Sunday 1.8.2017 New York Times Digest


1. Why Trump Can’t Disengage America From the World

“The United States required the resources of an entire continent to defeat German and Japanese fascism, and later Soviet Communism. Without Manifest Destiny, there could have been no victory in World War II. But because settling that continent involved slavery and genocide against the indigenous inhabitants, American history is morally unresolvable. Thus, the only way to ultimately overcome our sins is to do good in the world. But doing good must be tempered by always thinking about what can go wrong in the process. These are all, deep down, the lessons of the interaction between Americans and their landscape.”

2. Inside a Killer Drug Epidemic: A Look at America’s Opioid Crisis

“Public health officials have called the current opioid epidemic the worst drug crisis in American history, killing more than 33,000 people in 2015. Overdose deaths were nearly equal to the number of deaths from car crashes. In 2015, for the first time, deaths from heroin alone surpassed gun homicides. And there’s no sign it’s letting up.”

3. Napping in Public? In Japan, That’s a Sign of Diligence

“In Japan, napping in the office is common and culturally accepted. And in fact, it is often seen as a subtle sign of diligence: You must be working yourself to exhaustion.”

4. Yes, It’s Your Parents’ Fault

“People who have insecure attachment models tend to be drawn to those who fit their expectations, even if they are treated badly. They may subconsciously act in ways that elicit insensitive, unreliable or abusive behavior, whatever is most familiar. Or they may flee secure attachments because they feel unfamiliar.”

5. What the Muck of Walden Pond Tells Us About Our Planet

“We are not separate from nature or immune to its laws. We are nature.”

6. Kanye West’s Year of Breaking Bad

“Mr. West’s unlikely shift suggests the maneuvers of someone who no longer believes in the systems that have previously nourished, sustained and inspired him — someone whose sense of safety has been revoked.”

7. What TV Says About Race and Money

“On shows like Donald Glover’s ‘Atlanta’ on FX and Issa Rae’s ‘Insecure’ on HBO, both about a group of late-20-somethings professionally striving and financially struggling (and both, along with ‘black-ish,’ nominated for Golden Globes), the theme of black downward mobility is put into high relief.”

8. Watching While White: How Movies Tackled Race and Class in 2016

“It’s easy enough to say that Moonlight and The Birth of a Nation and Barbershop: The Next Cut are movies about race. What would happen if we said the same about Manchester by the Sea, La La Land and Sully?”

9. The Making of Virtually Real Art With Google’s Tilt Brush

“Google has been calling on dozens of artists, animators and illustrators with a high-tech update of Mili’s concept — a virtual reality setup that enables people to paint with light that actually stays where you put it, at least for viewers wearing a VR headset.”

10. What Not to Eat: ‘The Case Against Sugar’

“The stuff kills.”

11. The War to Stay Out of the War Against War

“Most of all, it is a timely reminder of how easily the will of the majority can be thwarted in even the mightiest of democracies.”

12. Rake’s Progress: A Look at the Well-Traveled Casanova

“Casanova moved with ease in all strata of society. As well as hordes of nobility, he met Benjamin Franklin, Bonnie Prince Charlie, Frederick the Great, Catherine the Great, Pope Clement XIII, Rousseau, Voltaire and Mozart. He mixed with financiers, ambassadors, Freemasons, magicians and government ministers, in addition to an awful lot of gamblers, rakes, actors, dancers, courtesans and common prostitutes.”

13. How ‘Elites’ Became One of the Nastiest Epithets in American Politics

“United States history might be seen as a repeating cycle of anti-elite revolt.”

14. Letter of Recommendation: Instagram Explore

“A smartphone becomes the modern substitute for having an imagination.”

15. Cyberwar for Sale

“The ubiquity and utility of email has turned it into a fine-grained record of our day-to-day lives, rich with mundane and potentially embarrassing details, stored in a perpetual archive, accessible from anywhere on earth and protected, in some cases, by nothing more than a single password.”

16. One Man’s Quest to Change the Way We Die

“Don’t we all treat suffering as a disruption to existence, instead of an inevitable part of it? He wondered what would happen if you could ‘reincorporate your version of reality, of normalcy, to accommodate suffering.’”

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