Sunday 11.13.2016 New York Times Digest


1. What Whiteness Means in the Trump Era

“Thanks to the success of ‘Make America Great Again’ as a call for a return to the times when white people ruled, and thanks to the widespread analysis of voters’ preferences in racial terms, white identity became marked as a racial identity. From being individuals expressing individual preferences in life and politics, the Trump era stamps white Americans with race: white race.”

2. A 10-Digit Key Code to Your Private Life: Your Cellphone Number

“Investigators find that a cellphone number is often even more useful than a Social Security number because it is tied to so many databases and is connected to a device you almost always have with you.”

3. Michigan Voters Say Trump Could See Their Problems ‘Right Off the Bat’ & How Erie Went Red: The Economy Sank, and Trump Rose

“Chris Vitale, a longtime Chrysler employee and United Auto Workers member, supported Barack Obama twice, as did his union and his county. But on Tuesday, Mr. Vitale rejected the U.A.W.’s choice, Hillary Clinton, and voted with gusto for Mr. Trump.”

4. Can Trump Save Their Jobs? They’re Counting on It & How Letting Bankers Off the Hook May Have Tipped the Election

“In interviews in recent days and in March, Trump voters here made clear that if he does not follow through on his promises, they are prepared to turn on him, just as they are seemingly punishing Democrats today for not delivering the hope and change voters sought from President Obama after he won as an outsider in 2008.”

5. Going Down the Pinterest Rabbit Hole

“Embark on any home improvement project — or binge-watch enough HGTV — and you can easily get overwhelmed. With scores of design blogs and websites like Apartment Therapy and Remodelista relentlessly shared on social media platforms like Pinterest, we have more access to ideas than ever before. An image from one site leads us to another, sending us tumbling through a fractal of curated photographs. More ideas do not necessarily breed better results. Sometimes, they just give you heartburn.”

6. What’s the Use of Regret?

“Perhaps I will commit one fewer sin by refraining from broadcasting my regrets.”

7. The Varieties of Anger

“Anger is a large, diverse population of experiences and behaviors, as psychologists like myself who study emotion repeatedly discover. You can shout in anger, weep in anger, even smile in anger. You can throw a tantrum in anger with your heart pounding, or calmly plot your revenge. No single state of the face, body or brain defines anger. Variation is the norm.”

8. The Story So Far: Fiction Podcasts Take Their Next Steps

“10 years in, fictional podcasts are still finding their footing as a form.”

9. Breaking Up With Twitter

“After the election, a handful of Twitter loyalists confessed to feeling alienation over the role the service played in their lives, and the country, this year.”

10. What Is a TinyLetter? Like Ye Olde Blog, but Less Public

“We now find ourselves in the era of the personal email newsletter, an almost retro delivery system that blurs borders between the public and the private, and mashes up characteristics of the analog and digital ages.”

11. How Do Dogs Recognize Us? And Why Do We Love Cats Anyway?

“Horowitz’s title suggests it is about being a dog, but the subtitle better covers her theme. Her book is about the olfactory sense, its huge importance for the dog but also its overlooked role for ourselves. Tucker’s title suggests we will hear about the sweet-looking carnivore in our living room, but instead of telling us how cats behave and why — which has been done many times before — she relates where cats come from, why they may have been domesticated and why we hold them so dear. We are a pet-loving species, even more so in our modern urban lives than before, which is why we like to read up on our furry companions while they purr in our laps or snore at our feet.”

12. The Price We Pay for an Ad-Powered Internet

“The age of mass media and mass marketing is characterized by an arms race between those who seek to capture the valuable commodity of our attention and capitalize on it for gain and those who resist this harvesting of time either through drugs; regulation; or most effectively, collective boredom, distraction and indifference.”

13. Unbury My Heart at Wounded Knee: A New Look at the Indian Wars

“For every Indian triumph like Little Big Horn (1876), there was a drubbing like Wounded Knee (1890), for every surprise Indian victory there were huge retaliations by the Army. As if to add insult to injury, one evening in February 1909, Geronimo got drunk in the town of Lawton, Okla., fell off his horse and was discovered the next morning half-submerged in icy water.”

14. Thomas Ricks on the Season’s Military History

“The surprising villains in Silverman’s study are the Dutch of New Amsterdam, who introduced firearms on a large scale to North America by selling them to the Iroquois of today’s New York State in exchange for beaver pelts. By doing so, they kicked off a North American arms race that rages to this day.”

15. Makeover Mania

“A designer sees a problem, proposes a solution, makes a difference. Such tidy narratives fuel a reigning ideology in which every object, symbol or pool of information is just another design problem awaiting some solution. The thermostat, the fire extinguisher, the toothbrush, the car dashboard — all have been redesigned, whether anybody was clamoring for their alteration or not.”

16. Code Cracking

“For years, earnest young graduates interested in white-collar public service had few choices but policy work — to take jobs on Capitol Hill, at the Brookings Institution, in academia. But for those with tech skills, the appearance of Code for America and similar ventures promised a different option, one that would produce quicker results. You could join the Veterans Affairs Digital Service and make a digital appointment system, cutting back waiting times at Veterans Affairs hospitals. You could go to Nava, a civic-tech design start-up, and streamline government websites. You could participate in a civic hackathon and take previously inaccessible parks data to the public. You could code a better food-stamp application over the weekend and have people filing it by Monday.”

17. Hot Seates

“The fact that the furniture folds is more than a logistical accommodation; it’s a key feature.”

18. The End of Relaxation

“We live in a golden age of the ‘wellness vacation,’ a sort of hybrid retreat, boot camp, spa and roving therapy session that, for the cost of room and board, promises to refresh body and mind and send you back to your life more whole.”

19. A Love Letter to Drinking in Bars

“It must be a delivery system for the patron’s sublime transformation, from being the guy alone to being the guy alone in public, alert to the social world, sitting in a place that is not one’s home but in which you have different proprietary comforts.”

20. The Naked Truth About German Nudists

“Unlike in America, where public nudity typically has gay or countercultural connotations, in modern Germany it seems to have none. What began in the late 1800s as a kind of philosophy of physical health transformed, under authoritarian rule, into a mode of quasi-dissident leisure, and then later into something more temperate, a culturally ingrained but ultimately apolitical national pastime.”

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