Category Archives: new york times

Sunday 9.1.2019 New York Times Digest

1. Trump’s Twitter War on Spelling

“For people who care about the English language and how best to use it, President Trump’s continual flouting of even basic writing conventions is a serious matter indeed.”

2. A Desire to Be Free, and Not Just From Clothes

“The Nazis tried to root out nudism, and so did the Communists, briefly. To no avail.”

3. Malcolm Gladwell Goes Dark

“Lots of readers will scoff.”

4. South Korean Women Try Start-Ups

“Glass ceilings in a conservative country’s biggest companies have motivated a new generation of female entrepreneurs.”

5. How Technology Makes Jail Even Bleaker

“What was imagined as a supplement to in-person visitation has become the only option.”

6. To Drive Change, Look Past the Bottom Line

“You cannot solve issues like poverty or climate change or food security with the myopic focus on quarterly reporting.”

7. Founders of Successful Tech Companies Are Mostly Middle-Aged

“The researchers looked at start-ups established between 2007 and 2014 and analyzed the top 0.1 percent — defined as those with the fastest growth in employment and sales. The average age of those companies’ founders was 45.”

8. Dogs Will Fix Our Broken Democracy

“We need dogs, or at least we’re better off with them. They yank us outside of our narrowest selves. They force us to engage.”

9. How Paying for College Is Changing Middle-Class Life

“Parents make huge investments in education so that their children can maintain or achieve middle-class status, but in the process, they increase the risk of falling out of the middle class themselves.”

10. Can We Guarantee That Colleges Are Intellectually Diverse?

“The conservative boogeyman of the tenured atheist radical who brainwashes innocent undergraduates is more myth than reality. It’s true that academia has long leaned to the left, especially in the humanities and social sciences, and activist professors do exist. But they are a minority. Where professors more commonly fall down, I suspect, is in our failure to grasp how changes in the broader culture — like omnipresent social media and polarized, cruel politics — have made students reluctant to embrace the freedom that we like to believe our classrooms provide.”

11. No, Your Kid Shouldn’t Get a Gold Star for Reading

“Do not punish your child by making him read, not even if he shoves his baby cousin unceremoniously off the swing. But there’s a more surprising corollary: Do not reward your child for reading either.”

12. Can We Slow Down Time in the Age of TikTok?

“Students don’t just need to be brought into contact with new ideas, they also need the time for sustained inquiry, a kind of time outside of time where neither they nor their work is immediately held to the standards of productivity.”

13. The Private Lives of Protesters

“My ‘real’ life — the one where I show up to work every morning, have a drink in the evening with friends, hide underneath the covers reading a book at night or call a handyman for odd jobs — exists in a parallel universe, one in which the city isn’t burning. On the weekends, I enter that other world — the one in which I head out wearing safety gear, my hard hat and face mask in place — to witness the thousands marching and then go home to watch live feeds of the news late at night.”

14. What I Know About Famous Men’s Penises

“The descriptions never leave you. They fester in the mind like mold in typhoon season.”

15. White Filmmakers Addressing (or Avoiding) Whiteness Onscreen

“It’s time for white people to start helping one another see themselves in terms of their race and all the undeserved, inherited privilege that comes with it. It’s a self-examination that knows the difference between ‘woke’ and self-awareness, and leans toward the latter. It’s not easy work.”

16. When John Grisham Movies Were King

“Judging by his books (and their movie adaptations), Grisham — like Clinton and Gore — seemed to believe in a newer, more middle-of-the-road kind of Southern leadership, which balanced progressive attitudes about social justice with more regressive ideas about reducing crime and maintaining order.”

17. The Amazing Treasure Trove of Bill Cunningham

“He had an unerring eye for catching every fashion wave well before anyone else, and doing so not just on runways (though he loved designer fashion shows), but out there on the pavement of good old gritty Gotham.”

18. The Truth About Koch Industries

“A reader actually does learn not just about the growth of the power of Koch Industries, but also about that of corporate America’s as well.”

19. Emojis Are Language Too

“The internet isn’t just changing the way we use language, it’s changing the way we think about it. When the most visible medium for written English was print, our metaphor for language was the book: fixed, authoritative, slow to change. Now that most written English is informal and online, our collective metaphor is shifting to language as a network: fluid, collectively negotiated, constantly altered.”

20. Two New Books About Bugs

“Insects sit at the base of the food chain, fodder for innumerable other critters. They also pollinate dozens of vital food crops. One survey estimated that insects contribute nearly $577 billion to the world economy through agricultural activity.”

21. Letter of Recommendation: Collecting One Book

“To collect a single book — to follow it through generations and across borders, to consider the forms and languages in which other readers have presented it — is to commit your attention to its legacy. If you’re patient, the patterns that emerge are worth the wait.”

22. How to Organize a Walkout

“Know your colleagues; build trust; get together to articulate common concerns and a shared vision of change. Avoid detection by doing these things in person or over encrypted messenger apps like Signal. Organizing a robust worker movement can take years.”

23. Where Does Affirmative Action Leave Asian-Americans?

“Are Asians actually minorities? And if diversity — whatever that means — is the goal of affirmative action, how many Asians does a school really want on campus?”

Sunday 8.25.2019 New York Times Digest

1. Summer on the Swollen Great Lakes

“Long term, I don’t know how anybody along the lakeshore deals with it.”

2. Apple’s Watch Is Smarter, but My Casio Keeps Getting the Job Done

“In this era of rampant planned obsolescence, the Casio watch remains a remarkable outlier: a once-advanced device that has been available for a quarter-century and still does exactly what it was designed to do.”

3. Many Are Abandoning Facebook. These People Have the Opposite Problem.

“While many users are abandoning Facebook, fed up with what seems like a never-ending series of privacy violations, a small cohort find themselves in the opposite position. They’ve been kicked off the platform, and no matter how hard they try — and they try really, really hard — they can’t get back on.”

4. A Glut of Pings Intruding on Your Vacation Getaway

“Unlike other interruptions, like those from a boss at work, which intrude despite our best efforts, alerts from a smart home are disruptions of our own making. We buy the equipment and set our phones to dole out constant reminders at the beach that responsibilities continue elsewhere. Rather than ask a neighbor to check on the house while we’re gone, as we might have done a decade ago, we take the burden with us.”

5. I Visited 47 Sites. Hundreds of Trackers Followed Me.

“This is happening every day, all the time, and the only reason we’re O.K. with it is that it’s happening behind the scenes, in the comfortable shadows. If we all had pictures like this, we might revolt.”

6. Seattle Has Figured Out How to End the War on Drugs

“In effect, Seattle is decriminalizing the use of hard drugs. It is relying less on the criminal justice toolbox to deal with hard drugs and more on the public health toolbox.”

7. Blame Economists for the Mess We’re In

“Accounts of the rise of inequality often take a fatalistic view. The problem is described as a natural consequence of capitalism, or it is blamed on forces, like globalization or technological change, that are beyond the direct control of policymakers. But much of the fault lies in ourselves, in our collective decision to embrace policies that prioritized efficiency and encouraged the concentration of wealth, and to neglect policies that equalized opportunity and distributed rewards. The rise of economics is a primary reason for the rise of inequality.”

8. How ‘Sesame Street’ Started a Musical Revolution

“Long before inclusion was a curriculum goal, ‘Sesame Street’ made a point to showcase Afro-Caribbean rhythms, operatic powerhouses, Latin beats, Broadway showstoppers and bebop alongside its notably diverse cast.”

9. Why Doesn’t Anyone Want to Live in This Perfect Place?

“Fifty years ago, just as gay liberation movements swept cities around the world, some lesbians began to leave them. The women decamped to rural areas where they could collectively purchase property and build communities from scratch. They erected outhouses, laid pipelines and set up chicken coops. In the process, many found romance. Membership grew by word of mouth, and eventually a directory of womyn’s lands was compiled and passed between communities, creating a social network of potential friends and partners.”

10. Why Sexually Transmitted Infections Can’t Shake Their Stigma

“50 percent of sexually active people will have at least one S.T.I. by age 25.”

11. As American as Deconstructed Potpie

“Welcome to the hipsterfied diner. Same look and vibe as the classic steel original, but the food has been upgraded to reflect current tastes.”

12. In Southern Appalachia, Searching for the ‘Big Bang’ of Country Music

“While the rest of America was roaring to jazz during the ’20s, in a small corner of the South, where back roads snake through early-morning mist and porches are used for melody-making as much as sitting in rocking chairs, another form of music was quietly taking root. In the heart of southern Appalachia, at the convergence of northeast Tennessee and southwest Virginia, a set of early recording sessions, conducted by a New York City record producer over two epoch-making weeks in the summer of 1927, would catapult the careers of the Carter Family from Virginia, the ‘first family of country music,’ and the Mississippi singer and songwriter Jimmie Rodgers, who would become known as ‘the father of country music.’”

13. Can the American West Be Saved?

“The ingredients of tragedy — here you have them.”

14. By the Book: Cathleen Schine

“Many years ago, as a 30-year-old, I attended a dinner party with a number of well-known New York writers. The talk was fast and witty and allusive and, self-conscious and self-absorbed as only a young person who does not understand that everyone suffers from impostor syndrome can be, I spent an excruciating evening among these very successful, older writers, trying not to spill my wine and wondering if I should pretend I had read The Bonfire of the Vanities and tell Tom Wolfe, who was sitting next to me, how much I liked it. I did not, which is a good thing, because I realized when I got home that Tom Wolfe sitting next to me was actually Gay Talese. I have avoided literary dinner parties ever since.”

15. How the Department of Defense Bankrolled Silicon Valley

“It took a whole lot of Defense Department dollars to transform the region.”

16. Reading the Hidden Racial Life of American Fiction

“Literary white flight — into imagined worlds from which black people and the urgent questions their presence begs have been absented — is no less a matter of power.”

17. Why Do Politicians Blame ‘Cosmopolitans’ for Local Problems?

“Actual cosmopolitans typically agree that cosmopolitanism works best when it’s rooted.”

18. Talk: James Ellroy

“This is the great pianist Glenn Gould on the great composer Richard Strauss. ‘The great thing about the music of Richard Strauss is that … it presents to us an example of the man who makes richer his own time for not being of it, who speaks for all generations by being of none. It is an ultimate argument of individuality, an argument that a man can create his own synthesis of time without being bound by the conformities that time imposes.’ That says it all.”

19. How Many Steps Should You Take a Day?

“She found that increasing your average step count by even a small amount reduced your risk of mortality.”

20. Neil Young’s Lonely Quest to Save Music

“We are poisoning ourselves with degraded sound, he believes, the same way that Monsanto is poisoning our food with genetically engineered seeds. The development of our brains is led by our senses; take away too many of the necessary cues, and we are trapped inside a room with no doors or windows. Substituting smoothed-out algorithms for the contingent complexity of biological existence is bad for us, Young thinks. He doesn’t care much about being called a crank.”

21. Did Venus Williams Ever Get Her Due?

“Venus was first.”

22. The Big Business of Scavenging in Postindustrial America

“According to the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), the world’s premier recyclers’ trade association, the scrap industry as a whole — which includes processors of plastics, paper, glass, rubber and textiles — employs 531,500 people. That exceeds the number of Americans who work as computer programmers, web developers, chemical engineers and biomedical engineers combined.”

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.”

Sunday 8.11.2019 New York Times Digest

1. What Makes an American?

“The classic version of Americanization is called straight-line assimilation. It’s a three-generation tale as central to America’s mythology as the Boston Tea Party: The immigrants struggle amid poverty and bias; their children awkwardly juggle two cultures; the third generation completes the rise, with a white-collar job and a house in the suburbs. The story imparts two lessons: The descendants of immigrants advance and do so by blending in.”

2. A Common Trait Among Mass Killers: Hatred Toward Women

“The motivations of men who commit mass shootings are often muddled, complex or unknown. But one common thread that connects many of them — other than access to powerful firearms — is a history of hating women, assaulting wives, girlfriends and female family members, or sharing misogynistic views online, researchers say.”

3. Can Britain’s Top Bookseller Save Barnes & Noble?

“If a store is charming and addictive enough […] buying a book there isn’t just more pleasant. The book itself is better than the same book bought online.”

4. Could Your House Be an Instagram Star?

“Free platforms like Instagram make it possible for anyone to show the world her living room, and potentially profit from it by promoting products.”

5. After El Paso

“Citizenship, it turns out, is an illusory shield. In the eyes of that gunman, I am not American but an invader, an instigator.”

6. Parlez-Vous Anglais? Yes, of Course.

“What does it mean for Brits and Americans when everyone from Dutch teenagers to Romanian hackers has mastered our mother tongue?”

7. Are We Living in a Computer Simulation? Let’s Not Find Out

“If our universe has been created by an advanced civilization for research purposes, then it is reasonable to assume that it is crucial to the researchers that we don’t find out that we’re in a simulation. If we were to prove that we live inside a simulation, this could cause our creators to terminate the simulation — to destroy our world.”

8. The Last Great American Novelist

“Is she the last of the species? The last American novelist who made novels seem essential to an educated person’s understanding of her country?”

9. In Praise of Online Dating

“I am nevertheless here to offer a defense of online dating, not necessarily as a tool for finding a partner — I have no idea if the internet will ever yield me true love — but rather as a world-enlarging enterprise, and a means of rebuilding one’s self in the wake of separation.”

10. A Pop-Culture Glossary for Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood

“Here’s a glossary to sort out the real references from the fake ones.”

11. Reality Is Starting to Feel Overrated

“The movies have gone from showing us things we’ve never seen before and convincing us it’s all real to showing us things we have seen before and convincing us it’s not real.”

12. When Did Self-Help Become Self-Care?

“If self-help is about fixing something, self-care thinks you’re already great.”

13. Why Aren’t We Talking About LinkedIn?

“Considering its size and social footprint, LinkedIn has been a notably minor character in major narratives about the hazards of social media. The site hasn’t proved especially useful for mainstreaming disinformation, for example, nor is it an obvious staging ground for organized harassment campaigns. It is unique among its social media peers in that it has not spent the last five years in a state of wrenching crisis.”

14. The Hotel Historian Is at Your Service

“Part reference librarian, part gossip columnist, distinct from a concierge, the historian has become an increasingly popular figure in high-end hotels or inns with actual history.”

15. What Do the Sex Lives of Three Women Tell Us About Female Desire?

“Where is Barbara Stanwyck when we need her?”

16. Letter of Recommendation: Spam

“Although its origin in the family is distanced by time, buried beneath the experience of the lazy weekend brunches of the succeeding generations, Spam functions as an unchanging, replenishable touchstone.”

17. How to Tell Gunfire From Fireworks

“Don’t assume that what you’re hearing on New Year’s Eve or the Fourth of July are fireworks; the weeks around these holidays also see spikes in celebratory gunfire.”

18. Talk: Nicolas Cage

“The psychotic drowns where the mystic swims.”

Sunday 8.4.2019 New York Times Digest

1. It’s the Anniversary of Everything!

“Just what is the point of marking them? Is doing so essential somehow for society’s psychological well-being, an attempt to collectivize experience increasingly diffused by the distractions of the internet? Or just more chances for corporations to sell us stuff?”

2. Across Farms, Illness Sleuths Hit Brick Wall

“The surge in drug-resistant infections is one of the world’s most ominous health threats, and public health authorities say one of the biggest causes is farmers who dose millions of pigs, cows and chickens with antibiotics to keep them healthy — sometimes in crowded conditions before slaughter.”

3. Japan’s Women Opt Out of Marriage

“Not surprisingly, the number of births in Japan — a country where few people have children out of wedlock — is also tumbling. Last year, the number of babies born in the country fell to the lowest level since at least 1899, when record-keeping began.”

4. Will the Millennials Save Playboy?

“In the office, members of the staff use terms like ‘intersectionality,’ ‘sex positivity,’ ‘privileging’ and ‘lived experience’ to describe their editorial vision — and tout their feminist credentials.”

5. How Phones Made the World Your Office, Like It or Not

“The telephone began to pervade our lives at the end of the 19th century, and then … it became our lives. Cellphones were a significant inflection point. They made it possible for us to be available at virtually any moment, which was so extraordinary that most of us tacitly accepted that we should be available at virtually any moment.”

6. The Nuns Who Bought and Sold Human Beings

“Nearly all of the orders of Catholic sisters established by the late 1820s owned slaves.”

7. The Artificial Womb Revolution

“There are of course other ethical issues to consider.”

8. Abortion Pills Are Everywhere

“When something that is difficult to get offline becomes easy to get online, big changes are afoot.”

9. Tracy Flick Deserves Much Better

“When Election was first released, it was recognized as a clever satire of American life. Twenty years later, the satire, and the political allegory, seem much darker and deeper.”

10. When Rape Onscreen Is Directed by a Woman

“We shouldn’t turn away from these things.”

11. Facing a Hobby’s Brutal Side

“Mr. Wehrle described board games as ‘little sympathy engines’ because players directly embody a role. Designers should question whom they have players sympathize with, and why.”

12. Is It Time for a Sleep Divorce?

“Women are more likely to be disturbed by the man’s presence in bed than men by a woman.”

13. There’s a State Park Waiting for You

“You never know what you are going to find.”

14. What We’re Reading

Mystery Train is more than rock criticism. It explores the meaning of America through rock ‘n’ roll.”

15. Born Identity

“Social media moves personal milestones, like expecting a child, into the public realm, which pushes people to mark them with ever more elaborate announcements. Proposals and weddings, too, have snowballed into performative spectacles. Tellingly, the visual language of the gender reveal mimics the escalating drama of reality-television finales — as though there are two genders competing to be born, but only one will be revealed as America’s Next Top Baby.”

16. How to Thwart Facial Recognition

“The first is to disappear: go offline and off the grid.… the second option … to flood the system with weird, incongruous data. Wear someone else’s likeness or lend out your own.”

Sunday 7.28.2019 New York Times Digest

1. The Mosquitoes Are Coming for Us

“Mosquitoes are our apex predator, the deadliest hunter of human beings on the planet. A swarming army of 100 trillion or more mosquitoes patrols nearly every inch of the globe, killing about 700,000 people annually.”

2. Is Peak TV Really a Bonanza for Female Comics?

“The economics of streaming are starting to resemble traditional broadcast television more than most highbrow viewers realize.”

3. To Fight ‘McMansions,’ One Protester Spoils the View (With Himself)

“Seven days a week, Jim Halbrook stands outside a 12-home development on Bainbridge Island, Wash., holding sign decrying the environmental impact of big homes, or ‘McMansions.’”

4. Who Owns Theodore Roosevelt?

“Like a handful of other figures in American history — Washington, Lincoln, King — Roosevelt inspires admiration across the political spectrum, in part because his own politics are so hard to place. Through his career and his voluminous writings, he can appear as a reformer, a nativist, an imperialist, a trustbuster, a conservative and a progressive — often at the same time.”

5. It’s Not Just a Chemical Imbalance

“Black-and-white narratives of psychopathology neglect the tremendous psychological impacts of social and material circumstance: access to the basics of survival; the burdens of intergenerational trauma and insufficient social support systems; the existential gut punch of pervasive injustice.”

6. Can This Ancient Greek Medicine Cure Humanity?

“Many indispensable medicines can be traced back to the earth’s forests and fields: another reason to protect and nurture them a whole lot better than we do.”

7. In Politics, Apologies Are for Losers

“An apology tended to decrease rather than to increase overall support for those who said or did things that many people consider offensive.”

8. Why We Call Things ‘Porn’

“Food porn is images of food, used for immediate pleasure, without your having to go out and buy the food, cook it or worry about the calories. Real estate porn is pictures of real estate, used for instant gratification, without your having to buy the house, clean it or take care of all that furniture. And so on.”

9. Has Robert Mapplethorpe’s Moment Passed?

“His sexually explicit images, once shocking, now look like clinical illustrations in a textbook on fetishes, while his glorifications of black men feed into old, odious stereotypes.”

10. Blue Note Records at 80 + A History of Blue Note Records in 15 Albums

“The name Blue Note Records calls to mind a once-regnant sound in jazz: the hard-bop of the 1950s and ’60s, with its springy four-beat swing rhythm, its spare-but-lush horn harmonies, its flinty, percussive piano playing. Imagine a smoky room with a horn player blowing fiercely over a strolling standup bass, and you’re hearing the Blue Note sound. Think of a modernist, cobalt-hued album cover, with blocky title text and a photo of a studious young musician hunkered over an instrument, and you’re envisioning the Blue Note look.”

11. Why Pop Culture Still Can’t Get Enough of Charles Manson + The Manson Murders: What to Read, Watch and Listen To

“At least one prestigious university offers a semester-long seminar on the murders.”

12. Why Do Women Love True Crime?

“Men, the statistics tell us, are involved in violent crime — as perpetrators and victims alike — in much larger numbers than women. When women are connected to crime, we’re much more likely to be victims or survivors. Perhaps our fascination with these stories stems in part from wanting to learn from them. If a woman escaped her attacker in this particular way, we think, perhaps I could too.”

13. What’s Meat Got to Do With It?

“Ultimately, these semantic squabbles are about marketing. They’re not being fought by consumers.”

14. Stage Right

“Trump and his proxies are constantly hitching the White House agenda to popular culture using the language of action movies.”

15. When You Wear Sunscreen, You’re Taking Part in a Safety Study

“All of us are taking part in toxicology studies, whether we like it — or know it — or not.”

16. The $60 Gadget That’s Changing Electronic Music

“Making something cheaper alters a tool’s potential. It makes it available to more people, and it changes the idea of the instrument, what it’s used for and who uses it. In other words: How an instrument is made — its means of production — influences the music it might be used to create.”

Sunday 7.21.2019 New York Times Digest

1. The Sublime Grandeur of Apollo 11

“What Apollo represents is not goodness but greatness, not moral progress but magnificence, a sublime example of human daring that our civilization hasn’t matched since. So to mark the anniversary by passing moral judgment on the past is a way of burying the appropriate response — which should be awe at what past Americans achieved, and regret that we have not matched such greatness since.”

2. Ed Dwight Was Set to Be the First Black Astronaut. Here’s Why That Never Happened.

“Two grand stories that America tells itself about the 1960s are the civil rights movement and the space race. They are mostly rendered as separate narratives, happening at the same time but on different courses. In the 5-foot-4 figure of Ed Dwight, they came together for a transitory moment.”

3. Using Race for Gain

“Over decades in business, entertainment and now politics, Mr. Trump has approached America’s racial, ethnic and religious divisions opportunistically, not as the nation’s wounds to be healed but as openings to achieve his goals, whether they be ratings, fame, money or power, without regard for adverse consequences.”

4. Safe Deposit Boxes Aren’t Safe

“There are an estimated 25 million safe deposit boxes in America, and they operate in a legal gray zone within the highly regulated banking industry. There are no federal laws governing the boxes; no rules require banks to compensate customers if their property is stolen or destroyed.”

5. When Corporate Lobbies Started to Look Like Museum Galleries

“Big business loves to flash cultural credentials.”

6. Tuition-Free College Could Cost Less Than You Think

“The long-term payoff of these policies could be enormous. Considerable research shows that public and private benefits greatly exceed the costs when students are nudged toward obtaining a college degree. Yet at the moment, only 37 percent of Americans between the ages of 25 and 29 have a four-year college degree, and completion rates are lower for poorer students.”

7. Science Fiction Sent Man to the Moon

“Works of fiction aren’t particularly known for having influenced historical events. Yet some foundational early rocket science, embedded deep within the developmental history of the Saturn 5 — the towering, five-stage rocket that took Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins to the moon 50 years ago this week — was paid for by the budget of the first science fiction film to envision just such a voyage in realistic terms.”

8. The Joy of Hatred

“There’s simply no way to understand the energy of the event — its hatred and its pleasures — without looking to our history of communal racial violence and the ways in which Americans have used racial others, whether native-born or new arrivals, as scapegoats for their lost power, low status or nonexistent prosperity.”

9. The Ridiculous Fantasy of a ‘No Drama’ Relationship

“When heterosexual men say they’re looking for something ‘drama-free,’ I suspect they want something that doesn’t exist: a problem-free partnership with someone who has no life experience. Are they looking for a woman who never gets angry or afraid or sad, who never worries about her family or struggles in her job? Who would want to be with such a person?”

10. FaceApp and the Savage Shock of Aging

“FaceApp proves that we cannot resist the temptation to peek at our decline.”

11. The Lessons of a Hideous Forest

“Organic material goes quickly: cardboard in three months, wood in up to three years, a pair of wool socks in up to five. A plastic shopping bag may take 20 years; a plastic cup, 50. Major industrial materials will be there for much longer: An aluminum can is with us for 200 years, a glass bottle for 500, a plastic bottle for 700, and a Styrofoam container for a millennium. The forest does not know this. It does not think. It just acts.”

12. State and Local Taxes Are Worsening Inequality

“The poor pay taxes at higher rates in 45 of the 50 states.”

13. The App That Tucks Me In at Night

“Internet culture is often described as hyper-visual, but it has also cracked open new relationships to sound.”

14. The Rise of the Spice Girls Generation

“The Spice Girls were adult performers producing adult music that both appealed and was marketed primarily to children.”

15. Does This Red Cap Make Me Look MAGA?

“Some sports fans … have become reluctant to wear their favorite teams’ red headwear, or have even stopped wearing it altogether, because they don’t want people to think they’re wearing one of the MAGA hats, which are also red.”

16. Acts of Kindness, and the Underlying Rot

“Individual acts of kindness don’t solve systemic problems — in fact, they can do harm by glossing over deeper issues.”

17. Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders

“After Spain gave Cuba its independence and also turned over Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines to its enemy, the United States was never ignored again. The danger for Roosevelt was that the war might conceivably have had the opposite effect on his own trajectory.”

18. California and Water

“When the inevitable multiyear droughts set in, farmers must rely on excessive groundwater pumping to irrigate those endlessly expanding acres of fruit and nut trees, endangering the vast underground aquifer that is arguably the state’s most valuable natural resource.”

19. Beware the Writer as Houseguest

“When Hans Christian Andersen stayed with Charles Dickens three weeks longer than originally planned, their friendship never recovered.”

20. The Making of ‘1984’

“Socialists, libertarians, liberals and conservatives alike have vied to remake him in their own image and claim his authority. Orwell’s contested legacy may be rooted partly in his self-divisions. He was a socialist intellectual who hated socialists and intellectuals; an alienated soul who ‘lionized the common man,’ as Lynskey puts it. Still, the filial (and often proprietary) attachment that Orwell’s work tends to evoke in his admirers points to something else: the morally urgent yet highly companionable nature of his writing, which can leave one with the feeling of having been directly addressed by a mind worthy of emulation.”

21. How America Got to ‘Zero Tolerance’ on Immigration: The Inside Story

“His presidency has provided a remarkable opportunity for more junior, or less distinguished, bureaucracy climbers to ascend to heights of government that they might not otherwise have reached anytime soon, if ever. But doing so has required them to acquiesce to, and often execute, policies that both Democratic and Republican administrations previously considered beyond the pale.”