Sunday 9.2.2018 New York Times Digest


1. How to Make a Big Decision

“If you find yourself mapping a ‘whether or not’ question, looking at a simple fork in the road, you’re almost always better off turning it into a ‘which one’ question that gives you more available paths.”

2. Invisible Strike May Be Cause Of Envoys’ Ills

“Russia, China and many European states are seen as having the know-how to make basic microwave weapons that can debilitate, sow noise or even kill. Advanced powers, experts say, might accomplish more nuanced aims such as beaming spoken words into people’s heads.”

3. When You Love Chocolate, This Isn’t Like Work

“Culturally, the pre-Columbian Aztecs considered it so valuable they used the beans as currency. It was also sacred to the Mayans and other Mesoamerican groups; it still holds a high place spiritually in many indigenous societies.”

4. China Hits Pause on Video-Game Maker’s Fortunes

“Chinese state media has blamed video games for causing young people to become addicted, lowering their grades and worse.”

5. Big Mother Is Watching

“While parents of young children have long used nanny cams to keep tabs on the babysitters, companies are now marketing these products to parents of teens and preteens, too. This time, the camera lens is pointed not at the untrustworthy caregiver, but at the potentially rebellious adolescent.”

6. The Next Financial Crisis Lurks Underground

“Only five of the top 20 fracking companies managed to generate more cash than they spent in the first quarter of 2018.”

7. Summer Road-Tripping While Black

“African-Americans were largely left out of the car culture that flowered in the post-World War II period.”

8. How to Play Our Way to a Better Democracy

“It’s easy to see how overprotection harms individuals, but in a disturbing essay titled ‘Cooperation Over Coercion,’ the economist Steven Horwitz made the case that play deprivation also harms liberal democracies.”

9. The Religion of Whiteness Becomes a Suicide Cult

“Busy recyclers of Western supremacism, many of whom uphold a disgraced racial pseudoscience, remind us that history often repeats itself as intellectual farce.”

10. The Biblical Guide to Reporting

“Journalists, particularly those who do investigative reporting, tend to annoy people in powerful positions. Some people might think that Christians are supposed to be soft and acquiescent rather than muckrakers who hold the powerful to account. But what I do as an investigative reporter is consistent with what the Bible teaches.”

11. Do Public School Students Have Constitutional Rights?

“Students are the sole remaining group of Americans whom governmental employees may beat with impunity, even when they pose no threat to safety.”

12. Ethan Hawke Is Still Taking Ethan Hawke Extremely Seriously

“He never forgot that it was entirely possible that people wouldn’t appreciate your work while you were doing it. That they might appreciate it only long after you were dead. Or maybe even never! But that didn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. The critics — the ones who called him pretentious and too earnest and too overly serious for a movie star — became a force he worked in contrast to, a dark shadow that rode alongside him. He learned to defy them, if not ignore them. He learned to let them remind him what he was supposed to be, which is an artist, which is someone who tells the truth, not just a puppet who dances to please his audience in a series of films that resemble the one he just did.”

13. How to Retire in Your 30s With $1 Million in the Bank

“Millennials especially have embraced this so-called FIRE movement — the acronym stands for financial independence, retire early — seeing it as a way out of soul-sucking, time-stealing work and an economy fueled by consumerism.”

14. Lionel Richie Has Some Bedding to Sell You

“Lionel Richie, the 69-year-old multiplatinum singer-songwriter, is debuting a line of sheets and towels, which will be available in stores beginning Sept. 7.”

15. Does Our Cultural Obsession With Safety Spell the Downfall of Democracy?

“How did we arrive at this fraught place where the use of nothing more sinister than a body metaphor can assume the power to cause harm?”

16. What Is Identity?

“Both books help explain so much more than Trump. #MeToo. White nationalism. Hindu nationalism. Black Lives Matter. Campus debates about privilege and appropriation. Syria. Islamism. The spread of populism and retreat of democracy worldwide. The rise of the far right in Europe. The rise of the far left in the United States. All these phenomena throb with questions of identity, of ‘Who am I?’ and ‘To what do I belong?’ Appiah and Fukuyama seek out answers.”

17. By the Book: Ben Macintyre

“Last year, I finally read Moby-Dick. I am not only embarrassed not to have read it before, but faintly appalled by the thought that I might actually have gone through life without ever reading it. I became obsessed by Melville’s great novel of obsession, and Ishmael’s quest for life’s meaning in the ‘damp, drizzly November in my soul.’ Everyone should be made to read it, using force if necessary.”

18. King Arthur’s Court

“The young man who was trained to never argue became outspoken about civil rights as an athlete-activist.”

19. Exquisite Corpses

“The lure of autobiographical writing is also a longing to capture our experience of time, to trap us in a moment that is always passing.”

20. Attempting the Impossible: A Thoughtful Meditation on Technology

“One of Auerbach’s stated goals is to break down barriers, or at least initiate a conversation, between technology and the humanities, two often irreconcilable domains. He suggests that we need to be bitwise (i.e., understand the world through the lens of computers) as well as worldwise. We must ‘be able to translate our ideas between the two realms.’”

21. Behind the Poetry

“Convinced that critics have generally paid too little attention to what he calls ‘the practical aspects’ of the work in question, he says that his central task ‘is to drag poems back to the world in which they were made, to restore the lost background of their creation.’ While admitting that ‘knowledge of the circumstance is not ipso facto knowledge of the poem,’ he is keen to demonstrate ‘that facts lying outside the poem are often crucial to its inner working.’”

22. Letter of Recommendation: Clock Radios

“It’s a clock and it’s a radio, and that’s it!”

23. How to Survive a Shark Attack

“Hit the shark in the eyes and gills.”

24. Riz Ahmed Acts His Way Out of Every Cultural Pigeonhole

“On one hand, I was a professional reporter, trying my best to look as if I belonged where I was, doing what I was doing: sharp questions, clear thinking, research prepared. On the other hand, I was a black American man hanging out with a British-Pakistani man in a white cafe in what used to be a black neighborhood, chopping it up at a high level. On the third hand, I was a writer for a national magazine sharing a platform with an international film star while we talked about all the serpentine machinations of oppression and how they’ve woven and buried themselves in the very flesh of our lives. To dig haphazardly into his plate of quinoa or not?”

25. Norm Macdonald, Still in Search of the Perfect Joke

“Over the last two decades, he has grown more devoted to the pure joke, even as comedy has turned away from it. Contemporary stand-up increasingly positions the comedian either as a relatable personality whom audiences can follow from role to role or as a righteous truth-teller. Macdonald is neither.”

Comments are closed.