Sunday 11.11.2018 New York Times Digest

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1. Your Dreams Tell You Who You Are

“According to one popular hypothesis, dreams evolved to serve an important psychological function: They let us work through our anxieties in a low-risk environment, helping us practice for stressful events and cope with trauma and grief.”

2. John Delaney Is Already Running for President

“It’s hard to overstate how unusual Mr. Delaney’s timeline is. He announced his candidacy on July 28, 2017, almost three years before the Democratic convention.”

3. The Times’s Capsule of History Goes Digital + California: State of Change

“In a basement three floors underground, next to The New York Times’s headquarters, steel filing cabinets hold about six million photographs … Now, for the first time, as part of a technology and advertising partnership with Google, the photos are being pulled from their drawers, fed through scanners and saved to servers.”

4. A Year After #MeToo, Hollywood’s Got a Malaise Money Can’t Cure

“In the 100-year history of Hollywood, rarely if ever has so much upheaval arrived so fast and on so many fronts.”

5. The 16-oz. Beer Can: A Cold One That’s a Hot One

“The great irony is that cans are better for beer in every way. They are literally a miniature keg.”

6. Sundar Pichai of Google: ‘Technology Doesn’t Solve Humanity’s Problems’

“Every generation is worried about the new technology, and feels like this time it’s different.”

7. Tech C.E.O.s Are in Love With Their Principal Doomsayer

“Silicon Valley, at a certain level, is not optimistic on the future of democracy. The more of a mess Washington becomes, the more interested the tech world is in creating something else, and it might not look like elected representation.”

8. A Good Guy With A Gun

“A few years ago, tired of being told by gun rights people that I knew nothing about firearms, I bought a handgun and learned to carry and use it. I found the transgressive nature of the exercise stimulating. Survivors of gun violence are not supposed to walk around with guns.”

9. The Newest Jim Crow

“Under new policies in California, New Jersey, New York and beyond, ‘risk assessment’ algorithms recommend to judges whether a person who’s been arrested should be released. These advanced mathematical models — or ‘weapons of math destruction’ as data scientist Cathy O’Neil calls them — appear colorblind on the surface but they are based on factors that are not only highly correlated with race and class, but are also significantly influenced by pervasive bias in the criminal justice system.”

10. Be Afraid of Economic ‘Bigness.’ Be Very Afraid.

“Extreme economic concentration does create conditions ripe for dictatorship.”

11. America Needs a Bigger House

“The House’s current size — 435 representatives — was set in 1911, when there were fewer than one-third as many people living in the United States as there are now.”

12. By Protecting Veterans’ Health, You May Protect Your Own

“Seventy percent of all American doctors have received some training at V.A. hospitals.”

13. Who’s the Real American Psycho?

“Those who sold us the ‘cakewalk’ Iraq war and the outrageously unprepared Sarah Palin and torture as ‘enhanced interrogation,’ those who left the Middle East shattered with a cascading refugee crisis and a rising ISIS, and those who midwifed the birth of the Tea Party are washing away their sins in a basin of Trump hate.”

14. The Unreality of Racial Justice Cinema

“In lieu of either factually representing or making sense of the world, they invite us to escape it.”

15. Frederick Douglass in Full

“Dependent upon abolitionist charity for his family’s daily bread, Douglass nonetheless chafed under a stifling Garrisonian orthodoxy that required adherents to embrace pacifism and abstain from politics. He charted a course away from all that by starting his own newspaper and openly embracing as household saints blood-drenched figures like the slave-rebellion leader Nat Turner and the white revolutionary John Brown, both of whom he classed with the founders. His fledgling newspaper, The North Star, served as the school where he sharpened his grasp of politics and developed a penetrating style as an editorialist. By the time Abraham Lincoln was elected in 1860, Douglass understood full well that slavery could be purged from the United States only with blood — as his friend John Brown had put it on the way to the gallows — and launched blistering attacks on those who sought to compromise with the institution rather than obliterate it.”

16. You Already Email Like a Robot — Why Not Automate It?

“Using these features is a bit like minding a machine that is trying to learn how to do what you do for a living. And even if it’s the part of the job you wish you didn’t have to do, it still prompts uncomfortable thoughts of replacement — or, if not replacement, then something close to it. It is not remotely implausible that in the near future, a tremendous amount of communication could be conducted in tandem with an A.I.”

17. How to Play Dead

“To be convincing, you must not visibly breathe, swallow, blink or let your eyes or body convey any of the twitchy, lit-from-within traits of the living.”

18. Gillian Flynn Peers Into the Dark Side of Femininity

“Things in Flynn’s novels do not get bad; they start out far beyond it and deteriorate as we learn how they got that way.”

19. U.S. Law Enforcement Failed to See the Threat of White Nationalism. Now They Don’t Know How to Stop It.

“Between 2002 and 2017, the United States spent $2.8 trillion — 15 percent of discretionary spending — on counterterrorism. Terrorist attacks by Muslim extremists killed 100 people in the United States during that time. Between 2008 and 2017, domestic extremists killed 387 in the United States.”

20. What if the Placebo Effect Isn’t a Trick?

“Give people a sugar pill, they have shown, and those patients — especially if they have one of the chronic, stress-related conditions that register the strongest placebo effects and if the treatment is delivered by someone in whom they have confidence — will improve. Tell someone a normal milkshake is a diet beverage, and his gut will respond as if the drink were low fat. Take athletes to the top of the Alps, put them on exercise machines and hook them to an oxygen tank, and they will perform better than when they are breathing room air — even if room air is all that’s in the tank. Wake a patient from surgery and tell him you’ve done an arthroscopic repair, and his knee gets better even if all you did was knock him out and put a couple of incisions in his skin. Give a drug a fancy name, and it works better than if you don’t.”

21. The Witch Continues to Enchant as a Feminist Symbol

“They may not all recite spells or worship a moon goddess, but at a time when misogyny is rampant and women’s rights are on shaky ground, they relate to the witch as a feminist symbol. A witch, after all, is a woman with power.”

22. How Does a Museum Buy an Artwork That Doesn’t Physically Exist?

“Sehgal does not issue receipts. He does not permit his work to be photographed or filmed, nor does he produce catalogs or even wall labels to accompany his exhibitions. In fact, he eschews all forms of documentation, written or otherwise, in relation to the sale, presentation and care of his work.”

23. How a Group of Gay Male Ballet Dancers Is Rethinking Masculinity

“If you didn’t know much about classical ballet, you might think it’s an obvious home for queer artists and narratives, but it’s more complicated than that.”

24. Why Do Asian-Americans Remain Largely Unseen in Film and Television?

“It is only when we are hidden that we are allowed to succeed. Which leads to a more troubling but inevitable conclusion: that there is something about the very physiognomy of the Asian face that American audiences still cannot or will not accept.”

25. What if the Powerful (and Paranoid) Started Using Official Tasters Again?

“As long as there have been power structures and people teetering at the top of them, there have been assassinations. Those most at risk surround themselves with bodyguards trained in Krav Maga and Secret Service agents armed with Sig Sauer P229 pistols. But poison is trickier to defend against, an invisible enemy: The best ones are colorless, odorless, tasteless and traceless, vanishing into food or drink without any sign of contamination. From the dawn of the Persian Achaemenid Empire in the sixth century B.C. to the sustained hold of Vladimir Putin over the Russian Federation today, it has long been believed that the only way to detect the presence of poison is to make someone of lesser importance take the first bite or sip, then wait and see if they survive.”

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