Sunday 8.18.19 New York Times Digest

1. Commuting Has Always Been Soul-Crushing

“Commuting to work can awaken elemental feelings of dread, powerlessness and rage.”

2. Is Slavery’s Legacy in the Power Dynamics of Sports?

“What we’re seeing now is about value beyond money. It’s about power, history and the long quest for black self-determination.”

3. A.I. Is Learning From Humans. Many Humans.

“A.I., most people in the tech industry would tell you, is the future of their industry, and it is improving fast thanks to something called machine learning. But tech executives rarely discuss the labor-intensive process that goes into its creation.”

4. An Ice-Free Iceland Is Not a Joke

“Ok is the first Icelandic glacier to lose its status as a glacier. In the next 200 years, all our glaciers are expected to follow the same path.”

5. The Tired and Poor Who Make America Great

“Any society that starts down the path of marginalizing certain groups will eventually need new targets.”

6. We Have Ruined Childhood

“In many ways, America has given up on childhood, and on children.”

7. How Women Can Escape the Likability Trap

“Men, to be successful, just need to master and display masculine-coded traits; women, to be successful, need to master both those and some version of feminine-coded traits that do not undercut their perceived competence or authenticity. That’s a lot trickier.”

8. Finding Myself in My Mother’s Calendars

“We tend to think that calendars are about time, but I see now they are about much more — relationships (for whom will I set aside time?) and responsibilities (what events matter most and what is my role in them?).”

9. Is the Evening Sky Doomed?

“In the United States, east of the Mississippi there remain only two very small pockets of truly dark nighttime sky — one in northern Minnesota, the other in northern Maine — that allow us to see the night sky as our distant ancestors did.”

10. The Pain of Losing a Local Record Store

“Our emotional connection to stores, restaurants and other commercial spots whose loss we mourn has nothing to do with economics. These businesses give us the most pleasure because of their irrational exuberance, their daily chutzpah, which is what’s so humanizing about them.”

11. I’m a Black Feminist. I Think Call-Out Culture Is Toxic.

“Call-outs are justified to challenge provocateurs who deliberately hurt others, or for powerful people beyond our reach. Effectively criticizing such people is an important tactic for achieving justice. But most public shaming is horizontal and done by those who believe they have greater integrity or more sophisticated analyses. They become the self-appointed guardians of political purity.”

12. ‘90 Day Fiancé’: An Anti-Fantasy for Troubled Times

“Think of ‘90 Day Fiancé’ as the right show for a wrong time, a guilty pleasure that invites viewers to offload their confusion, mistrust and guilt around immigration onto the sometimes shirtless backs of a few messy foreign nationals and the Americans who debatably love them.”

13. The Magic of Swimming Holes

“The coast is a line, but a swimming hole is a dot on the map, a point in space and time.”

14. Portraits That Peer Under the Skin

“UV photography has become popular with young people looking for ways to scrutinize their bodies and monitor their health.”

15. Where Libraries are the Tourist Attractions

“They have rooftop gardens, public parks, verandas, play spaces, teen centers, movie theaters, gaming rooms, art galleries, restaurants and more. The new library in Aarhus, Denmark, has a massive gong that rings whenever a mother in a nearby hospital gives birth.”

16. What Should an Artist Save?

“Archives are unique to a person, to a government, to a period of history — no two are ever alike — and they are often available to browse but not necessarily open to the public like a library might be, nor are they reproduced or, in most cases, moved. Their purpose is almost more useful to grasp as an idea than as a practicality: Here lies everything we can’t remember but should never forget. Archives possess an inherent power — they are the authority on what or who will remain within the historical narrative.”

17. Everything Is Gamergate: When the Internet Chases You From Your Home + First They Came for the Black Feminists + How an Online Mob Created a Playbook for a Culture War + I Wish I Could Tell You It’s Gotten Better. It Hasn’t

“Five years ago, a series of vile events changed the way we fight online.”

18. The 1619 Project

“The 1619 Project is a major initiative from The New York Times observing the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to reframe the country’s history, understanding 1619 as our true founding, and placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are.”

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