Category Archives: new york times

Sunday 6.23.2019 New York Times Digest

1. Work Is Like Water

“Work, like the water I spend so much of my time in (or wishing I were in), quickly spreads and flows to fill spaces. Without the proper barriers to keep it in its place, water’s special qualities help it to find the path of least resistance, and before you know it, it has traveled into unwanted and unexpected spaces where it can erode and destabilize otherwise sound environments or structures.”

2. Who Gets to Own the West?

“Today, just 100 families own about 42 million acres across the country, a 65,000-square-mile expanse, according to the Land Report, a magazine that tracks large purchases. Researchers at the magazine have found that the amount of land owned by those 100 families has jumped 50 percent since 2007.”

3. Antitrust Regulators Size Up Tech Giants

“When Americans fear the future, they turn to antitrust action.”

4. Black People’s Land Was Stolen

“The history of black land-taking should be at the center of the reparations debate, not only because the scale of the loss was so great but also because it forces us to confront the uncomfortable truth that American prosperity has not bypassed black Americans so much as it has come directly at their expense.”

5. Stonewall and the Myth of Self-Deliverance

“A minority group like the L.G.B.T. population (which by most estimates accounts for a percentage of the population in the low single digits) isn’t a colony that can rise up and overthrow the forces of oppression on its own. It needs the help of other people who recognize the struggle for equality as a moral one, universally binding.”

6. What’s Killing Pacific Whales?

“Events like this are often the first warning sign that something may be seriously amiss below the waves.”

7. The Land Where the Internet Ends

“Activists have already created ‘dark sky reserves’ to protect wilderness from artificial light. In the future, might we also create ‘privacy reserves’ where we can go to escape the ubiquitous internet?”

8. When Pollution Is a Way of Life

“Three chemicals cause a large majority of the elevated cancer risk from air pollution around the country: chloroprene, ethylene oxide and formaldehyde.”

9. How Will the Movies (As We Know Them) Survive the Next 10 Years?

“I was at a bar with a friend who directs big movies, and while we were in line for the bathroom, he was saying that movie theaters were going to go away. He was like, ‘Kids don’t watch movies, they watch YouTube.’ Which I thought was crazy. So he goes, ‘Watch this.’ There was a girl in front of us in line, and he said, ‘Hey, excuse me, what’s your favorite movie?’ And she said, ‘I don’t watch movies.’ Just randomly, he picked someone — and she was like 25, she wasn’t a child or anything. We were like, ‘Well, do any of your friends watch movies?’ And she said, ‘Not really.’”

10. Fifty Years Ago We Landed on the Moon. Why Should We Care Now?

“The lasting legacy of the voyage to the moon lies in the wonder of discovery, the joy of knowledge, not the gee-whizzery of machinery but the wisdom of beauty and the power of humility. A single photograph, the photograph of Earth taken from space by William Anders, on Apollo 8, in 1968, served as an icon for the entire environmental movement. People who’ve seen the Earth from space, not in a photograph but in real life, pretty much all report the same thing.”

11. Judge Judy Is Still Judging You

“Last year, Sheindlin was named the country’s highest-paid television host, making $47 million a year for 52 days of filming, or about two days a week every other week. Every three years, Sheindlin has dinner at the Grill on the Alley, in Beverly Hills, with the president of CBS Television Distribution to discuss her contract. Sheindlin writes down the salary she wants, seals it in an envelope and presents it at the end of the meal. Once, a president presented her with his own envelope, which she refused to open: ‘This isn’t a negotiation,’ she told him.”

Sunday 6.16.2019 New York Times Digest

1. Canada Learns to Swagger

“At a time when the news is filled with racism and nationalism, here we were, with all our differences, celebrating like family. Never had I felt more connected to our flag, to this country. It was as though with this victory, a city — and a country — had found its identity.”

2. The Exposure of an Unspeakable Secret

“Discovering Nazi activity in corporate history is a somewhat regular occurrence in the country, and the crimes of the Reimanns were not as severe as, for example, those of the many larger companies with ties to death camps and the expropriation of Jewish businesses. But JAB’s portfolio of sunny coffee-and-doughnut brands in the United States made the revelations a global news story.”

3. How to Win in the Winner-Take-All Economy

“Even for those who never show up for a job at a mega-corporation, many of the traits it takes to succeed within them are becoming essential in other settings, including smaller companies, government and the nonprofit world.”

4. Talking to a Black Woman Beekeeper About the American Ideal

“Some of the people who are winning are the loneliest, most scared and unhappy people.”

5. Black Bodies, Green Spaces

“More than 30 years into the movement for environmental justice, and more than a decade into a global, multiracial campaign led by groups like 350.org to raise awareness about climate change and push governments into action, many Americans still do not associate black people with environmental engagement. But this notion of African-Americans existing apart from natural environments is more than just a contemporary stereotype ripe for satire; it all but ignores crucial aspects of American experience. The truth is that African-Americans’ relationship to the environment is complicated and runs deep.”

6. How to End a Friendship

“There’s no accounting for a friendship’s demise. The atmosphere changes; a sense of duty creeps in. Conversations that were once freewheeling shift into that less than enjoyable territory of ‘catching up.’ Soon you realize social media is the only thing keeping a no-longer-friendship on life support.”

7. Why Can’t Everyone Get A’s?

“We have been taught to respond with suspicion whenever all members of any group are successful. That’s true even when we have no reason to believe that corners have been cut. In America, excellence is regarded as a scarce commodity. Success doesn’t count unless it is attained by only a few.”

8. How Country Music Explains America’s Divided History

“Liberals may think that country music is hopelessly red, and conservatives may believe it is inexorably nationalistic, but the genre, like the Republic itself, has been more subtle and challenging.”

9. How Should Christians Have Sex?

“All creation, including human bodies, by grace reveals deeper spiritual truth. In other words, matter matters. So when a person engages another person sexually, Christians would say, it’s not ‘just’ bodies enacting natural evolutionary urges but also an encounter with another soul. To reassert this truth feels embarrassingly retrograde and precious by today’s standards. But even the nonreligious attest that in sex, something ‘more’ is happening, however shrouded that more might be.”

10. Can Dads Have It All?

“When you add up housework, paid work and child care, married fathers today are doing slightly more work than married mothers.”

11. Hollywood Reconsiders the Bad Female Boss

“If women wish to seize power, they must compete ruthlessly with one another, but if they want to be seen as good feminists, they must act as if they are not in competition at all.”

12. The New Sobriety

“No longer do you have to feel left out or uncool for being sober. You maybe don’t even have to completely stop drinking alcoholic beverages?”

13. Happy Birthday! Just Don’t Open Your Inbox

“During birth months, weeks and days, digital and physical mailboxes can become congested with celebratory coupons, a supposed benefit of signing up for subscription lists and reward programs. But these can contribute to the vague feeling of malaise surrounding one’s birthday in the digital age, when greetings come easily, but perhaps not thoughtfully, thanks to automated calendar reminders.”

14. The Queen of Eating Shellfish Online

“Hundreds of thousands of people tune in each week to watch Bethany Gaskin binge-eat shellfish on YouTube […] The videos, produced in her Cincinnati home, have made her a millionaire.”

15. The Working Woman’s Handbook

“The workplace still isn’t equal. Learn to dodge the landmines, fight bias and not burn out in the process.”

16. By the Book: Elliot Ackerman

“What goes in comes out. So I try to read good books, to watch good films, to listen to good music.”

17. George Will’s Political Philosophy

“Restraint; prudence; skepticism; awe; responsibility and ease in modernity. All these virtues are to be found in Will’s very American variety of conservatism. And these reflections of a conservative disposition or sensibility save Will from some of the more abstract forms of ideology that his defense of natural rights implies. They inevitably cast a shadow on what passes for conservatism in the Republican Party today. Their values are domination; gut-thinking; cultishness; recklessness; fundamentalism; and the preference for raw power over letting things be.”

18. When Britney Spears Posts on Instagram, a Thousand Conspiracies Flower

“Spears is allowed to exist out of the public eye but only if she can prove her existence by sharing private videos of herself with the public.”

19. The Day the Music Burned

“It was the biggest disaster in the history of the music business.”

Sunday 6.9.2019 New York Times Digest

1. Canada Becomes a Basketball Factory

“Hockey remains Canada’s king, but basketball is its restive crown prince.”

2. Why the Philippines Is a Hoops Haven.

“In Tondo, a Manila slum, a fisherman, Joel Galigar, desperately tried to connect his TV antenna so he and his family could watch the game. Early-morning N.B.A. game watching is his nearly daily ritual. But after trying and failing to get the antenna adjusted, and finally relying on a neighbor who came to the rescue with a borrowed cable box, Galigar and his family of six watched the game in their barely standing tiny hut. Soon after the game began, neighbors started to crowd around the hut, leaning in to catch a glimpse of the game.”

3. Meet the Money Whisperer to the Super-Rich N.B.A. Elite

“Mr. McLean doesn’t negotiate his clients’ deals — he’s not an agent. His job is to grow every dollar that comes in and track every dollar that goes out. He’s part investor, part butler, a C.F.O. and a golf buddy, a sports therapist and, when necessary, the disapproving dad.”

4. For These Women, a FIRE That Burns Too Male and Too White

“Frustrated by the lack of diversity in the FIRE world, Mrs. Saunders and her husband, Julien, started their own personal finance blog in 2015, Rich & Regular. Today, she is part of a rapidly growing cohort of women who are forging their own FIRE community. While many of them chronicle their progress on the internet, most do so anonymously, wary of risking future job or salary prospects (or a firing of a less desirable kind) if they publicize their plans to cut their careers short. Like Mrs. Saunders, they tend to be the breadwinners in their families. But unlike the FIRE archetype, most of them don’t make six figures, work in tech or want to forgo the occasional bottle of good wine.”

5. The Anti-College Is on the Rise

“There are alternative colleges that replace traditional courses with personalized study; gap-year programs that combine quasi-monastic retreats with world travel; summer seminars devoted to clearing trails and reading philosophy. They aim to prove that it is possible to cultivate moral and existential self-confidence, without the Christian foundation that grounded Western universities until the mid-20th century. They seek to push back against the materialism and individualism that have saturated the secular left and right, all at an affordable price. It’s a tall order.”

6. The Roots of Big Tech Run Disturbingly Deep

“‘Big tech’ companies like Google and Facebook are, in reality, the products of hundreds of mergers.”

7. The Business of Health Care Depends on Exploiting Doctors and Nurses

“Primary-care doctors spend nearly two hours typing into the E.M.R. [electronic medical record] for every one hour of direct patient care.”

8. Maybe We’re Not Doomed After All

“We don’t need to assume an attitude of fear and dread. Our scientific progress is a story of technological optimism, defined by an extraordinary sense of capability.”

9. These Are the Seeds of a Revolution

“Thanks to a series of mergers and acquisitions over the last few years, four multinational agrochemical firms — Corteva, ChemChina, Bayer and BASF — now control over 60 percent of global seed sales.”

10. When Does Life Begin Again?

“The idea that fertility clinics should be allowed to end ‘life’ in the pursuit of resolving infertility is wholly illogical; the notion that an in-custody stillbirth at 27 weeks is not a death, but that an abortion at six or eight weeks is a murder punishable by up to 99 years in prison, requires wild feats of mental jujitsu.”

11. Smash the Wellness Industry

“At its core, ‘wellness’ is about weight loss. It demonizes calorically dense and delicious foods, preserving a vicious fallacy: Thin is healthy and healthy is thin.”

12. Hootie & the Blowfish, Great American Rock Band (Yes, Really)

“At its peak, Hootie & the Blowfish was a genuinely excellent band. Earthen, soothing, a little ragged. And also deft, flexible and unflashily skilled. It splendidly blended the Southern college rock of the late 1980s (the dBs, R.E.M.) with shades of vintage soul, bluegrass, blues and more, rendering it all with omnivorous-bar-band acuity. In the gap between late grunge and the commercial rise of hip-hop and rap-rock, Hootie was a balm.”

13. How Jim Jarmusch Made an All-Star Indie Zombie Movie

“The reason everybody kind of drops things to work with him is — he’s an example of, you can be true to your convictions and still make something. You can know what to compromise on and what not to. What’s the most authentic, what’s truthful, his way of working — he’ll never compromise that.”

14. They See It. They Like It. They Want It. They Rent It.

“Some would say we’re living in the Gilded Age of renting.”

15. If Seeing the World Helps Ruin It, Should We Stay Home?

“Each additional metric ton of carbon dioxide or its equivalent — your share of the emissions on a cross-country flight one-way from New York to Los Angeles — shrinks the summer sea ice cover by 3 square meters, or 32 square feet.”

16. Q & A: Dolly Parton

“I know how to live on the road. I know how to travel.”

17. By the Book: James Ellroy

“My pad is built around my books. I’ve got floor-to-ceiling, midcentury-modern style shelves in my front hallway and living room. Dramatic lighting and framed dust jackets from my own books enhance the stark effect. I separate the books into fiction and nonfiction, and keep them rigorously alphabetized. Spines out, always. Dust jackets encased in plastic sheaths.”

18. Range

“Breadth is the ally of depth, not its enemy. In the most rewarding domains of life, generalists are better positioned than specialists to excel.”

19. Letter of Recommendation: Washing Dishes

“We still frame the ordinary as something that exists only for the thing beyond it, as a hazard to be optimized away instead of an organism to be nurtured and interacted with.”

20. Are These Teenagers Really Running a Presidential Campaign? Yes. (Maybe.)

“His campaign represents the most absurd form of a legitimate movement on the left that feels little obligation to the Democratic Party. Among this young, emergent class of leftists, change is enacted through local organizing efforts, and discourse tends to play out on Twitter, where news, and the organizations that produce it, are subject to daily systemic critique. The rise of leftist discourse on Twitter has helped to hone a new political humor that undergirds the @MikeGravel campaign. The target of this humor is not President Trump but rather what the far left sees as a defeatist and servile center-left that values compromise over belief and denigrates the social reforms beloved by the very same voters it seeks.”

Sunday 6.2.2019 New York Times Digest

1. Why Isn’t Instagram More Witty?

“Just type it in a script-y font, slap it over a sunset and post it on your feed. It doesn’t matter if you confuse Sun Tzu with Coco Chanel, or Coco Chanel with Abraham Lincoln. The core meaning won’t change. And we get to pretend that we sifted through the coal mines of a writer’s oeuvre to find this shining diamond, that we live by this undeniable truth.”

2. How Spike Lee Spends His Sundays

“I wake up, brush my teeth, take a shower, put my clothes on, and I go to work. It’s not like for me Sunday is the Sabbath. I got work to do.”

3. What Truck Drivers Think About Autonomous Trucking

“Everything you own comes off a truck.”

4. Corner Office: Reid Hoffman

“You can learn the technical skills, what a coding mind-set is, what data structures look like. But understanding — here is the way the world could be, here is the theory of human nature that you’re playing into in order to create that world, and here is that kind of combination of psychology, sociology and economics together with what’s possible in technology — that combination was enabled much more by philosophical thinking.”

5. A Gun Killed My Son. So Why Do I Want to Own One?

“I was mastering the instrument of my suffering.”

6. The Rough Riders’ Guide to World Domination

“America’s righteousness can be blinding; the virtue of the cause prevents the country from seeing the challenge clearly, whether it is rebuilding Cuba or defeating the Taliban. There is a lot to say for America’s commitment to use its power for the good of the world, but also a need to understand its limits — a lesson that begins with Colbert and the Rough Riders.”

7. We Don’t Need to Be Saved From Making Smoothies

“The premise that the Prepared Food Industrial Complex is based on is wrong on every level. Cooking is not an annoying, worthless time-suck. It’s therapy.”

8. Next Out of Prince’s Vaults

“These songs are like his children — he would say that very often. He was the ultimate social worker.”

9. These Millennials Got New Roommates. They’re Nuns.

“For small pockets of the young, urban and progressive, the convent is calling. Their radical politics took them all the way around and back to the Catholic Church.”

10. What if Instagram Got Rid of Likes?

“That Instagram can feel ‘pressurized’ and trigger status anxiety is hard to dispute; even Twitter’s most satisfied customers would admit that it can become ‘toxic.’ But to conclude that these men are merely late to engage with the most obvious (and obviously correct) of their users’ critiques would be a misunderstanding. Their problems aren’t our problems. Their job, as ever, is to get people to use the services. Metrics helped them do this job for a while, showing new users what to aim for and then reminding them constantly what success looks like. This was during the growth phase, for both users and the new platforms they were joining. Their priorities seemed aligned. Now, that era is passing.”

11. Summer Reading

“The season of beach days and barbecues, kayaking and catnapping, hammocks and homemade popsicles. Maybe you’ll be headed to the lake or a tucked-away cottage, even a tent pitched in the backyard. Wherever you go, go prepared. Sunscreen is a must. Bottles of water essential. And never, ever forget to bring a book.”

12. The World According to John Waters

“You never make much money on the projects you think up when you’re young — the ones that are the most original, the ones that get you noticed. No, you cash in later, once you’ve made a name for yourself and begin to fail.”

13. Pet Walruses, Hidden Bacon and Other Violations of Actual U.S. Law

“Why not treat yourself to a crime spree this summer?”

14. An Antiracist Reading List

“Think of it as a stepladder to antiracism, each step addressing a different stage of the journey toward destroying racism’s insidious hold on all of us.”

15. ‘The Cat in the Hat’ and the Man Who Made That

“As so often happens, awkward discipline produced better art; a limited vocabulary produced a more poignantly memorable poetry and constraints made for cultural advance — or at least for a better-selling children’s book.”

16. The Catalogue of Shipwrecked Books

“In an age of abundant and unreliable information, the person who can impose order can shape history — or at least command a comfortable pension.”

Sunday 5.26.2019 New York Times Digest

1. Why Fiction Trumps Truth

“Large-scale cooperation depends on believing common stories. But these stories need not be true.”

2. A Stolen N.S.A. Tool Wreaks Havoc

“Foreign intelligence agencies and rogue actors have used EternalBlue to spread malware that has paralyzed hospitals, airports, rail and shipping operators, A.T.M.s and factories that produce critical vaccines. Now the tool is hitting the United States where it is most vulnerable, in local governments with aging digital infrastructure and fewer resources to defend themselves.”

3. Finding Conversation, Kinship and Caffeine

“‘This is the only place where I can relax and feel free, even if it’s only for a few hours.’”

4. New York’s Vanishing Diners

“The diner’s heyday was in the 1920s, followed by a surge after World War II that was driven by immigrants, many of them Greek, said Richard J.S. Gutman, the author of four books on diners. In recent years, a number of Latin American, South Asian and Middle Eastern owners have joined their ranks.”

5. It’s Never Been Easier to Be a C.E.O., and the Pay Keeps Rising

“The median boss received compensation of $18.6 million — a raise of $1.1 million, or 6.3 percent, from the year prior.”

6. What Reparations for Slavery Might Look Like in 2019

“For every dollar a typical white household holds, a black one has 10 cents. It is this cumulative effect that justifies the payment of reparations to descendants of slaves long dead, supporters say.”

7. Are Video Games the Best New Social Network?

“Video games are often thought of as lonely pursuits for socially hobbled recluses — ‘playgrounds of the self’ — but many of today’s biggest games are designed first and foremost as social experiences, intended to facilitate connection and community. And while these games are almost always built around some form of virtual violence, they are often designed with better incentives for civil behavior than the social networks they compete with.”

8. Don’t Let Nationalists Speak for the Nation

“Nation-states are people with a common past, half-history, half-myth, who live under the rule of a government in the form of a state. Liberal nation-states are collections of individuals whose rights as citizens are guaranteed by the government.”

9. You Don’t Want a Child Prodigy

“Students who have to specialize earlier in their education — picking a pre-med or law track while still in high school — have higher earnings than their generalist peers at first, according to one economist’s research in several countries. But the later-specializing peers soon caught up. In sowing their wild intellectual oats, they got a better idea of what they could do and what they wanted to do. The early specializers, meanwhile, more often quit their career tracks.”

10. The College Dropout Crisis

“About one in three students who enroll in college never earn a degree. But a promising solution is staring us in the face: Schools with similar students often have very different graduation rates. This suggests that the problem isn’t the students — it’s the schools.”

11. How to Get Every Email Returned

“There are ways … to write persuasively in your everyday life. To break through the clutter, to get attention and even to bring people over to your side.”

12. Free Yourself From the Wisdom of the Crowd

“The 21st-century virtual shopping experience can feel overwhelming and chaotic, but it’s the price we pay for the convenience of shopping at home. That’s why stars are everywhere. Without them, you’re vulnerable to decision paralysis. But with them, you still can’t shake the feeling that there’s a lot of homework to do — hours of life lost, scrolling through reviews, many of which were written by people who have little to nothing in common with you.”

13. The Archive of the Future

“‘At a certain point, I began to think of myself as a camera.’”

14. Capitalism Camp for Kids

“Embedded in these programs is at least one contradiction: They promote entrepreneurship and leadership, but are also training kids to be good employees; to be innovators and disrupters, but also to be model office drones.”

15. Rick Atkinson’s Savage American Revolution

“Although he is less interested in making an argument than telling a story, the story he tells is designed to rescue the American Revolution from the sentimental stereotypes and bring it to life as an ugly, savage, often barbaric war. Unlike in World War II, most of the killing occurred up close. Advancing troops could literally see the whites of the eyes on the other side, as well as hear horses and men dying in agony. ‘A man 5 feet, 8 inches tall,’ Atkinson observes, ‘had an exterior surface of 2,550 square inches, of which a thousand were exposed to gunfire when he was facing an enemy frontally at close range.’ If he was hit in the torso, his chances of dying were more than 50 percent.”

16. By the Book: Eve Ensler

“I can’t throw books away, even paperbacks. They are friends, lovers, touchstones, specific reminders of periods of thinking, particular research in the making of a play and imprints of love affairs. I have too many books. I’m sure I could happily live in a house where the walls were made of them.”

17. Crisis Management

“The time has come for those of us who work in book-length nonfiction to insist that professional fact-checking become as inalienable from publishing as publicity, marketing and jacket design — and at the publisher’s expense rather than as a cost passed on to the author, who, understandably, will often choose to spend her money on health care. In the age of tweets, it cannot be the fate of the book to become ever more tweetlike — maybe factual, maybe whatever. The book must stand apart, must stand above.”

18. This Is What It Sounds Like When Brands Cry

“We know from experience that most people aren’t having that much fun with their friends at a McDonald’s, but we understand why the commercials sell the fiction that they are. By contrast, the scenes depicted in the #FeelYourWay campaign seem to acknowledge the real reason people eat fast food — not always as a celebratory treat or quick bite on the road but sometimes as an immediate consolation for daily miseries and humiliations.”

19. Letter of Recommendation: Car Phones

“What is a car now? A four-wheeled method of warming the Earth until it destroys humanity? Yes. But not just that. It’s a phone that you sit in.”

20. How to Lose a Tail

“The sooner you’re clued in to a follower, the more options you have to evade them.”

21. ‘The Hills’ Made Reality TV What It Is. Now It’s Back.

“Lauren Conrad, the original show’s lead, declined to return, so in a real mind-bendy plot twist, MTV replaced her with Mischa Barton, the star of the 2003 Fox show ‘The O.C.,’ which inspired ‘Laguna Beach,’ which inspired ‘The Hills.’ Except ‘The O.C.’ was a scripted show, in which Mischa, an actress born in London and raised in New York, played a sun-kissed teenager from Orange County. Depositing Mischa into ‘The Hills’ today is like having Julia Roberts join a reality show about call girls. It’s the sort of thing that only makes sense in dreams — and Hollywood.”

22. How ‘The View’ Became the Most Important Political TV Show in America

“Now that reality TV has become comedically scripted, ‘The View’ remains one of the few places on TV where audiences can watch authentic human drama.”

Sunday 5.19.2019 New York Times Digest

1. Facial Recognition: Dawn of Dystopia, or Just the New Fingerprint?

“There are no national guidelines for how facial recognition should be used.”

2. Facebook’s A.I. Whiz Now Faces the Task of Cleaning It Up

“The task is made more difficult because ‘bad activity’ is often in the eye of the beholder and humans, let alone machines, cannot agree on what that is.”

3. The Suburbs Are Coming to a City Near You

“In some ways, living in a dense urban area has become much more pleasant for certain types of people — namely the affluent and those who prize proximity to the action above all else. You can now live within easy walking distance of your favorite restaurants, go see a play and shop at Target nearby. But what does it mean when urban living becomes a luxury good and a lifestyle brand?”

4. You’re Not Alone When You’re on Google

“Why do I — why do many of us — consistently act in ways that are directly at loggerheads with the privacy values we profess to hold dear?”

5. Spring Can Be a Sad Season

“For those who are trapped in despair, spring can feel like an affront, the gulf between outer and inner worlds too wide to cross.”

6. Power Is a Story Told by Women

“Telling stories really is a kind of power, and not an insignificant one. Stories give shape to experience, sometimes by accommodating traditional literary forms, sometimes by turning them upside down, sometimes by reorganizing them. Stories draw readers into their web, and engage them by putting them to work, body and soul, so that they can transform the black thread of writing into people, ideas, feelings, actions, cities, worlds, humanity, life. Storytelling, in other words, gives us the power to bring order to the chaos of the real under our own sign, and in this it isn’t very far from political power.”

7. How High School Ruined Leisure

“As the sports and activities kids once did ‘just for fun’ sometimes led to prestigious academic opportunities, the grown-ups caught on and took over, and everything from baseball to math modeling was commercialized and turned into a means to an end.”

8. Museums Must Reject Tainted Money

“Are museums, opera houses, food pantries and other nonprofits to be held responsible for how their donors have made their money? It is a question being asked more and more as a century-old taboo shatters.”

9. Religious Men Can Be Devoted Dads, Too

“It turns out that the happiest of all wives in America are religious conservatives.”

10. How Hollywood Stopped Fearing Lesbian Teens

“Hollywood filmmakers have not been especially comfortable depicting desire that is either female or queer, and the teen comedy has long been a kingdom ruled by hormone-riddled straight boys. That’s why the space given to these lesbian teen protagonists feels like a breath of fresh air.”

11. 1994 Was a Prison of My Own Making + Stuff Your ‘Rules’ + It Smelled Like Gen X Spirit + This Gen X Mess

“25 years ago was yesterday and a million years ago.”

12. How Was Polynesia Populated? Two New Books Explore the Pacific’s Mysteries

“Their customs, their clothing, their languages — and the design of their long-distance sailing canoes — turned out to be common to scores of South Pacific places. They had settled themselves on islands as distant from each other as Maui and Tokelau, Samoa and Mangareva, the Cooks and Kermadec, Easter Island and Norfolk Island. Exactly how they had done so was central to solving the enigma.”

13. Dismantling the Myth of ‘The Heartland’

“Far from an ‘insulated core,’ the Midwest — particularly during the period between the Civil War and World War I — was a place where borderlands converged, a region dependent upon the flow of cattle across the borders of Canada and Mexico and imported British hogs that had been crossbred with Chinese stock.”

14. How to Do the Splits

“Start by stretching every day after you get out of the shower (heat increases muscle and ligament flexibility).”

15. How Much Alcohol Can You Drink Safely?

“Sorting through the latest research on how to optimize your well-being is a constant and confounding feature of modern life. A scientific study becomes a press release becomes a news alert, shedding context at each stage. Often, it’s a steady stream of resulting headlines that seem to contradict one another, which makes it easy to justify ignoring them.”

16. Can CBD Really Do All That?

“It seems to interact with multiple systems: increasing the quantity of native cannabinoids in the human body; binding with serotonin receptors, part of the ‘feel good’ molecular machinery targeted by conventional S.S.R.I.s; and stimulating GABA receptors, responsible for calming the nervous system. With more than 65 cellular targets, CBD may provide a kind of full-body massage at the molecular level.”

17. Was It an Invisible Attack on U.S. Diplomats, or Something Stranger?

“Dozens of leading neurologists, psychiatrists and psychologists, meanwhile, have offered an alternative narrative: that the diplomats’ symptoms are primarily psychogenic — or ‘functional’ — in nature. If true, it would mean that the symptoms were caused not by a secret high-tech weapon but by the same confluence of psychological and neurological processes — entirely subconscious yet remarkably powerful — underlying hypnosis and the placebo effect. They are disorders, in other words, not of the brain’s hardware but of its software; not of objective injuries to the brain’s structure but of chronic alterations to how the brain functions, typically following exposure to an illness, a physical injury or stress. And the fact that the State Department and doctors the government selected to treat the diplomats have dismissed this explanation out of hand does not surprise these experts. After all, they say, functional neurological disorders are among the most misunderstood, debilitating and denigrated ailments known to medicine.”

18. Can Monkeys Help Unlock the Secrets of Trauma?

“What does something like Hurricane Maria actually do to a community, beyond the initial, obvious physical effects? As it turns out, one of the best places to begin looking for answers may be a small, strange island full of monkeys.”

Sunday 5.12.2019 New York Times Digest

1. Life as We Know It

“‘Biodiversity’ — a word encompassing all living flora and fauna — ‘is declining faster than at any time in human history,’ it says, estimating that ‘around 1 million species already face extinction, many within decades,’ unless the world takes transformative action to save natural systems. The at-risk population includes a half-million land-based species and one-third of marine mammals and corals.”

2. The End of the Warriors as We Know Them

“No place tries like California, a mind-set as much as a place. California always leans toward reinvention. It is closer to the future than anywhere else. Nothing feels permanent, even without earthquakes and fires.”

3. They Got Rich Off Uber and Lyft. Then They Moved

“Once their wealth was assured, these tech workers quit the companies and fled California, which has the nation’s highest state income tax, at more than 13 percent, to reside in lower-tax states like Texas and Florida, where there is no personal state income tax.”

4. Grappling With a Style Legacy

“For better or worse, the expectations set by our parents creep into the homes we build as adults, influencing how we decorate and maintain our space, and setting a standard that we either strain to meet or try to flee.”

5. It’s Time to Break Up Facebook

“Mark’s influence is staggering, far beyond that of anyone else in the private sector or in government.”

6. Breaking Up Facebook Is Not the Answer

“Success should not be penalized.”

7. Welcome to the World of Subprime Children

“What’s the appeal of an I.S.A. over a regular student loan? From a capitalist’s perspective, the federal government has a weakness: It treats all borrowers the same. Borrowers face the same interest rates whether they are mediocre art students or valedictorians studying quantum computing at a top engineering school. But private I.S.A. lenders can skim the cream of students off the top.”

8. Can You Trust Generic Drugs?

“Nearly forty percent of all our generic drugs are made in India. Eighty percent of active ingredients for both our brand and generic drugs come from abroad, the majority from India and China. America makes almost none of its own antibiotics anymore.”

9. Why We Still Care About America’s Founders

“If the central figures in our creation story have frequently been embalmed in reverence, they nonetheless remain beguiling, worthy of perpetual scrutiny and, often, of emulation.”

10. Math Teachers Should Be More Like Football Coaches

“A growing body of research shows that students are affected by more than just the quality of a lesson plan. They also respond to the passion of their teachers and the engagement of their peers, and they seek a sense of purpose. They benefit from specific instructions, constant feedback and a culture of learning that encourages resilience in the face of failure — not unlike a football practice.”

11. Grizzlies in the Backyard

“Can people share landscapes and their properties with bears that can top 1,000 pounds and have four-inch claws?”

12. Money, Ethics, Art: Can Museums Police Themselves?

“In the space of barely a year, the very foundations of museums — the money that sustains them, the art that fills them, the decision makers that run them — have been called into question. And there’s no end to questioning in sight.”

13. Drone Shots Here, There, Everywhere

“Over the past few years, shots taken by drone — steadily gliding images looking down at houses and cities and fields below — have become epidemic in documentary, no matter the subject.”

14. Howard Stern Says He Has Changed. How Much?

“I meet people and they go, ‘I have a radio show,’ and I want to strangle them. I’m like, ‘No, you don’t. You’re doing a podcast.’ People just talk and talk and there’s nothing exciting going on. To do a good interview, there’s a certain knowledge you must bring to it, a certain intelligence, a certain empathy. You have to not only do research but also have a sense of what keeps people interested, when to cut them off, when to help them out. It’s a whole process, and you have to labor over it.”