Sunday 1.19.2020 New York Times Digest

1. The Secretive Company That Might End Privacy as We Know It

“Mr. Ton-That demonstrated the app on himself. He took a selfie and uploaded it. The app pulled up 23 photos of him. In one, he is shirtless and lighting a cigarette while covered in what looks like blood. Mr. Ton-That then took my photo with the app. The ‘software bug’ had been fixed, and now my photo returned numerous results, dating back a decade, including photos of myself that I had never seen before.”

2. This Is the Guy Who’s Taking Away the Likes

“What happens when a technology puts the idea of cool in the palm of our hand, tantalizing and taunting us at all hours?”

3. Why Mothers’ Choices About Work and Family Often Feel Like No Choice at All

“‘Choice’ has become the favorite term in family policy. Yet many parents — particularly women — feel their decisions about work and family are made within such constraints that they have little choice at all.”

4. Injustice on Repeat

“In my experience, those who argue that the systems of mass incarceration and mass deportation simply reflect sincere (but misguided) efforts to address the real harms caused by crime, or the real challenges created by surges in immigration, tend to underestimate the corrupting influence of white supremacy whenever black and brown people are perceived to be the problem.”

5. What Americans Don’t Understand About China’s Power

“While China takes more steps forward than backward, the United States is moving slowly in reverse.”

6. How Did Americans Lose Faith in Everything?

“What stands out about our era in particular is a distinct kind of institutional dereliction — a failure even to attempt to form trustworthy people, and a tendency to think of institutions not as molds of character and behavior but as platforms for performance and prominence.”

7. How the ‘Sharing’ Economy Erodes Both Privacy and Trust

“The proliferation of digital surveillance software is making the elimination of unmonitored, unaccountable moments an expected part of a business’s service. Without private spaces, where life occurs beyond our vision or knowledge, there is no need for trust. In an open-plan world, trustworthiness isn’t so much a moral quality as a condition of not having to be trusted at all.”

8. The Bearable Whiteness of Little Women

“There is a fine line between a piece of art that acknowledges it is about the worldview of a very specific person — in the case of Little Women, that of a white girl in Massachusetts, raised in an abolitionist family during the Civil War — and a piece of art that declares that this worldview is the only one that matters and is fatally incurious about all others.”

9. What It’s Like to Use Facebook When You’re Blind

“Every site on the internet should use facial recognition. This would allow blind and low-vision users full entry to everything that the web has to offer.”

10. Ed Ruscha Up and Went Home

“Recent history has rendered certain aspects of Mr. Ruscha’s career into dark portents, cataclysmic visions of a decadent culture that can’t help but devour itself.”

11. Who’s Watching Your Porch?

“In Ring, Amazon has something like a self-marketing machine: Amazon customers using Amazon cameras to watch Amazon contractors deliver Amazon packages.”

12. Dog the Bounty Hunter Is Hunting Alone

“When Dog’s mother died in 1995, he spent a year smoking crack, he said. Then he sobered up and started dating Ms. Chapman. They had met in 1986 when he posted her bond after she shoplifted a lemon. They finally married in 2006 — we saw it in Season 3 of ‘Dog the Bounty Hunter.’”

13. The New Generation of Self-Created Utopias

“The United States has been a laboratory for experiments in alternative living since its founding. The English Puritans and Pilgrims who, wishing to escape the oppression and persecution of the Church of England, fled to America in the early 17th century to create smaller societies where they could live according to their faith were followed, notably, by the Transcendentalists in 1830s New England, who sought to distance themselves from the ruthlessness of the Industrial Revolution and instead lead a life driven by Romantic ideals.”

14. Idle Hands

“In the past, humans programmed robots to mimic human behavior, and so robots could most easily do routine, repeatable tasks that were easily explained. That’s meant automation has mostly impacted middle-skill jobs, while unpredictable ones, like building houses or diagnosing diseases, have been relatively unaffected. But now, Susskind argues, people working at the frontiers of artificial intelligence are teaching machines to draw on vast amounts of processing power and data to solve problems in ways humans couldn’t.”

15. How to Scale a Chain-Link Fence

“Give yourself six months to develop upper-body musculature by doing regular push-ups, situps, biceps curls and triceps dips using a chair. Next, find a fence to practice on.”

16. The Sex Choreographer

“The form’s technical aspects are most similar to those of fight choreography, which also revolves around deconstructing movement and engineering a look of passion and spontaneity between two bodies.”

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