Sunday 2.5.2017 New York Times Digest


1. The Image of Time

“When you make one photograph and, some time later, make another of the same thing, what is inside the frame changes. With the passage of time, you no longer have ‘the same thing.’”

2. China’s Intelligent Weaponry Gets Smarter

“Well into the 1960s, the United States held a military advantage based on technological leadership in nuclear weapons. In the 1970s, that perceived lead shifted to smart weapons, based on brand-new Silicon Valley technologies like computer chips. Now, the nation’s leaders plan on retaining that military advantage with a significant commitment to artificial intelligence and robotic weapons. But the global technology balance of power is shifting.”

3. Is the U.S. Economy Too Dynamic, or Not Dynamic Enough?

“Maybe the economy really isn’t working for many Americans because globalization, automation and changing labor practices have thrown them to the wolves. But maybe there are also deep-seated structural shifts preventing communities and individuals from tapping the great opportunities the modern economy offers.”

4. An Ancient Practice That’s Music to Their Ears, and More

“The ringers at St. Mark’s and about 6,000 other churches of various denominations around the world create their joyful symphony with a small number of bells — typically six or eight. The notes remain the same, but the bells are played in a perpetually changing sequence and emphasis, requiring close teamwork, a keen memory and years of practice.”

5. The History the Slaveholders Wanted Us to Forget

“African history is replete with riveting stories that refute centuries of stereotypes about black people and that show our shared humanity.”

6. How to Pick a Preschool in Less Than an Hour

“When you walk in the door of a prekindergarten, check out the walls — they should be festooned with children’s projects, and not, as is too often the case, plastered with posters that are calculated to please adults and mounted too high for 4-year-olds to see. Look around. There should be lots of different things for children to do.”

7. Who Are We?

“So far we haven’t found a way to correct the story while honoring its full sweep — including all the white-male-Protestant-European protagonists to whom, for all their sins, we owe so much of our inheritance.”

8. The ‘Esquire Man’ Is Dead. Long Live the ‘Esquire Man.’

“As we move into the era of transgender bathrooms and L.G.B.T.Q.I.A. studies, when millennials are more likely to take their cultural cues from Justin Bieber’s Instagram feed than 6,000-word profiles of Sean Penn, Mr. Fielden is charged not just with bringing back Esquire’s glory days, but with also figuring out exactly what the Esquire man — that is, the American man — is in 2017.”

9. Viet Thanh Nguyen: By the Book

“I love that Berger gave half his Booker Prize money in 1972 to the Black Panthers, and used the other half to fund the research for his next book on migrant laborers. Berger was the kind of writer we need more of — politically committed, aesthetically serious, always curious.”

10. Will You Graduate? Ask Big Data

“Georgia State is one of a growing number of colleges and universities using what is known as predictive analytics to spot students in danger of dropping out. Crunching hundreds of thousands and sometimes millions of student academic and personal records, past and present, they are coming up with courses that signal a need for intervention.”

11. Wanted: Factory Workers, Degree Required

“Rarely discussed in the political debate over lost jobs are the academic skills needed for today’s factory-floor positions, and the pathways through education that lead to them.”

12. Colleges Discover the Rural Student

“To college administrators, rural students, many of them the first in their families to attend college, have become the new underrepresented minority. In their aim to shape leaders and provide access to the disadvantaged, higher education experts have been recognizing that these students bring valuable experiences and viewpoints to campuses that don’t typically attract agriculture majors.”

13. In Hillsdale College, a ‘Shining City on a Hill’ for Conservatives

“Hillsdale, a private college of 1,400 students in southern Michigan that describes itself as ‘nonsectarian Christian’ and dedicated to ‘civil and religious liberty,’ is scarcely known in many circles. But among erudite conservatives — think progeny of William F. Buckley Jr. — it is considered a hidden gem.”

14. Creating a Safe Space for California Dreamers and Campuses Wary of Offering ‘Sanctuary’ to Undocumented Students

“Collectively, the freshmen in Tenaya Hall are the beacons of a better life. They are the sons and daughters of housekeepers, dishwashers, fast-food cooks, farm laborers, landscapers, garment workers who stitch labels onto clothing and contractors who build swimming pools for affluent homeowners along the coast.”

15. The Youth Group That Launched a Movement at Standing Rock

“As Donald Trump pushes forward with the Keystone XL and Dakota Access, he will face a movement emboldened by a victory on Dec. 4, 2016, when the Department of the Army denied an easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline and directed the Army Corps to consider an alternate route. It was a rare triumph for both the environmental and land rights movements, as well as for the American left in an otherwise dark moment. But little remarked upon at the time was the unlikely seed from which the movement had grown: an anti-suicide campaign among a tight-knit group of youths, most younger than 25, impelled by tragedy and guided by prophecy.”

16. The Misunderstood Genius of Russell Westbrook

“This is the lesson of Russell Westbrook. In a deeply imperfect world — a world where a shooting touch will suddenly abandon you at the worst possible moment, where your teammates might not be good enough to make a win possible, where an economy might suddenly collapse for no apparent reason, where the decency of strangers cannot be presumed — in a world like that, Westbrook’s approach to life might actually be the most rational one. You control the things you can control (family, daily routines, the occasional big choice) and outside that you fling yourself with wild abandon, every day, at every object that seems worthy of pursuit. In the absence of guarantees, in the absence of certainty, in the new American volatility, we can bank on only one thing: total presence, total sincerity, total effort, all the time. That is the sound of one hand clapping.”

17. The Parachute Generation

“Even as U.S.-China relations have slipped toward mutual antagonism, the flood of Chinese students coming to the United States has continued to rise. Roughly 370,000 students from the mainland are enrolled in American high schools and universities, six times more than a decade ago. Their financial impact — $11.4 billion was contributed to the American economy in 2015, according to the Department of Commerce — has turned education into one of America’s top ‘exports’ to China.”

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