Sunday 4.8.2018 New York Times Digest

IMG_10591
1. The ISIS Files

“The world knows the Islamic State for its brutality, but the militants did not rule by the sword alone. They wielded power through two complementary tools: brutality and bureaucracy. ISIS built a state of administrative efficiency that collected taxes and picked up the garbage. It ran a marriage office that oversaw medical examinations to ensure that couples could have children. It issued birth certificates — printed on Islamic State stationery — to babies born under the caliphate’s black flag. It even ran its own D.M.V.”

2. In 83 Million Eviction Records, a Sweeping and Intimate New Look at Housing in America

“An eviction isn’t one problem. It’s like 12 problems.”

3. Many People Taking Antidepressants Discover They Cannot Quit + Matter Over Mind

“The drugs have helped millions of people ease depression and anxiety, and are widely regarded as milestones in psychiatric treatment. Many, perhaps most, people stop the medications without significant trouble. But the rise in longtime use is also the result of an unanticipated and growing problem: Many who try to quit say they cannot because of withdrawal symptoms they were never warned about.”

4. A Purveyor of Fountain Pens and Carbon Paper, Reinvented.

“And who uses fountain pens anymore? ‘Real traditional lawyers or judges from the old school, and they usually use it to make an impression when they’re with people,’ he said. But many younger customers don’t even bother with ballpoints. ‘Some don’t have a pen in their in their pocket,’ said Mr. Gutman. ‘The ones that do, their image is the iPhone that they have in their hands. It’s almost embarrassing for them to have a pen.’”

5. At the Masters, Low-Tech Data Still Rules

“There will be multiple times you’ll be confused. Then you trust your instincts.”

6. India’s ‘Big Brother’ Program

“India is scanning the fingerprints, eyes and faces of its 1.3 billion residents and connecting the data to everything from welfare benefits to mobile phones.”

7. Merger Medicine and the Disappearing Doctor

“People are flocking to retail clinics and urgent care centers in strip malls or shopping centers, where simple health needs can usually be tended to by health professionals like nurse practitioners or physician assistants much more cheaply than in a doctor’s office.”

8. Medicare Doesn’t Equal Dental Care

“The separation of coverage for dental care from the rest of our health care has had dramatic effects on both.”

9. How to Clean Up the Student Loan Mess

“The decisions made during loan servicing matter enormously to the financial well-being of millions of people.”

10. Who Doesn’t Love to Hate-Watch HGTV? + HGTV’s Roster of Power (Tool) Couples. + Letter of Recommendation: ‘House Hunters’

“For many of us, HGTV is the antidote to Fox News and MSNBC. In an era of political uncertainty, turmoil and real-life cliffhangers, who doesn’t want to escape to an alternate universe where, with the right blend of shiplap and granite, you could achieve perfection in your home, and by extension, your life?”

11. How Democracy Became the Enemy + Fascism on The March

“Lo, the new Promised Land: competitive authoritarianism, a form of European single-party rule that retains a veneer of democracy while skewing the contest sufficiently to ensure it is likely to yield only one result.”

12. How to Level the College Playing Field

“Despite the best efforts of many, the gap between the numbers of rich and poor college graduates continues to grow.”

13. Mark Zuckerberg Can Still Fix This Mess

“We should look to how the law treats professionals with specialized skills who get to know clients’ troubles and secrets intimately. For example, doctors and lawyers draw lots of sensitive information from, and wield a lot of power over, their patients and clients. There’s not only an ethical trust relationship there but also a legal one: that of a ‘fiduciary,’ which at its core means that the professionals are obliged to place their clients’ interests ahead of their own. The legal scholar Jack Balkin has convincingly argued that companies like Facebook and Twitter are in a similar relationship of knowledge about, and power over, their users — and thus should be considered ‘information fiduciaries.’”

14. The Germs That Love Diet Soda

“Our gut bacteria are being bombarded with things that we never ate — or never ate in the concentrations we eat now.”

15. America’s Deathtrap Schools

“In May 2013, 56 schools there were damaged or destroyed by tornadoes, including Plaza Towers Elementary School, where seven children were killed. That school did not have a tornado shelter or safe room.”

16. America’s Federally Financed Ghettos

“The residential segregation that is pervasive in the United States today was partly created by explicit federal policies that date back at least to World War I. It is now widely acknowledged that the federal insistence on segregated housing introduced Jim Crow separation in areas of the country outside the South where it had previously been unknown.”

17. Something Extra With Every DVD

“Sometimes things have to go away for people to kind of miss them.”

18. Catching a Ride On the Juul Wave

“The glamorization of the cigarette took place over decades and throughout countless Hollywood movies and glossy ads. The Juul iconicity was birthed much faster: through social media. That includes personal accounts, kids eager to fuel the Juul wave with winkingly knowing tweets about the hype cycle.”

19. With Changing Students and Times, Colleges Are Going Back to School

“Amid a growing disillusionment with higher education, thousands of institutions are seeking ways to adapt to a rapidly changing landscape that has been destabilized by skeptics, an impatient work force and a fierce conservative populace streak.”

20. Middle-Class Families Increasingly Look to Community Colleges

“Community colleges have long catered to low-income students who dream of becoming the first in their families to earn a college degree. And for many, that remains their central mission. But as middle- and upper-middle-class families … face college prices in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, more of them are looking for ways to spend less for their children’s quality education.”

21. Alexis Ohanian, a Start-Up Spirit, Opens Up + Tired of Your Cubicle? Try a Trade

“Do you really need to go to college? There is a huge student loan debt problem in this country. I think there’s going to need to be a drastic change in how these universities work. And I also think we’ve lambasted the trades for way too long. You can make six figures as a welder.”

22. Defining Itself by What It Hates

“Despite its edgy, countercultural pretensions, the alt-right is almost entirely ‘culturally sterile.’ Endless piles of ephemeral internet memes aside, it has produced little or no music, literature, film or poetry.”

23. Necessary Evil

“As more people began to spend more of each day arguing about serious issues with strangers online, it became necessary to sort out which opinions could be summarily dismissed. So the devil’s advocate is pictured as a highhanded nerd popping up to play logic games in the face of pressing issues. Concern trolls are disingenuous drags on the conversation. There’s hand-wringing, derailing, distraction, tone policing, silencing, gaslighting, ‘sea lioning’ — a label for every depressing rhetorical habit that could possibly present itself, each term a tool for narrowing down the number of ideas waiting in line for your consideration. Taken as a whole, this taxonomy feels both totally rational and slightly desperate — a way of insisting, against abundant evidence to the contrary, that a productive conversation remains possible.”

24. How to Crack a Safe

“At a minimum, you’ll need a drill; diamond and tungsten carbide drill bits, capable of boring into reinforced metals; an optical device called a borescope; and a stethoscope.”

25. The Case of Hong Kong’s Missing Booksellers

“The Chinese government has long sought to shape and control information, but the scope and intensity of this effort was something new — and its origins could be traced to a 61-year-old bookseller and a few stacks of forbidden titles.”

Sunday 4.1.208 New York Times Digest

01bone-jumbo

1. Decomposition: An Easter Story.

“The resurrection part of the life cycle is performed by decomposers.”

2. Hey, Alexa, What Can You Hear? And What Will You Do With It?

“When you read parts of the applications, it’s really clear that this is spyware and a surveillance system meant to serve you up to advertisers.”

3. In the Bronx, Stadium Scents Take Fans Out to the Ballgame

“The kiosk features six ballpark scents — hot dogs, popcorn, beer, grass, cola and the mitt — in separate push-button dispensers installed at a height accessible to residents in wheelchairs.”

4. Black Cowboys Get Back on the Trail, in Compton

“We’re different than most cowboys because we wear Air Jordan’s, Gucci belts and baseball hats while we ride.”

5. As Top Players Flock to Elite Schools, the Rich Get Better.

“Players and their families are realizing that in an increasingly stratified economy, it pays to think more broadly about the kinds of ends to which basketball can be a means.”

6. We Forgot What Dr. King Believed In

“Dr. King passionately believed that a commitment to God is a commitment to bettering humanity, that the spiritual practices of prayer and worship must be translated into concern for the poor and vulnerable. Dr. King would want us to live his specific faith: work to defeat racism, speak out in principled opposition to war and combat poverty with enlightened and compassionate public policy.”

7. How Memphis Gave Up on Dr. King’s Dream.

“Today, the city of Memphis is 64 percent black and 30 percent white. Memphis is the poorest large metropolitan area in the country.”

8. 50 Years After Dr. King’s Death, New Lessons for Today

“The emphasis of the present-day protest movements is on inclusion: equal salaries, equal education, the right to marry. The goal is to get a share in the system. The civil rights movement began with that goal too, then realized that the system was the problem. Dr. King eventually came to this conviction, and in some ways it made the end of his life hard, complicated and unsettled.”

9. Democrats Are Christians, Too

“Generations of white evangelicals have been conditioned to see evangelicalism as so synonymous with Republican politics that the idea of a non-Republican political option for religious voters simply does not exist.”

10. The Nazi History Behind ‘Asperger’

“Naming a disorder after someone is meant to credit and commend, and Asperger merited neither. His definition of ‘autistic psychopaths’ is antithetical to understandings of autism today, and he sent dozens of children to their deaths.”

11. The Bright, Shiny Distraction of Self-Driving Cars

“American roads are becoming less safe. More than 37,000 people were killed on American roads in 2016, up 5.6 percent from 2015.”

12. God and Men and Jordan Peterson

“Men looking for post-Christian enlightenment seem to gravitate toward secular-rationalist cults like the New Atheism, or more recently toward toxic forms of alt-right politics. In this sense the post-Christian religious landscape is potentially taking Christianity’s gender gap and widening it, playing its own metaphysical role in the growing divergence and polarization of the sexes.”

13. The Americans Our Government Won’t Count

“To be counted in the census is to be both seen and supported.”

14. HAL 9000 Wasn’t Always So Eerily Calm.

“Mr. Rain’s HAL has become the default reference, not just for the voice, but also for the humanesque qualities of what a sentient machine’s personality should be. Just ask Amazon’s Alexa or Google Home — the cadence, the friendly formality, the pleasant intelligence and sense of calm control in their voices evoke Mr. Rain’s unforgettable performance. As we warily eye a future utterly transformed by A.I. incursions into all aspects of our lives, HAL has been lurking.”

15. In Energized Detroit, Savoring an Architectural Legacy

“Kahn is striking for the fact that he’s so low-key and his immense talents were hidden behind a quite conventional persona. I think that’s true of the buildings as well. The buildings are conventional-looking and that tends to throw you off the scent in terms of their innovation and modernity.”

16. Galloping Through History

“Though this book is about horses, it is just as much about thinking as a devotional act. It’s a powerful display of one writer’s willingness to train his mind with unusual care on our coexistence with an animal that has unduly borne both our ‘physical and metaphorical burdens.’”

17. The Resurrection Conundrum

“The story in many ways really begins when Jesus’ female disciples find the empty tomb on Sunday morning. According to the Gospel of Luke, the male disciples at first treated the women’s report as ‘an idle tale,’ and ‘did not believe them.’”

18. Can Islamic and European Civilizations Coexist?

“Throughout history, Islamic and European civilizations have often been not just compatible, but complementary.”

19. Water, Water Everywhere, for Better and Worse

“Eventually the water will come, and with it corroded infrastructure, unusable farmland, public health disasters, destroyed homes and businesses.”

20. Everyone Wants ‘Power.’ Everyone Thinks Someone Else Has It.

“Everyone, from the online critic to the president, seems always to believe that power lies elsewhere, in some branch of the constellation beyond their reach. Try to map out almost any part of this cultural moment, and you will find something similarly chaotic — all the players passing by one another, each convinced they are doing the right thing, and very few convinced that they, in the face of powerful opposition, have enough influence to affect much at all.”

21. How the Avocado Became the Fruit of Global Trade

“A decade ago, avocados were virtually unknown in China. The country imported only two tons in 2010; last year, it brought in 32,100 tons.”

22. Can Jim Mattis Hold the Line in Trump’s ‘War Cabinet’?

“Some of Trump’s old friends and associates speculate that he is drawn to Mattis and the other military men partly for the opposite reason: They represent the austere virtues he knows he lacks. ‘With the generals, the demeanor, discipline, self-sacrifice, the strict adherence to a code is something he doesn’t see around him’ in the business world, I was told by an executive who has known Trump for years.”

23. A People in Limbo, Many Living Entirely on the Water

“Most of the floating villages I saw were peaceful mélanges of Vietnamese, Khmer and Cham fishers, and many of the people I met, including Hoarith, were the product of mixed Khmer and Vietnamese marriages. But everyone seemed to agree that floating villages were traditionally a Vietnamese way of life, enlarged out of economic necessity to include other groups. Today the ethnic Vietnamese live on the water because they are not able to live elsewhere. Neither documented citizen nor, in most cases, immigrant, they are what the government has sometimes described as ‘nonimmigrant foreigners.’ They cannot attend public schools or open bank accounts, get a driver’s license or a factory job or own land or property. Their children are not issued birth certificates, precipitating a generational cycle of de facto statelessness.”

24. Is the Next Nobel Laureate in Literature Tending Bar in a Dusty Australian Town?

“Even by the standards of the solitary writer, his eccentricities are manifest.”

 

Sunday 3.25.2018 New York Times Digest

02tmag-dayjobs-slide-LAAI-master768

1. Does Having a Day Job Mean Making Better Art?

“For those who want to mine daily life for their art, a second job becomes an umbilical cord fastened to something vast and breathing. The alternate gig that lifts you out of your process also supplies fodder for when that process resumes. Lost time is regained as range and perspective, the artist acquiring yet one more mode of inhabiting the world.”

2. Welcome to Zucktown. Where Everything Is Just Zucky.

“It is a project with many precedents in American history, quite a few of them cautionary tales about what happens when a powerful corporation takes control of civic life.”

3. How Genetics Is Changing Our Understanding of ‘Race’

“While race may be a social construct, differences in genetic ancestry that happen to correlate to many of today’s racial constructs are real.”

4. How Democracy Can Survive Big Data

“That such threats to democracy are now possible is due in part to the fact that our society lacks an information ethics adequate to its deepening dependence on data.”

5. Are You Really in Love if It’s Not on Instagram?

“I get especially weirded out by people who seem interested in cultivating ‘fans’ of their relationship. While it’s cute and flattering to have people make comments like ‘y’all are goals’ and ‘adopt me’ on a picture of you and your lover, I think it creates social pressure to stay in relationships that might actually be unhealthy. One of my good friends stayed with her evil ex for more than a year after she knew she needed to leave, worrying about ‘letting people down.’”

6. Beyond Marie Curie

“Even when women were invisible, it never means they weren’t there.”

7. How Silicon Valley Turned Into ‘Brotopia’

“Computing was so popular for women in the 1960s that it was the subject of a 1967 article in Cosmopolitan — in which the magazine alerted women readers to the financial benefits of ‘a whole new kind of work for women.’ ‘Women are “naturals” at computer programming,’ Hopper told Cosmo. By the 1980s, when the Macintosh was unveiled, women were receiving almost 40 percent of computer science degrees. But then, to use the parlance of Silicon Valley, there was a pivot.”

8. The Latest Subject of Female Fantasies? Creatures From the Deep

“Are real men these days so unwanted? In these interspecies romances, women aren’t looking to be saved by convention (these frogs don’t turn into princes when kissed). Their love also demonstrates a kind of compassion that feels profoundly absent right now. In light of #MeToo, such narratives of feminist reclamation force us to ask ourselves: Who is actually dangerous, and what is truly safe?”

9. The Women Responsible for the Look of Your Next All-Day Cafe

“Now that every diner has a camera in her handbag, restaurateurs have been forced to acknowledge that what they’re creating is not just a place where people consume meals but an aspirational space that, for many who experience it, exists only online.”

10. How to Clean Paper Currency

“A study of $1 bills in New York identified a total of 397 bacterial species.”

11. Why He Kayaked Across the Atlantic at 70 (For the Third Time)

“When he couldn’t sleep, because of the unrelenting stuffiness of his cabin and the waves crashing through the portal onto his head, Doba thought about his wife, children and his young granddaughter. He thought about his dead parents. He communed with the turtles, whose shells he tapped while they swam alongside him to make sure they were alive, and the birds, who landed on Olo for a rest and often entered his cabin and did not want to leave.”

12. The World’s Best Hitchhiker on the Secrets of His Success

“Before us was a bend in the road pocked with a huge, five-foot-wide pothole, which Villarino described as ‘perfect.’ The ideal pickup spot, he explained, has not only a place for cars to pull over safely but also some obstacle or obstruction that forces them to slow down as they approach you. Standing just before or after a hill, or a train track, or a wye, a stoplight, a traffic circle, or even a speed bump would have worked just as well as our pothole. Villarino forbids hats and sunglasses because they hide your eyes from drivers; sitting is discouraged because it obscures your physical size. He intentionally dons the uniform of a backpacker — brown hiking boots with red laces, gray synthetic cargo pants that unzip at the knees — because people all around the world are familiar with that archetype.”

13. Nathalie Cabrol Searches the Earth for the Secrets of Life on Mars

“It was dizzying to think of the scales her work spans: millions of miles of space, billions of years of planetary evolution, the vastness of the universe, the canyons and valleys of Mars, the expanse of salt here, our small forms standing upon it, and these exquisitely tough, tiny, almost invisible signs of life held between finger and thumb.”

14. Tragically Lost in Joshua Tree’s Wild Interior

“Tracking down the lost, however, is more than just an effort to solve a mystery. The intensity that many of these investigators bring to their work suggests a fundamental discomfort with the very idea of disappearance in the 21st century: People should not be able to disappear, not in this day and age. Not everyone who is lost actually wants to be found. For this reason, the searcher’s compulsion is both a promise and a threat.”

 

Sunday 3.18.2018 New York Times Digest

merlin_135095445_1802a7bf-9599-4801-8878-9c5ae17b18f8-blog427

1. Folly Marches On

“President Trump and his alt-right coterie are not something new under the sun but another chapter in the oldest of human dramas: the tension between appetite and the common good, between ambition and common sense.”

2. Back to the Health Policy Drawing Board

“In no other wealthy country do we see people organize bake sales to help pay for a neighbor’s cancer care.”

3. It’s Hard to Be Hungry on Spring Break

“Spring break is a luxury that many students can’t afford. In a sense, though, it is one that many colleges make them buy anyway.”

4. Babushkas for Putin

“Their emotional response to Mr. Putin — the only man their age who is a presence in their lives — seems to speak to both the holes and the scars that Russian men, in their absence, have left. Mr. Putin is not lazy, these women say. He doesn’t drink. He’s calm, sober, even charming.”

5. In Praise of A.D.H.D.

“Some people with A.D.H.D. may be naturally suited to our turbocharged world.”

6. Stop Apologizing for Being Elite

“The energy expended by many ‘elitists’ on constructing tortuous apologies for their advantages would be better invested in sharing the fruits of those advantages.”

7. A Parable of Self-Destruction + Easter Island Is Eroding

“The islanders cut down trees for cremation, for firewood, for canoes, for homes and perhaps for devices to move the statues. Rats and beetles may also have contributed to the deforestation. Once the trees were gone, there were no more fruit and nuts, and it became impossible to build large canoes to hunt porpoises and to fish for tuna. Hungry villagers also ate up the land birds, such as herons, parrots and owls, until they were gone, too. Deforestation caused erosion that led crops to fail, and this advanced society disintegrated into civil war. Without oceangoing canoes, it was impossible for inhabitants to flee to other islands, the way their ancestors had arrived centuries before. Groups began attacking one another and destroying one another’s statues, with oral histories even recounting cannibalism.”

8. Instagram Age Has Its Pastor

“Saving souls is a business like any other. Pastors today who want to start a ministry for those 40 and under follow a well-traveled path. First, they lease an old theater or club. Next, they find great singers and backup musicians. A fog machine on stage is nice. A church should also have a catchy logo or catchphrase that can be stamped onto merchandise and branded — socks, knit hats, shoes and sweatshirts.”

9. How Does Submissive Sex Work in the Age of #MeToo?

“What began as a very public airing of powerful men’s sexual misconduct has come to cast a certain sinister pall over private intimacies that once seemed perfectly O.K. to enjoy.”

10. Can Donald Trump Be Impeached?

“An unimpeachable president is slowly constructing the kind of authoritarian state that America was actually founded to overthrow.”

11. A Corporeal History of the 19th Century

“Hughes’s blow-by-blow accounts of bowel movements, menstruation, menopause, pores and salivary glands shouldn’t be mistaken for celebrity gossip or scatological humor — though it takes guts, so to speak, to depict courtiers fat-shaming one another and guesstimating who had missed a period.”

12. How Language Came to Be — and How We Use It Today

“Conversation is the entire point of human language and the most useful way to study it.”

13. Letter of Recommendation: Candle Hour

“An hour before I go to bed, I turn off all my devices for the night. I hit the lights. I light a candle or two or three — enough to read a book by, or to just sit and stare at the flame, which, by drawing oxygen, reminds me I need to breathe, too. I surround myself with scents and objects I like — some fresh rosemary plucked from a neighbor’s bush, a jar of redwood seed pods. I have a journal ready, but I don’t pressure myself to write in it. Candle Hour doesn’t even need to last a full hour, though; sometimes it lasts far longer. I sit until I feel an uncoupling from the chaos, or until the candle burns all the way down, or sometimes both.”

14. Should Some Species Be Allowed to Die Out?

“In the face of growing political and environmental pressures, how should we decide what to save?”

 

Sunday 3.11.2018 New York Times Digest

11kennedy-master768

1. No Magic Pill Will Get You to 100.

“Some of the biggest names in dieting, organic agriculture and preventive medicine died at surprisingly young ages.”

2. In Britain’s Playgrounds, ‘Bringing in Risk’ to Build Resilience

“Out went the plastic playhouses and in came the dicey stuff: stacks of two-by-fours, crates and loose bricks. The schoolyard got a mud pit, a tire swing, log stumps and workbenches with hammers and saws.”

3. Overlooked

“Since 1851, The New York Times has published thousands of obituaries: of heads of state, opera singers, the inventor of Stove Top stuffing and the namer of the Slinky. The vast majority chronicled the lives of men, mostly white ones; even in the last two years, just over one in five of our subjects were female.”

4. There Are Still DVD Rental Stores in New York

“When you’ve got a store like this, it’s nice that you can look at the boxes and see what you’re getting.”

5. Dial P for Privacy: The Phone Booth Is Back

“The return of the phone booth signals a gesture toward more civility. Talking on the phone for others to overhear, especially in a work environment, has become at best an etiquette issue, and at worst … a pollutant.”

6. Plant-Loving Millennials at Home and at Work + Houseplants for Beginners

“Wellness-minded millennials, especially ones in large urban environments that lack natural greenery, are opting to fill their voids — both decorative and emotional — with houseplants.”

7. Money Is Power. And Women Need More of Both.

“Girls as they are growing up are not socialized to feel that it’s O.K. for them to have ambition about creating wealth, not the way it is for little boys.”

8. When Smug Liberals Met Conservative Trolls

“The more smugness, the more satisfying it is to poke holes in it; the more toxic the trolling, the greater the sense of moral superiority. The result: an odoriferous stew of political rhetoric that is nearly irresistible to those on the inside and confusingly abhorrent to those on the outside.”

9. How Lies Spread Online

“For all categories of information — politics, entertainment, business and so on — we found that false stories spread significantly farther, faster and more broadly than did true ones.”

10. YouTube, the Great Radicalizer

“It seems as if you are never ‘hard core’ enough for YouTube’s recommendation algorithm. It promotes, recommends and disseminates videos in a manner that appears to constantly up the stakes. Given its billion or so users, YouTube may be one of the most powerful radicalizing instruments of the 21st century.”

11. The Northwest Passage That Might Have Been

“Ideas do not exist only on their own merits. Timing matters.”

12. The Man Who Knew Too Little

“Donald Trump’s victory shook him. Badly. And so Mr. Hagerman developed his own eccentric experiment, one that was part silent protest, part coping mechanism, part extreme self-care plan. He swore that he would avoid learning about anything that happened to America after Nov. 8, 2016.”

13. Secret to a Great Trip: Ditch the Devices

“Many people are too absorbed by the convenience and distraction of their phones to pay close attention to their surroundings.”

14. 25 Songs That Tell Us Where Music Is Going

“If the last version of pop was driven by people who desperately wanted everyone to care and everything to matter, it’s only natural for the next wave to be interested in what it looks like when you don’t care, and nothing matters.”

15. We Are What We Manufacture

“The history of large factories … is the history of the modern world and most everything we see, experience and touch.”

16. How Businesses Became People

“From 1607, when the Virginia Company established the Jamestown colony, corporations have been inextricably embedded in American life.”

17. Fierce Convictions

“America’s public universities were founded, Robinson notes, to democratize privilege — the privilege to prepare for a profession, yes, but also to learn how others over the course of history have answered the Great Questions, and how to ask and answer such questions for one’s self.”

 

Sunday 3.4.2018 New York Times Digest

04mag-04ontech-t_CA0-master1050

1. How Tiny Red Dots Took Over Your Life

“Is it possible to reform profit-driven systems that turn attention into money? In such a business, can you even separate addiction from success?”

2. Romance, Rough Sex or Rape?

“On the big screen, consent has long been a fuzzy, negotiable concept.”

3. Why We Should Lower the Voting Age to 16

“Adolescents can gather and process information, weigh pros and cons, reason logically with facts and take time before making a decision. Teenagers may sometimes make bad choices, but statistically speaking, they do not make them any more often than adults do.”

4. Power to the Parents

“The simplest mechanism would be to assign half a vote to each custodial parent; presumably single parents with full custody could exercise the full franchise for each child.”

5. When Your College Has Your Back

“Today just 40 percent of college students earn a degree in four years. This phenomenon is so common that educators now use six years, by which time 59 percent of undergraduates receive their diplomas, as the new normal.”

6. The 8 Million Species We Don’t Know

“Once species are gone, they’re gone forever. Even if the climate is stabilized, the extinction of species will remove Earth’s foundational, billion-year-old environmental support system. A growing number of researchers, myself included, believe that the only way to reverse the extinction crisis is through a conservation moonshot: We have to enlarge the area of Earth devoted to the natural world enough to save the variety of life within it.”

7. Let’s Bag Plastic Bags

“The United Nations Environment Program estimates that some eight million tons of plastic waste end up in the oceans each year, while a 2016 World Economic Forum report projects that there will be more plastic than fish by weight in the oceans by 2050 if current trends continue.”

8. Helen Mirren Hits the Road

“I was astounded when I first came to America how people would get in the car and drive for five hours without even thinking about it. I think 50 percent of Americans don’t own a passport because there’s an awful lot of America to see. There’s a ubiquitousness that Europeans find quite difficult to deal with, the fact that you can drive for thousands of miles into a place that looks exactly the same, with a Marshalls, Staples, T.J. Maxx, Home Depot. But I have yet to go to a part of America that is not unbelievably beautiful — New Mexico, the Smoky Mountains, South Dakota, the redwood forests, Yosemite, the bayou.”

9. Put On a Happy Face and Getting Better All the Time?

“Progress has been interrupted by catastrophes, and we cannot soothe ourselves with the thought that the catastrophes will be temporary, even if we can persuade ourselves that temporary bumps cannot cause permanent derailment.”

10. The Battle Over What It Means to Be American

“Chua both condemns tribalism and respects its power. She insists that the United States alone of nations among the earth has often transcended it — and then presents impressive contrary evidence from the past and the present. Chua reckons with the many tribalisms of the American past: ethnic, religious and racial. She hopes for a future in which tribalism fades — even as she mercilessly details its accumulating strength.”

11. When Writing a Book Leaves a (Literal) Mark on Its Author

“The tattoo artist lines up tiny pots of ink, 16 in all, blacks and browns and reds, a metallic gold, a lurid pink. She has studied the image, taking apart its planes and colors, rewinding Copley’s brushstrokes. To watch her build it up again, from outline to underlayer to surface, working in pigment and blood, is as close as I will ever come to watching Copley’s hand and seeing through his eyes.”

12. How Much Is Anyone ‘Entitled’ To, in the End?

“Lately, ‘entitled’ is the scalpel we use to divide one from the other, affirming the things we believe are owed to us, then turning around and shaming others for expecting anything beyond that. It lets us claim that certain rights are fundamental, granted by a higher authority, and it lets us accuse others of being grasping, arrogant and superior.”

13. Letter of Recommendation: Celsius

“Before I adopted Celsius, the difference between a 60- and a 70-degree day, in Fahrenheit, meant a great deal to me, dictating my wardrobe and perhaps even my mood. But when I started walking around with Celsius in my head, I noticed that such minor gradations don’t really matter — it was hot, or it was cold, or it was neither. I would survive. There was something psychically soothing about that.”

14. What Is the Perfect Color Worth?

“Color forecasters like Shah and his team at Pantone have tremendous influence over the visible elements of the global economy — the parts of it that are designed, manufactured and purchased — though their profession itself is all but invisible.”

 

Yellowstone

Like “Longmire” meets Wind River meets Lonesome Dove? Could be something. The music here — a bit more pressing than your usual Western fare — piques my interest the most. I’m in for at least the first episode.