Sunday 4.30.2017 New York Times Digest


1. The Border Is All Around Us, and It’s Growing

“This is such a staggering fact that it bears repeating: The vast majority of Americans, roughly 200 million, are effectively living in the border zone.”

2. China’s Appetite Pushes Fisheries to the Brink

“Overfishing is depleting oceans across the globe, with 90 percent of the world’s fisheries fully exploited or facing collapse.”

3. Keystone XL Pipeline Again Divides Nebraska

“Gas doesn’t magically appear in your car tank. Asphalt doesn’t magically appear on the road you drive on.”

4. Fighting Compulsive Gambling Among Women

“Many experts say that men are often ‘action’ gamblers, who favor blackjack and poker, while women tend to be ‘escape’ gamblers, drawn to games based on luck, like slot machines and lottery tickets.”

5. Meet the People Who Train the Robots (to Do Their Own Jobs)

“Before the machines become smart enough to replace humans, as some people fear, the machines need teachers.”

6. He Discovered the Secret to Living Rent-Free

“I’m a nomad, not a hobo. A nomad is a functional man who moves from place to place, he goes where he needs to be.”

7. Are Women Allowed to Love Their Jobs?

“Historically, women weren’t supposed to need their individual identity to be formed through work, because women weren’t supposed to have individual identities at all: They melded into their husband’s identity when they married. Women’s identities have long been relational — daughter, wife, mother — rather than individual.”

8. Republicans Are Now the ‘America First’ Party

“Globalism poses a threat to the future of democracy because it disenfranchises the vast majority and empowers a technocratic elite. It’s a telling paradox that the most ardent supporters of a ‘borderless world’ live in gated communities and channel their children toward a narrow set of elite educational institutions with stiff admissions standards that do the work of ‘border control.’”

9. Expand Your World, Go to the Beach in Alabama

“People live in their part of the Union, and if they don’t travel a lot, then there is a tendency to believe that the other parts of America couldn’t possibly be as American as their part.”

10. The Man Behind the Metal Detector

“I am an administrator at a public high school in Boston, serving almost entirely low-income black and Latino students, and that means every morning I am the white guy at the metal detector telling them they are suspected of a crime as they walk into their school.”

11. You’re Too Focused on What You’re Focused On

“Assuming other people are focused on the same thing we are is at the root of many kinds of miscommunication.”

12. 100 Days of Trump Style

“Fashion, from the industry to the individual, has played a role in the opening narrative of this president that it hasn’t in any other administration. As a compelling expression of a (sur)real time it is, literally, everywhere you turn.”

13. John Waters’s Writing Room in Baltimore, Full of Kitsch

“Every morning, Monday to Friday, I get up at 6 a.m., and I read six or seven newspapers, look at my email and come here at exactly 8 o’clock. Everyone in the world that I know knows don’t call here, don’t email, I’m not going to answer. And then in the afternoon, I go in that room and sell the ideas.”

14. What Anthony Bourdain Can’t Travel Without

“Getting angry and frustrated in much of the world doesn’t help at all. It’s incomprehensible, you lose face, it makes you look ridiculous. Have a willingness to try new stuff. Be grateful for any hospitality offered. And be flexible in your plans, because a rigid itinerary is lethal to a good time.”

15. A Still-Grieving Prince Fan Looks Back on the Purple One

“‘He seems to have been straight,’ Greenman writes. Yes, the way Usain Bolt seems to be fast. Robert Christgau ended a brief review of Dirty Mind in 1980 like this: ‘Mick Jagger should fold up his penis and go home.’”

16. How Harvard Business School Has Reshaped American Capitalism

“In The Golden Passport, he’s determined to call the Harvard Business School to account, citing its founding doctrine, which was to develop ‘a heightened sense of responsibility among businessmen’ (and eventually women) who ‘will handle their current business problems in socially constructive ways.’ In that regard, McDonald is scathing in his critique: Harvard Business School has not only ‘proven an enormous failure,’ but its very success has made it positively ‘dangerous.’”

17. Viet Thanh Nguyen Reveals How Writers’ Workshops Can Be Hostile

“As an institution, the workshop reproduces its ideology, which pretends that ‘Show, don’t tell’ is universal when it is, in fact, the expression of a particular population, the white majority, typically at least middle-class and often, but not exclusively, male. The identity behind the workshop’s origins is invisible. Like all privileges, this identity is unmarked until it is thrown into relief against that which is marked, visible and outspoken, which is to say me and others like me.”

18. The Truth Is Out There, and the Feds Paid to Find It

“When Uri Geller met Wernher von Braun, he used psychokinesis to bend the rocket scientist’s gold wedding band, then fixed his pocket calculator via mind control. Analysts in the Pentagon decided Geller could be used as an antiballistic missile system, altering the electrical circuits of incoming ICBMs. In the Pentagon’s words, imagining the utility of psychokinesis for this task ‘would not be conceptually difficult.’”

19. Letter of Recommendation: ‘Pistol Pete’s Homework Basketball’

“If Pistol Pete’s videos remain ‘instructional’ for me, it’s because they insist that glimmers of artistry can live, however briefly, in activities we might otherwise regard as brute and mechanistic.”

20. The Other Side of Anne of Green Gables

“The book has sold over 50 million copies and has been translated into at least 36 languages. Polish resistance fighters took Green Gables with them to the front; the novel became a part of the Japanese school curriculum in the orphan-filled postwar 1950s; a television show based on the series aired in Sri Lanka; and the book occupies a pre-eminent place in Canada, where Green Gables is taught in school and featured on postage stamps — a cultural export matched only by hockey and the Mounties.”

21. Can Facebook Fix Its Own Worst Bug?

“Across the globe, Facebook now seems to benefit actors who want to undermine the global vision at its foundation. Supporters of Trump and the European right-wing nationalists who aim to turn their nations inward and dissolve alliances, trolls sowing cross-border paranoia, even ISIS with its skillful social-media recruiting and propagandizing — all of them have sought in their own ways to split the Zuckerbergian world apart. And they are using his own machine to do it.”

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