Sunday 7.15.2018 New York Times Digest

15kakutani-jumbo

1. I Know What Incarceration Does to Families. It Happened to Mine.

“History is repeating itself. This time without even the pretext of war, and with added heartbreaking cruelty.”

2. In Town With Little Water, Coca-Cola Is Everywhere. So Is Diabetes.

Residents of San Cristóbal and the lush highlands that envelop the city drink on average more than two liters, or more than half a gallon, of soda a day. The effect on public health has been devastating.

3. The New York Yankees Are a Moral Abomination

“The Yankees cannot help but be emblematic of everything that characterizes us as a nation and as an idea: a thing gargantuan and heedless, invincible and yet bizarrely fragile and self-destructive.”

4. Everyone Has an Accent

“Too often, at the hospital or the bank, in the office or at a restaurant — even in the classroom — we embrace the idea that there is a right way for our words to sound and that the perfect accent is one that is not just inaudible, but also invisible.”

5. We Need to Offer More Than Asylum.

“Uncontrolled violence combines with environmental degradation and economic collapse to produce what Alexander Betts, a professor at Oxford, has termed ‘survival migration.’ The term, he writes, describes ‘people who have left their country of origin because of an existential threat for which they have no domestic remedy.’”

6. Teens Are Stressed. But Don’t Just Blame Phones.

“We already know that teenagers go online to avoid feelings of stress, depression and anxiety, and we also know this strategy has more negative emotional consequences than positive ones. With their slot-machine logic and addictive properties, smartphones keep us coming back for more: for distraction, a message from a friend, news, a funny cat meme.”

7. Elon Musk Thinks He Can Fix Everything.

“The Silicon Valley model for doing things is a mix of can-do optimism, a faith that expertise in one domain can be transferred seamlessly to another and a preference for rapid, flashy, high-profile action. But what got the kids and their coach out of the cave was a different model: a slower, more methodical, more narrowly specialized approach to problems, one that has turned many risky enterprises into safe endeavors — commercial airline travel, for example, or rock climbing, both of which have extensive protocols and safety procedures that have taken years to develop.”

8. What Adults Can Learn From Dutch Children’s Books

“I have to resist listing all the activities crammed into the pages of my favorite wimmelbooks because they would come across as cringingly mundane. But the cramming is, in truth, transcendent, this gentle collapsing of time and bending of space to capture worldly things in their everyday profusion. These detail-laden scenes defy both photography and film. They’re human constructions for satisfying the cognitive pleasures of collecting clues, exploring and telling stories.”

9. Drawing a Line Over Native Art

“There are only a handful of large art museums in the United States with full-time, specialized curators of Indigenous art, predominantly in the West.”

10. A #HeToo Movement.

“We don’t have the money to fight it. These guys are winning. We are rolling over and funding them.”

11. Would the Pickup Artist Stand a Chance in the #MeToo Era?

“The author writes that he’s insecure in the first paragraph of the piece and goes on to prove it with the rest of the story. It’s painful on several glaringly obvious levels to read the work of an amateur undercover journalist, yet at the same time it’s a measuring stick of how far we’ve come as a culture since this article was assigned, written, edited and published without even a single eyebrow at the newspaper raised.”

12. Sex Ed, for Grown-Ups

“The Kaleidoscope is one of several social communities and companies that have emerged to help adults talk openly about sex and sexuality, with the explicit goal of teaching them everything they didn’t learn in health class or from their parents.”

13. A French Novelist Imagined Sexual Dystopia. Now It’s Arrived.

“At a time when literature is increasingly marginalized in public life, he offers a striking reminder that novelists can provide insights about society that pundits and experts miss. Houellebecq, whose work is saturated with brutality, resentment and sentimentality, understood what it meant to be an incel long before the term became common.”

14. 36 Hours in Seattle

“Wander far from the downtown core to discover niche museums and nature reserves, plenty of Pacific Northwest seafood and some of the best craft beer in the country.”

15. What if the Government Gave Everyone a Paycheck?

“Both urge that a U.B.I. be set at $1,000 a month for every American. Both point out that with poverty currently defined as an income for a single adult of less than $12,000 a year, such a U.B.I. would, by definition, eliminate poverty for the 41 million Americans now living below the poverty line. It would also improve the bargaining power of millions of low-wage workers — forcing employers to increase wages, add benefits and improve conditions in order to retain them. If a U.B.I. replaced specific programs for the poor, it would also reduce government bureaucracy, minimize government interference in citizens’ lives and allow people to avoid the stigma that often accompanies government assistance. By virtue of being available to all, a U.B.I. would not only guarantee the material existence of everyone in a society; it would establish a baseline for what membership in that society means.”

16. In the Middle Class, and Barely Getting By

“Much that middle-class professionals took for granted in previous generations, including homeownership, decent health care, a comfortable retirement, is now out of reach. Over the past 20 years, the cost of housing has risen dramatically. The price of health care and college has almost doubled. Meanwhile, wages have stagnated, unions have nearly vanished and, in some sectors, technology has replaced human workers. Many people find themselves carrying school and credit-card debt, and working low-paid, temporary or part-time jobs.”

17. Three Books Consider What Happens When the Robots Take Over

“There is little doubt humanity is on the precipice of massive change in how we work. The only question is whether it is a future of shared prosperity and leisure or one of mass unemployment and turmoil.”

18. Americans Think ‘Corruption’ Is Everywhere. Is That Why We Vote for It?

“No other country has done so well at containing corruption while leaving so many of its people convinced that it has done poorly.”

19. Have the Tech Giants Grown Too Powerful? That’s an Easy One

“The questions became companies, which then, mostly without explicitly deciding to, became institutions. And now, for anyone affected by the tech industry, the most obvious and important questions are about the world that these companies are making.”

20. Letter of Recommendation: Mess

“These aggressively maintained personal spaces — whom are they actually for?”

21. The Avenatti Effect

“Every time I watch him work, I think, This is what it must have been like to see the Sistine Chapel being painted. But instead of paint, Michael uses the tears of his enemies.”

22. Her Husband Was a Princeton Graduate Student. Then He Was Taken Prisoner in Iran.

“Sometimes the U.S.-Iran relationship feels like a Chinese finger trap: The harder either side pulls away, the more fiercely both are joined. Under Trump’s administration, Washington has whiplashed from cautious détente to ferocious retrenchment on Iran, doing away with the nuclear deal and showing Iran the back of its hand with renewed sanctions and an immigration ban that disproportionately punishes Iranians. Still, Trump has not escaped the hostage conundrum. At least five citizens and two permanent residents of the United States remain in Iranian prisons, years of their lives unspooling into a cruel stasis. One way or another, getting them out is going to mean making a deal.”

 

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