Sunday 2.4.2018 New York Times Digest

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1. Force Overtime? Or Go for the Win?

“When facing decisions like this, people are often myopic, focusing too much on the possibility of an immediate loss. They avoid the risk of instant defeat, even when taking that risk offers the best path to victory.”

2. Most Afghans Can’t Read, but Their Book Trade Is Booming

“The publisher’s big sellers are self-help books, particularly in the how-to-get-rich genre. Ivanka Trump’s Women Who Work is also popular in translation, particularly among female readers.”

3. School Shooting Simulation Trains Teachers for the Worst

“In an option reminiscent of first-person shooter video games, they can also play the person with a gun.”

4. Making a Crypto Utopia in Puerto Rico

“Dozens of entrepreneurs, made newly wealthy by blockchain and cryptocurrencies, are heading en masse to Puerto Rico this winter. They are selling their homes and cars in California and establishing residency on the Caribbean island in hopes of avoiding what they see as onerous state and federal taxes on their growing fortunes, some of which now reach into the billions of dollars.”

5. Businesses Look at Washington and Say, ‘Never Mind, We’ll Do It’

“Together, the three men have revolutionized industries, forged empires and navigated all manner of crises. But can they fix health care?”

6. How a Crowdsourced List Set Off Months of #MeToo Debate

“The spreadsheet, which captured the ideals of what would soon grow into the #metoo movement, had almost immediate real-world effects. It caused prominent men to lose their jobs and disrupted the lives of lesser-known journalists. Four months after it was created, it remains a subject of intense debate.”

7. Why Women’s Voices Are Scarce in Economics

“At virtually every level of training and every professional rank within economics, women are a minority.”

8. This Is Why Uma Thurman Is Angry

“Quentin used Harvey as the executive producer of Kill Bill, a movie that symbolizes female empowerment. And all these lambs walked into slaughter because they were convinced nobody rises to such a position who would do something illegal to you, but they do.”

9. The Republican Tax Act Could Turn Texas Blue

“The demographic trends posing an imminent hurdle to Republicans in states like Texas and Georgia are, ironically, partly a consequence of the party’s own light-touch fiscal and regulatory policy.”

10. What It’s Like to Live in a Surveillance State

“A science-fiction dystopia? No. This is life in northwestern China today.”

11. Who’s Able-Bodied Anyway?

“There is no standard for physical or mental ability that makes a person able. Rather, the term has long been a political one. Across centuries of use, it has consistently implied another negative: The able-bodied could work, but are not working (or working hard enough). And, as such, they don’t deserve our aid.”

12. Beyond the Slave Trade, the Cadaver Trade

“There was a robust body-snatching industry in which cadavers — mostly the bodies of black people, many of whom had been enslaved when they were alive — were used at Harvard, the Universities of Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia, and other institutions.”

13. The Women Behind White Power

“What white women teach us is that white-supremacist politics is sustained at a much more grass-roots level by our neighbors, school boards and even friends.”

14. 5 Hours of Glenn Gould Outtakes. Why? Listen and Find Out.

“Over his career, Gould increasingly embraced recording’s potential to foster experimentation. He gave up playing concerts in 1964 and retreated to the studio, where he got involved with the detailed engineering of his releases, sometimes juxtaposing different portions of a piece played with various styles and approaches into a curious final synthesis.”

15. Easier Path To Divorce? Go Online.

“Since couples now meet online, plan weddings online, cheat online and find couples therapists online, it is only logical that they should be able to divorce online.”

16. Hand-Painted Ads for a Digital Age

“Like other novelties of the post-hipster age, the source of the value is not just the finished work, but also the tedious and rarefied conditions of its production.”

17. Enter the Holodeck

“They desperately want it to be good for society. But Bailenson and Lanier cannot have it both ways: insisting that VR is very realistic, and thus affecting and potentially therapeutic, but also that it will be used only for good.”

18. To Respect the Earth’s Limits — or Push Them?

“Mann’s storytelling skills are unmatched — the sprightly tempo with which this book unfolds, each question answered as it comes to mind, makes for pure pleasure reading. But you may find yourself troubled a little along the way by the analytical framework he’s imposed on the material, the division between the technologically minded Wizards and the limits-embracing Prophets.”

19. The Hidden Drama of Speedskating

“The oldest ice skates that anyone has found so far were made in Finland 2,000 years before the birth of Christ, which is to say 800 years before the Trojan War depicted by Homer in the Iliad.”

20. What Cross-Country Skiing Reveals About the Human Condition

“Cross-country skiers lean right into a bleak truth: We are stranded on a planet that is largely indifferent to us, a world that sets mountains in our path and drops iceballs from 50,000 feet and tortures our skin with hostile air. There is no escaping it; the only noble choice is to strap on a helmet and slog right in. Cross-country skiing expresses something deep about the human condition: the absolute, nonnegotiable necessity of the grind. The purity and sanctity of the goddamn slog.”

 

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