Sunday 4.9.2017 New York Times Digest


1. Rising Waters Threaten China’s Rising Cities

“In the end, nature always finds its level.”

2. When Solar Panels Became Job Killers

“With its deep government pockets, growing technical sophistication and a comprehensive plan to free itself from dependence on foreign companies, China aims to become dominant in industries of the future like renewable energy, big data and self-driving cars.”

3. Last of New York’s Master Wigmakers

“Mr. Piazza is one of the last Old World wigmakers making wigs for the public in the city, men and women trained mostly by Italian and Jewish immigrants in the centuries-old trade of hand-tying wigs, a fussy affair that on the patience spectrum falls somewhere between tailoring a jacket and counting the stars.”

4. Behind Kevin Durant’s Jersey Number, a Cold-Blooded Murder

“To some, it is just a number. To Durant and those who knew Chucky Craig, it is a person and a moment.”

5. Damaging Your Phone, Accidentally on Purpose

“When a new model is available, according to recent research, people who have iPhones tend to become more careless with the phones they already own.”

6. The Myth of Main Street

“The dream of Main Street may be populist, but the reality is elitist.”

7. What ‘White’ Food Meant to a First-Generation Kid

“One dominant narrative of immigration paints a rosy picture of two cultures melting together through food, like my mother stuffing our Thanksgiving turkey with sticky rice. But in reality, assimilation is more violent, history more complex, and cultures less disparate. I’d hungrily devoured what I had believed to be American normalcy, but I was still being seen as American-adjacent.”

8. The Utter Uselessness of Job Interviews

“So great is people’s confidence in their ability to glean valuable information from a face to face conversation that they feel they can do so even if they know they are not being dealt with squarely. But they are wrong.”

9. To Be a Genius, Think Like a 94-Year-Old

“The average inventor sends in his or her application to the patent office at age 47, and that the highest-value patents often come from the oldest inventors — those over the age of 55.”

10. Learn a River’s Name Before It’s Gone

“Instead of making up new names, we might consider learning the names that already exist.”

11. Sleep Is the New Status Symbol

“Sleep entrepreneurs from Silicon Valley and beyond have poured into the sleep space, as branders like to say — a $32 billion market in 2012 — formerly inhabited by old-style mattress and pharmaceutical companies.”

12. A Business With Legs (and Abs): Boom Times for Male Striptease Revues

“Part of his success appears to come from a savvy use of geography: Magic Men mostly visits smaller cities, bringing a style of entertainment not often seen in spots like Bismarck, N.D., and Owensboro, Ky. Troupe members regularly interact with fans on Snapchat and Instagram. Magic Men has 1.1 million followers on Facebook; Chippendales has about 803,300.”

13. My Vancouver: An Ever-Unfolding Story

“It’s noteworthy that on only two occasions has the city found itself on the brink of a sports championship: Game 7 of the Stanley Cup playoffs in both cases, in 1994 against the New York Rangers and in 2011 against the Boston Bruins. Both times, on losing, Vancouver descended into manic violence with stores looted and cars burned. There’s a troublingly adolescent quality to these disturbances, which I theorize are less likely to occur in cities that are soberly aware of their own capacity for self-harm. In Vancouver — where cyclists wear helmets and nobody carries a concealed weapon — I’ve often wondered if in our youthfulness we also lack the maturity to see our own hypocrisies. A city smugly in the downward facing dog.”

14. One Family’s Story of Mental Illness and What Came After

“Today there are some 10 million Americans with mental illness and only 45,000 inpatient psychiatric beds, leaving the suffering to shuffle between ‘crisis hospitalization, homelessness and incarceration.’ Jails and prisons are now the nation’s largest mental health care facilities. The worst data point: There are 38,000 suicides a year in this country, and 90 percent of the victims are mentally ill.”

15. Two Books Explore the Furor Over Rape on Campus

“Kipnis’s book is maddening; it’s also funny, incisive and often convincing. Her observations on ‘the learned compliance of heterosexual femininity,’ how campus hookup culture remains ‘organized around male prerogatives’ and the necessity of allowing ambiguity to exist in sexual relationships reframe feminist visions of consent, sex and male sexual entitlement. She unmasks the Title IX adjudication process as shadowy and baffling on many campuses, and not just in how accusers are treated; she also makes a powerful case that a student-led demand for intellectual safety has too often encroached upon academic freedom and even the work of teaching itself.”

16. Independence Days: My Perfect Imperfect Gap Year

“The idea that gap years are inherently elitist may be due to the potentially high cost of travel and of independent programs, which offer a structured experience — typically of adventure, service and more or less education — that can cost upward of $20,000. But that criticism cuts against the realities most students already face — that is, average in-state tuition and fees of $8,940, or $28,308 at private colleges, according to the College Board. When factoring in room, board and other expenses, this would mean spending about $100,000 over five years at public colleges and more than double that at private ones.”

17. Behind the Problem of Student Homelessness

“More low-income students are arriving on campus without a safety net; should they lose their job or their roommates kick them out, parents may not be able to just cut them a check. Most community college students are older — 29, on average — and on their own. They may not be willing to tell their parents how dire their situation is.”

18. A Town Struggles to Ease Student Stress

“Crying jags over test scores are common here. Students say getting B’s can be deeply dispiriting, dashing college dreams and profoundly disappointing parents.”

19. Learning to Think Like a Computer

“It’s suddenly not enough to be a fluent user of software interfaces. Understanding what lies behind the computer’s seeming magic now seems crucial. In particular, ‘computational thinking’ is captivating educators, from kindergarten teachers to college professors, offering a new language and orientation to tackle problems in other areas of life.”

20. Middlebury, My Divided Campus

“While students must always first demonstrate that they understand an argument on its own terms, I make sure they know that they are free to disagree, both with a particular text and with me. I will grade them on the strength of their argument and the evidence they muster in support of it, not the conclusions they may reach. With these maxims, students not only write better papers, they also learn skills that arm them to fight injustice in all its manifestations.”

21. The Professor and the Jihadi

“Unlike the Islam-bashing polemicists who haunt French opinion pages, Kepel brings a lifetime of scholarship to this argument. He has always been careful to distinguish mainstream Islam from the hard-line Islamist ideologues of the banlieues, who have no real equivalent in the United States. He has long been a man of the left; his wife’s family is from North Africa, and he has no sympathy for the xenophobia of the right-wing National Front. But he believes that radical Islamists are trying to shred France’s social fabric and foster a civil war, and that many leftists are unwittingly playing into their hands. This view has made him a target for almost everyone.”

22. CNN Had a Problem. Donald Trump Solved It.

“Had Trump lost the election, CNN would probably have returned to its previously scheduled struggle for survival. Instead, it has become more central to the national conversation than at any point in the network’s history since the first gulf war. And the man who is presiding over this historic moment at CNN happens to be the same one who was in some part responsible for Donald Trump’s political career. It was Zucker who, as president of NBC Entertainment, broadcast ‘The Apprentice’ at a time when Trump was little more than an overextended real estate promoter with a failing casino business. That show, more than anything, reversed Trump’s fortunes, recasting a local tabloid villain as the people’s prime-time billionaire. And it was Zucker who, as president of CNN, broadcast the procession of made-for-TV events — the always news-making interviews; the rallies; debates; the ‘major policy addresses’ that never really were — that helped turn Trump into the Republican front-runner at a time when few others took his candidacy seriously.”

23. In the Shadow of a Fairy Tale

“The evil stepmother casts a long, primal shadow, and three years ago I moved in with that shadow, to a one-bedroom rent-controlled apartment near Gramercy Park. I sought the old stories in order to find company — out of sympathy for the stepmothers they vilified — and to resist their narratives, to inoculate myself against the darkness they held.”

24. How to Kick Open a Door

“First, try to discern what type of door you’re up against.”

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