Sunday 12.10.2017 New York Times Digest


1. The Return of the Techno-Moral Panic

“In the absence of coherent critiques, and in the context of a stunningly rapid adoption of smartphones, a righteously defensive posturing about the social consequences of tech went mainstream. Critics were easily dismissed as Luddites, unable to see the future through a misplaced nostalgia for the past. This assumption was frequently vindicated and started to feel a lot like wisdom. As the world truly moved online, abstract fears were repeatedly met with, and answered by, specific, irresistible and unthreatening products and experiences.”

2. The President vs. the Presidency

“People close to him estimate that Mr. Trump spends at least four hours a day, and sometimes as much as twice that, in front of a television.”

3. With 2020 Census Looming, Worries About Fairness and Accuracy

“For the first time, it will be conducted largely online instead of by mail.”

4. Tax Plans May Give Your Co-Worker a Better Deal Than You

“For the first time since the United States adopted an income tax, a higher rate would be applied to employee wages and salaries than to income earned by proprietors, partnerships and closely held corporations.”

5. Golden State Warriors’ Go-to Guy Doesn’t Play a Minute

“Housen knows his players’ habits and daily rhythms. He knows, for example, that Thompson will wear the same socks until he puts holes in them, so Housen will preemptively swap them out. He knows that Nick Young wants the insoles removed from his sneakers. He knows that JaVale McGee has the largest feet on the team (size 19). He knows that Curry has a shoe calendar — yes, a shoe calendar, to tell him what sneakers to wear for which game — and Housen knows that because Under Armour sends it straight to him. He knows that some of the players have discriminating taste when it comes to bottled water, so he stocks the refrigerator in the visiting locker room with three or four brands. He knows that if Ron Adams, the longtime assistant, indulges in an occasional beer on the plane, he likes Peroni. But Housen also knows that Coach Steve Kerr prefers Modelo Especial. He knows which players want hotel rooms away from the elevators. He knows that McGee is a vegetarian and that Curry avoids gluten. He knows that Zaza Pachulia likes to change into a fresh jersey at halftime. And he knows that Pachulia does not like to leave the arena with damp hair. ‘He’s the only guy I’ve ever had who uses a blow dryer,’ Housen said.”

6. How the Fingerling Caught On (Robot Grip and All) as 2017’s Hot Toy

“How the Fingerling reached this tipping point — when suddenly millions of children cannot do without a $15 farting monkey — is the story of a promising idea’s going viral on social media, a large retailer’s savvy pricing strategy and the science of managing scarcity.”

7. Alexa, Stop Listening! Hey Google, You Too.

“Last month, some Google Home Mini units were found to be recording conversations all the time, not just when users were interacting with it. And over the summer, a hacker showed that an Echo could effectively be turned into a wiretap, though that required physical contact with the device itself. A Bluetooth flaw was also found to be putting both devices at risk of remote hacking.”

8. Should Doctors Ignore Race?

“Rather than relying on race, doctors should focus on the genes important to whatever puzzle they face — an approach often called ‘precision’ or ‘personalized’ medicine. The idea is that tailoring treatment to the patient’s genotype, not to skin color or hair texture, would improve outcomes.”

9. Doom Season in Los Angeles

“Every year, California’s fire season gets a little longer.”

10. The Importance of Dumb Mistakes in College

“Because for all of the supposed liberating power of their digital devices, they might as well be wearing ankle monitors. Technological connectedness has made it much harder for them to make mistakes and learn from them.”

11. How Americans Fell for Korean Beauty

“In the last six years, Korean cosmetics in the United States have gone from nonexistent to almost mainstream.”

12. For Veterans, a Path to Healing ‘Moral Injury’

“The focus for those who suffer from moral injury (and those who care for them) should shift from forgiveness to creative deeds of atonement. Some veterans’ organizations provide such opportunities, even if they don’t adopt this language explicitly.”

13. DNA Tattoos Are the Final Frontier of Love

“Everence is a powdery substance synthesized from a sample of DNA, something as simple as a few thousand cells from a swab of a person’s inner cheek, or from cremated ashes. A small vial of Everence can be brought to a tattoo artist and added to any type of inks.”

14. Kevin Young’s Enthralling, Essential History of the Hoax

“The hoax is like an art that dulls our sense of reality, rather than sharpening it.”

15. The Ku Klux Klan’s Surprising History

“The second Klan was national in scope, with a surprisingly small footprint in the South — its highest per-capita state memberships were in Indiana and Oregon. In New Jersey, Klansmen burned a cross in the black section of Metuchen, today a liberal commuter suburb of New York. The Klan was so powerful in Southern California that it nicknamed Anaheim ‘Klanaheim.’ Its main focus was, as always, on spreading hatred against blacks, Jews and Catholics, but its agenda always fit the local context: In the Southwest, it turned its ire on Hispanics and Latino immigrants; in the Pacific Northwest, it took aim at Japanese.”

16. Letter of Recommendation: iNaturalist

“Learning the names of wild things changes the way we look at nature and the way we think about it.”

17. How to Have Fewer Regrets

“People identify regret as the second most common emotional state, after love.”

18. The Takedown of Title IX

“With funding from right-wing donors like the Charles Koch Institute, FIRE has often aligned with conservative sensibilities. But a number of academics and lawyers, among them a group of feminist Harvard law professors (including Gertner) who released a public letter in August calling for reform, have cited reasons Title IX policies should concern progressives, too: that overly broad definitions of misconduct, encompassing most drunken encounters, threaten to erode distinctions between consensual and nonconsensual sex; that anecdotal evidence (there’s little hard data available) suggests men of color are disproportionately punished; that a conservative administration could co-opt the campus-rape debate to further its own aims; or that perceptions of bias could trigger a backlash casting women as liars.”


Comments are closed.