Sunday 1.28.2018 New York Times Digest

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1. The Follower Factory

“Devumi sells Twitter followers and retweets to celebrities, businesses and anyone who wants to appear more popular or exert influence online. Drawing on an estimated stock of at least 3.5 million automated accounts, each sold many times over, the company has provided customers with more than 200 million Twitter followers.”

2. Every One of the World’s Big Economies Is Now Growing

“We are investing heavily in Asia and also in Africa because the growth of the population there is stronger.”

3. Africa’s Gains Come With an Alarming Byproduct: Obesity

“Many Africans are eating more junk food, much of it imported. They are also getting much less exercise, as millions of people abandon a more active farming life to crowd into cities, where they tend to be more sedentary. More affordable cars and a wave of motorbike imports also mean that fewer Africans walk to work.”

4. Postcard People

“The world may have largely abandoned postcard writing, but deltiology — or postcard collecting — persists.”

5. What the Sharing Economy Really Delivers: Entitlement

“As people become their own brands, in the nonsense argot of the new economy, as work increasingly happens anywhere and everywhere, disaggregated from institutions and hierarchies and protocols that can offer various protections and clear channels of recourse, the policing of harassment will face new challenges.”

6. The Remote Control, Out of Control

“I’ve got Netflix. I’ve got Amazon. I’ve got cable. I’m done.”

7. Rambling Through Time

“The story of life on earth so far isn’t one of a tidy march of progress, culminating in humanity’s ‘end of history.’ Other alien worlds have claimed this planet for unimaginably longer spans, relinquishing their place only under the duress of mind-bending episodes of chaos, like asteroid hits and large-scale volcanic activity.”

8. How Wobbly Is Our Democracy?

“We should not take democracy for granted. There is nothing intrinsic in American culture that immunizes us against its breakdown.”

9. The Men Who Want to Live Forever

“The people publicly championing life extension are mainly men.”

10. We Need Protests. And Paintings.

“To defend the place of millions of immigrants and their progeny in American society, we need not only protest of political changes but also more art.”

11. Hollywood Uses the Very Women It Exploited to Change the Subject

“Hollywood has nimbly absorbed its critiques and converted them into inspirational messaging and digestible branding exercises, just in time for the unfurling of the red carpets.”

12. SZA Almost Quit Music. Now She’s a Grammys Contender.

“In an industry where the youngest stars radiate the most heat, SZA was a relatively late bloomer. She self-released her first EP at 22 and came to music as a refuge from jobs as a bartender and a sales assistant on the floor at Sephora.”

13. Robert Coover: By the Book

“The conventional novel, only readable if the writing’s stunningly or quirkily great. On the other hand, sci-fi, detective novels, westerns, pornography, spy stories, horror and romance, though very conservative forms, are all more like folk and fairy tales, and so much more alluring to a writer trying to burrow inside the collective psyche.”

14. Letter of Recommendation: Rodney Dangerfield

“By the time he perfected his act, he was nearly 60. But everything about Dangerfield was weird.”

15. Is ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ the Most Radical Show on TV?

“When ‘Drag Race’ first began, it seemed like a fun window into an underground culture, but over the nine years it has aired, the show has evolved to reflect America’s changing relationship to queer rights and acceptance.”

 

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