Sunday 1.1.2017 New York Times Digest


1. What Do We Know?

“Wisdom sometimes depends on seeing how much knowledge doesn’t know and how much every day is shaped by unexpectedness.”

2. Free Market for Education? Economists Generally Don’t Buy It

“Unswerving adherence to free, private markets will not solve the problems faced by our education system.”

3. Feminism Lost. Now What?

“In the end, it’s hard to argue that this election over all was a vote for the subordination of women. But it’s a warning that feminism, as it has been defined, did not inspire enough people in enough places around the country.”

4. Try a New Year’s Revolution

“Diets can monopolize your energy, take up your time and do a number on your self-esteem. They turn your attention inward, on changing your body, not the world. And they have a well-documented propensity to fail, no matter the level of dedication or resolve of the dieter.”

5. Hipsters Broke My Gaydar

“In cities, trendy young people — queer and straight, male, female and non-binary — are blending together, look-wise. That’s because mainstream style is now hipster style. But here’s the thing: Hipster style is just queer style, particularly queer women’s style.”

6. If Donald Trump Targets Journalists, Thank Obama

“If Donald J. Trump decides as president to throw a whistle-blower in jail for trying to talk to a reporter, or gets the F.B.I. to spy on a journalist, he will have one man to thank for bequeathing him such expansive power: Barack Obama.”

7. A Month Without Sugar

“Our national sugar habit is the driving force behind the diabetes and obesity epidemics and may be a contributing factor to cancer and Alzheimer’s.”

8. What Nutmeg Can Tell Us About Nafta

“Was there ever an unglobalized world?”

9. How to Become a ‘Superager’

“Work hard at something.”

10. Adam Driver Takes the Wheel

“I’m basking in nothing.”

11. Bernard-Henri Lévy: By the Book

“It’s strange, these great writers whose reputation looms so large that it eclipses their works and gives you the feeling of having read them in the distant past. When chance puts one of those works in your hands, you’re dazzled, as if you were reading the first words of a very young and very talented writer.”

12. A History of U.S. Foreign Affairs in Which Grandiose Ambitions Trump Realism

“Once in office American presidents are often ‘susceptible to a utopian temptation.’ They adopt a language that he describes as ‘American civil religion,’ wrapping adventurism in a gauzy, semireligious haze. Democracy becomes an export.”

13. Thinking in the Deep: Inside the Mind of an Octopus

“This is probably the closest we will come to meeting an intelligent alien.”

14. Gathering Storm: A History of the Complicated U.S.-China Relationship Since 1776

“Two and a half centuries of entanglement between America and China are about to reach their denouement.”

15. Multimediated Lives: An Erudite Tour of Digital Culture

“The book’s principal weakness may be its overarching conceit that we have all somehow become four-dimensional human beings. By this Scott seems to be referring to the many ways in which always-on connectivity, mobile technologies and various databases containing scattered bits of personal information have scrambled our relationship with the world.”

16. For Better or Worse: New Books Forecast the Next Technologies

“Futurism in the time of Donald Trump feels fraught. After all, the techno-optimists completely missed the signs of an impending revolution in their backyards: the spread of fake news enabled by social networks; the megaphonic power of Trump’s Twitter feed; the rise of the so-called alt-right, a racist, neo-fascist clique that festered on 4chan and Reddit before emerging as a viable political movement. As a result, we fawned over self-driving cars and next-generation artificial intelligence while questions about the politics of all this new technology — the emotional backlash from manufacturing workers losing their jobs to automation, the interference of foreign hackers in American elections, the ability of partisan opportunists to flood Facebook with propaganda — went mostly unanswered.”

17. Finding Inspiration for Art in the Betrayal of Privacy

“Many artists — all of us, really — were so captivated by the initial promise of the internet, they were blinded to its potential problems.”

18. Letter of Recommendation: Not Breathing

“One of free diving’s central concerns, for example, is keeping your heart rate as low as possible and relaxing deeply, all the better to embrace the essential emptiness inside.”

19. How Jukin Media Built a Viral-Video Empire

“If you’ve seen a funny clip on a late-night show, or ‘Good Morning America,’ or the 11-o’-clock news, there are pretty good odds Jukin dug it up.”

20. The Evangelical Scion Who Stopped Believing

“U.S.C. is huge, one of the five largest private schools in the country, and some of its most popular concentrations include finance, accounting, management and marketing — which is to say, the undergraduates, when faced with questions about what kind of world they want to build and what their role could be, might not think of their professors, if they even knew them, as having much guidance to offer. So Campolo suspected that some students would want to talk to him. He emailed his list, offering office hours at a picnic table on campus. Over the next week, about 15 students sought him out.”

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