Sunday 7.22.2018 New York Times Digest


1. Climate Change Is Killing the Cedars of Lebanon

“Many Lebanese see in the tree a reflection of their land’s uniqueness and its ability to survive the storms of history.”

2. Wild About Tech, China Even Loves Robot Waiters That Can’t Serve

“Gizmos with a bit of futuristic verve are often the best symbols of progress.”

3. Parents Behaving Badly: A Youth Sports Crisis Caught on Video

“A torrent of verbal, and occasionally physical, abuse toward referees nationwide has disrupted the sidelines of youth sports.”

4. Memo From the Boss: Meat Is Not an Option

“WeWork appears to be the first big company to tell its employees what they can and can’t eat.”

5. Companies Are Happy When Customers Are Trapped

“Companies offer convenience, but they make the consumers pay for it.”

6. How James Brown Made Black Pride a Hit

“Much has changed over the past half century. But, alas, the need to defend blackness against derision continues.”

7. The Trouble With Vacations

“The fact that vacations serve as a release valve means that we — and our employers — can let that pressure mount the 49 other weeks of the year. Knowing I’ll finally be at the beach next week makes it that little bit easier to put in an extra hour of email each night.”

8. Why I (Mostly) Quit Twitter.

“Twitter is now an anger video game for many users.”

9. The Secret History of Leviticus

“There is good evidence that an earlier version of the laws in Leviticus 18 permitted sex between men. In addition to having the prohibition against same-sex relations added to it, the earlier text, I believe, was revised in an attempt to obscure any implication that same-sex relations had once been permissible.”

10. The Northland’s Forgotten Border

“The northland is a singular place, occupied by the sort of small towns that modern America has skipped over, obscure industries and old-world professions that rely on hands, not machines. It is also a wild place, with forests of old-growth hemlock, fir and birch; wild rivers; unnamed mountain ranges; and some of the largest roadless areas in America.”

11. The Shifting Views of Michael Jackson

“Jackson’s own face — through a combination of fame and relentless surgery — became a mask, reflecting our own biases and ideals while concealing a deeper truth. His art and lasting appeal, on the other hand, function as a reminder to consider our own disguises, and what we might gain by letting them go.”

12. Suspicious Minds

“Audiences were being radically opened, too. Something had come unanchored. It was inevitable where things were headed. The moment came at one of the ‘Ancient Aliens’ cast panels, during questions from the audience. Everyone listened uncomfortably to a man who spoke at length, in an agitated voice, about certain flaws he’d discovered in the hard sciences. ‘Sir, sir, sir. Do you have a question?’ Mr. Burns interrupted. The man exclaimed, ‘Why don’t you challenge physics and math?’”

13. Museum Tours for People Who Don’t Like Museum Tours

“Museums aren’t competing with other museums. They’re competing with Netflix, Facebook and iPhones.”

14. The Best That Money Couldn’t Buy

“The best P.I. stories build slowly and keep the stakes relatively small.”

15. America Can Never Sort Out Whether ‘Socialism’ Is Marginal or Rising

“A strange logic has always surrounded this topic in the United States: Both interpretations — that socialism is a dead letter and that it is the wave of the future — can exist side by side. At the end of the Cold War, we heard that socialism was at last forever vanquished, but in 2009 Newsweek declared that ‘We Are All Socialists Now.’”

16. What Can Odd, Interesting Medical Case Studies Teach Us?

“Over the years, as the discipline of medicine moved concertedly from descriptive to mechanistic, from observational to explanatory and from anecdotal to statistical, the case study fell out of favor. As doctors, we began to prioritize modes of learning that depended on experiments and objectivity. Our journals filled up with studies on drugs — often funded by drug companies — that had disembodied subjects lumped into “experimental” and “control.” Observation, we thought, was just the prelude to experimentation and explanation; of what use was a descriptive study unless it could help explain some principle of physiology, or be somehow incorporated into an objective (preferably randomized) trial?”

17. Parents Aren’t Good Judges of Their Kids’ Sugar Intake

“Those with the highest B.M.I.s tended to have parents with the largest underestimates.”

18. Letter of Recommendation: Used Clothing

“Used clothing isn’t just used, but rather soaked in the lives of the living and the dead.”

19. How to Go Back to a Flip Phone

“Social interactions will be challenging.”

20. The Case for Canned Tuna

“Some people disapprove of fish in a can, but the best of it ages beautifully in olive oil, and it’s often more delicious than the fresh fish I can find at the supermarket. Good canned fish can be eaten just the way it is, dripping with olive oil, but I like a tin’s worth of sardines seasoned with plenty of lemon zest, soft oregano leaves and some fried bread crumbs, broken up a bit and warmed all the way through as it’s tossed with cooked spaghetti, olive oil and maybe a ripe tomato, squashed between my fingers. It’s a perfect dinner.”

21. George Soros Bet Big on Liberal Democracy. Now He Fears He Is Losing.

“In a democratic society, politics wasn’t ultimately a quest to arrive at the truth; it was about gaining and holding power and manipulating public sentiment in order to do that.”


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