Sunday 8.13.2017 New York Times Digest

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1. You’ll Never Be as Radical as This 18th-Century Quaker Dwarf

“Lay, a hunchback as well as a dwarf, was the world’s first revolutionary abolitionist. Against the common sense of the day, when slavery seemed to most people as immutable as the stars in the heavens, Lay imagined a new world in which people would live simply, make their own food and clothes, and respect nature. He lived in a cave in Abington, Pa., ate only fruits and vegetables — ‘the innocent fruits of the earth’ — and championed animal rights. He refused to consume any commodity produced by slave labor and was known to walk abruptly out of a dinner in protest when he found out that his host owned slaves.”

2. Stay, Hide or Leave? Hard Choices for Immigrants in the Heartland

“In small agricultural towns that supported President Trump by 20-point margins, residents are now seeing an immigration crackdown ripple through the families that have helped revive their downtown squares and transform their economies.”

3. In the Land of Internet Subcultures, Try Not to Look Like a Tourist

“One user’s home platform is another’s foreign land. A point made by a subculture at home on Facebook might look funny to another on Twitter, which can read as evidence of a conspiracy to yet another on YouTube, which might be seen as offensive on Tumblr, which could be a joke on Reddit.”

4. Chile’s Energy Transformation Is Powered by Wind, Sun and Volcanoes

“Chile, Mexico and Brazil are now among the top 10 renewable energy markets in the world.”

5. A New Kind of Classroom: No Grades, No Failing, No Hurry

“Students are encouraged to focus instead on mastering a set of grade-level skills, like writing a scientific hypothesis or identifying themes in a story, moving to the next set of skills when they have demonstrated that they are ready. In these schools, there is no such thing as a C or a D for a lazily written term paper. There is no failing. The only goal is to learn the material, sooner or later.”

6. The Incredible Shrinking Sears

“At the turn of the 20th century, as Americans established roots across the nation, they turned to Sears. Through its robust mail-order business — some catalogs were more than 500 pages — Sears shipped groceries, rifles, corsets, cream separators, davenports, stoves and entire prefab houses to some of the most remote regions of the country.”

7. Tech’s Damaging Myth of the Loner Genius Nerd

“The myth that programming is done by loner men who think only rationally and communicate only with their computers harms the tech industry in ways that cut straight to the bottom line.”

8. Google Doesn’t Want What’s Best for Us

“We have an obligation to care about the values of the people who run Google, because we’ve given Google enormous control over our lives and the lives of our children.”

9. Donald Trump Is Giving North Korea Exactly What It Wants

“If President Trump thinks that his threats last week of ‘fire and fury’ and weapons ‘locked and loaded’ have North Koreans quaking in their boots, he should think again. If anything, the Mao-suit-clad cadres in Pyongyang are probably gleeful that the president of the United States has played straight into their propaganda.”

10. Why Are Police Officers More Dangerous Than Airplanes?

“You are far more likely to die at the hands of a cop than to perish in an plane crash.”

11. Making Affirmative Action White Again

“The most important pieces of American social policy — the minimum wage, union rights, Social Security and even the G.I. Bill — created during and just after the Great Depression, conferred enormous benefits on whites while excluding most Southern blacks.”

12. Trump Isn’t a Threat to Our Democracy. Hysteria Is.

“A dysfunctional economy, not lurking tyranny, is what needs attention if recent electoral choices are to be explained — and voting patterns are to be changed in the future.”

13. Fleeing to the Mountains

“Flee to the mountains, deserts and babbling brooks to get in touch with wild spaces, to find perspective and humility. The wilderness nourishes our souls, if we let it.”

14. Why Women Had Better Sex Under Socialism

“A comparative sociological study of East and West Germans conducted after reunification in 1990 found that Eastern women had twice as many orgasms as Western women.”

15. ‘Virtue Signaling’ Isn’t the Problem. Not Believing One Another Is.

“The real problem, of course, isn’t the signaling part: Everyone is signaling all the time, whether it’s about social justice or their commitment to Second Amendment rights or their concerns about immigration law. Those who accuse others of virtue signaling seem angry about the supposed virtues themselves — angry that someone, anyone, appears to care about something they do not.”

16. Letter of Recommendation: Gum

“I always chew gum while I’m writing and while I’m driving — not just one or two of the little pellets, but several sticks at a time.”

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