Sunday 9.24.2017 New York Times Digest


1. Facebook’s Ad Scandal Isn’t a ‘Fail,’ It’s a Feature & Will Mark Zuckerberg ‘Like’ This Column?

“People who use the platform to keep in touch with loved ones may forget that the site makes its money by serving as a conduit for whatever messages people with money want to push at us.”

2. Push for Gender Equality in Tech? Some Men Say It’s Gone Too Far

“One radical fringe that is growing is Mgtow, which stands for Men Going Their Own Way and pronounced MIG-tow. Mgtow aims for total male separatism, including forgoing children, avoiding marriage and limiting involvement with women.”

3. As Equifax Amassed Ever More Data, Safety Was a Sales Pitch

“As part of its pitch to clients, the company promised to safeguard information.”

4. Technology Used to Track Players’ Steps Now Charts Their Sleep, Too

“Wearable technology represents opportunity not only for the teams, but for the companies who sell it. Many teams break down their data for their own personal insights, effectively doing research on the companies’ behalf.”

5. Some People Learn to Code in Their 60s, 70s or 80s

“While millennials make up the bulk of those learning in-demand skills like web design, programming or digital marketing — the average age of students at coding boot camps, for instance, is just under 30 — some people old enough to be their parents or even grandparents are also acquiring these abilities.”

6. The Best Investment Since 1926? Apple

“In the history of the markets since 1926, Apple has generated more profit for investors than any other American company.”

7. Climate Change Is Complex. We’ve Got Answers to Your Questions.

“The emissions that create those risks are happening now, raising deep moral questions for our generation.”

8. The Not-So-Glossy Future of Magazines

“Increasingly, the longtime core of the business — the print product — is an afterthought, overshadowed by investments in live events, podcasts, video, and partnerships with outside brands.”

9. The U.S. Still Leans on the Military-Industrial Complex

“As weapons production increased, the manufacture of autos and electronics shifted partly or wholly overseas. So did the production of other civilian products — leaving behind weapons bought by the Defense Department as an ever bigger share of the nation’s factory output.”

10. Coming Home to a Shipping Container

“Building with shipping containers isn’t exactly new, but until recently it hasn’t been exactly mainstream either. Now, though, it is becoming a lot more popular, as eco-friendly practices begin to influence market trends. Containers are loved by the hip and the practical, artisans and DIY-ers, engineers and construction foremen, as they are both sustainable and affordable. And used 20- or 40-foot containers can be obtained for as little as several hundred dollars apiece, so it’s not surprising that some industry professionals consider them the future of home building.”

11. How to Win a War on Drugs

“The U.S. could achieve Portugal’s death rate from drugs, we would save one life every 10 minutes. We would save almost as many lives as are now lost to guns and car accidents combined.”

12. Everyone Wants to Reduce Drug Prices. So Why Can’t We Do It?

“The pharmaceutical and health products industries spent $145 million on lobbying for the first half of 2017.”

13. Sisterhood’ Felt Meaningless. So My Sisters and I Got in the Car.

“The art historian Moyo Okediji notes that in Yoruban concepts of history, the community must assure children that they are not physically alone and ‘that a series of road maps exists, made by great and talented ancestors who as individuals have beaten a track for succeeding generations.’”

14. Want Geniuses? Welcome Immigrants

“Many of our country’s finest minds and brightest ideas are forged when dreamers from elsewhere encounter an unfamiliar place with unimagined possibilities. There’s a creative spark in that convergence. It has powered American greatness.”

15. Rocket Man Knows Better

“As global anxiety mounts, remedial history is in order.”

16. Why Texas Is No Longer Feeling Miraculous

“It finally seems to be dawning on people that low taxes, less regulation and more oil are no substitute for actually governing.”

17. Do Women Get to Write With Authority?

“Young men purchase authority on credit for which they are preapproved. But if you are a young woman, even now, no one and nothing will guarantee you. Is it any wonder, then, that if you wish to be in possession of authority, you seek to borrow before you expect to own?”

18. The Last Stand of the Amazon’s Arrow People

“Hidden deep in primeval Amazon forests, these groups represent the final frontier of a seemingly inexorable conquest that began with the landing of Portuguese and Spanish navigators on South America’s shores at the start of the 16th century.”

19. A Starry Night Crowded With Selfies

“It’s as if taking a photo of a work in a museum means ‘seeing’ it to a viewer, even though someone like me worries that taking the photo replaces seeing it in the slow and thoughtful way I would ideally wish.”

20. Learning to Live With a Changing World Map

“The United States, a country founded as a breakaway colony, has generally been reluctant to see changes to the world map.”

21. Alternative Movie Posters: Fan Art We Love

“Created by artists outside Hollywood, these hand-drawn beauties are not only better than most fan art, they’re often better than the real thing.”

22. How to Survive the Apocalypse

“In a world where the bombproof bunker has replaced the Tesla as the hot status symbol for young Silicon Valley plutocrats, everyone, it seems, is a ‘prepper.’”

23. Marilynne Robinson on Finding the Right Word

“I was very struck by something that I came across in my reading of Jonathan Edwards. I recall him quoting a writer who talks about how whatever we say lives on after us, that we continue to exist so long as any word we say exists in a living mind. And that there should be two judgments: one when we die, and one when the full impact of our lives has played itself out. That is, when every word that we’ve said, for good or ill, basically ceases to be active.”

24. Sally Hemings, Thomas Jefferson and the Ways We Talk About Our Past

“The talk in these rejoinders of Hemings as simply ‘property,’ as if she were akin to an inanimate object or nonsentient being, turns aside decades of historiography that makes clear that enslaved people, when they had chances, often acted to shape their circumstances to the extent that they could.”

25. When Corruption and Venality Were the Lifeblood of America

“The ambiguous liberal ideals of contract freedom and self-regulation that helped eradicate slavery became instruments for brute and chaotic corporate power. With the ex-slaves betrayed and the Indians conquered at last, an ‘uncommon’ America emerged, characterized by neither the imperatives of creative destruction nor even simple greed as much as by extravagance, mismanagement and predatory flimflam. Risk-taking and rugged individualism, big business’s eternally self-proclaimed virtues, were in extremely short supply at the top; Gilded Age fortunes sprang from government subsidies, insider tips and, above all, the corruption required to get these favors.”

26. Survival of the Prettiest

“Books by Darwin number 25. Books about Darwin, according to the global library catalog WorldCat, number about 7,500, with production ever rising. This cascade started with 22 books about Darwin published in 1860, the year after his On the Origin of Species appeared, averaged about 30 a year for almost a century, ballooned to almost 50 a year after World War II, and reached 100-plus in the 1980s. Currently we get about 160 a year — a Darwin tome every 2.3 days.”

27. How We Make Up Our Minds

“New knowledge doesn’t erase old misconceptions the way a software upgrade deletes the previous code. Instead, different theories coexist within our minds, and compete to explain the world.”

28. Are Artists the New Interpreters of Scientific Innovation?

“Science is too important to leave to the scientists.”

29. The Visionaries Behind the Memorable Worlds of Film

“Transcendent production design isn’t just about getting surfaces right, any more than great acting is just memorizing words. It’s about translating writers’ and directors’ intentions into a crystallized universe that’s both visceral and rich with meaning, telling parts of the story that even the best actors can’t.”


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