Sunday 11.12.2017 New York Times Digest

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1. Hunt for a Good Beginning. Then Write It.

“When you’re getting nowhere and ‘you don’t know what to do. Stop everything. Stop looking at the notes. Hunt through your mind for a good beginning. Then write it. Write a lead.’”

2. Lessons From Hurricane Harvey: Houston’s Struggle Is America’s Tale

“Unfortunately, nature always gets the last word. Houston’s growth contributed to the misery Harvey unleashed. The very forces that pushed the city forward are threatening its way of life.”

3. Plugging Into the Gig Economy, From Home With a Headset

“Is there really such a thing as a righteous gig-economy job?”

4. Where Self-Driving Cars Go to Learn

“The federal government is only now poised to create its first law for autonomous vehicles; the law, which echoes Arizona’s stance, would let hundreds of thousands of them be deployed within a few years and would restrict states from putting up hurdles for the industry.”

5. America’s Wildest Place Is Open for Business

“The Trump administration has declared the nation’s public lands and waters open for business, particularly to oil and gas companies.”

6. Why Christians Must Support Gun Control

“Christianity demands action. It insists on the protection of the innocent.”

7. The Power of the Courts Is Messing Up Politics

“Deflating the power of the judiciary might help to normalize our politics and help restore the primacy of considerations like policy and character in the choice of public officials.”

8. Women Cracked Wartime Codes. They Can Fix Tech Today, Too. & The Women Who Helped America Crack Axis Codes

“More than half of the American code-breaking force was female — roughly 10,000 women. Many were college graduates who had been shut out of graduate schools and excluded from fields such as math and engineering, and who now had a place for their talents.”

9. History, Totally Destroyed

“It is now painfully clear that we’ve overestimated intelligence as a world-changing force; it is idiocy that holds sway.”

10. We’re Sick of Racism, Literally

“More than 700 studies on the link between discrimination and health have been published since 2000. This body of work establishes a connection between discrimination and physical and mental well-being. With all of these effects, it is no wonder that more than 100,000 black people die prematurely each year.”

11. How I Learned to Yell

“For women it’s always a lose-lose scenario: Be quiet and spend 10 years in therapy; be delicate and suffer from a chronically stiff neck; be firm and get ostracized; be loud and get punished.”

12. President Trump, Please Read the Constitution

“His most frequent target is the Bill of Rights, which protects Americans against the federal government and, through the 14th Amendment, against the states. The list below is a small sampling of Mr. Trump’s depredations of those foundational amendments — via tweet, speech or interview — over the past two and a half years.”

13. The Swine of Conservatism

“Any social order that vests particular forms of power in men needs to do more, not less, to hold the male of the species accountable.”

14. How I Rolled on the Crescent: New York to New Orleans by Rail

“Train travel presents certain immediate advantages over air travel. It forces you to relax, as you have time on your hands.”

15. Rap Disrupted Music First. Now It’s TV and Film.

“From Empire to Atlanta to The Get Down, hip-hop has been the subject of some of the most inventive television of the last few years. Documentaries have been preserving the music through a historical lens, but it’s also being celebrated — and reimagined — through an artistic one.”

16. No Room for America Left in Those Jeans

“So much for the days when tattooed Brooklyn web designers and rifle-toting Montana ranchers seemingly stood arm in arm, united by their common love of Filson bags, Red Wing boots and White Oak denim.”

17. In Search of Silence

“I’m not recommending people move into a monastery. We’re social beings. But in the silence, you meet yourself.”

18. Memoirs Take the Wheel

“Three recent memoirs celebrate driving in three very different ways.”

19. What the Car Did — and What It Might Do

“For this installment of our annual Tech and Design Issue, we’ve devoted the entire magazine, front to back, to the question of autonomous cars and the future they could usher in. That level of attention seems warranted, given how profoundly this technology could change the way we live, with first- and second- and third-order effects that boggle the mind. We’ve visited with automakers in Detroit and in Silicon Valley to take the measure of their self-driving schemes. But we’ve also indulged in some sci-fi speculation of our own, trying to imagine what would happen if this unprecedented engine of American society — the machine that, more than any other, for better or worse, has given shape to American life for a century — really does undergo this radical transformation. The consequences would touch crime and punishment, work and leisure, exercise and partying and sex. Over the next century, they may well alter the built environment as radically as the manually driven car did over the last century.”

20. Modest Dressing, as a Virtue

“What happens when women start dressing in ways that are less than conventionally flattering? Why are they doing it? And what does it look like when fashion choices that might have been linked to female oppression perform in the service of liberation?”

21. The Feminist Pioneers Making Provocative Art About Sex

“Censored, shunned and banished to obscurity for most of their careers, they’ve been working with remarkable consistency, and it is only now — when these artists are in their 70s, 80s and 90s — that they, and their work, are being embraced as canonical.”

22. Lessons in Stillness From One of the Quietest Places on Earth

“Along with being one of the most diverse ecosystems in the country, the Hoh Rain Forest is also one of the quietest places in the U.S., according to the One Square Inch project, run by the acoustic ecologist Gordon Hempton, who has worked over the years to preserve the Hoh’s quiet (for example, by requesting that airlines remap their flight patterns). Here, the absence of sound is complete.”

23. Asian-American Cuisine’s Rise, and Triumph

“As a nation we were once beholden to the Old World traditions of early settlers; we now crave ingredients from farther shores. The briny rush of soy; ginger’s low burn; pickled cabbage with that heady funk so close to rot. Vinegar applied to everything. Fish sauce like the underbelly of the sea. Palm sugar, velvet to cane sugar’s silk. Coconut milk slowing the tongue. Smoky black cardamom with its menthol aftermath. Sichuan peppercorns that paralyze the lips and turn speech to a burr, and Thai bird chilies that immolate everything they touch. Fat rice grains that cling, that you can scoop up with your hands.”

24. Sight and Insight in the California Desert

“Instead of moving earth with giant machines, or leaving hulking, unpeopled abstractions amid the dust, she employs this vast landscape to explore and challenge the quotidian functions of our existence. She was trained as a sculptor and still considers herself one, but her art is really a kind of philosophical quest, one that involves an ongoing and intense examination of what it means to live: What do we really mean when we say we need shelter, community, clothes, tools, light? How elaborate a space — indeed, how much space, down to the millimeter — do we need to survive, to thrive? What structures best facilitate creativity, serenity, unity?”

 

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