Sunday 3.17.2019 New York Times Digest

1. Our Brother, Our Executioner

“I greet a neighbor; he smiles and wishes me a good day. How do I know that once he turns on his computer, he isn’t pumping himself full of hatred of me and my people, raging in the dark cesspools of the web, venting his frustration that we even exist, and how dare we try and belong? Racism begins with ideas. It ends with violence.”

2. As Costs Skyrocket, More U.S. Cities Stop Recycling

“In Memphis, the international airport still has recycling bins around the terminals, but every collected can, bottle and newspaper is sent to a landfill.”

3. How a Bitcoin Evangelist Made Himself Vanish, in 15 (Not So Easy) Steps

“Mr. Lopp, a self-described libertarian who works for a Bitcoin security company, had long been obsessed with the value of privacy, and he set out to learn how thoroughly a person can escape the all-seeing eyes of corporate America and the government. But he wanted to do it without giving up internet access and moving to a shack in the woods.”

4. The New Science of Cuteness

“We’ve become used to thinking about sexual desire on a spectrum — from heterosexual to homosexual, with lots of people falling somewhere in between. Might there be a reproductive-desire spectrum too?”

5. The Moral Wages of the College Admissions Mania

“We’re sending the message that success is about precise allegiance to a painstaking script.”

6. The Scandals of Meritocracy

“Elite institutions, by their very nature, are not a mass-opportunity system. Even (especially?) in a democratic society they exist to shape a ruling class. And the tension between legacy admissions and affirmative action and merit-based admissions is really a tension between three ways that a ruling class can be legitimated –— through intergenerational continuity, through representation and through aptitude.”

7. Is Pain a Sensation or an Emotion?

“The conventional thinking about pain as purely a physical stimulus has clearly failed us.”

8. Matthias Schoenaerts Knows You’re Ogling Him

“I don’t pay too much attention to descriptions of myself because I think every human being is in a permanent state of transformation and evolution.”

9. How Parents Are Robbing Their Children of Adulthood

“Helicopter parenting, the practice of hovering anxiously near one’s children, monitoring their every activity, is so 20th century. Some affluent mothers and fathers now are more like snowplows: machines chugging ahead, clearing any obstacles in their child’s path to success, so they don’t have to encounter failure, frustration or lost opportunities.”

10. Go West

“‘The frontier was, ultimately, a mirage,’ he writes, because it promised ‘a limitless world’ where ‘all could benefit; all could rise and share in the earth’s riches.’”

11. When Sci-Fi Comes True

“Writers don’t just see into the future or possess special insight into the present; we also construct a kind of machine for virtual hindsight.”

12. Letter of Recommendation: Lent

“What I didn’t understand yet is that Lent concentrates guilt, then cathartically explodes it — it’s a kind of intermissionless Bergman matinee that leads you stumbling back across the parking lot beneath the newly blinding sun. By depriving you of just one vanity, just one of the many little distractions you’ve unthinkingly accumulated, Lent provides space for your guilt. This is not about cultivating bad feelings, but slowly disrobing them, letting them reveal their true nature. But this requires curiosity, and surrender.”

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