Sunday 3.25.2018 New York Times Digest


1. Does Having a Day Job Mean Making Better Art?

“For those who want to mine daily life for their art, a second job becomes an umbilical cord fastened to something vast and breathing. The alternate gig that lifts you out of your process also supplies fodder for when that process resumes. Lost time is regained as range and perspective, the artist acquiring yet one more mode of inhabiting the world.”

2. Welcome to Zucktown. Where Everything Is Just Zucky.

“It is a project with many precedents in American history, quite a few of them cautionary tales about what happens when a powerful corporation takes control of civic life.”

3. How Genetics Is Changing Our Understanding of ‘Race’

“While race may be a social construct, differences in genetic ancestry that happen to correlate to many of today’s racial constructs are real.”

4. How Democracy Can Survive Big Data

“That such threats to democracy are now possible is due in part to the fact that our society lacks an information ethics adequate to its deepening dependence on data.”

5. Are You Really in Love if It’s Not on Instagram?

“I get especially weirded out by people who seem interested in cultivating ‘fans’ of their relationship. While it’s cute and flattering to have people make comments like ‘y’all are goals’ and ‘adopt me’ on a picture of you and your lover, I think it creates social pressure to stay in relationships that might actually be unhealthy. One of my good friends stayed with her evil ex for more than a year after she knew she needed to leave, worrying about ‘letting people down.’”

6. Beyond Marie Curie

“Even when women were invisible, it never means they weren’t there.”

7. How Silicon Valley Turned Into ‘Brotopia’

“Computing was so popular for women in the 1960s that it was the subject of a 1967 article in Cosmopolitan — in which the magazine alerted women readers to the financial benefits of ‘a whole new kind of work for women.’ ‘Women are “naturals” at computer programming,’ Hopper told Cosmo. By the 1980s, when the Macintosh was unveiled, women were receiving almost 40 percent of computer science degrees. But then, to use the parlance of Silicon Valley, there was a pivot.”

8. The Latest Subject of Female Fantasies? Creatures From the Deep

“Are real men these days so unwanted? In these interspecies romances, women aren’t looking to be saved by convention (these frogs don’t turn into princes when kissed). Their love also demonstrates a kind of compassion that feels profoundly absent right now. In light of #MeToo, such narratives of feminist reclamation force us to ask ourselves: Who is actually dangerous, and what is truly safe?”

9. The Women Responsible for the Look of Your Next All-Day Cafe

“Now that every diner has a camera in her handbag, restaurateurs have been forced to acknowledge that what they’re creating is not just a place where people consume meals but an aspirational space that, for many who experience it, exists only online.”

10. How to Clean Paper Currency

“A study of $1 bills in New York identified a total of 397 bacterial species.”

11. Why He Kayaked Across the Atlantic at 70 (For the Third Time)

“When he couldn’t sleep, because of the unrelenting stuffiness of his cabin and the waves crashing through the portal onto his head, Doba thought about his wife, children and his young granddaughter. He thought about his dead parents. He communed with the turtles, whose shells he tapped while they swam alongside him to make sure they were alive, and the birds, who landed on Olo for a rest and often entered his cabin and did not want to leave.”

12. The World’s Best Hitchhiker on the Secrets of His Success

“Before us was a bend in the road pocked with a huge, five-foot-wide pothole, which Villarino described as ‘perfect.’ The ideal pickup spot, he explained, has not only a place for cars to pull over safely but also some obstacle or obstruction that forces them to slow down as they approach you. Standing just before or after a hill, or a train track, or a wye, a stoplight, a traffic circle, or even a speed bump would have worked just as well as our pothole. Villarino forbids hats and sunglasses because they hide your eyes from drivers; sitting is discouraged because it obscures your physical size. He intentionally dons the uniform of a backpacker — brown hiking boots with red laces, gray synthetic cargo pants that unzip at the knees — because people all around the world are familiar with that archetype.”

13. Nathalie Cabrol Searches the Earth for the Secrets of Life on Mars

“It was dizzying to think of the scales her work spans: millions of miles of space, billions of years of planetary evolution, the vastness of the universe, the canyons and valleys of Mars, the expanse of salt here, our small forms standing upon it, and these exquisitely tough, tiny, almost invisible signs of life held between finger and thumb.”

14. Tragically Lost in Joshua Tree’s Wild Interior

“Tracking down the lost, however, is more than just an effort to solve a mystery. The intensity that many of these investigators bring to their work suggests a fundamental discomfort with the very idea of disappearance in the 21st century: People should not be able to disappear, not in this day and age. Not everyone who is lost actually wants to be found. For this reason, the searcher’s compulsion is both a promise and a threat.”



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