenever — live on what the world’s timekeepers call Coordinated Universal Time, or U.T.C. (though ‘earth time’ might be less presumptuous).”

10. My Deathbed Playlist (and Yours)

“Paul Simon once said that music should continue ‘right on up until you die,’ a belief with precedents that are as literal as they are ancient.”

11. Whose Life Should Your Car Save?

“When it comes to self-driving cars, Americans balk at having the government force cars to use potentially self-sacrificial algorithms.”

12. Consider a Monarchy, America

“The modern history of Europe has shown that those countries fortunate enough to enjoy a king or queen as head of state tend to be more stable and better governed than most of the Continent’s republican states. By the same token, demagogic dictators have proved unremittingly hostile to monarchy because the institution represents a dangerously venerated alternative to their ambitions.”

13. Loss Haunts A Tribe Called Quest’s First Album in 18 Years

“In the early ’90s, they made what are widely considered two of hip-hop’s greatest albums: The Low End Theory and Midnight Marauders. (Mr. White left after recording The Low End Theory to pursue a career as a chef.) The group was known for thoughtful lyrics, jazz samples and a more artful, less macho, approach to hip-hop. Q-Tip was the artistic, esoteric, philosophical M.C. while Phife Dawg was the streetwise, confident yet humble rapper with a little Trinidadian ‘ruffneck’ swag.”

14. Memes, Myself and I: The Internet Lets Us All Run the Campaign

“The internet has elevated supporters to the role of surrogates, capable of creating their own messages and running their own online campaigns on their social media feeds. Memes and other tools of digital culture empower them to twist carefully orchestrated campaign images — or candidates’ gaffes — until they take on new meanings and take over the news cycle.”

15. L.A. Transcendental: How La La Land Chases the Sublime

“Rather than force Los Angeles to resemble more charming locales like Paris or San Francisco, he focused on what makes the city distinctive: the traffic, the sprawl, those endless skies.”

16. What Would You Serve With Gin and Juice? At the Table With Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg

“This is only the most recent venture from Ms. Stewart and Snoop Dogg, who have a long, if sporadic, history of working side-by-side on television, reliably generating ratings, laughs and goggle-eyed coverage.”

17. How the University of Alabama Became a National Player

“Nowadays, the real money comes from tuition and fees.”

18. What 12 State Schools Are Cutting, or Creating

“State support for public two- and four-year colleges — funding is nearly $10 billion below what it was just before the recession — has begun to recover, though officials at the nation’s flagship universities say that doing more with less is the new norm.”

19. How a Philosophy Professor Found Love in a Hidden Library

“The further you go on in the book, and the more of Kaag’s skillful miniatures you take in, the deeper it becomes. You realize he is also making an unconventional argument for who was right, and who was wrong, in the classical tradition of American philosophy from about 1830 to 1930, in Transcendentalism and Pragmatism and Idealism and beyond. It is an argument strikingly suited to our time.”

20. An American in a Strange Land

“This summer, I decided I wanted to explore this place that had become a foreign country to me. I didn’t understand what had happened since I left, why so many people seemed so disillusioned and angry. I planned a zigzag route, revisiting places where I once lived or worked, a 29-day sprint through 11 states (and four time zones). I knew I would be moving too fast to make any sweeping declaration about the state of America, and I wouldn’t ask people which presidential candidate they were voting for. I was more interested in why they were so anxious about the present and the future. I wanted to find out why the country was fragmenting rather than binding together. Most of all I wanted to see with my own eyes what had changed — and so much had changed.”

21. Want to Know What Virtual Reality Might Become? Look to the Past

“By the dawn of the 20th century, almost every species in the 19th-century genus of illusion was wiped off the map by a new form of ‘natural magic’: the cinema. The stereoscope, too, withered in the public imagination. (It lingered on as a child’s toy in the 20th century through the cheap plastic View-Master devices many of us enjoyed in grade school.) But then something strange happened: After a century of irrelevance, Brewster’s idea — putting stereoscopic goggles over your eyes to fool your mind into thinking you are gazing out on a three-dimensional world — turned out to have a second life.”

Comments are closed.