Sunday 8.12.2018 New York Times Digest


1. The Humanity We Can’t Relinquish

“More and more of us these days seem to be living at post-human speeds determined by machines, to the point where we barely have time for kids or friends. But if we’re feeling less than human — or pretending we can engineer mortality away — for most of us it’s a choice we’re making, and can unmake tomorrow.”

2. The Flourishing Business of Fake YouTube Views

“At one point in 2013, YouTube had as much traffic from bots masquerading as people as it did from real human visitors.”

3. War Hero Turned Bank Robber Writes the New Great American Novel

“The strange story of how Mr. Walker — a war hero with no criminal history — became a serial bank robber who evaded police for months sounds like the plot of a heist movie or thriller. Instead, Mr. Walker wrote an unsettling literary novel.”

4. Go Ahead, Speak for Yourself

“Having an identity doesn’t, by itself, authorize you to speak on behalf of everyone of that identity.”

5. Science Alone Won’t Save the Earth. People Have to Do That.

“A better future won’t be realized through unquestioning faith in the safety of scientifically defined environmental limits or in unlimited technological capacities to avoid environmental consequences. When there is no single optimal solution, no amount of rational debate, or even computational intelligence, can find one. Science does not, cannot and should not have all the answers — not for earth’s limits, nor for human futures. A future governed solely by rationality and scientific evidence offers no safe space in these times.”

6. Why the Songs of Summer Sound the Same

“Through the mid-’90s, each summer’s hits were a relatively diverse set. But since about 2000, the songs each year have been more similar. So what happened?”

7. Jocks Rule, Nerds Drool

“The notion of nerds being kinder than other men fades faster every day.”

8. Don’t Let TripAdvisor Kill Adventure

“Greater access to information means fewer impromptu decisions and fewer surprises.”

9. How the Soulquarians Birthed D’Angelo’s ‘Voodoo’ and Transformed Jazz

Voodoo stood out at once for its principled stand against the prevailing aesthetic of pop-R&B, which had been steadily marching toward digital clarity and precision. This album trafficked instead in murk and sweat, warp and grit. There were throwback energies in the music: not just vintage Prince but also Hendrix, James Brown, and Sly and the Family Stone. The critic Jayson Greene has called it ‘a murmured album, music made from the implications of other music.’ On more than one level, that meant jazz.”

10. The End Is Near, and It’s Cool to Watch

“As is the case with many apocalyptic or dystopian cinematic visions today, though, How It Ends is just too damn pretty. Every awful day ends with a scenic sunset over the purple plain, and even the doom clouds have high pictorial value. For a stark contrast to How It Ends, and this trend in general, check out the 1970 movie No Blade of Grass, directed by Cornel Wilde, a matinee idol turned interesting filmmaker.”

11. How Civil Must America Be?

“Like it or not — and many do like it — gun money does a lot for Grinnell.”

12. Looking Back at the Economic Crash of 2008

“As is often the case with financial crashes, markets and experts alike turned out to have been focused on the wrong things, blind to the true problem that was metastasizing.”

13. William T. Vollmann Would Like a Word or Two About Climate Change. Or 1,200 Pages.

“The first volume, No Immediate Danger, deals mostly with the nuclear disaster at Fukushima; the second, No Good Alternative, takes on coal, oil and natural gas. He has stacked his reporting high, giving us interview after interview with local people in places ravaged by our need for power and by our wastefulness: those living near the nuclear plant, occupants of West Virginia hollers whose communities have suffered environmental wreckage from coal mining, unhappy neighbors of fracking pads, coal workers in Bangladesh and oil workers in Abu Dhabi.”

14. Against Progress

“How to hold together an intellectual bouquet that combines the simple blooms of village life and the hothouse hybrids of unfettered economic development?”

15. In Order to Write, It Must Be Right

“A room of one’s own? Grant Snider thinks a writer needs a lot more than that.”

16. Some Online ‘Mobs’ Are Vicious. Others Are Perfectly Rational.

“There are those who lack institutional power because of discrimination, and then there are those who are kept out of polite society because they are amoral ghouls. The true nature of a mob becomes a lot clearer once you differentiate between the two.”

17. War Without End

“The policies that sent these men and women abroad, with their emphasis on military action and their visions of reordering nations and cultures, have not succeeded. It is beyond honest dispute that the wars did not achieve what their organizers promised, no matter the party in power or the generals in command. Astonishingly expensive, strategically incoherent, sold by a shifting slate of senior officers and politicians and editorial-page hawks, the wars have continued in varied forms and under different rationales each and every year since passenger jets struck the World Trade Center in 2001. They continue today without an end in sight, reauthorized in Pentagon budgets almost as if distant war is a presumed government action.”

Sunday 8.5.2017 New York Times Digest

by Bráulio Amado

1. The High School We Can’t Log Off From

“Twitter is changing us — regressing us — in ways developmental psychologists would find weirdly recognizable.”

2. Racism at American Pools Isn’t New: A Look at a Long History

“Pools are supposed to be places to relax, but ever since they exploded in popularity about a century ago, they have served as flash points for racial conflict — vulnerable spaces where prejudices have intensified and violence has often broken out.”

3. Following the Moneyed

“Over the last 30 years, Ms. Greenfield has become America’s foremost visual chronicler of the plutocracy, and those who hope to join its ranks. Her ultra-saturated, up-close, unsparing images have appeared in the pages of The New York Times Magazine, GQ and The New Yorker, as well as museum exhibitions and theatrical documentaries. Ms. Greenfield’s lens has fallen on affluent teens playing hooky, rappers and the strippers they shower $100 bills on, investors in exile, hedge-funders in denial, Iceland’s teetering banking system, abandoned mansions in Dubai and countless other icons of the world’s mounting financial inequality.”

4. Rebranding by Google Maps Hits Home

“Google Maps has now become the primary arbiter of place names. With decisions made by a few Google cartographers, the identity of a city, town or neighborhood can be reshaped, illustrating the outsize influence that Silicon Valley increasingly has in the real world.”

5. The Stock Market Is Shrinking.

“There were 23 publicly listed companies for every million people in 1975, but only 11 in 2016.”

6. The Podcast Bros Want to Optimize Your Life

“This is the podcast bro ethos: Ditch your ideologically charged identity. Accept your evolutionary programming. Take responsibility for mastering it, and find a cosmic purpose.”

7. The Great God of Depression

“During the exuberance of the 1990s, it seemed possible that drugs would one day wipe out depression, making suicide a rare occurrence. But that turned out to be an illusion. In fact, the American suicide rate has continued to climb since the beginning of the 21st century.”

8. Donald Trump, Mesmerist

“Great con men feed off accusations of dishonesty.”

9. How to Avoid A Ticket

“Having the same first name as your officer is as important as being white.”

10. No, It’s Not My Boyfriend’s Bike

“The pleasures of taking to the open road on a motorcycle are gender-neutral.”

11. Americans Are Terrible at Small Talk

“Americans are good at a great many things: normalizing drone warfare, making cherry-flavored jellies taste more like cherries than cherries themselves, optimism. But they struggle with small talk.”

12. Spike Lee Takes on the Klan + How Spike Lee Created Three Signature Visual Shots

“The danger of showing the complete absurdity of the Klan is that it undermines just how pervading their ideas were and how influential and destructive they became in these historical moments. I think to not parody them is one of the challenges for contemporary filmmakers.”

13. A Family’s 400-Year-Old Musical Secret Still Rings True

Zildjian was incorporated in the United States in 1929. But the company’s relationship with drummers, and drumming itself, dates back much further: 400 years to be precise, to 1618, when a secret casting process resulted in the creation of a new bronze alloy for the court of Sultan Osman II, the ruler of the Ottoman Empire.

14. Dick Cavett in the Digital Age

“I was called ‘intellectual,’ I guess, because I didn’t know any better than to read the guests’ books.”

15. Face Tattoos Go Mainstream

“A lot of kids are doing it to make themselves bigger on social media.”

16. The Future Is … Personal Ads?

“The page, which has over 40,000 followers, works like this: Text-based personal ads are submitted once a month. Ms. Rakowski then publishes them as Instagram posts and tags the people who submitted them. Interested parties can get in touch directly.”

17. Amar’e Stoudemire Is on a Religious Quest

“When I’m not training, I study Torah. Study, train, study, train, study, train, study. That’s life.”

18. How to Have a Luxury Trip for Much Less Than You Think

“10 destinations where you can save money on an upscale trip without sacrificing a feeling of luxury.”

19. Locking Her Up

“Stern’s is the first book-length account of the ‘American Plan,’ a government-sponsored ‘social hygiene’ campaign under which thousands of American women between the early years of the 20th century and the 1960s were forced to undergo gynecological exams, quarantine and detention, all in the name of protecting the country’s citizens from sexually transmitted infections.”

20. Troubled Waters

“This ‘is the story of a government poisoning its own citizens, and then lying about it.’”

21. What Happened When Fracking Came to Town

“Something so ordinary must be safe, the two women figured.”

22. An Astrophysical Approach to Our Environmental Crisis

“Rather than just continuing to procreate and exploit our capacities and resources on Earth, we should recognize that we and our planet are evolving together. Our planet might be viewed as a single living organism, coined Gaia by the scientist and futurist James Lovelock. We have entered a new geological age, what biologists call the Anthropocene, in which we, Homo sapiens, are altering the planet, and our survival depends on understanding this symbiosis. Frank asks: Have other civilizations elsewhere in the universe, evolving through their corresponding Anthropocenes, managed to survive? And by what strategy?”

23. The Decade We Almost Stopped Climate Change

“Is it a comfort or a curse, the knowledge that we could have avoided all this?”

Sunday 7.29.2018 New York Times Digest


1. Meet New Orleans’s All-Female Biker Club

“It’s the bikes that bind.”

2. A Sports Psychology Guru Dies, but His Practices Live On

“Baseball is rooted in failure. The best hitters are out two-thirds of the time. So hanging on to hope is vital, even for elite athletes.”

3. Beauty Is in the Eye of These Beholders

“Described as Sephora meets Coachella, Beautycon is not unlike a theme park, with hourslong lines, expensive food and the occasional chance to scream. Tickets range from $50 for a single-day pass to $1,000 for two days of skip-the-lines VIP treatment. Beauty brands spend anywhere from $5,000 to more than a million dollars on their Beautycon build-outs. From these temporary havens, companies test and sell product, hand out samples, gather email addresses and host appearances with digital influencers.”

4. Giddy Up, Girlfriend!

“One does not have to own a flesh-and-blood horse in order to be a horse girl, and in fact, for many, a Breyer may be the closest she’ll ever get. She is not defined by her proximity to horses, but by manifesting her interest in a way that outsiders may not understand — may even mock.”

5. Motherhood in the Age of Fear

“We now live in a country where it is seen as abnormal, or even criminal, to allow children to be away from direct adult supervision, even for a second.”

6. I Wanted a Dog. I Bake Bread Instead.

“Making sourdough bread is the opposite of using the internet.”

7. Identity in an Instagram Feed.

“Instagram is often criticized for showcasing unrealistic lifestyles that can make users feel insecure. But for me, it plays a different role. It’s a place where I can go for much-needed reminders that, despite what mainstream media might suggest, my kind of beauty matters.”

8. How the Suffrage Movement Betrayed Black Women

“[Stanton] warned that white woman would be degraded if Negro men preceded them into the franchise. Admiring historians have dismissed this as an unfortunate interlude in an exemplary life. By contrast, the historian Lori Ginzberg argues persuasively that racism and elitism were enduring features of the great suffragist’s makeup and philosophy.”

9. Twitter Made Everything a Joke

“More and more of a pleasurable thing, it turns out, doesn’t actually make us happier.”

10. A Backlash Bedevils Joke Tellers

“There’s enough reverence for comedy these days that it’s easy to forget that the core of most humor is irreverence. If we think comedy can do everything, won’t we eventually be disappointed?”

11. Billy Joel’s Got a Good Job and Hits in His Head

“There’s a lot of my songs I could never hear again and live quite happily.”

12. Summer Vacation? Nah, I’m Taking a Creative Hiatus

“When friends invite Mr. Preszler to drinks or weekends away, he zips off a quick reply: ‘I’m building a canoe. I’ll see you in August!’”

13. Please Stop Merchandising Mental Illness

“The problem with the prettification of mental illness is just how out-of-kilter it is with reality. It’s almost suggested as a desirable character trait for women to have. In my experience, partners find it frustrating, not nearly as endearing and whimsical as these statements and products would suggest.”

14. Chris Hayes Reviews Michiko Kakutani’s Book About Our Post-Truth Era

“Is it possible to say anything truly profound or new about Donald Trump at this moment in time?”

15. A History of Everything, Served in a Cold Glass of Milk

“The timeline of milk is a timeline of civilization.”

16. How Sweet It Is. And How Malignant.

“Sugar … is a blood-soaked product that has brought havoc to millions and environmental devastation to large parts of the planet, premature death to the poorest populations in many parts of the world and huge health costs for societies from the United States to India. After reading this book the mere mention of sugar should make you think of slavery and cavities, imperialism and obesity — and remind you to check the label on the products you consume.”

17. Letter of Recommendation: Dead Malls

“No other category offers the spectacle of modern ruin at such horrifying scale: the scars of familiar logos on storefronts, the desiccated planters, the sheer volume of emptiness and waste. No other building displays the capriciousness of human desire with such brutal rigor — a once-beloved edifice that, in the span of a few years, has become so worthless no one even cares enough to tear it down.”

18. How to Have Sex in a Canoe

“A Canadian is somebody who knows how to make love in a canoe.”

19. How Goop’s Haters Made Gwyneth Paltrow’s Company Worth $250 Million

“The newsletter was at first kind of mainstream New Age-forward. It had some kooky stuff in it, but nothing totally outrageous. It was concerned with basic wellness causes, like detoxes and cleanses and meditation. It wasn’t until 2014 that it began to resemble the thing it is now, a wellspring of both totally legitimate wellness tips and completely bonkers magical thinking: advice from psychotherapists and advice from doctors about how much Vitamin D to take (answer: a lot! Too much!) and vitamins for sale and body brushing and dieting and the afterlife and crystals and I swear to God something called Psychic Vampire Repellent, which is a ‘sprayable elixir’ that uses ‘gem healing’ to something something ‘bad vibes.’”

20. What the Mystery of the Tick-Borne Meat Allergy Could Reveal

“Until meat allergy was recognized, the prevailing medical wisdom held that an allergic reaction to meat from mammals was extremely unusual. Unlike that from shellfish, say, meat from mammals was thought by some allergists to be too similar to human flesh for the immune system to attack it with the full fury of the allergic arsenal. In this and other respects, meat allergy is upending longstanding assumptions about how allergies work. Its existence suggests that other allergies could be initiated by arthropod bites or unexpected exposures. It also raises the possibility that other symptoms often reported by patients that clinicians might dismiss because they don’t fit into established frameworks — gluten intolerance, for example, or mucus production after drinking milk — could, similarly, be conditions that scientists simply don’t understand yet.”

21. The Billionaire Yogi Behind Modi’s Rise

“His blend of patriotic fervor, health and religious piety flows seamlessly into the harder versions of Hindu nationalism, which are often openly hostile to India’s 172 million Muslims. Although Ramdev prefers to speak of Indian solidarity, his B.J.P. allies routinely invoke an Islamic threat and rally crowds with vows to build temples on the sites of medieval mosques. In his own way, Ramdev is India’s answer to Donald Trump, and there is much speculation that he may run for prime minister himself. Like Trump, he heads a multibillion-dollar empire. And like Trump, he is a bombastic TV personality whose relationship with truth is elastic; he cannot resist a branding opportunity — his name and face are everywhere in India.”


Sunday 7.22.2018 New York Times Digest


1. Climate Change Is Killing the Cedars of Lebanon

“Many Lebanese see in the tree a reflection of their land’s uniqueness and its ability to survive the storms of history.”

2. Wild About Tech, China Even Loves Robot Waiters That Can’t Serve

“Gizmos with a bit of futuristic verve are often the best symbols of progress.”

3. Parents Behaving Badly: A Youth Sports Crisis Caught on Video

“A torrent of verbal, and occasionally physical, abuse toward referees nationwide has disrupted the sidelines of youth sports.”

4. Memo From the Boss: Meat Is Not an Option

“WeWork appears to be the first big company to tell its employees what they can and can’t eat.”

5. Companies Are Happy When Customers Are Trapped

“Companies offer convenience, but they make the consumers pay for it.”

6. How James Brown Made Black Pride a Hit

“Much has changed over the past half century. But, alas, the need to defend blackness against derision continues.”

7. The Trouble With Vacations

“The fact that vacations serve as a release valve means that we — and our employers — can let that pressure mount the 49 other weeks of the year. Knowing I’ll finally be at the beach next week makes it that little bit easier to put in an extra hour of email each night.”

8. Why I (Mostly) Quit Twitter.

“Twitter is now an anger video game for many users.”

9. The Secret History of Leviticus

“There is good evidence that an earlier version of the laws in Leviticus 18 permitted sex between men. In addition to having the prohibition against same-sex relations added to it, the earlier text, I believe, was revised in an attempt to obscure any implication that same-sex relations had once been permissible.”

10. The Northland’s Forgotten Border

“The northland is a singular place, occupied by the sort of small towns that modern America has skipped over, obscure industries and old-world professions that rely on hands, not machines. It is also a wild place, with forests of old-growth hemlock, fir and birch; wild rivers; unnamed mountain ranges; and some of the largest roadless areas in America.”

11. The Shifting Views of Michael Jackson

“Jackson’s own face — through a combination of fame and relentless surgery — became a mask, reflecting our own biases and ideals while concealing a deeper truth. His art and lasting appeal, on the other hand, function as a reminder to consider our own disguises, and what we might gain by letting them go.”

12. Suspicious Minds

“Audiences were being radically opened, too. Something had come unanchored. It was inevitable where things were headed. The moment came at one of the ‘Ancient Aliens’ cast panels, during questions from the audience. Everyone listened uncomfortably to a man who spoke at length, in an agitated voice, about certain flaws he’d discovered in the hard sciences. ‘Sir, sir, sir. Do you have a question?’ Mr. Burns interrupted. The man exclaimed, ‘Why don’t you challenge physics and math?’”

13. Museum Tours for People Who Don’t Like Museum Tours

“Museums aren’t competing with other museums. They’re competing with Netflix, Facebook and iPhones.”

14. The Best That Money Couldn’t Buy

“The best P.I. stories build slowly and keep the stakes relatively small.”

15. America Can Never Sort Out Whether ‘Socialism’ Is Marginal or Rising

“A strange logic has always surrounded this topic in the United States: Both interpretations — that socialism is a dead letter and that it is the wave of the future — can exist side by side. At the end of the Cold War, we heard that socialism was at last forever vanquished, but in 2009 Newsweek declared that ‘We Are All Socialists Now.’”

16. What Can Odd, Interesting Medical Case Studies Teach Us?

“Over the years, as the discipline of medicine moved concertedly from descriptive to mechanistic, from observational to explanatory and from anecdotal to statistical, the case study fell out of favor. As doctors, we began to prioritize modes of learning that depended on experiments and objectivity. Our journals filled up with studies on drugs — often funded by drug companies — that had disembodied subjects lumped into “experimental” and “control.” Observation, we thought, was just the prelude to experimentation and explanation; of what use was a descriptive study unless it could help explain some principle of physiology, or be somehow incorporated into an objective (preferably randomized) trial?”

17. Parents Aren’t Good Judges of Their Kids’ Sugar Intake

“Those with the highest B.M.I.s tended to have parents with the largest underestimates.”

18. Letter of Recommendation: Used Clothing

“Used clothing isn’t just used, but rather soaked in the lives of the living and the dead.”

19. How to Go Back to a Flip Phone

“Social interactions will be challenging.”

20. The Case for Canned Tuna

“Some people disapprove of fish in a can, but the best of it ages beautifully in olive oil, and it’s often more delicious than the fresh fish I can find at the supermarket. Good canned fish can be eaten just the way it is, dripping with olive oil, but I like a tin’s worth of sardines seasoned with plenty of lemon zest, soft oregano leaves and some fried bread crumbs, broken up a bit and warmed all the way through as it’s tossed with cooked spaghetti, olive oil and maybe a ripe tomato, squashed between my fingers. It’s a perfect dinner.”

21. George Soros Bet Big on Liberal Democracy. Now He Fears He Is Losing.

“In a democratic society, politics wasn’t ultimately a quest to arrive at the truth; it was about gaining and holding power and manipulating public sentiment in order to do that.”


Sunday 7.15.2018 New York Times Digest


1. I Know What Incarceration Does to Families. It Happened to Mine.

“History is repeating itself. This time without even the pretext of war, and with added heartbreaking cruelty.”

2. In Town With Little Water, Coca-Cola Is Everywhere. So Is Diabetes.

Residents of San Cristóbal and the lush highlands that envelop the city drink on average more than two liters, or more than half a gallon, of soda a day. The effect on public health has been devastating.

3. The New York Yankees Are a Moral Abomination

“The Yankees cannot help but be emblematic of everything that characterizes us as a nation and as an idea: a thing gargantuan and heedless, invincible and yet bizarrely fragile and self-destructive.”

4. Everyone Has an Accent

“Too often, at the hospital or the bank, in the office or at a restaurant — even in the classroom — we embrace the idea that there is a right way for our words to sound and that the perfect accent is one that is not just inaudible, but also invisible.”

5. We Need to Offer More Than Asylum.

“Uncontrolled violence combines with environmental degradation and economic collapse to produce what Alexander Betts, a professor at Oxford, has termed ‘survival migration.’ The term, he writes, describes ‘people who have left their country of origin because of an existential threat for which they have no domestic remedy.’”

6. Teens Are Stressed. But Don’t Just Blame Phones.

“We already know that teenagers go online to avoid feelings of stress, depression and anxiety, and we also know this strategy has more negative emotional consequences than positive ones. With their slot-machine logic and addictive properties, smartphones keep us coming back for more: for distraction, a message from a friend, news, a funny cat meme.”

7. Elon Musk Thinks He Can Fix Everything.

“The Silicon Valley model for doing things is a mix of can-do optimism, a faith that expertise in one domain can be transferred seamlessly to another and a preference for rapid, flashy, high-profile action. But what got the kids and their coach out of the cave was a different model: a slower, more methodical, more narrowly specialized approach to problems, one that has turned many risky enterprises into safe endeavors — commercial airline travel, for example, or rock climbing, both of which have extensive protocols and safety procedures that have taken years to develop.”

8. What Adults Can Learn From Dutch Children’s Books

“I have to resist listing all the activities crammed into the pages of my favorite wimmelbooks because they would come across as cringingly mundane. But the cramming is, in truth, transcendent, this gentle collapsing of time and bending of space to capture worldly things in their everyday profusion. These detail-laden scenes defy both photography and film. They’re human constructions for satisfying the cognitive pleasures of collecting clues, exploring and telling stories.”

9. Drawing a Line Over Native Art

“There are only a handful of large art museums in the United States with full-time, specialized curators of Indigenous art, predominantly in the West.”

10. A #HeToo Movement.

“We don’t have the money to fight it. These guys are winning. We are rolling over and funding them.”

11. Would the Pickup Artist Stand a Chance in the #MeToo Era?

“The author writes that he’s insecure in the first paragraph of the piece and goes on to prove it with the rest of the story. It’s painful on several glaringly obvious levels to read the work of an amateur undercover journalist, yet at the same time it’s a measuring stick of how far we’ve come as a culture since this article was assigned, written, edited and published without even a single eyebrow at the newspaper raised.”

12. Sex Ed, for Grown-Ups

“The Kaleidoscope is one of several social communities and companies that have emerged to help adults talk openly about sex and sexuality, with the explicit goal of teaching them everything they didn’t learn in health class or from their parents.”

13. A French Novelist Imagined Sexual Dystopia. Now It’s Arrived.

“At a time when literature is increasingly marginalized in public life, he offers a striking reminder that novelists can provide insights about society that pundits and experts miss. Houellebecq, whose work is saturated with brutality, resentment and sentimentality, understood what it meant to be an incel long before the term became common.”

14. 36 Hours in Seattle

“Wander far from the downtown core to discover niche museums and nature reserves, plenty of Pacific Northwest seafood and some of the best craft beer in the country.”

15. What if the Government Gave Everyone a Paycheck?

“Both urge that a U.B.I. be set at $1,000 a month for every American. Both point out that with poverty currently defined as an income for a single adult of less than $12,000 a year, such a U.B.I. would, by definition, eliminate poverty for the 41 million Americans now living below the poverty line. It would also improve the bargaining power of millions of low-wage workers — forcing employers to increase wages, add benefits and improve conditions in order to retain them. If a U.B.I. replaced specific programs for the poor, it would also reduce government bureaucracy, minimize government interference in citizens’ lives and allow people to avoid the stigma that often accompanies government assistance. By virtue of being available to all, a U.B.I. would not only guarantee the material existence of everyone in a society; it would establish a baseline for what membership in that society means.”

16. In the Middle Class, and Barely Getting By

“Much that middle-class professionals took for granted in previous generations, including homeownership, decent health care, a comfortable retirement, is now out of reach. Over the past 20 years, the cost of housing has risen dramatically. The price of health care and college has almost doubled. Meanwhile, wages have stagnated, unions have nearly vanished and, in some sectors, technology has replaced human workers. Many people find themselves carrying school and credit-card debt, and working low-paid, temporary or part-time jobs.”

17. Three Books Consider What Happens When the Robots Take Over

“There is little doubt humanity is on the precipice of massive change in how we work. The only question is whether it is a future of shared prosperity and leisure or one of mass unemployment and turmoil.”

18. Americans Think ‘Corruption’ Is Everywhere. Is That Why We Vote for It?

“No other country has done so well at containing corruption while leaving so many of its people convinced that it has done poorly.”

19. Have the Tech Giants Grown Too Powerful? That’s an Easy One

“The questions became companies, which then, mostly without explicitly deciding to, became institutions. And now, for anyone affected by the tech industry, the most obvious and important questions are about the world that these companies are making.”

20. Letter of Recommendation: Mess

“These aggressively maintained personal spaces — whom are they actually for?”

21. The Avenatti Effect

“Every time I watch him work, I think, This is what it must have been like to see the Sistine Chapel being painted. But instead of paint, Michael uses the tears of his enemies.”

22. Her Husband Was a Princeton Graduate Student. Then He Was Taken Prisoner in Iran.

“Sometimes the U.S.-Iran relationship feels like a Chinese finger trap: The harder either side pulls away, the more fiercely both are joined. Under Trump’s administration, Washington has whiplashed from cautious détente to ferocious retrenchment on Iran, doing away with the nuclear deal and showing Iran the back of its hand with renewed sanctions and an immigration ban that disproportionately punishes Iranians. Still, Trump has not escaped the hostage conundrum. At least five citizens and two permanent residents of the United States remain in Iranian prisons, years of their lives unspooling into a cruel stasis. One way or another, getting them out is going to mean making a deal.”


Sunday 7.8.2018 New York Times Digest


1. Is the National ‘Mood’ the One in Polls or the One Online?

“Being inundated with so many moods can affect how we see everything around us, unleashing complex waves of uplift or tumult. If you scan social media these days, it’s hard not to conclude that the overriding sentiments — the inescapable moods that hang over all our heads like stagnant humidity — are those of annoyance, consternation and abstract misery. Not just about the day’s news or the latest grand controversy, but about everything, in general.”

2. A.I. Comes Into Fashion

“In the small but growing precincts of the industry where high-powered algorithms roam free, however, it is the machine — and not the buyer’s gut — that often anticipates what customers will want.”

3. Fresh Proof That Strong Unions Help Reduce Income Inequality

“Thanks to the new research, evidence going back nearly a century now shows that unions have formed a critical counterweight to the power of companies. They increase the earnings of the lowest skilled and sharply reduce inequality.”

4. Buried in Paperwork

“A lot of time people avoid papers because it’s acknowledging a part of your life that may have been painful or traumatic.”

5. Government-Subsidized Christianity

“Trump administration officials have used fundamentalist biblical interpretations to support everything from environmental deregulation to tax cuts.”

6. Why Are We Obsessed With Superhero Movies?

“Institutions and human knowledge are useless. Religion is irrelevant. Governments are corrupt and/or inept, when not downright evil. The empowered individual is all.”

7. Seriously, Juice Is Not Healthy

“There is no evidence that juice improves health. It should be treated like other sugary beverages, which are fine to have periodically if you want them, but not because you need them.”

8. The Selfie That Dares to Go There

“I use it as a narrative, as if you’re telling a story. It’s an aspect of that, it’s not just a vagina.”

9. Tom Wolfe’s Lesser Known Career as a Cartoonist

“Wolfe surprisingly identified as much as a cartoonist as he did a writer, and many of his drawings were captioned.”

10. E-Waste Offers an Economic Opportunity as Well as Toxicity

“Americans alone throw out phones worth $60 million in gold and silver every year.”

11. Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf Scientist?

“The argument over wolves is a gulf of values: In bringing back wolves, one side wants to atone for the sins of the past and knit back together a wounded landscape; the other sees in wolves’ proliferation a refutation of the rural way of life of the American West. A wolf, in this debate, is always much bigger than a wolf.”

12. The Big Business of Becoming Bhad Bhabie

“Viral minutes tick faster than real ones. If she wanted to keep the interest of the public, she needed a talent, and she needed one soon.”


Sunday 7.1.2018 New York Times Digest


1. A Warming World Creates Desperate People

“The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that since 2008, 22.5 million people have been displaced by climate-related or extreme weather events.”

2. What It Costs to Be Smuggled Across the U.S. Border

“They can build as many walls as they want. They can send as many soldiers to the border as they want, but a people’s need and desire for a better life is stronger.”

3. The Millennial Socialists Are Coming

“All over the nation, people, particularly women, are working with near supernatural energy to rebuild democracy from the ground up, finding ways to exercise political power however they can. For the middle-aged suburbanites who are the backbone of the anti-Trump resistance, that often means shoring up the Democratic Party. For younger people who see Donald Trump’s election as the apotheosis of a rotten political and economic system, it often means trying to remake that party as a vehicle for democratic socialism.”

4. How to Be a Hoejabi

“Before a certain age, Muslim women are presumed to be virgins; after a certain age, wives. Since these assumptions — enforced both within and outside the Muslim community — rob the individual Muslim woman of any agency, this mythical virgin/wife figure becomes one and the same. Once again, there is no middle ground.”

5. Cages Are Cruel. The Desert Is, Too.

“No matter what version of hell migrants are made to pass through at the border, they will endure it to escape far more tangible threats of violence in their home countries, to reunite with family or to secure some semblance of economic stability. Policymakers also ignore that new enforcement measures almost always strengthen cartel-aligned human trafficking networks, giving them cause to increase their smuggling fees and push vulnerable migrants to make riskier crossings to avoid detection.”

6. What Men Say About #MeToo in Therapy

“The #MeToo era has changed my work. If therapy has a reputation for navel gazing, this powerful moment has joined men in the room, forcing them to engage with topics that they would have earlier avoided.”

7. I Did a Terrible Thing. How Can I Apologize?

“Maybe, I thought, this was a universal longing — to be listened to, rather than apologized at.”

8. Into the Wild With Kanye West

“More than any other famous person of his stature, he shares his rough drafts.”

9. Elites, Meet Your Match

“To go on Raya is to enter a strange and alluring world filled with thirsty elites, a place where fame is measured in Instagram followers and humble-bragging is a high art.”

10. Everyone Is Canceled

“Canceling … is an act of withdrawing from someone whose expression — whether political, artistic or otherwise — was once welcome or at least tolerated, but no longer is.”

11. Are More and More People Working Meaningless Jobs?

“Graeber argues that there are more useless office jobs than ever before. He blames this largely on the rise of the financial and information sectors and on what he calls ‘managerial feudalism,’ in which companies keep adding supervisors and white-collar workers, rather than sharing with blue-collar workers the fruits of their increased productivity.”

12. How We Got to Be So Self-Absorbed: The Long Story

“Storr suggests that the self-esteem fad, which went mainstream in the late 1980s and 1990s, evolved into the epidemic of digitally enhanced self-absorption from which we are said to suffer today.”

13. Click ‘Delete’ to Save Your Soul

“He worries that our reliance on big tech companies is ruining our capacity for spirituality, by turning us into robotic extensions of their machines. The companies, he argues, have no appreciation for the ‘mystical spark inside you.’ They don’t understand the magic of human consciousness and, therefore, will recklessly destroy it.”

14. Does American ‘Tribalism’ End in a Compromise, or a Fight?

“It is generally not a good idea to expect people on the receiving end of brutal policies — like families broken apart by police violence, immigration raids, travel bans or anti-L.G.B.T. discrimination — to hash out a compromise over sweet tea.”

15. Take a Photo Here

“People don’t merely go to the same places or take photographs of the same monuments and sites; they take photographs of the same monuments and sites in the same way. This applies to tourist sites, public spaces and ordinary buildings. The same gestures and vantage points and compositions are repeated, and the images come out so uncannily similar that it’s as though everyone were subject to the same set of instructions.”

16. Letter of Recommendation: Timehop

“As our digital footprints expand, Silicon Valley’s major players must spend more and more money maintaining enormous digital garbage dumps, full of moldering tweets and flip-phone mirror selfies and old Facebook statuses composed in the third person.”

17. Adrian Piper’s Show at MoMA is the Largest Ever for a Living Artist. Why Hasn’t She Seen It?

“However Piper came to plumb the paradoxes of her own racial designation (and everyone else’s), the desire to alter other people’s behavior by challenging their reflexive biases is one of her defining fixations.”