Sunday 4.15.2018 New York Times Digest


1. The Warrior at the Mall

“If I have authority to speak about our military policy it’s because I’m a citizen responsible for participating in self-governance, not because I belonged to a warrior caste. If what I say deserves to be taken seriously, it’s because I’ve taken the time out of my worthless sponge life as a concerned American civilian to form a worthy opinion.”

2. How Do Athletes’ Brains Control Their Movements?

“In the amount of time it takes the pitch the reach the plate, the physical limitations imposed just on our bodies — the time it takes for nervous signals to travel from the brain to the correct locations in the body — have already sliced our available response time in half. The resulting time we have to actually gauge the pitch is almost twice as fast as an eye blink. It is slightly slower than the duration of one rotation of a helicopter rotor blade. But in the time it takes to read this word, the ball will have sailed past. It should not seem a wonder, then, that it has been more than 75 years since an M.L.B. player batted .400. It should seem a wonder that our brains enable us to ever hit the ball at all.”

3. Signing Off on Signing Credit-Card Receipts

“The signature has had a good run. It’s not dead, but it is dying.”

4. The Historians Versus the Genealogists

“Obviously, history can’t depend on genealogy. But history shouldn’t scorn it, either. History can make use of the genealogical perspective and its transporting empathic power.”

5. Blacks Still Face a Red Line on Housing

“A study by the National Fair Housing Alliance of a dozen metropolitan areas […] showed that real estate discrimination was pervasive.”

6. Scrap Your To-Do List

“The essential American word isn’t happiness. It’s pursuit.”

7. Some Said They’d Flee Trump’s America. These People Actually Did.

“Like many of the new expats, she is home-schooling (‘worldschooling’ is the more popular term). Her daughters are learning Spanish at a Medellin day camp and spend their spare time playing Minecraft and Roblox, video games they sometimes play online with other traveling children. She hopes eventually they’ll start their own YouTube channel, if someone will teach them.”

8. Souvenirs Mean More Than Just ‘I’ve Been There’

“Whether purchased or found, procuring a souvenir may also ‘be a way of slowing down a real-time experience that is by definition ephemeral.’”

9. Facebook, Generator of Envy and Dread

“Facebook, in my experience, primarily energizes profound feelings of dread, perhaps especially for those in middle age, because it serves to remind us over and over how many ways life can go horribly and dramatically wrong.”

10. Into The Woods

“Trees do most of the things you do, just more slowly. They compete for their livelihoods and take care of their families, sometimes making huge sacrifices for their children. They breathe, eat and have sex. They give gifts, communicate, learn, remember and record the important events of their lives. With relatives and non-kin alike they cooperate, forming neighborhood watch committees — to name one example — with rapid response networks to alert others to a threatening intruder. They manage their resources in bank accounts, using past market trends to predict future needs. They mine and farm the land, and sometimes move their families across great distances for better opportunities. Some of this might take centuries, but for a creature with a life span of hundreds or thousands of years, time must surely have a different feel about it.”

11. The Philosopher in Dark Times

“I believe it is very likely that men, if they ever should lose their ability to wonder and thus cease to ask unanswerable questions, also will lose the faculty of asking the answerable questions upon which every civilization is founded.”

12. Are iPhones Bad for Kids?

“Prioritize other activities, and allow screens only afterward.”

13. Cambridge Analytica and the Coming Data Bust

“It was self-evidently absurd to grant a virtual-farming game access to your religious views, but that’s just how the platform worked at the time, and so we got used to it, much in the same way we got used to conducting our private lives on any other corporate platform.”

14. How to Carry Someone Who Is Unconscious

“Transporting a slack, full-size human will tax every muscle in your body.”

15. The Post-Campaign Campaign of Donald Trump

“I have never interviewed Trump, but people I know who have often remark on an uncanny element of the experience: the absence of any indication of an off-limits private self distinct from his public image. The phenomenon feels radically postmodern: a complete communion of the thing with its representation, officiated by an audience of millions over the course of nearly four decades.”

16. Why America’s Black Mothers and Babies Are in a Life-or-Death Crisis

“Black infants in America are now more than twice as likely to die as white infants — 11.3 per 1,000 black babies, compared with 4.9 per 1,000 white babies, according to the most recent government data — a racial disparity that is actually wider than in 1850, 15 years before the end of slavery, when most black women were considered chattel.”


Comments are closed.