Category Archives: new york times

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.”

Sunday 5.5.2019 New York Times Digest

1. Why You Should Start Binge-Reading Right Now

“In book after book, if you do push on through one chapter break, and then on through the chapter break after that, something amazing happens. Subplots that would once have been murky to the point of incomprehensibility (what was the deal with that dead sea captain again?) step into the light. Little jokes and echoes, separated by dozens or even hundreds of pages, come rustling out of the text forest. A writer’s voice — Grace Paley at her slangy best, Nicholson Baker at his hypomanic craziest — starts to seep into and color the voice of your innermost thoughts.”

2. Nearly Half of College Students Surveyed in a New Report Are Going Hungry

“Stories about college hunger have been largely anecdotal, cemented by ramen and macaroni and cheese jokes. But recent data indicate the problem is more serious and widespread, affecting almost half of the student population at community and public colleges.”

3. Giannis Antetokounmpo Is the Pride of a Greece That Shunned Him

“When Antetokounmpo was still an ordinary mortal, he was seen as just another migrant in Greece illegally. Now that he is a basketball star, ‘he has become the ambassador for Greece.’”

4. To Combat Climate Change, Start From the Ground Up (With Dirt)

“Dirt is dead, soil is alive.”

5. A Century Ago, America Built Another Kind of Wall

“Race-based nativism comes with an exalted pedigree…. The scientific arguments Coolidge invoked were advanced by men bearing imposing credentials. Some were highly regarded scholars from Harvard, Princeton, Yale and Stanford. One ran the nation’s foremost genetics laboratory. Another was America’s leading environmentalist at the time. Yet another was the director of the country’s most respected natural history museum.”

6. What ‘Good’ Dads Get Away With

“At the current rate of change, MenCare, a group that promotes equal involvement in caregiving, estimates that it will be about 75 more years before men worldwide assume half of the unpaid work that domesticity requires.”

7. Why the Rich Don’t Get Audited

“Today, the wealthy and corporations have the I.R.S. outgunned. The ultra-affluent — with the help of legions of tax professionals — make domestic income disappear overseas or hide it in a pyramid of partnerships. It’s like trying to take on a modern army while armed with spears and clubs.”

8. The End Is Nigh: Time to Talk It Over

“The United States has been at war how many years now? And we’ve had these long-running movies that are just war movies, again and again. Yes, they are overtly depoliticized, but they certainly are political in another way. Each movie’s a justification of war.”

9. Riot Grrrl United Feminism and Punk. Here’s an Essential Listening Guide.

“This is a list of essential riot grrrl music, one song per artist — a starting point, not a totality. If you don’t like our list, make your own. That’s the point, really. Do it yourself.”

10. A Manifesto for Opting Out of an Internet-Dominated World

“She argues that because the internet strips us of our sense of place and time, we can counter its force by resituating ourselves within our physical environment, by becoming closer to the natural world.”

11. Why Are There So Many Books About Dogs?

“After at least 14,000 years of living with dogs, why are we only now getting around to considering what goes on inside their heads?”

12. Almost All the Colleges I Wanted to Go to Rejected Me. Now What?

“If your self-worth is tied to being better than others, then, you’re headed for trouble.”

13. Letter of Recommendation: Jury Duty

“It’s one thing to know, abstractly, how our legal system works and quite another to sit in the rusty conflict-resolution machine itself and understand that it really does fall to rooms like this and people like you to say whether someone died wrongly, and whether someone else should receive millions of dollars because of that. Life is mostly an accumulation of habits, slight turns, chance occurrences, but here we were tasked with making a decision that would instantly and probably irrevocably alter the course of our fellow citizens’ lives.”

Sunday 4.28.2019 New York Times Digest

1. World on Fire

“The demand climate change makes on us is to feel empathy for the unborn poor of the global south, and change our economies to act on the basis of their needs. That’s something humanity has never done before.”

2. Women Did Everything Right. Then Work Got ‘Greedy.’

“Just as more women earned degrees, the jobs that require those degrees started paying disproportionately more to people with round-the-clock availability. At the same time, more highly educated women began to marry men with similar educations, and to have children. But parents can be on call at work only if someone is on call at home. Usually, that person is the mother.”

3. I’m Done Mowing My Lawn

“Every summer, I imagine a different landscape, one that I do not have to mow. My sunny front lawn would be a great place to grow a vegetable garden: tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and maybe some chard. But if my dandelions raise eyebrows, imagine the reaction I would get to a raised garden bed just a few feet from the sidewalk.”

4. Who Will Defend the American Family?

“Today’s political conversation tends to overlook those women who would prefer to raise their children in one-breadwinner families like the ones they grew up in.”

5. The Rich Kid Revolutionaries

“Class privilege is like white privilege, in that its beneficiaries receive advantages that are, in fact, unearned. So for them to conclude that their own wealth is undeserved, and therefore immoral, constitutes a powerful critique of the idea of meritocracy.”

6. Can We Please Relax About ‘Socialism’?

“Only here is the word ‘socialism’ freighted with so much perceived menace. I take this to be a symptom of our unique national genius for stupidity. In every other free society with a functioning market economy, socialism is an ordinary, rather general term for sane and compassionate governance of the public purse for the purpose of promoting general welfare and a more widespread share in national prosperity.”

7. The Devastating Consequences of Being Poor in the Digital Age

“The poor often bear the burden of both ends of the spectrum of privacy harms; they are subjected to greater suspicion and monitoring when they apply for government benefits and live in heavily policed neighborhoods, but they can also lose out on education and job opportunities when their online profiles and employment histories aren’t visible (or curated) enough.”

8. Can Bar-Stool Democracy Save America?

“This migration from social to virtual drinking spaces may be good for our livers, but not for our body politic.”

9. The Empty Promises of Suicide Prevention

“Antidepressants can’t supply employment or affordable housing, repair relationships with family members or bring on sobriety.”

10. The Raisin Situation

“The American raisin industry, which is estimated to be worth about $500 million, is particularly fractious.”

11. By the Book: Gary Snyder

“Like most writers, I don’t educate myself sequentially, but more like a hawk or eagle always circling and finding things that might have been overlooked.”

12. Savior Complex

“Androgynous images of God, rejection of traditional gender roles and the promise of economic security on a quasi-Christian commune held special appeal for women, especially those who needed a way to leave toxic marriages and survive on their own.”

13. After Reconstruction

“The German word for this effort is Vergangenheitsbewältigung — coming to terms with the past — and it carries connotations of a painful history that citizens would rather not confront but that must be confronted in order not to be repeated. Vergangenheitsbewältigung is essential for understanding the American past as a whole.”

14. How to Be a Nose Breather

“Humans naturally do most of their breathing through their nasal passages, which serve to heat, humidify and filter the air. It’s not uncommon, though, to slip into a mouth-breathing habit. Test yourself by inhaling through your nostrils.”

Sunday 4.21.2019 New York Times Digest

1. The Healing Power of Gardens

“I cannot say exactly how nature exerts its calming and organizing effects on our brains, but I have seen in my patients the restorative and healing powers of nature and gardens, even for those who are deeply disabled neurologically. In many cases, gardens and nature are more powerful than any medication.”

2. Silicon Valley Came to Kansas Schools. That Started a Rebellion.

“We’re allowing the computers to teach and the kids all looked like zombies.”

3. The Most Measured Person in Tech Is Running the Most Chaotic Place on the Internet

“At the top of the world’s largest and most volatile video platform is a calm, levelheaded person. But her deliberate style may be at odds with the pace and scale of horrors and just plain stupidity that relentlessly arises on YouTube.”

4. Let’s Celebrate the Easter Bug.

“Much candy on the market is coated with confectioner’s glaze, a.k.a. ‘shellac’ — a natural, F.D.A.-approved, edible lacquer created through cultivating and processing the resinous discharge from teeny tiny lac bugs in India and Southeast Asia.”

5. Finding the Beauty in Cultural Appropriation

“Through my travels, I’ve come to see appropriation as a form of communication: Sometimes what people are trying to say is trivial, hurtful and condescending — a bindi to proclaim that they’re ‘exotic’ for instance, or cornrows to say they’re ‘cool.’ But other times, what is being said is difficult and important.”

6. The Earth Is Just as Alive as You Are

“The history of life on Earth is the history of life remaking Earth.”

7. We Built an ‘Unbelievable’ (but Legal) Facial Recognition Machine

“If you’re an adult in America, there’s more than a 50 percent chance that you’re already in a law enforcement facial recognition database.”

8. Reverend, You Say the Virgin Birth Is ‘a Bizarre Claim’?

“We need a new way entirely to think about what it means to be a human being and what the purpose of our lives is. For me, this moment feels apocalyptic, as if something new is struggling to be born.”

9. Lil Nas X’s Smash Makes Country Wonder if Rap Is Friend or Foe. Again. + A History of Country-Rap in 29 Songs

“Pop, more than ever, is an identity playground.”

10. Stepping Out on Easter Sunday

“Spring is more than a ritual — it’s a necessary reminder that these hardships we endure are only temporary. And what better way to celebrate a time of year marked by life and vitality than elaborate rituals of beauty, bodily adornment and anointment?”

11. Robert A. Caro, Private Eye

“He slowed down. Thought takes time. Truth takes time. When the research had filled in the blanks, he compiled first drafts in longhand, second and third and fourth drafts, too, and on a Smith-Corona Electra 210, writing 1,000 words a day.”

12. A Meditation on Our Relationship to the Landscapes We Inhabit

“Lessard devotes much of the book to exploring what she terms America’s ‘atopia,’ our vast, seemingly unplanned, inchoate, exurban sprawl, which remains to her largely inscrutable and tragic. She writes about such places from what you might call an exalted literary remove. The mode is epistolary, poetic, occasionally honest to a fault.”

13. Alex Jones Under Oath Is an Antidote to a ‘Post-Truth’ Age

“It is not really possible anymore to say where Jones’s universe ends and mainstream conservatism begins.”

14. Letter of Recommendation: Digging a Trench

“I’d dug holes before, to plant trees and post fences, and I’d chopped wood to heat the house in winter, but those jobs took place in one spot. Their focus was stationary, whereas the trench had a vector that carried me into the unknown.”

15. Is Prison Necessary? Ruth Wilson Gilmore Might Change Your Mind

“If prison, in its philosophical origin, was meant as a humane alternative to beatings or torture or death, it has transformed into a fixed feature of modern life, one that is not known, even by its supporters and administrators, for its humanity. In the United States, we now have more than two million incarcerated people, a majority of them black or brown, virtually all of them from poor communities. Prisons not only have violated human rights and failed at rehabilitation; it’s not even clear that prisons deter crime or increase public safety.”