Sunday 10.20.2019 New York Times Digest

1. Trump Campaign Floods Web With Ads, Raking In Cash as Democrats Struggle

“That campaigns are now being fought largely online is hardly a revelation, yet only one political party seems to have gotten the message.”

2. High Schools to TikTok: We’re Catching Feelings

“TikTok’s addictiveness can be traced, in part, to its use of artificial intelligence to anticipate what users want and fill their feeds with it. That technology is so effective that the app’s owner, Bytedance (a Chinese tech conglomerate), last year introduced anti-addiction measures in Douyin, the Chinese version, to help both users and the parents who may be worried about them.”

3. As Local Papers Disappear, Student Journalists Fill Void

“Student journalists across the country have stepped in to help fill a void after more than 2,000 newspapers have closed or merged, leaving more than 1,300 communities without any local news coverage. And several young reporters have broken consequential stories that have prodded powerful institutions into changing policies.”

4. Why Is a Secretive Billionaire Buying Up the Cayman Islands?

“Mr. Dart has chosen an existentially vulnerable piece of land. At 76 square miles, Grand Cayman is roughly the size of Brooklyn and is, on average, only seven feet above sea level. In 2004, Ivan, a Category 5 hurricane, submerged most of the island. The damage was valued at close to $3 billion. Bodies buried in beach cemeteries floated out to sea. Animals escaped their enclosures, and, to this day, rewilded chickens roam the islands.”

5. Out With the Old, In With the Young

“An antiquated system that produces unrepresentative leadership is ill equipped to respond to the problems of our time. And that should concern anyone committed to democratic ideals.”

6. Did Harold Bloom Win the Canon Wars?

“The evolution of the curriculum over several decades has not prevented a sharp decline in humanities enrollment. It is hard to attribute this to particular curricular trends. It is perhaps easier to see how the loss of the privileged place accorded to literary expression in society translates into different decisions by students about what to study.”

7. Are We Ready for the Breastfeeding Father?

“Tales of men whose breasts contained milk date back centuries. In the fourth century B.C., the philosopher Aristotle noted that some men were able to produce milk by squeezing their breasts. In the King James translation of the Bible, the breasts of the malnourished Job are described as full of milk. Later, in the Babylonian Talmud, we find a story of a widowed man whose ‘breasts opened and he nursed his child.’”

8. The Socialist City on a Hill

“Mocked by ideological purists for practicing ‘sewer socialism,’ Milwaukee’s pragmatic socialists focused on winning concrete gains for their working-class constituents. From 1910 to 1960, they held the mayor’s office for nearly 40 years, elected numerous state legislators and aldermen, and won a congressional seat. Sewer socialists — who carried out measures to improve public health and investments in public infrastructure like schools, libraries, parks and, yes, sewers — were known for their integrity, their tactical ingenuity and their relentless organizing. Even today, when third-party politics are more untenable and labor unions are in decline, the sewer socialists’ blend of unwavering idealism and dogged gradualism offers valuable lessons for building and sustaining a progressive working-class movement.”

9. When the Dream of Owning a Home Became a Nightmare

“Real estate brokers and mortgage bankers valued black women like Janice Johnson precisely because they were poor, desperate and likely to fall behind on their payments. The HUD-F.H.A. guarantee to pay lenders in full for the mortgage of any home in foreclosure transformed risk from a reason for exclusion into an incentive for inclusion. Banks could profit from being repaid for inflated mortgages, and profit again when the foreclosed property was resold to another poor family that qualified for a government-guaranteed mortgage.”

10. When We Laugh at Nazis, Maybe the Joke’s on Us

“Recent history shows that the medicine of laughter can have scary side effects.”

11. The Screen Is Changing Shape

“Digital projection has made it easier than ever for filmmakers to play with screen shape, without worrying about a projectionist’s need to adjust the lens or the masking, the paneling around the screen.”

12. What Can Robert Pattinson Do to Keep You Guessing?

“I’ve always thought that the only reason you’d want to play a good guy all the time is because you’re desperately ashamed of what you’re doing in real life, whereas if you’re a pretty normal person, the most fun part of doing movies is that you can explore the more grotesque or naughty sides of your psyche in a somewhat safe environment.”

13. Why Don’t Rich People Just Stop Working?

“The hustle is deeply baked into mainstream notions of what it means to be American.”

14. Fly Fishing Is the New Bird-Watching

“Plus, it’s very Instagrammable, even as it encourages people to put down their phones.”

15. What St. Louis Tells Us About America

“As the northernmost Southern city and the westernmost Eastern city, St. Louis has had peculiar forms of racial stratification.”

16. How Moving to France and Having Children Led a Black American to Rethink Race

“Williams married a white woman and both their children were born with blond hair and blue eyes. Are they, too, black by the one-drop rule? In questioning their determinative race, he has plumbed not only his own but also the complexity of racial identity for people outside the prevalent white/nonwhite binary.”

17. By the Book: Elton John

“I have a huge library of books on art and photography, kept in the gallery at my home in Windsor, all cataloged and detailed so I can have what I want at my fingertips. They’re very well arranged. I hate seeing things lying on the floor in a horrible state. I’m a very organized bloke.”

18. When the C.I.A. Was Into Mind Control

“The program should be remembered for what it was: a vehicle for abominable experiments that often targeted the most vulnerable — drug users, prisoners and psychiatric patients, who were deprived of meaningful informed consent, if there was any consent at all.”

19. Reinventing the Midwestern Supper Club

“If you were tilling the land, logic dictated you fortify yourself with dinner at noon, having been up since dawn, and end the evening with supper, historically lighter fare, its name derived from the Old French souper, with its hint of sipping broth and sopping it up with bread, and the Old English supan, which originally meant simply ‘to drink’ (often to excess). It was the arrival of gaslights and, later, electricity that allowed privileged city dwellers to stay up late, pushing back the dinner hour and making supper a more impromptu, round-midnight affair. Meanwhile, their thriftier country counterparts continued to eat at sundown before snuffing out the candles and going to bed. Noah Webster, in the inaugural 1828 edition of his American Dictionary of the English Language, noted, ‘The dinner of fashionable people would be the supper of rustics.’”

20. Rachel Weisz Is Performing for Herself

“For all her beauty and success, Weisz is still better known for her talent and taste than for an all-consuming and occluding kind of celebrity; it is an endearing pitch of fame, the kind that inspires more admiration than awe.”

Sunday 10.13.2019 New York Times Digest

1. How Photos of Your Kids Are Powering Surveillance Technology

“Who could have possibly predicted that a snapshot of a toddler in 2005 would contribute, a decade and a half later, to the development of bleeding-edge surveillance technology?”

2. Bill Gates Met With Jeffrey Epstein Many Times, Despite His Past

“Mr. Gates started the relationship after Mr. Epstein was convicted of sex crimes.”

3. Witches Are Having Their Hour

“The witch is a feminine archetype who has authority over herself. She doesn’t get power in relationship to other people. She has power on her own terms. And because of that she is, I believe, the ultimate feminist icon.”

4. When a Steady Paycheck Is Good Medicine

“A coalition of nonprofit health care providers is investing in the notion that ample paychecks, stable housing and nutritious food are no less critical to well-being than doctors, medical equipment and pharmacies.”

5. Sharp Cuts in Immigration Threaten U.S. Economy

“Lower immigration portends big problems because the basic American retirement system — Social Security and Medicare — relies on workers to pay for retirees, and the entire expansion of the work force over the next 15 years will come from immigration.”

6. How Italians Became ‘White’

“The story of how Italian immigrants went from racialized pariah status in the 19th century to white Americans in good standing in the 20th offers a window onto the alchemy through which race is constructed in the United States, and how racial hierarchies can sometimes change.”

7. Taxing Our Way to Justice

“For the first time in the past hundred years, the working class — the 50 percent of Americans with the lowest incomes — today pays higher tax rates than billionaires.”

8. A Threat To Political Discourse?

“School debate ultimately strengthens and rewards biased reasoning.”

9. 48 Hours in the Strange and Beautiful World of TikTok

“The video app offers an endless scroll of creativity and goofing off, told in 15-second snippets. What did five critics see when they went down the rabbit hole? Art, artistry and a lot of dancing.”

10. Quickie Weddings Slow Down

“Peek in on an average day and you are likely to witness Mr. Decar emerge from a vertical coffin to officiate a ceremony in a chapel flooded with fog and tombstones. Gothic is one of the most popular themes.”

11. The Forces That Are Killing the American Dream

“Organization Man aspired to join a large corporation and become a pillar of his community. Transaction Man or Woman aspires to be a disrupter and global citizen.”

12. What Reconstruction-Era Laws Can Teach Our Democracy

“The 13th abolished slavery, in 1865. The 14th guaranteed equality and also citizenship for anyone born in America, in 1868. The 15th gave black men who were citizens the right to vote, in 1870. (The 19th gave female citizens that right, in 1920.) Foner agrees with the abolitionist senator Charles Sumner that the Reconstruction amendments were ‘sleeping giants,’ and notes that they provided the foundation for the civil rights revolution of the 1960s.”

13. The Upheaval in the American Workplace

“Greenhouse probably knows more about what is happening in the American workplace than anybody else in the country, having covered labor as a journalist for two decades. He achieves a near-impossible task, producing a page-turning book that spans a century of worker strikes, without overcondensing or oversimplifying, and with plausible suggestions for the future. This is labor history seen from the moments when that history could have turned out differently.”

14. How Fast Fashion Is Destroying the Planet

“More than 60 percent of fabric fibers are now synthetics, derived from fossil fuels, so if and when our clothing ends up in a landfill (about 85 percent of textile waste in the United States goes to landfills or is incinerated), it will not decay.”

15. Penguins Are Promiscuous Too

“Levick witnessed penguins engaging in indiscreet behavior — not just casual sex, but rape, sodomy, even necrophilia. (The birds also engage in their own form of prostitution, where females submit to a quick tryst in exchange for stones to line their nests.)”

16. How Susan Sontag Taught Me to Think

“In the era of prestige TV, we may have lost our appetite for difficult books, but we relish difficult characters, and the biographical Sontag — brave and imperious, insecure and unpredictable — surely fits the bill.”

17. Talk: Edward Norton

“There’s a point at which any actor starts to become their own pollution.”

18. Black Theater Is Having a Moment. Thank Tyler Perry. (Seriously.)

“Right now a circle of young black playwrights is doing some of the most imaginative, confrontational work in the American theater, and Perry is right there at its center. Didn’t see that coming? Maybe it’s not immediately obvious. But it makes sense. He’s the biggest black playwright in America. If you were a kid, teenager or barely an adult in the 2000s, living in a black city and attracted to the stage, it would be hard for Perry not to become someone to revere, reckon with or resist.”

19. What Does PewDiePie Really Believe?

“One crucial thing to understand about YouTube is that there are really two of them. The first YouTube is the YouTube that everyone knows — the vast reference library filled with sports highlights, music videos and old Comedy Central roasts. But there’s a second YouTube inside that one. It is a self-contained universe with its own values and customs, its own incentive structures and market dynamics and its own fully developed celebrity culture that includes gamers, beauty vloggers, musicians, D.I.Y.ers, political commentators, artists and pranksters. The biggest of these personalities have millions of subscribers and Oprah-level influence over their fandoms. Many Inner YouTubers never watch TV and develop elaborate parasocial bonds with their favorite creators. For people who frequent Inner YouTube — generally people under 25, along with some older people with abundant free time — the site is not just a video platform but a prism through which all culture and information is refracted.”

20. To Decode White Male Rage, First He Had to Write in His Mother’s Voice

“The social novel sets out to speak for others but often merely speaks over them. Autofiction, with its resolution to speak only for the authorial self, risks dead-ending in solipsism. Lerner’s escape hatch is a kind of synthesis, a narrative mode that dares to imagine the inner lives of other people while at the same time foregrounding how such efforts are always faulty and provisional, riddled with blind spots.”

Sunday 10.6.2019 New York Times Digest

1. What’s the Panic Over ‘Joker’ Really About?

“Every new Joker embodies the element of chaos his audience fears.”

2. In the Land of Self-Defeat

“People here think life here has taken a turn for the worse. What’s also true, though, is that many here seem determined to get rid of the last institutions trying to help them, to keep people with educations out, and to retreat from community life and concentrate on taking care of themselves and their own families. It’s an attitude that is against taxes, immigrants and government, but also against helping your neighbor.”

3. Now the Rich Want Your Pity, Too

“The idea of meritocracy has long been used by the rich for self-justification. Now it is becoming fuel for their self-pity.”

4. Cars Are Death Machines. Self-Driving Tech Won’t Change That.

“Pedestrian fatalities in the United States have increased 41 percent since 2008; more than 6,000 pedestrians were killed in 2018 alone. More than 4,000 American kids are killed in car crashes every year.”

5. How the Silence Makes the Music

“This is a rough guide to recognizing and reading music’s negative spaces.”

6. What Does Having a Boyfriend Have to Do With Sleep?

“Someone pretending to care registers as someone actually caring for us.”

7. The Eve Babitz Revival

“Nostalgia for 70s era bohemia runs high, particularly in these fractious times.”

8. That Music You’re Dancing To? It’s Code

“Some artists have eschewed traditional acoustic and electronic instruments to compose with computer code. Colloquially, this is called ‘live coding’ — a D.J. takes the stage with a laptop, opens up a coding interface and constructs melodies in real time.”

9. By the Book: Lupita Nyong’o

“I have never been skiing, but I have a fantasy about going on a skiing trip with a bunch of friends and spending my time alone, in a cabin, by a fireplace, dressed in a cozy fleece onesie, wrapped in a warm blanket with a big mug of hot chocolate, reading a big, fat, juicy book that I have been intending to read all my life, while everybody else does the skiing. I myself would never actually go outside to ski. Instead I would passionately share my reading adventures with my exhausted, sunburned friends at the end of the day, over hearty dinners that I did not cook.”

10. Letter of Recommendation: Stock Trading

“Watching the value of individual stocks rise and fall in real time has become a personal reminder that loss is not only inevitable but also impermanent.”

11. Can the N.B.A. Find a Basketball Superstar in India?

“The international push has been decades in the making.”

12. How ICE Picks Its Targets in the Surveillance Age

“The business of deportation, like so much else in the modern world, has been transformed by the power of big data.”

Sunday 9.29.2019 New York Times Digest

1. The Church of Techno-Optimism

“Techno-optimism has deep roots in American political culture, and its belief in American ingenuity and technological progress. Reckoning with that history is crucial to the discussion about how to rein in Big Tech’s seemingly limitless power.”

2. The Internet Is Overrun With Images of Child Sexual Abuse

“While the material, commonly known as child pornography, predates the digital era, smartphone cameras, social media and cloud storage have allowed the images to multiply at an alarming rate. Both recirculated and new images occupy all corners of the internet, including a range of platforms as diverse as Facebook Messenger, Microsoft’s Bing search engine and the storage service Dropbox.”

3. High in the Cascades, a Lone Fire Lookout Still Keeps Watch

“Almost every day, after posting signs about restoration areas and hunting seasons or checking nearby campsites to make sure hikers are adhering to the rules, Mr. Dalton carries a 40-pound pack with jugs of water from the nearest source, Image Lake, about a mile back to the lookout. As he hikes, he snacks on huckleberries that he picks along the way without breaking stride.”

4. Clarence Thomas Is Not a ‘Sellout’

“He now believes that black politics is an exercise in futility: The combination of white racism, racial inequality and the small size of the black electorate makes it impossible for African-Americans to achieve a political foothold.”

5. The Tenacity of Chinese Communism

“The party has adapted extremely well to capitalism.”

6. I’d Love a Dining Car

“I wish small things — meals on a train, unplanned moments that can’t be logged as self-improvement or furniture that is owned — didn’t feel old-fashioned.”

7. The Long, Strange Tale of California’s Surf Nazis

“It doesn’t take much imagination to recognize the blue-eyed, blond surfer ideal for what it is: a white racial fantasy rooted, like most such tropes, in spurious claims of authentic connection to land.”

8. Highway 61 Revisited, With Jessica Lange

“Not everyone recognizes Ms. Lange, at least at first, and by the time they do, she may have already snapped the picture.”

9. The Tide Is High (Really), but Debbie Harry Is Staying Put

“Sex is what makes everything happen. Sex is why people dress nice, comb their hair, brush their teeth and take showers.”

10. Counter Service Tipping: Who Gives?

“Is leaving a tip wherever you’re asked now the norm?”

11. By the Book: Jeanette Winterson

“To me, a proper dictionary is a book of spells.”

12. Fighting Racism

“For Kendi … there are no nonracists; there are only racists — people who allow racist ideas to proliferate without opposition — and antiracists, those who expose and eradicate such ideas wherever they encounter them.”

13. Is College Merely Helping Those Who Need Help Least?

“As higher education has increased in value, that value has increasingly become captured by those at the top, so that today, whether you graduate from college is largely determined by your parents’ income. In the United States, 77 percent of children born into the top income quartile will earn a degree by age 24, but for the bottom quartile that number is a mere 9 percent. The implications are clear: The education system isn’t transforming the lives of those who need it most; it is dispensing ever more opportunity to those who need it least.”

14. Here Comes the Flood

“Encouraging such capitalists, Gaul argues, is the federal government, which has removed personal risk from that which is risky. In 1950, it paid 5 percent of post-hurricane rebuilding costs, he notes, but now pays 70 percent and in some cases 100 percent. And one out of every three federally insured properties is a beach house, an investment property or second home.”

15. We Go to Extremes

“Humans can hardly survive anywhere. It is both terrifying and comical, how vulnerable we are. We live comfortably, sort of, under exactly one condition: in the temperate patches of a very thin crust on a relatively small planet in a tiny corner of the known universe. Transport us anywhere else, and we will basically instantly die. Other planets will choke us; black holes will crush us. Even our own modest planet’s oceans will drown us, and its poles will freeze us, and its deserts will dry us into leathery husks. And yet: We still want to go everywhere.”

Sunday 9.22.2019 New York Times Digest

1. The Beauty of the Ordinary

“From Vermont to Beijing, people relish autumn days precisely because they’re reminders of how much we cannot afford to take for granted, and how much there is to celebrate right now, this shining late September afternoon.”

2. Watches Encroach on the Football Field

“Fine watches send a signal to fans that fans that today’s multimillionaire athletes are not sweat-drenched gladiators, but men and women of taste and refinement, who appreciate exquisite timepieces just as they would fine wine or contemporary art.”

3. Silicon Valley Goes to Therapy

“Those funding the therapy start-ups see an entire cohort of tech employees who long ago fused their sense of self-worth to their work, and who are emotionally adrift now that the industry is under assault.”

4. Roundup Weedkiller Is Blamed for Cancers, but Farmers Say It’s Not Going Away

“Farmers are by far the primary users, and many say they are satisfied with glyphosate’s safety record.”

5. Don’t Underestimate the Poets

“A liberal arts education fosters valuable ‘soft skills’ like problem-solving, critical thinking and adaptability. Such skills are hard to quantify, and they don’t create clean pathways to high-paying first jobs. But they have long-run value in a wide variety of careers.”

6. Saying No Is Hard

“Nearly 20 percent of baby boomers who received $100,000 or more spend their entire gift.”

7. Seven Ways Telecommuting Has Changed Real Estate

“As more people are able to work from home, housing priorities have changed, and different places and types of housing have become more popular.”

8. The Climate Crisis Is the Battle of Our Time

“The best available technology for pulling carbon dioxide from the air is something called a tree.”

9. Keeping Out Black Pioneers

“By 1860 there were more than 330 rural settlements home to propertied African-American farmers in the five states from that territory — Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin. This region had seen the nation’s first Great Migration, the movement of tens of thousands of free black pioneers onto this frontier starting just after the American Revolution. There should have been many more settlements. But a majority of whites in those states — whites who had often arrived after African-American pioneers — were doing everything they could to keep free black people out.”

10. What Does It Mean to ‘Look Like Me’?

“We want our dreams, not just our realities, to be represented.”

11. Tucker Carlson 2024

“Carlson is aiming to mix a lefty-sounding economic agenda with a white nationalist-inspired cultural agenda — and to muddy the marriage by arguing that his and his followers’ ideas are being stifled by the tech giants that he’s fighting.”

12. The 19th-Century Troll Who Hated Dirty Postcards and Sex Toys

“Comstock — not satisfied with attacking just pornography — argued that the definition of obscenity should be expanded to include materials related to reproductive health, birth control and abortion, and he drafted legislation with some help from a Supreme Court justice.”

13. Young People Are Going to Save Us All From Office Life

“For many Americans, work has become an obsession, and long hours and endless striving something to aspire to. It has caused burnout, unhappiness and gender inequity, as people struggle to find time for children or passions or pets or any sort of life besides what they do for a paycheck. But increasingly, younger workers are pushing back. More of them expect and demand flexibility — paid leave for a new baby, say, and generous vacation time, along with daily things, like the ability to work remotely, come in late or leave early, or make time for exercise or meditation. The rest of their lives happens on their phones, not tied to a certain place or time — why should work be any different?”

14. Want to Do Business in Silicon Valley? Better Act Nice

“Tech entrepreneurs truly believe they are saving the world.”

15. 50 Years in Denim and Khaki

“In helping to define the world’s uniform informality, the Gap helped make its strategy obsolete.”

16. Train vs. Plane

“Once you factor in the commute to the airport (in my case, one hour), suggested arrival at least an hour before takeoff, runway taxiing at touchdown, disembarkation and traveling to your destination (often an hour), flying takes about 255 minutes. I accepted the 65-minute difference as a productivity trade-off and the price of peace of mind.”

17. Do Men and Women Have Different Brains?

“Once we recognize the existence of brain plasticity, this entire enterprise seems nonsensical.”

18. What Can Brain Scans Tell Us About Sex?

“It was somewhat surprising when a paper in the prestigious journal P.N.A.S. reported in July that what happens in the brains of female study subjects when they look at sexual imagery is pretty much the same as what happens in the brains of their male counterparts.”

19. Why Do Hoax Videos Proliferate When Disaster Strikes?

“To live in our present moment is to discover, over and over, that much of what we have imagined to be solid and permanent is in fact fragile.”

20. Talk: Pam Grier

“The power of ‘no’ is one thing I’ve learned.”

21. What Really Brought Down the Boeing 737 Max?

“The paradox is that the failures of the 737 Max were really the product of an incredible success: a decades-long transformation of the whole business of flying, in which airplanes became so automated and accidents so rare that a cheap air-travel boom was able to take root around the world. Along the way, though, this system never managed to fully account for the unexpected: for the moment when technology fails and humans — a growing population of more than 300,000 airline pilots of variable and largely unpredictable skills — are required to intervene.”

22. My Family’s Life Inside and Outside America’s Racial Categories

“Growing up, I understood myself to be black, and yet I was also exposed to whiteness through my mother and most (though certainly not all) members of her family in nonantagonistic, positively nurturing ways. Today, my children, who are roughly a fifth West African descended, are so blond-haired and fair-skinned that they can blend in with the locals when we travel in Sweden. All this and more has forced me to wrestle with the particulars of my family’s story — its painful past as well as its unwritten future — and reflect on what these specific contradictions might imply about the broader color categories we are all forced into.”

23. The Distinctly American Ethos of the Grifter

“America is perhaps the rightful home of grifters, for where else in the world is so deeply identified with the possibility of transcending humble origins and becoming someone powerful and new?”

Sunday 9.15.2019 New York Times Digest

1. Why Does Everything Smell, So Peacefully, of Lavender?

“Lavender was a key ingredient in the bougie domestic fantasy sold by retailers like Williams Sonoma and L’Occitane en Provence. It wafted gently over the entire oeuvre of Peter Mayle, the author of A Year in Provence, among other books. Now you can buy Downy Infusions Lavender Serenity fabric softener.”

2. The ‘Nike of Sleep’

“Casper has quietly acknowledged that it’s not enough to be a mere foam-slab company. The start-up needs a bigger market, and the concept it’s embracing is sleep itself.”

3. Salvadorans, Washington’s Builders, Face Expulsion Under Trump

“Temporary protected status does not provide a path to citizenship, but most of these workers never thought they would face deportation. They have been in the United States legally, for nearly two decades in many cases. Some have bought homes and cars and have settled into middle-class lives. Many have children who are American citizens.”

4. Freelancing to Fill the Gaps in Retirement Funds

“The stereotype of today’s freelancer is a young, scrappy urbanite hustling for gigs in a shared work space or coffee shop. And while it is true that millennials make up the largest chunk of the freelancer population in the United States, another demographic may soon catch up: their parents.”

5. Thousands More Jeffrey Epsteins Are Still Out There

“But the problem isn’t one tycoon but many tens of thousands of men who pay for sex with underage girls across the country. And society as a whole reacts with the same indifference that the authorities showed in the Epstein scandal.”

6. Are Democrats Doomed?

“Trump’s faux-thenticity somehow makes the Democratic candidates seem more packaged, more stuck in politician-speak.”

7. There Is No Tech Backlash

“It often seems we are willing to overlook significant potential downsides in exchange for rather trivial payoffs.”

8. Tina Turner Is Having the Time of Her Life

“There is a metal plaque on the gate to Tina Turner’s estate that says ‘Vor 12.00 Uhr nicht läuten, keine Lieferungen,’ which I believe is German for ‘Do not even think about bothering Tina Turner before noon.’”

9. Linda Hamilton Fled Hollywood, but ‘Terminator’ Still Found Her

“Disillusioned, she […] fled Los Angeles, roughing it for a few years on a Virginia farm before moving to New Orleans, a city whose lively spirit she treasures. […] Her life in New Orleans is gratifyingly spartan. ‘I love my alone time like no one you’ve ever met,’ said Hamilton…. ‘I’ve been celibate for at least 15 years. One loses track, because it just doesn’t matter — or at least it doesn’t matter to me. I have a very romantic relationship with my world every day and the people who are in it.’”

10. Restoring Black Cowboys to the Range

“One in four cowboys during what is known as the pioneer era, which began following the Civil War in 1865 and ended around 1895, were black.”

11. To Fight Global Warming, Think More About Systems Than About What You Consume

“Social scientists estimate that getting 3 or 4 percent of people involved in a movement is often enough to force systemic change, whereas if they acted solely as consumers that same number would have relatively little effect.”

12. When Violent Crime Is Your Fixation

This enthralling book devotes case studies to four bored or directionless women whose fixations on other people’s crimes unlock a sense of purpose and give them a vocation. For such women, someone getting killed is the best thing that ever happened to them.

13. What Can a Star Like Cardi B Do for a Politician Like Sanders?

“This pairing came about more naturally than it might look. In 2016, Cardi encouraged fans to ‘vote for Daddy Bernie’; she and Sanders have spent the last few years complimenting each other online. She is young enough to fit into Sanders’s base, and in many ways their brands align: Both appeal to their audiences by speaking with a certain blunt authenticity. That quality is clearly refreshing for younger audiences, but it also means that, throughout this video, you can almost feel the tension of the ghostly P.R. teams surrounding them, willing the conversation to go smoothly.”

14. How to Find Fossils

“It takes just a few minutes holding a fossilized, pill-bug-looking marine trilobite that swam through Paleozoic seas 500 million years ago to make you aware of the bliplike nature of your own time on Earth.”

15. What College Admissions Offices Really Want

“Enrollment managers know there is no shortage of deserving low-income students applying to good colleges. They know this because they regularly reject them — not because they don’t want to admit these students, but because they can’t afford to.”

16. I Was a Low-Income College Student. Classes Weren’t the Hard Part.

“We like to think that landing a coveted college spot is a golden ticket for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. We think less critically about what happens next. I lived this gap as a first-generation college student. And I returned to it as a first-generation graduate student, spending two years observing campus life and interviewing more than 100 undergraduates at an elite university. Many students from low-income families described having to learn and decode a whole new set of cues and terms like professors’ “office hours” (many didn’t know what they were or how to use them), and foreign rituals like being invited to get coffee with an instructor (and not knowing whether they were expected to pay) — all those moments between convocation and commencement where college life is actually lived.”

Sunday 9.8.19 New York Times Digest

Person looking through binoculars with googly eyes

1. Humans Are Impetuous and Shortsighted. Can We Change?

“The future is an idea we have to conjure in our minds, not something that we perceive with our senses.”

2. How Writing Papers for American College Students Has Become a Lucrative Profession Overseas

“You can relax knowing that our reliable, expert writers will produce you a top quality and 100% plagiarism free essay that is written just for you, while you take care of the more interesting aspects of student life.”

3. A Nobel-Winning Economist Goes to Burning Man

“Urban planners design too much, while economists cede too much to the market. The answer lies in between — in drawing the street grid on the desert.”

4. Taking Out a Student Loan Is Better Than Dropping Out

“Loans allowed students to earn additional college credits, which led to more stable careers and finances.”

5. Football Is Here to Stay

“The N.F.L.’s second century could look as good as its first.”

6. The Real Donald Trump Is a Character on TV

“The key is to remember that Donald Trump is not a person. He’s a TV character.”

7. Which Came First, Trump or TV?

“His effect was to erase everything between Gutenberg and the cathode-ray tube.”

8. Taylor Swift, Philosopher of Forgiveness

“Forgiveness is a way forward only when it’s warranted.”

9. The Lost Promise of Reconstruction

“The amendments should be seen not simply as changes to an existing structure but as a second American founding, which created a fundamentally new Constitution.”

10. Why I Quit the Writers’ Room

“There I was, a black man in America who shares with millions of others the history of racism. And more often than not, treated as subhuman. If addressed at all that history had to be rendered in words my employers regarded as acceptable.”

11. The Memes Are Pouring the White Claw Down Your Throat!

“Get big enough and the public will provide you with free advertising.”

12. By the Book: Patti Smith

“I read all the time, anywhere — on my stoop, in a noisy cafe, at night in my tour bus bunk. The external circumstance is not the key, it’s the book itself. I’m like Gumby; I enter the world of a book and temporarily live there, shutting all else out. Unless I’m researching, I only finish books I love. I don’t date. I can pretty much tell right away if I’m going to commit.”

13. How Americans and Germans Cope With Past Evils

“Born and raised in the South, Neiman moved from Berlin to Mississippi to research this fascinating book. She actively sought people and institutions engaged in ‘remembering.’ She found eerie similarities between the response of the first generations of postwar Germans to their evil past and the response of many Americans, particularly Southerners, to theirs. Many of her Southern informants echoed Germany’s post-World War II mantra. Nobody was in the slave business. Southerners just bought what Northern ship captains sold them. Slavery was unconnected to the Civil War. The conflict was all about taxes.”

14. A View of the Bering Strait That’s Anything but Narrow

“Sunlight feeds algae, which feeds krill, which feeds bowhead whales, which feed a Tikigagmiut village or a Massachusetts fortune. Tundra lichen feeds caribou, which feed the expansion of the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs. On the foundations of such energy flows, nations are constructed. Capitalist and communist ideologies are tested.”

15. Toni Morrison on Goodness

“Evil has a blockbuster audience; Goodness lurks backstage.”

16. Living in Extreme Isolation

“Herbert Powyss, a gentleman botanist in 18th-century England, offers 50 pounds per annum, for life, to any man who will live alone for seven years in the basement of his manor, Moreham House.”

17. First You Write a Sentence

“He thinks a sentence should slide down the gullet like a clam, hardly touching the sides.”

18. A History of Latin America Embodied in ‘Silver, Sword, and Stone’

“In her book, she treats Latin America as a ‘commonality’ with a ‘concrete character’ rooted in the unusual circumstances of the encounter between its indigenous cultures on the one hand and European and African populations on the other. The region, she argues, is defined by a common set of stories and interconnected system of beliefs as well as the use of a lingua franca — Spanish — that is not the mother tongue of all but which the majority understands and can speak. To encompass these particularities, Arana has divided her book into three parts, each named after a trait that has played an essential role in history: ‘silver,’ evoking the dependence on extractive economies focused on precious metals; ‘sword,’ referring to the tendency to embrace political power predicated on military might and the threat of violence — la mano dura, or the iron fist; and ‘stone,’ a multifaceted religious fervor that is only superficially similar to Catholic orthodoxy.”

19. Letter of Recommendation: Deadlifting

“I’ve found reprieve in the deadlift, in its simple, singular focus on what the body can do.”

20. Keeping the Dream Alive

“ESPN/ABC carries only 16 of the league’s 204 regular-season games (some of which also air nationally on CBS Sports Network, Twitter and NBATV), so each team must produce its own TV broadcast, complete with commentators, and negotiate with local stations to air it. The game tonight would be streaming live on the website of the Atlanta ABC affiliate. Both commentators were new, last season’s duo having declined to take a significant pay cut.”

21. The Gospel According to Marianne Williamson

“Yes, a campaign of love sounds silly when taken against a background of serious words and immediate policies and $1,000 a month for life. It sounds crazy on Twitter, and it would make me laugh to see it in the New York Times headline typeface. Or maybe it’s just so radical you have to hear it for yourself. A lot of the ideas I heard on the trail were that way. I tell you, when I sat there, listening to these candidates on porches and under canvas tents and on an apple crate and in Adirondack chairs, it seemed to me that it was only something you would believe if you could stand there and look the person in the eyes and hear his or her sincerity and good intentions.”

22. The Comedians Challenging Stereotypes About Asian-American Masculinity

“Though Asian-American women face equally vexing problems when it comes to representation, our own sexuality — however problematically portrayed, however exoticized — is, for better or worse, accepted. When Asian-American men’s sexuality is granted, it is the exception to the rule.”

23. Giovanni’s Room’ Revisited

“How dare he call on what he knew — his experience — and marry it to his imagination, that which the soul rumbles around in, alive to discovery? That wasn’t a black man’s job, let alone right: to hatch things out of his imagination, and then add to it — for the sake of verisimilitude — from the pot of his own experience. No. No one wants that. What one wants, says the publisher, or whomever, in 1955 — and even now when the catchword is ‘urban’ — what one wants after ‘Go Tell It on the Mountain’ and those marvelous pieces about the Harlem ghetto, blacks and Jews in Harlem and so forth, is a more authentic blackness: The dirt and sex you wrote about in ‘Go Tell It on the Mountain,’ and some of the essays. Can you forgo your imagination and be black for me?

24. Utopia, Abandoned

“For a time, it was likely the most progressive and successful company town anywhere in the world, existing not for the sake of control or convenience but rather representing a new and short-lived kind of corporate idealism, in which business, politics, architecture and the daily life of the company’s employees all informed one another.”