Sunday 11.5.2017 New York Times Digest


1. When ‘Conservatives’ Turned Into Radicals

“Conservatism has long had two faces — one for its ideological elites and another for its voters.”

2. Smuggled, Beaten and Drugged: The Illicit Global Ape Trade

“Ape trafficking is a little-known corner of the illicit wildlife trade, a global criminal enterprise that hauls in billions of dollars. But unlike the thriving business in elephant ivory, rhino horns, tiger bone wine or pangolin scales, ape smuggling involves live animals — some of the most endangered, intelligent and sensitive animals on Earth.”

3. On YouTube Kids, Startling Videos Slip Past Filters

“While the offending videos are a tiny fraction of YouTube Kids’ universe, they are another example of the potential for abuse on digital media platforms that rely on computer algorithms, rather than humans, to police the content that appears in front of people — in this case, very young people.”

4. Swelling College Endowments Tempt Lawmakers Looking for Tax Dollars

“Universities have been fiercely protective of their endowments, and have ramped up lobbying efforts to keep control over them.”

5. Women’s Whisper Network Raises Its Voice

“With the internet offering a clearinghouse for complaints … whisper networks have been amplified. Through public forums, invitation-only Facebook groups, private Google surveys, locked websites and shielded threads on anonymous apps, women — and some men — are seeking catharsis and validation by sharing their stories.”

6. Everything Is Bad. Blame the Tax Code.

“Everyone wants a ‘fair’ tax system. But like children in the schoolyard, we have definitions of what’s fair that vary widely and are typically transparently self-serving.”

7. The Right to Vote Is Never Safe

“Access matters at least as much as legal right.”

8. Are Christians Supposed to Be Communists?

“The New Testament’s Book of Acts tells us that in Jerusalem the first converts to the proclamation of the risen Christ affirmed their new faith by living in a single dwelling, selling their fixed holdings, redistributing their wealth ‘as each needed’ and owning all possessions communally.”

9. Kids, Would You Please Start Fighting?

“If kids never get exposed to disagreement, we’ll end up limiting their creativity.”

10. Relax, You Don’t Need to ‘Eat Clean’

“Food should be a cause for pleasure, not panic.”

11. Walter Isaacson: By the Book

“Paper turns out to be a superb information-storage technology, still readable after five hundred years, which our own tweets likely (and fortunately) won’t be.”

12. Between the Presidency and Him

“The book provides a master class on the essay form. Structured as a call and response between eight of his most significant articles and briefer, more personal essays arranged by year, Coates gives us something between a mixtape and a Künstlerroman, demonstrating how he came to dominate the nonfiction genre.”

13. Why Arthur Schlesinger’s ‘Disuniting of America’ Lives On

“To the challenges of teaching history in a way that is at once accurate and inclusive, Schlesinger remains an insightful guide.”

14. Six Myths About Choosing a College Major

“Much of the conventional thinking about majors is wrong.”

15. Where the STEM Jobs Are (and Where They Aren’t)

“Much of the public enthusiasm for STEM education rests on the assumption that these fields are rich in job opportunity. Some are, some aren’t.”

16. The Disappearing American Grad Student

“About 64 percent of doctoral candidates and almost 68 percent in master’s programs last year were international students.”

17. Class, Interrupted

“Today’s students bring a multiplicity of personal identities to campus — their sexual orientation, race and ethnicity, religion, political leanings — and they want to see that reflected in course content. The values in readings, lectures and even conversations are open to questioning. All good — that’s what college is supposed to be about — except that now the safety screen around the examination of ideas has been pulled away. Higher education is increasingly partisan, and professors must manage these disconnected ideologies, which are sometimes between themselves and their students.”

18. Greta Gerwig’s Radical Confidence

“In most films, girls exist to be looked at. Sometimes they help a male protagonist come to a realization about himself. Sometimes they die. Gerwig makes Lady Bird the one who looks: at boys but also houses, magazines, books, clothes and at the city of Sacramento.”

19. How Facebook’s Oracular Algorithm Determines the Fates of Start-Ups

“As we delegate more control to artificial intelligence, both businesses as well as users are venturing into uncertain territory. In the meantime, more and more companies — start-ups, mom-and-pop stores, major corporations — are handing their dollars and their data to the social-networking giant. Facebook’s Ads Manager is user-friendly. Sales are plentiful. And if you don’t take advantage of it, your competitors will. How could you not go there?”

20. The First Woman to Translate the ‘Odyssey’ Into English

“Throughout her translation of the Odyssey, Wilson has made small but, it turns out, radical changes to the way many key scenes of the epic are presented — ‘radical’ in that, in 400 years of versions of the poem, no translator has made the kinds of alterations Wilson has, changes that go to truing a text that, as she says, has through translation accumulated distortions that affect the way even scholars who read Greek discuss the original. These changes seem, at each turn, to ask us to appreciate the gravity of the events that are unfolding, the human cost of differences of mind.”


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