Sunday 11.24.2019 New York Times Digest

1. Why Gratitude Is Wasted on Thanksgiving

“We’re supposed to gather, support one another and relax on that fourth Thursday of November. Yet on the other 364 days of the year — the ones when you might feel lonely, stressed at work, tempted to dishonesty or stinginess — pausing to cultivate a sense of gratitude can make a big difference.”

2. How Juul Hooked a Generation on Nicotine

“The company began hiring consultants to identify social media influencers with large followings on Instagram and Twitter to promote Juul. It pushed hashtags like #juul and #vaporized that the influencers used while showing images of themselves or other young people doing tricks with the device.”

3. Combating School Intolerance

“Given the rise in school shootings tied to far-right extremism, teachers — like law enforcement officials and parents — now face the difficult task of trying to identify which students risk being radicalized.”

4. Veterans Join Airlines in Pushback Against Conduct Unbecoming a Support Dog

“Some veterans and service dog organizations say the overuse of untrained dogs, pigs, rodents and amphibians — and, at least once, a small sloth — as emotional support companions has made it difficult for veterans to get acceptance for their properly trained service animals on airplanes and beyond.”

5. Imagine Being on Trial With Exonerating Evidence Trapped on Your Phone

“Law enforcement agencies get a new investigative technique — fingerprinting, DNA analysis, breathalyzer tests — and those representing the accused struggle to play catch-up. Developing the new technical expertise necessary to adequately defend their clients is a challenge. Not only do public defenders tend to be underfunded, law enforcement can monopolize the experts in the field and forbid them from working for the defense.”

6. Go Ahead, Eat Your Feelings

“Eating emotionally, which conventional wisdom says is dysfunctional and even pathological, is actually just a normal part of being human. We don’t turn to food in response to negative feelings because we’re broken or out of control, or because food is addictive. We do it because it’s one of many ways in which we (even the most balanced eaters) cope, and in the grand scheme of things, it’s a pretty harmless one.”

7. Our National Parks Are in Trouble

“Our parks were intended as havens from the stresses of the modern world and places where the nation’s natural and historic legacies would be preserved. But the world continues to close in on them.”

8. Social Media and the Populist Moment

“What’s wrong with conservatism has as much to do with old-media forces like talk radio and cable news, plus real-world isolation and disconnection, as it does with QAnon.”

9. The Life and Death of the Local Hardware Store

“Here we can see how an ideology of convenience is reshaping the economy. Ordering things like tape or bolts online is rarely cheaper or faster than popping down to the local hardware store — not to mention the wasteful packaging — but many of us do it anyhow. Clicking on a product from the comfort of your couch seems more convenient — and that impression of ease can have more influence on our behavior than better service, quicker acquisition and lower prices.”

10. The Real Cost of Tweeting About My Kids

“We wanted one kind of control, and didn’t reckon with the fact that we’d have to pay for it with another kind. We wanted to be able to interact with other people entirely in our own time, with people who make no demands on us. We wanted entry and exit to be painless. We understood from the start that this form of socializing — like an affair without physical contact — was shallower than the other, more demanding kind. We were prepared to accept that trade-off, but failed to grasp that we were trading away more than depth. We were also trading away a kind of control.”

11. Is There Anything We Can All Agree On? Yes: Dolly Parton

“A generation that’s grown up with Snapchat-filtered selfies and pop feminism seems to have an innate understanding that artifice doesn’t negate authenticity, or that a penchant for towering wigs and acrylic nails doesn’t prevent someone from being a songwriting genius.”

12. Inside the War for California’s Cannabis Churches

“Lawyers for cannabis churches are arguing that marijuana is a sacrament that must be dispensed by religious institutions to ensure that the sourcing and the blessing of the product meets their standards.”

13. The Men’s Cardigan Makes a Comeback

“The cardigan is as every bit as bad as you make it.”

14. How to Rebrand a Country

“Conflict and strife have receded, with infrastructure rebuilt and economies recovering. And through a combination of marketing, social media and development — and with the fading associations of discord that come with the passage of time — these three countries are now booming tourist destinations, topping travel rankings, bucket lists and flooding Instagram feeds.”

15. By the Book: Phoebe Waller-Bridge

“I wish more people would write from the point of view of tiny, witty animals.”

16. The Moms of TikTok Are Deeply Corny — and Gloriously Free

“Extreme ideologies tend to come full circle to adjoin their opposites, which is perhaps how we find ourselves in this era of relaxed, high-rise jeans and a surprising number of moms trending on TikTok.”

17. ‘Queen & Slim’ Could Be One of the Great Love Stories of All Time — if You Let It

“Lately I have come to the conclusion, and you may disagree, that pretty much every experience we have moves us either toward life or away from it. There are some things that suck the life out of you, that make you feel smaller and less human, that alienate you from yourself; they calcify your fear and carve a monument out of your emptiness. Then there are those that bring you closer to life, that grow in you the desire to create, to nurture, to see beautiful things and become them. This is the love that increases your attachment to people and animals, makes you smile at children or go outside to see the moon. Every experience is either life-affirming or life-denying.”

18. The Mister Rogers No One Saw

“If you make him out to be a saint, people might not know how hard he worked.”

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