Sunday 3.5.2017 New York Times Digest



1. How to Escape Your Political Bubble for a Clearer View

“The filter bubble describes the tendency of social networks like Facebook and Twitter to lock users into personalized feedback loops, each with its own news sources, cultural touchstones and political inclinations. We seem to like these places, and so do social media companies — they keep us clicking from one self-affirmation to another. But now our bubbles are being blamed for leading us toward the most divisive presidency in recent memory, and suddenly, the bubble doesn’t feel so inviting anymore. So media and tech companies are pivoting, selling us a whole suite of offerings aimed at bursting the bubbles they helped to create.”

2. What Does a Diverse Hollywood Look Like? This Brooklyn Film School

“It costs a third of most other film schools — $18,400 a year — and part of its mission is to admit women and minorities whose stories aren’t usually told.”

3. Team Plagiarizes Golden State Warriors. Team Is Undefeated.

“In his grand experiment to turn his team into the junior college version of the Golden State Warriors — yes, those Warriors — Green has coached the South Plains Texans to a 28-0 record as they enter the postseason.”

4. Working Longer May Benefit Your Health and Workers Are Working Longer — and Better

“Is a job a force for keeping older people mentally and physically healthy?”

5. What Biracial People Know

“The point is that diversity — of one’s own makeup, one’s experience, of groups of people solving problems, of cities and nations — is linked to economic prosperity, greater scientific prowess and a fairer judicial process. If human groups represent a series of brains networked together, the more dissimilar these brains are in terms of life experience, the better the ‘hivemind’ may be at thinking around any given problem.”

6. Is the Pope the Anti-Trump?

“Pope Francis and President Trump provide rich material for contrast. One is, notwithstanding his weaknesses, a spiritual leader of extraordinary maturity; the other, his strengths aside, is a thin-skinned, petulant narcissist. One is a celibate who lives in simplicity and austerity, embracing the disabled and the diseased; the other is a thrice-married germophobe who lived in a gaudy gold tower and mocks the feeble. And yet: The world’s two most compelling populists have more in common than some might admit.”

7. Travel Abroad, in Your Own Country

“In a fissured nation, there are fewer and fewer moments of genuine encounter between rival tribes, each confined in its ideological canyon.”

8. How Donald Trump Wins by Losing

“A good sign that Mr. Trump is winning by his own terms is just how many of your private conversations somehow turn to him.”

9. Why We Believe Obvious Untruths

“Knowledge isn’t in my head or in your head. It’s shared.”

10. What Ever Happened to Roles for Women?

“The real jolt might be how little seems to have changed.”

11. Erased Onscreen: Where Are All the Interracial Couples?

“Film is a repository of societal beliefs — it authenticates experience, archives cultural memories, and suggests aesthetic and moral standards. Paired with legal proscriptions, film is a persuasive medium for administering racial convention and shaping romantic aspirations.”

12. You Must Remember This: Why We Return to Casablanca and High Noon

“It’s a story that bears retelling because Hollywood, not to mention the rest of the country, is haunted by ghosts that won’t go away.”

13. Walk on By: A Celebration of Women’s Pleasure in Wandering a City

“As a student in Paris, Lauren Elkin loved to wander aimlessly in the streets, but she needed to adapt the existing word for a person doing that, flâneur — an idle stroller, killing time — to fit her own case: feminine. But the feminine form, flâneuse, implied sitting decorously on benches rather than anything more vigorous. One point Elkin makes in her absorbing new book is that although men had always enjoyed the practice of loafing through city streets with no particular object, just enjoying the scene, women had long been prevented, culturally and practically, from going out alone. Respectable women couldn’t make their way along the streets without being harassed, perhaps even assaulted or arrested. Young American travelers with Eurail passes will have discovered that this is still true in too many places. Try parts of Italy or Istanbul.”

14. The Surprising Role of Jesus in Islam

“Akyol makes good use of both canonical and noncanonical sources, tracing where and why the Islamic approach agrees with Christian tradition (yes to Jesus as the messenger, prophet, word and spirit of God), and where it disagrees (no to the Resurrection, and no to divinity).”

15. A Social History of Food Mixes Revelation With Revolution

“Our tastes are never purely subjective; rather, they’re the product of forces like the quest for empire or the urge for class distinction. We learn, for example, that American politicians have been asserting their authenticity by eating barbecue pretty much as long as there have been American politicians (George Washington attended one such gathering), and that the place where cannibalism is most developed as a culinary practice is in the fevered imagination of English authors eager to assign savagery to others.”

16. Scientists Examine the Benefits of Forests

“Imagine a miracle drug that could ease many of the stresses of modern life — a combination mood enhancer and smart pill that might even encourage the remission of cancer. Now imagine that this cure-all was an old-fashioned folk remedy: Just take a hike in the woods or a walk in the park. No prescription necessary.”

17. Why the Internet Didn’t Kill Zines

“In theory, the maturation of the internet should have killed off the desire for zines entirely. The web is a Gutenberg press on steroids, predicated on free software platforms created by companies that invest considerable sums to lure people to their sites and make exactly the kind of content I craved growing up. Millions, maybe hundreds of millions, of posts are published to social-media sites each day. And yet somehow, it can feel impossible to engage with new ideas, even as our compulsive inability to stop scrolling exposes us to an unending stream of new content.”

18. A Writer’s Room: Bernard-Henri Lévy

“Here, I really am cut off from the rest of the world — there’s no phone, no internet, a landline that very few know the number for. It’s a good place to put my body and soul completely into the writing.”

19. Three Iconic Musicians on Artistic Creation — and Its Importance Now

“As a delivery device for moments of inner emergency, no art form can approach the immediacy of popular song. A novel cannot assault you while you wait in line at the supermarket; a painting cannot reach out and turn your head as you walk on by; a poem’s feet cannot chase you down the street; a movie cannot screen itself. A song, though, can steal upon you in the dark, on a road, far from home, blow out your tires and leave you sobbing, in gratitude, at the wheel. All other art lives and dies in a medium that mandates we engage if we are to receive its gifts. Songs live in the air. Ears don’t have lids that can keep the songs there.”

20. Otherworldly Architecture in Japan’s Magical Mountainside

“Japan, perhaps more than any other country, is a culture of deliberate appearances, a place where seeing is not just part of the experience of life, but life itself. Food is meant to please not just the palate, but the eyes as well; a cone of incense should be smelled, of course, but it should first be seen. Or to put it another way: There is a difference between self-expression and the expression of self. The latter, the right to say and act and behave as we want, is what we value in America. But Japan embraces the former, and that embrace is accompanied by a permission for a specific kind of deviance: For as long as you abide by the culture’s manners and etiquette, you can look however you wish. The society is greater than the self, but the self — its externals, at least — is yours to do with what you choose.”

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