Sunday 1.14.2018 New York Times Digest


1. Inside One of America’s Last Pencil Factories

“In an era of infinite screens, the humble pencil feels revolutionarily direct: It does exactly what it does, when it does it, right in front of you. Pencils eschew digital jujitsu. They are pure analog, absolute presence. They help to rescue us from oblivion. Think of how many of our finest motions disappear, untracked — how many eye blinks and toe twitches and secret glances vanish into nothing. And yet when you hold a pencil, your quietest little hand-dances are mapped exactly, from the loops and slashes to the final dot at the very end of a sentence.”

2. In Some Countries, Facebook’s Fiddling Has Magnified Fake News

“As Facebook updates and tweaks its service in order to keep users glued to their screens, countries like Bolivia are ideal testing grounds thanks to their growing, internet-savvy populations. But these changes can have significant consequences, like limiting the audience for nongovernmental news sources and — surprisingly — amplifying the impact of fabricated and sensational stories.”

3. As Labor Pool Shrinks, Prison Time Is Less of a Hiring Hurdle

“In Dane County, Wis., where the unemployment rate was just 2 percent in November, demand for workers has grown so intense that manufacturers are taking their recruiting a step further: hiring inmates at full wages to work in factories even while they serve their prison sentences.”

4. Mr. Amazon Steps Out

“You’re going to get a lot of scrutiny if you’re disrupting other people’s livelihoods.”

5. Is the Answer to Phone Addiction a Worse Phone?

“I’ve been gray for a couple days, and it’s remarkable how well it has eased my twitchy phone checking, suggesting that one way to break phone attachment may be to, essentially, make my phone a little worse. We’re simple animals, excited by bright colors, it turns out.”

6. Guess Who’s Coming to ‘Peanuts’

“Dr. King’s assassination, on April 4, 1968, played a direct role in Franklin’s creation.”

7. The Women the Abortion War Leaves Out

“If anti-abortion campaigners truly want to decrease the numbers of abortions, rather than passing laws designed to drive up the costs of abortion, they would do far better to invest in the kinds of economic supports that make becoming a parent a realistic possibility for struggling women.”

8. Keep Our Mountains Free. And Dangerous.

“Where, and when, can we take life-threatening risk?”

9. The Secret to a Happy Marriage Is Knowing How to Fight

“We’ve made love and marriage into such an ideal that people are afraid to consider, at the outset, just how stressful it can get.”

10. The Delicate Politics of Chasing Owls

“While birders prize owls, the ethical ones also abet the species’ secretive natures with their own code of silence, an owl ‘omertà.’ Many people will not share the specifics of an owl’s location or will do so only in whispers.”

11. Can Your Hip Replacement Kill You?

“Medical interventions are now the third-leading cause of death in the United States, and devices play an increasing role in that statistic.”

12. Tonya Harding Would Like Her Apology Now

“If it had worked out, we would say she was the manifestation of the American dream. Now instead we just say she’s very American.”

13. Everyone Is Getting Hilariously Rich and You’re Not

“He drew a chart to explain the crypto community: 20 percent for ideology, 60 percent for the tech and 100 percent for the money, he said, drawing a circle around it all.”

14. Outing Death

“That message is chilling, for sure. But for me, at the outset at least, it was bracing, an invitation more compelling than any raft of resolutions to seize the moment and run with it.”

15. Some Assembly Required

“‘Craeft’ is nearly untranslatable, ‘a form of knowledge, not just a knowledge of making but a knowledge of being.’ It combines in some ineffable way skill, intelligence and virtue.”

16. The Genius Is a Madman

“The genius is a madman; the savior is a betrayer; the populist is an aristocrat; the intellectual and artistic hero is a coward and a faker; the innovator is a reactionary; the artist is a politician; the legislator is an inmate. The contradictions multiply until they seem to describe something larger than any one man.”

17. The Poet of Light

“A poet who feeds on pathologies eventually becomes their food. But the issue is larger than that. A culture, too, is a work of imagination, or a failure of it. We are meant to be in a golden age of the television drama, and perhaps we are. But just consider how thoroughly so many of these shows equate misery with authenticity, and how many rely on violence and degradation (usually toward women) to establish character and intensity. And now consider the broader culture we have found ourselves in for the past year or so. Does it not seem as if reality has begun to take on whims and powers of its own?”

18. Learning to Fool Our Algorithmic Spies

“Maybe knowing that we’re being monitored by judgmental algorithms could affect our behavior, too. If this is the case — if awareness of mechanical all-seeing eyes changes how we see and comport ourselves — then, well, how?”

19. Why Are Our Most Important Teachers Paid the Least?

“The earliest years are a period of intense and rapid neural development — M.R.I. studies suggest that 80 percent of all neural connections form by age 3 — and that a child’s ability to capitalize on these years is directly related to her environment.”


Comments are closed.