Sunday 3.24.19 New York Times Digest

1. Human Contact Is Now a Luxury Good

“Life for anyone but the very rich — the physical experience of learning, living and dying — is increasingly mediated by screens. Not only are screens themselves cheap to make, but they also make things cheaper. Any place that can fit a screen in (classrooms, hospitals, airports, restaurants) can cut costs. And any activity that can happen on a screen becomes cheaper. The texture of life, the tactile experience, is becoming smooth glass.”

2. The Daily Miracle: Finding Magic Inside The Times’s Printing Plant

“Consider the newspaper, the physical object, printed on processed wood pulp, shot upward on rollers at high speed as ink is applied, gathered and folded and bundled, dropped off at newsstands and bodegas or delivered to doorsteps. Nowadays it is a minority choice, as a majority of consumers around the globe opt to get the latest word from their screens as they zoom from one place to the next. But that minority of readers is substantial, and fierce. They savor the thrill of the first hit of newsprint in the morning, with its slightly acrid odor and its ironclad association with the first cup of coffee.”

3. The Great American Cardboard Comeback

“Over the past five years, e-commerce has fueled demand for billions more square feet of cardboard.”

4. An Immovable Type Who Won’t Abandon His Movable Type

“People are fascinated by how much time goes into this. But everything in life isn’t fast. It’s supposed to be difficult. It’s supposed to be time-consuming.”

5. This Friendship Has Been Digitized

“The kind of presence required for deep friendship does not seem cultivated in many online interactions.”

6. Forget Self-Driving Cars. Bring Back the Stick Shift.

“A car with a stick shift and clutch pedal requires the use of all four limbs, making it difficult to use a cellphone or eat while driving. Lapses in attention are therefore rare, especially in city driving where a driver might shift gears a hundred times during a trip to the grocery store.”

7. It’s Delightful, It’s Delicious, It’s DeVito

“He says the best way to thrive in Hollywood is to not focus on all the jerks and talentless hacks and insecurities. ‘It’s like going through the jungle,’ he says. ‘You hear all the sounds. Somebody’s being eaten on the other side of a plant. But you got to just stay on your path.’”

8. Psychic Mediums Are the New Wellness Coaches

“While psychics have traditionally profited from claiming to predict the future or communicating with deceased relatives, many are now working in the general field of wellness, calling themselves ‘intuitives’ or ‘intuitive healers,’ who channel ‘energy’ that helps people discover what they want out of life.”

9. He’s Looking for Europe, but Not Wi-Fi

“I like trains because I like the idea of feeling the distance. Plane abolishes distance. It destroys the physical sense of covering the distance, or devouring the distance. The train like the car helps you to have the physical feeling in your body of the materiality of the space. That is the most honest and exhilarating way to travel.”

10. For Sale: This Massive, Obsessive and (Probably) Obsolete VHS Boxing Archive

“There’s a small apartment on 137th Street in Hamilton Heights that contains one of the most peculiar videotape collections in New York. The dusty VHS archive fills a vast library that contains the analog history of a sport: 8,000 cassettes with recordings of over 55,000 boxing matches that span 40 years. It was the life’s work of Bela Szilagyi, a classical pianist and passionate fight enthusiast, who started the collection in 1979 when he taped a featherweight title match on a Quasar videocassette recorder.”

11. Laila Lalami: By the Book

“Paper only. Books give me an intimacy that e-readers can’t deliver. I love the heft of a good novel in my hands, the smell of new pages, the fact that I can underline a beautiful sentence or mark an unusual detail. I interact with a paper book in many different ways; I’ve been known to throw a book across the room when it frustrates or angers me, for example. And books hold so many memories of the times and places in which I’ve read them. The other day, I opened a novel, and a bookmark that my daughter made me when she was 4 years old fell out. No e-reader can do that.”

12. The Moral Clarity of Slaughterhouse-Five at 50

“It has few if any equals in creating the kind of distance that can offer insight into the mass insanity of modern warfare.”

13. The Complex Literary Friendship Between Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston

“In July 1927, Hurston and Hughes embarked on a tour of the Deep South — part business, part pleasure — which began with a chance meeting in downtown Mobile, Ala., where the two ran into each other outside the train station. Hurston was there to interview Cudjo Lewis, the last living former slave born in Africa; Hughes was giving readings and performing his own research. Hughes, a Northerner, was out of his element, while the Alabama-born and Florida-bred Hurston was firmly in hers, traveling with a gun in her shoulder holster.”

14. Drug Epidemics, Past and Present

“Human beings have been cultivating opium for more than 10,000 years — ‘before towns,’ Hager writes, ‘before agriculture, before science, before history.’ And opioids do kill pain, no question. The problem is, they’re frighteningly addictive, and chemists since the 1800s have had no luck creating new opioids that dull pain without creating dependency.”

15. How to Use Emojis

“When people communicate in short bits of text, they lose the physical signals that suggest warmth and connection. Emojis can help fill that void.”

16. Rick Steves Wants to Set You Free

“If you have never had a passport, if you are afraid of the world, if your family would prefer to vacation exclusively at Walt Disney World, if you worry that foreigners are rude and predatory and prone to violence or at least that their food will give you diarrhea, then Steves wants you — especially you — to go to Europe. Then he wants you to go beyond. (For a majority of his audience, Steves says, ‘Europe is the wading pool for world exploration.’) Perhaps, like him, you will need large headphones and half a tab of Ambien to properly relax on the flight, but Steves wants you to know that it will be worth it. He wants you to stand and make little moaning sounds on a cobblestone street the first time you taste authentic Italian gelato — flavors so pure they seem like the primordial essence of peach or melon or pistachio or rice distilled into molecules and stirred directly into your own molecules. He wants you to hike on a dirt path along a cliff over the almost-too-blue Mediterranean, with villages and vineyards spilling down the rugged mountains above you. He wants you to arrive at the Parthenon at dusk, just before it closes, when all the tour groups are loading back onto their cruise ships, so that you have the whole place to yourself and can stand there feeling like a private witness to the birth, and then the ruination, of Western civilization.”

17. We’re All In This Together

“Scale on a rail trip is what’s most arresting. We live so much of our lives close-up — scrolling through phones, watching our type appear on computer screens, scrutinizing papers, preparing meals, cleaning our homes room by room. Very few elements of our day-to-day tasks remain out of arms’ reach. An extended train ride affords a chance not just to see a horizon but also to soak it up. To luxuriate in the far-off for uninterrupted hours. To exist, briefly, in the uncharted sections of the cellphone-coverage map.”

18. Why Baltimore Persists as a Cultural Beacon

“A deep variant of the strange runs through the water in Baltimore, and the fact that such an eclectic group of artists has committed its life and work to an otherwise relatively inconsequential midsize city is rare in today’s cultural landscape.”

19. Why Do Artists Destroy Their Own Work?

“Artists have been destroying their work for at least as long as people have been buying it. Audiences like the idea of a fully formed genius at least as much as the artists themselves. But the artist who seems to have simply arrived one day intact is often a disguise.”

20. What Can Ferns Teach Us About Surviving Turbulent Times?

“Increasingly florists are returning to ferns, this time not as status symbols or coddled exotics but as envoys from deep time that have steadfastly weathered it all, reminding us that this, too, shall pass.”

Sunday 3.17.2019 New York Times Digest

1. Our Brother, Our Executioner

“I greet a neighbor; he smiles and wishes me a good day. How do I know that once he turns on his computer, he isn’t pumping himself full of hatred of me and my people, raging in the dark cesspools of the web, venting his frustration that we even exist, and how dare we try and belong? Racism begins with ideas. It ends with violence.”

2. As Costs Skyrocket, More U.S. Cities Stop Recycling

“In Memphis, the international airport still has recycling bins around the terminals, but every collected can, bottle and newspaper is sent to a landfill.”

3. How a Bitcoin Evangelist Made Himself Vanish, in 15 (Not So Easy) Steps

“Mr. Lopp, a self-described libertarian who works for a Bitcoin security company, had long been obsessed with the value of privacy, and he set out to learn how thoroughly a person can escape the all-seeing eyes of corporate America and the government. But he wanted to do it without giving up internet access and moving to a shack in the woods.”

4. The New Science of Cuteness

“We’ve become used to thinking about sexual desire on a spectrum — from heterosexual to homosexual, with lots of people falling somewhere in between. Might there be a reproductive-desire spectrum too?”

5. The Moral Wages of the College Admissions Mania

“We’re sending the message that success is about precise allegiance to a painstaking script.”

6. The Scandals of Meritocracy

“Elite institutions, by their very nature, are not a mass-opportunity system. Even (especially?) in a democratic society they exist to shape a ruling class. And the tension between legacy admissions and affirmative action and merit-based admissions is really a tension between three ways that a ruling class can be legitimated –— through intergenerational continuity, through representation and through aptitude.”

7. Is Pain a Sensation or an Emotion?

“The conventional thinking about pain as purely a physical stimulus has clearly failed us.”

8. Matthias Schoenaerts Knows You’re Ogling Him

“I don’t pay too much attention to descriptions of myself because I think every human being is in a permanent state of transformation and evolution.”

9. How Parents Are Robbing Their Children of Adulthood

“Helicopter parenting, the practice of hovering anxiously near one’s children, monitoring their every activity, is so 20th century. Some affluent mothers and fathers now are more like snowplows: machines chugging ahead, clearing any obstacles in their child’s path to success, so they don’t have to encounter failure, frustration or lost opportunities.”

10. Go West

“‘The frontier was, ultimately, a mirage,’ he writes, because it promised ‘a limitless world’ where ‘all could benefit; all could rise and share in the earth’s riches.’”

11. When Sci-Fi Comes True

“Writers don’t just see into the future or possess special insight into the present; we also construct a kind of machine for virtual hindsight.”

12. Letter of Recommendation: Lent

“What I didn’t understand yet is that Lent concentrates guilt, then cathartically explodes it — it’s a kind of intermissionless Bergman matinee that leads you stumbling back across the parking lot beneath the newly blinding sun. By depriving you of just one vanity, just one of the many little distractions you’ve unthinkingly accumulated, Lent provides space for your guilt. This is not about cultivating bad feelings, but slowly disrobing them, letting them reveal their true nature. But this requires curiosity, and surrender.”

Sunday 3.10.2019 New York Times Digest

1. A Rural Boxing Gym Puts Up a Fight

“If you’re not in Madison or Milwaukee, and you don’t want to go to a fitness gym and get trained like a machine, you have to go to the little towns that have these gyms with three or four guys in it, and those are the clubs that are molding boxers into national champions.”

2. A New Luxury Retreat Caters to Elderly Workers in Tech (Ages 30 and Up)

“In and around San Francisco, the conventional wisdom is that tech jobs require a limber, associative mind and an appetite for risk — both of which lessen with age. As Silicon Valley work culture becomes American work culture, these attitudes are spreading to all industries. More workers are finding themselves in the curious position of presenting as old while still being — technically, actuarially — quite young.”

3. What if All the World’s Economic Woes Are Part of the Same Problem?

“Much of the most interesting economic research these days is trying to understand and prove potential connections between these dysfunctions.”

4. The Black Gun Owner Next Door

“African-American gun proponents link the present-day climate to struggles of two hundred years ago and conclude that wisdom compels armed defense.”

5. The Industrial Revolution of Shame

“Judgment serves a crucial end, in both private and public life. Abolition, women’s suffrage, civil rights, all required many people to assert their judgment that something was wrong and had to change. Yet technology has so multiplied the outrages confronting us that they crowd out our ability to discuss much else. Previously remote controversies now feel so much a part of our lives as to demand that we do something, now, about all of them. This is an impossible and demoralizing standard. The most devoted activist can help fix only a small portion of what offends his conscience. To rage at the rest serves his desire to act, but it doesn’t change anything. It is a refusal to acknowledge the limits of his power.”

6. Teen Fiction and the Perils of Cancel Culture

“Purity tests are the tools of fanatics, and the quest for purity ultimately becomes indistinguishable from the quest for power. In the Twitterverse, ideologues have far more power than moderates. They have more followers; their tweets get more traction (studies have shown that emotional tweets pretty much always have more traction); they set the terms of their neighborhood’s culture and tone. But this does not mean they have better judgment.”

7. Go Home to Your ‘Dying’ Hometown

“In a 2009 commencement address at Northern Kentucky University, Mr. Berry encouraged students to consider whether they might be better and more responsible citizens if they embraced the concept of homecoming rather than the desire for upward mobility, which lures them to places to which they have little connection, to participate in a destructive and extractive economy.”

8. Your Dog Feels as Guilty as She Looks

“More and more, I believe that we share all emotions with other species in the same way that we share virtually every organ in our bodies with them. No exceptions.”

9. What Alex Trebek Is Really Like

“Of course Alex has all the responses on a big sheet of paper in front of him, but he’s also well-read and well-traveled, the kind of dad with a basement full of old National Geographics. When he pronounces the name of an Italian aria hyper-accurately, or explains that a contestant got George V and George VI confused, he’s not putting on airs. Yes, he really knows that stuff.”

10. Are You an Amazon or an Apple Family?

“Once your data, gadgets, appliances, cars and services are entangled, you’ll be locked in to Amazon, Google or Apple. As you buy more stuff — mobile phones, connected refrigerators, smart earbuds — you’ll find that not only are your devices not compatible with other systems, you and your family aren’t either.”

11. America’s Most Profitable Export: Money

“The number of $100 bills in circulation roughly doubled between 2008 and 2017, and experts estimate a vast majority are in foreign hands.”

12. Thousands of New Millionaires Are About to Eat San Francisco Alive

“They want cars. They want to open new restaurants. They want to throw bigger parties. And they want houses.”

13. Momo Is as Real as We’ve Made Her

“This much is true: The Momo Challenge is a moral panic spreading through new and powerful channels. It’s also true that she is able to entrance people almost instantly by appearing, jarringly, in the middle of their media (as above, sorry), and that such appearances result in disembodied voices commanding victims up a ladder of misery. And while Momo really is coming for someone in more or less the manners described, it’s not the children. It’s their parents.”

14. Climate Change and Human History

“In Nature’s Mutiny, Philipp Blom, a German historian, treats this one well-documented period of climate change, the so-called Little Ice Age, as an experiment in what can happen to a society when its baseline conditions, all ultimately dependent upon the weather, are shaken.”

15. Anglos, Hispanics and the Formation of America

“History repeats itself, now as shame.”

16. The 25 Songs That Matter Right Now

“There’s an oddly strong in-the-moment consensus on how everyone is feeling these days, and it is not good.”

Sunday 3.3.2019 New York Times Digest

1. How the Weather Gets Weaponized in Climate Change Messaging

“As battle lines harden between supporters and opponents of climate action, both are increasingly using bouts of extreme weather as a weapon to try to win people to their side. Weather, after all, is one of the easiest things for people to bond over or gripe about, a staple of small talk and shared experience that can make it a simple but powerful opportunity to discuss global warming.”

2. Goodbye Sidewalk Trees

“Street trees planted decades — and in some cases, a century — ago were not ideal species for a paved environment and are now large, mature and in need of maintenance. With little soil available beneath the sidewalk, roots interfere with drainage systems, and buckle concrete. Utility companies aggressively prune tree limbs away from power lines, leaving awkward, and potentially unstable, V-shaped trees.”

3. The A.I. Diet

“A good diet, it turns out, has to be individualized.”

4. The New ‘Dream Home’ Should Be a Condo

“What if there was a new American dream, not of auto-dependent suburbia, but walkable urbanism?”

5. The Life of a Comment Moderator for a Right-Wing Website

“I started my day at 8 a.m., and by then it was already bedlam. My first task was to go over the flagged comments, and ones from problem users, that had been held throughout the night. I have only anecdotal evidence to base this on, but anti-Semites and spambots, speaking generally, tend to be night owls.”

6. Our Culture of Contempt

“What we need is not to disagree less, but to disagree better. And that starts when you turn away the rhetorical dope peddlers — the powerful people on your own side who are profiting from the culture of contempt. As satisfying as it can feel to hear that your foes are irredeemable, stupid and deviant, remember: When you find yourself hating something, someone is making money or winning elections or getting more famous and powerful. Unless a leader is actually teaching you something you didn’t know or expanding your worldview and moral outlook, you are being used.”

7. Michael Jackson Cast a Spell. ‘Leaving Neverland’ Breaks It.

“The mothers both mention an early limit they set. For Stephanie, it was refusing to let James sleep in Jackson’s room on that trip to Hawaii. And Joy recalls vehemently nixing Jackson’s request to abscond with Wade for a year. But Jackson ultimately wins, anyway. He gets his way, in part, because he could be as manipulative as he could be affectionate, but also because each woman feels, in her way, maternal toward him. He was, both women more or less say, a member of their families.”

8. 21 Savage’s Still-Bumpy Path to Freedom

“This American music, like so many American musics before it, wouldn’t sound the same without immigrants. A quick reminder: Almost all of hip-hop’s founder generation — Kool Herc, Grandmaster Flash, Doug E. Fresh — was born in the Caribbean. The island influence continues through today: Last year, Nicki Minaj wrote on Instagram about coming to the United States as an undocumented immigrant from Trinidad and Tobago when she was 5.”

9. The New 30-Something

“A lot of 30-somethings are still getting financial help from their parents, if they are lucky enough to take advantage of it.”

10. Animal Care

“Instead of worrying about anthropomorphizing animals, we should fear making a far worse mistake, what de Waal calls ‘anthropodenial.’ When we deny the facts of evolution, when we pretend that only humans think, feel and know, ‘it stands in the way of a frank assessment of who we are as a species,’ he writes. An understanding of evolution demands that we recognize continuity across life-forms. And even more important, achieving realistic and compassionate relationships with the rest of the animate world requires that we honor these connections, which extend far and deep.”

11. Toni Morrison: First Lady of Letters

The Source of Self-Regard is a book of essays, lectures and meditations, a reminder that the old music is still the best, that in this time of tumult and sadness and continuous war, where tawdry words are blasted about like junk food, and the nation staggers from one crisis to the next, led by a president with all the grace of a Cyclops and a brain the size of a full-grown pea, the mightiness, the stillness, the pure power and beauty of words delivered in thought, reason and discourse, still carry the unstoppable force of a thousand hammer blows, spreading the salve of righteousness that can heal our nation and restore the future our children deserve.”

12. Is the West Really the Best?

“In Sharman’s account, the dominance of the West (note Europe’s easy baton-pass to the United States), roughly from the Enlightenment to World War II, represents a historical blip in the last millennium. And, perhaps more important, today we seem to be on the cusp of a return to a more regular state of affairs, where the large states of Asia will again be the globe’s hegemons.”

13. Recoil Offgrid

“Among the contradictions, there is a more abstract form of comfort — a tacit acknowledgment that, though we may struggle mightily to influence fate, we can never entirely predict or control it.”

14. How to Tackle Someone

“Get close before you strike. Decide which shoulder you intend to hit the person with, and then keep the foot on that side planted on the ground — if you’re slamming with your left shoulder, for example, put your weight into the ball of your left foot as you make contact.”

15. Inside the Secret Sting Operations to Expose Celebrity Psychics

“There are nearly 95,000 psychic ‘businesses’ in America, generating some $2 billion in revenue in 2018. Lately, technology has changed the business of talking to the dead and created new kinds of openings for psychics to lure customers but also new ways for skeptics to flip that technology right back at them.”

16. The Man Who Designed Dean & Deluca, and the Look of Modern Kitchens

“In an era defined by shag carpeting, wicker baskets and macramé tapestries — the prevailing palette was, as Ceglic recalls, harvest gold and avocado green — he decided the corner storefront should instead be completely free of color or texture: a monochrome box that would contrast against, say, the crimson of sun-dried tomatoes. In keeping with the minimalist floor-through apartment that he and Dean resided in nearby (the current owner has kept it, museumlike, as one of the last examples of the period’s early ’80s loft style, all white columns and exposed piping), Ceglic built out Dean & DeLuca with bright white plaster walls, floors of matching white ceramic tile, butcher-block countertops in bleached maple and glass-and-stainless-steel cases to display the prepared foods and salads, a novel concept at the time.”

17. Jasper Johns, American Legend

“If Abstract Expressionism was a melodramatically psychological exercise, with each splash of paint communicating some anguished search for American identity in the midst of the Cold War’s atomic glow, here was something cool and detached, familiar and yet forever unknowable. It was as if Marlon Brando had driven his motorcycle onto the set of a Clark Gable movie.”

Arctic

Saw it last night. Simple, almost hackneyed “man versus nature” story (which I’m a sucker for, and such stories are always also “man versus himself”), but done really well. Spare and unsparing. Easily my favorite new movie of 2019 so far.

Sunday 2.24.2019 New York Times Digest

1. Disappearing Acts

“Two new books on the value of invisibility and silence seem like a clever bit of counterprogramming. Coming upon them was like finding the Advil bottle in the medicine cabinet after stumbling about with a headache for a long time. They are both, perhaps purposefully, slow reads. They demand patience from addled minds primed to see such subject matter as a result of subtraction, the blank pages between chapters.”

2. Sports Anchors in the Era of Social Media

“As television viewing habits change and sports media develop new ways to bring fans what they want when they want it. (Now!) That means what was once a premier placement in TV sports — the anchor desk — is not the high perch it used to be. It is not clear anymore what it is at all.”

3. The Shutdown Made Sara Nelson Into America’s Most Powerful Flight Attendant

“While a vanishing fraction of Americans belong to unions, workers are increasingly fed up with their lot and amenable to the idea of taking on their bosses directly.”

4. Made on the Inside, Worn on the Outside

“Fashion has a long-established history in prisons, dating back to the 1700s.”

5. Can Peer Pressure Defeat Trump?

“The rush to design apps to increase voter turnout is part of a wider push in Silicon Valley — trying to shake the taint of peddling fake news and Russian propaganda — toward ‘civic tech,’ or innovations designed in the public interest.”

6. Why the Priesthood Needs Women

“For myself, and for many of the Catholics I know (especially women), the question of how much corruption we can tolerate is now weighed against the tremendous loss we would feel, if we left this church. It’s an institution that has shaped us, comforted us, guided and informed us, that is the center of our spiritual lives as well as our community lives and family lives, the source of our own moral strength, of our faith in the substance of things hoped for. And yet small commiserations can no longer placate our outrage. A sea change is required.”

7. Not the Fun Kind of Feminist

“Dworkin, so profoundly out of fashion just a few years ago, suddenly seems prophetic.”

8. The ‘Oddly Satisfying’ Internet

“The videos seemed to scratch an itch I didn’t know I had. If I watched long enough, I felt lightly hypnotized, as if one of those disembodied hands had reached in and massaged my brain.”

9. Don’t Fight the Robots. Tax Them.

“To afford any kind of government services in the robot era, governments will have to find something else to tax. Why not the robots themselves?”

10. Netflix Is the Most Intoxicating Portal to Planet Earth

“Despite a supposed surge in nationalism across the globe, many people like to watch movies and TV shows from other countries.”

11. Everything Is War and Nothing Is True

“One way to understand the upheavals of the past decade, manifest in political populism and the surge in talk about ‘post-truth’ and ‘fake news,’ is as the penetration of warlike mobilization and propaganda into our democracies.”

12. Can Bitcoin Save Venezuelans?

“‘Borderless money’ is more than a buzzword for those of us who live in a collapsing economy and a collapsing dictatorship.”

13. President Trump Has Inspired Art. That’s Not Always a Good Thing.

“I’m grateful that artists are responding creatively to the current moment, but why do so many of their efforts miss the mark?”

14. We Love to Be Smushed

“Heavy bedding and other compression items have resonated, metaphorically and psychologically, as transitional objects for a population under stress.”

15. Map Quest

“GPS has been a salve for my emotional life. And yet, I miss the old road trip and the way it could make you feel lost between here and the rest of your life. With a map you believed the world was large and the car was small and every possibility was open. With GPS you know when you will leave and when you will arrive and what will happen along the way. Or you believe you do, which is even worse.”

16. The Campus as Counselor

“Students and institutions are grappling with issues like the surge in school shootings and trauma from suicides and sexual assault. But it’s not just the crises that have shaken this generation — it’s the grinding, everyday stresses, from social media pressures to relationship problems to increased academic expectations.”

17. Wealthy, Successful, and Invisible

“Even in a boom economy, a surprising portion of Americans are professionally miserable right now. In the mid-1980s, roughly 61 percent of workers told pollsters they were satisfied with their jobs. Since then, that number has declined substantially, hovering around half; the low point was in 2010, when only 43 percent of workers were satisfied, according to data collected by the Conference Board, a nonprofit research organization. The rest said they were unhappy, or at best neutral, about how they spent the bulk of their days. Even among professionals given to lofty self-images, like those in medicine and law, other studies have noted a rise in discontent. Why? Based on my own conversations with classmates and the research I began reviewing, the answer comes down to oppressive hours, political infighting, increased competition sparked by globalization, an ‘always-on culture’ bred by the internet — but also something that’s hard for these professionals to put their finger on, an underlying sense that their work isn’t worth the grueling effort they’re putting into it.”

18. The Rise of the WeWorking Class

“The conviction behind the rapid growth of WeWork is that the office culture of the future is likely to be the culture of the future, full stop, and that it is WeWork’s special vocation to bring it to market.”

19. Still At It

“These New Yorkers have been doing the same thing for 50, 60, 70 years — and love it too much to stop.”

20. Dollars on the Margins

“A $15 minimum wage is an antidepressant. It is a sleep aid. A diet. A stress reliever. It is a contraceptive, preventing teenage pregnancy. It prevents premature death. It shields children from neglect. But why? Poverty can be unrelenting, shame-inducing and exhausting. When people live so close to the bone, a small setback can quickly spiral into a major trauma. Being a few days behind on the rent can trigger a hefty late fee, which can lead to an eviction and homelessness. An unpaid traffic ticket can lead to a suspended license, which can cause people to lose their only means of transportation to work. In the same way, modest wage increases have a profound impact on people’s well-being and happiness.”

Sunday 2.17.2019 New York Times Digest

1. Time to Panic

“Being alarmed is not a sign of being hysterical; when it comes to climate change, being alarmed is what the facts demand. Perhaps the only logical response.”

2. A Poet and His Muse

“It takes hard work to become a great artist, but it also requires something mysterious and intuitive.”

3. What Is Death?

“Death is not a binary state or a simple biological fact but a complex social choice.”

4. The Nuns Who Taught Me Feminism

“At a time when violence against children, against women, against the displaced and against the planet is so pervasive, I find glimpses of hope in the nuns’ conviction that compassion can be taught and forgiveness fostered.”

5. The ‘Some of My Best Friends Are Black’ Defense

“Sometimes it’s the relationships that white people have with black friends that can lead them astray. They can be lulled into a false sense of familiarity that might have them pushing boundaries better left untouched.”

6. No, You Can’t Ignore Email. It’s Rude.

“Ignoring email is an act of incivility.”

7. The Joy of Standards

“Our modern existence depends on things we can take for granted.”

8. Life Without Plastic Is Possible. It’s Just Very Hard. + 9 Ways to Cut Down on Plastic

“Treating plastic like a drug habit that needs to be kicked is a lifestyle pledge being shared by more and more consumers, horrified by the tens of millions of metric tons of plastic created worldwide each year, much of it in the form of single-use items like straws, that end up in landfills or, worse, the oceans.”

9. A.S.M.R. Videos Give People the Tingles (No, Not That Way)

“As the industry has expanded, it has also faced resistance from those who see it as something sexual.”

10. Book Agent in the Morning, Carpenter in the Afternoon

“He spends most mornings at the McCormick offices in Manhattan’s flower district, (when the agency moved, Rift was tasked with fabricating new desks and bookcases for the space). Then, at around 1 p.m., he rides two subways to a desolate block in Ridgewood, Queens, to spend afternoons at his garage-turned-shop.”

11. Janet Malcolm: By the Book

“Why have a large library and not use it? Why keep books, if you are not going to read them more than once? For the décor? The answer isn’t entirely no. A book-lined room looks nice. I like walking into my living room and seeing the walls of books with faded spines that have accreted over many decades.”

12. How Wild Was Wild Bill Hickok?

“To succeed as a gunfighter in the American West, it helped to have a competitive advantage. Being fast on the draw was essential — and removing a revolver from a stiff leather holster was never as easy as Hollywood made it seem. But possessing good aim in an age of faulty, smoky ammo and inaccurate weaponry helped even more. The best shot in the early days of the era was the taciturn James Butler Hickok, who for no good reason earned the sobriquet Wild Bill. He boasted another advantage: He was ambidextrous, which meant he could fire off a hail of 12 rounds to the six by an ordinary mortal.”

13. Meg Ryan

“Even if you’re famous in just your office building or neighborhood, social media has given everybody the experience I had; more people are having the experience of cultivating other people’s opinions. Everyone is so happy on social media. It’s depressing.”

14. The Secret History of Women in Coding

“If biology were the reason so few women are in coding, it would be impossible to explain why women were so prominent in the early years of American programming, when the work could be, if anything, far harder than today’s programming. It was an uncharted new field, in which you had to do math in binary and hexadecimal formats, and there were no helpful internet forums, no Google to query, for assistance with your bug. It was just your brain in a jar, solving hellish problems.”

15. The Gay History of America’s Classic Children’s Books

“The authors of many of the most successful and influential works of children’s literature in the middle years of the last century — works that were formative for baby boomers, Gen-Xers, millennials and beyond — were gay.”

16. The Tiny Swiss Company That Thinks It Can Help Stop Climate Change

“The ultimate goal for air capture, however, isn’t to turn it into a product — at least not in the traditional sense. What Gebald and Wurzbacher really want to do is to pull vast amounts of CO₂ out of the atmosphere and bury it, forever, deep underground, and sell that service as an offset. Climeworks’s captured CO₂ has already been injected deep into rock formations beneath Iceland; by the end of the year, the firm intends to deploy 50 units near Reykjavik to expand the operation. But at that point the company will be moving into uncharted economic territory — purveyors of a service that seems desperately needed to help slow climate change but does not, at present, replace anything on the consumer or industrial landscape. To complicate matters, a ton of buried CO₂ is not something that human beings or governments have shown much demand for. And so companies like Climeworks face a quandary: How do you sell something that never existed before, something that may never be cheap, into a market that is not yet real?”