Sunday 4.14.2019 New York Times Digest

1. Central American Farmers Head to the U.S., Fleeing Climate Change

“Average temperatures have risen by about two degrees Fahrenheit in Central America over the past several decades, making the cultivation of coffee difficult, if not untenable, at lower altitudes that were once suitable. That has forced some farmers to search for land at higher altitudes, switch to other crops, change professions — or migrate.”

2. Tracking Phones, Google Is a Dragnet for the Police

“Anytime a technology company creates a system that could be used in surveillance, law enforcement inevitably comes knocking.”

3. Cursive Seemed to Go the Way of Quills and Parchment. Now It’s Coming Back.

“The history of society is intertwined with the history of script.”

4. How Capitalism Betrayed Privacy

“The historical link between privacy and the forces of wealth creation helps explain why privacy is under siege today. It reminds us, first, that mass privacy is not a basic feature of human existence but a byproduct of a specific economic arrangement — and therefore a contingent and impermanent state of affairs.”

5. What the Bible Says About Secrets

“Beyond the spiritual considerations, for any sort of moral formation, some privacy is necessary. To develop human relationships and a sense of the social self, we need privacy.”

6. The Infinite Scroll

“We are much more likely to be looking at our digital slabs than at our fellow human beings.”

7. A.I. Is Changing Insurance

“This is the cutting edge of the insurance industry, adjusting premiums and policies based on new forms of surveillance. It will affect your life insurance, your car insurance and your homeowner’s insurance — if it hasn’t already.”

8. What Women Know About the Internet

“It isn’t just that real-life harassment also shows up online, it’s that the internet isn’t designed for women, even when the majority of users of some popular applications and platforms are women. In fact, some features of digital life have been constructed, intentionally or not, in ways that make women feel less safe.”

9. The Only Answer Is Less Internet

“A movement to restore privacy must be, at some level, a movement against the internet. Not a pure Luddism, but a movement for limits, for internet-free spaces, for zones of enforced pre-virtual reality (childhood and education above all), for social conventions that discourage career-destroying tweets and crotch shots by encouraging us to put away our iPhones.”

10. Facebook Is Stealing Your Family’s Joy

“I came to a simple conclusion about getting the reactions of friends, family and acquaintances via emojis and exclamations points rather than hugs and actual exclamations. It’s no fun. And I don’t want to do it any more.”

11. How Tough-on-Crime Prosecutors Contribute to Mass Incarceration

“In Charged, a persuasive indictment of prosecutorial excess, Bazelon argues that the lawyers who work in the more than 2,000 prosecutors’ offices around the country — conducting investigations, filing criminal charges and trying cases (or, much more commonly, striking plea bargains) — bear much of the responsibility for over-incarceration, conviction of the innocent and other serious problems of the criminal justice system.”

12. Animal Videos Are How We Escape the Internet (While on the Internet)

“The online world is an interactive museum of humiliation, sadism, greed, bleak news, bad faith and gross memes. This is why we need animal videos. They are small windows of grace.”

13. Letter of Recommendation: Spuds MacKenzie

“Spuds, an anthropomorphized bull terrier, was dreamed up by a 20-something advertising exec in the mid-1980s in an attempt to target beer drinkers between the ages of 21 and 34. He was rich, impossibly cool, unabashedly heterosexual and responsible for increasing Bud Light sales 20 percent between 1987 and 1988. (The campaign was so popular that Miller Lite released a T-shirt that featured a dead dog run over by a Miller Lite truck.)”

14. How to Laugh at Yourself

“Your underlying mind-set should be playful.”

15. How Big Business Is Hedging Against the Apocalypse

“Depending on whom you ask, climate change doesn’t exist, or is an engineering problem, or requires global mobilization, or could be solved by simply nudging the free market into action. Absent a coherent strategy, opportunists can step in and benefit in wily ways from the shifting landscape.”

16. Climate Chaos Is Coming — and the Pinkertons Are Ready

“For Pinkerton, the bet is twofold: first, that there’s no real material difference between climate change and any other conflict — as the world grows more predictably dangerous, tactical know-how will simply be more in demand than ever. And second, that by adding data analytics, Pinkerton stands to compete more directly with traditional consulting firms like Deloitte, which offer pre- and postdisaster services (supply-chain monitoring, damage documentation, etc.), but which cannot, say, dispatch a helicopter full of armed guards to Guatemala in an afternoon. In theory, Pinkerton can do both — a fully militarized managerial class at corporate disposal.”

Sunday 4.7.2019 New York Times Digest

1. The Con of the Side Hustle

“The ‘side hustle’ is one of a growing roster of trendy corporatized idioms, like ordinary household appliances that are now ‘smart’ or plain vanilla businessmen and women remade into the more exotic ‘entrepreneurs.’ Our jobs are now ‘flexible,’ although we are the ones contorting ourselves to work at all hours, or we are professionally ‘nimble’ because we are trying to survive on freelance gigs.”

2. Fungus Immune to Drugs Quietly Sweeps the Globe

“For decades, public health experts have warned that the overuse of antibiotics was reducing the effectiveness of drugs that have lengthened life spans by curing bacterial infections once commonly fatal. But lately, there has been an explosion of resistant fungi as well, adding a new and frightening dimension to a phenomenon that is undermining a pillar of modern medicine.”

3. In San Francisco, Making a Living From Your Billionaire Neighbor’s Trash

“A military veteran who fell into homelessness and now lives in government subsidized housing, Mr. Orta is a full-time trash picker, part of an underground economy in San Francisco of people who work the sidewalks in front of multimillion-dollar homes, rummaging for things they can sell.”

4. How to See a Stamp: As a 55-Cent Canvas

“The process can take years.”

5. The Moral Peril of Meritocracy

“When people are broken open in this way, they are more sensitive to the pains and joys of the world. They realize: Oh, that first mountain wasn’t my mountain. I am ready for a larger journey.”

6. You Are Not as Good at Kissing as You Think. But You Are Better at Dancing.

“People tended to overestimate how they compared with others in their ability to dodge a fraud, win a trivia contest or cuddle. But they tended to underestimate how they ranked in their ability to predict the outcome of a sporting event, win a fistfight or dance.”

7. Why Do We All Have to Be Beautiful?

“Challenging social norms about who can be beautiful is vital work, and of course it is true that representations of beauty in the media are pathetically white, thin, able-bodied and hetero, and of course this should change. But somewhere along the way, the message of inclusivity went from ‘every kind of person can be beautiful’ to ‘every person is beautiful.’ I’m increasingly convinced that this message isn’t only less radical than we might like to believe, but also actively harmful.”

8. If Prisons Don’t Work, What Will?

“Now, with public opinion shifting far and fast and politicians hurrying to catch up, you could even argue that criminal justice reform has become the new marriage equality in terms of the turnaround in public attitudes.”

9. It’s Your iPhone. Why Can’t You Fix It Yourself?

“The growing complexity of electronic devices … means that people need help from manufacturers. And companies have taken advantage of that shift in power.”

10. Tracing the Roots of Photo Sharing, From Mail Art to Instagram

“‘We have been sending postcards and snapshots since the early time of photography,’ Mr. Chéroux said, though noting that the volume and intensity of communication have of course grown with social media.”

11. Like, Comment, Subscribe, Weep

“I’ve made a digital product for you to consume. It’s a video series about internet culture, and it is branded around me. It’s called ‘Internetting With Amanda Hess’ and it’s about the downfall of cat memes, the rise of Instagram cyborgs, the creeping dominance of hands videos, and more. I want you to watch it and share it with everyone you know, and everyone you don’t. I want you to Tweet it, Facebook it, Pin it, Instagram it and post it everywhere else influence is sold.”

12. By the Book: Henry Louis Gates Jr.

“I just donated 14,000 books to Spelman College, so I’m starting the organizational process all over.”

13. A Journey — if You Dare — Into the Minds of Silicon Valley Programmers

“To understand what isn’t working for so many people it’s necessary to scrutinize the coders themselves, their personalities and biases. The very particular culture they’ve created infuses everything they produce for the rest of us.”

14. Robert A. Caro on the Means and Ends of Power

I don’t believe that I’m writing a ‘great-man theory of history.’ I believe that what I’m writing about are the rare individuals who can harness political forces and bring something out of them, either for good or for ill.

15. How to Dig Up a Grave

“If you’re lucky, the remains will be contained in an intact coffin.”

16. How A.S.M.R. Became a Sensation

“Around the time when Allen found SteadyHealth, there were, by one count, 12 whispering channels on YouTube; three years later, that number had more than tripled. Soon a hard-won Wikipedia page would further extend the reach of the term — and further enshrine the new video genre. By 2015, the ASMR Group had made itself irrelevant. When Allen set out to name the weird sensation, she thought she was simply describing what she felt. She couldn’t foresee that her term would enable a whole new form of entertainment — or possibly something that transcended entertainment — born of the kismet of algorithmic fate as it brushed up against the crossed wires of the brain.”

Sunday 3.31.2019 New York Times Digest

1. What Better Muse than James Harden’s Beard?

“The rut he had found himself in career-wise, it seemed, had created an opportunity.”

2. How Sovereign Citizens Helped Swindle $1 Billion From the Government They Disavow

“She realized a U.F.O. gathering was an unusual venue for debt-relief advice.”

3. The Lost History of One of the World’s Strangest Science Experiments

“The hummingbirds and honeybees died, leaving the crops unpollinated. Nematode worms and broad mites attacked the crops. Cockroaches reigned. Ten months into the mission, the project’s advisory board of experts delivered a blistering report criticizing its ill-defined goals and the crew’s lack of scientific expertise. Things got so fractious that the board quit en masse. And then Steve Bannon showed up.”

4. High School Doesn’t Have to Be Boring

“As we spent more time in schools, however, we noticed that powerful learning was happening most often at the periphery — in electives, clubs and extracurriculars.”

5. It’s Dangerous to Be a Boy

“Boyhood immerses boys in violence and the bullying that leads to it.”

6. Are You ‘Virtue Signaling’?

“If an individual is motivated by a desire to signal her virtue, that does not necessarily mean she is faking her outrage.”

7. Jordan Peele Crosses Over to ‘The Twilight Zone’

“Evolution has brought us to a place where we want to be good, for the most part. But we’ll never be all good.”

8. Keeping Up With the Kardashian Cash Flow

“Family turmoil feeds the celebrity news cycle, which drives interest in the TV show, which then helps to publicize an ever-increasing number of sponsorships and branded products.”

9. By the Book: Richard Powers

“I love novels that are obsessed with the ‘erotics of knowledge,’ books that understand how ideas are not the opposite of feelings but rather their intense distillation.”

10. Electric Blue

“Although innovative tools can help solve crimes, police departments often embrace new technologies without adequate testing or input from affected communities. The result is that ‘fixes’ can aggravate the very problems they were designed to remedy.”

11. Class Act

“If an elite school is a branding exercise, that brand is perhaps more valuable to rich parents than to rich kids. An underperforming, school-averse teenager is often content to attend a low-pressure state school with good parties; it’s his parents who are desperate to prevent this. More than faking their kids’ athletic or test-taking prowess, these parents have faked their own parenting.”

12. How to Talk to Dogs

“Research shows that even wolves are attuned to the attention of human faces and that dogs are particularly receptive to your gaze and pointing gestures.”

Sunday 3.24.19 New York Times Digest

1. Human Contact Is Now a Luxury Good

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

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

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

3. The Great American Cardboard Comeback

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

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

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

5. This Friendship Has Been Digitized

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

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

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

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

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

8. Psychic Mediums Are the New Wellness Coaches

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

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

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

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

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

11. Laila Lalami: By the Book

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

12. The Moral Clarity of Slaughterhouse-Five at 50

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

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

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

14. Drug Epidemics, Past and Present

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

15. How to Use Emojis

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

16. Rick Steves Wants to Set You Free

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

17. We’re All In This Together

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

18. Why Baltimore Persists as a Cultural Beacon

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

19. Why Do Artists Destroy Their Own Work?

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

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

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

Sunday 3.17.2019 New York Times Digest

1. Our Brother, Our Executioner

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

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

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

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

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

4. The New Science of Cuteness

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

5. The Moral Wages of the College Admissions Mania

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

6. The Scandals of Meritocracy

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

7. Is Pain a Sensation or an Emotion?

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

8. Matthias Schoenaerts Knows You’re Ogling Him

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

9. How Parents Are Robbing Their Children of Adulthood

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

10. Go West

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

11. When Sci-Fi Comes True

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

12. Letter of Recommendation: Lent

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

Sunday 3.10.2019 New York Times Digest

1. A Rural Boxing Gym Puts Up a Fight

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

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

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

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

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

4. The Black Gun Owner Next Door

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

5. The Industrial Revolution of Shame

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

6. Teen Fiction and the Perils of Cancel Culture

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

7. Go Home to Your ‘Dying’ Hometown

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

8. Your Dog Feels as Guilty as She Looks

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

9. What Alex Trebek Is Really Like

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

10. Are You an Amazon or an Apple Family?

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

11. America’s Most Profitable Export: Money

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

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

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

13. Momo Is as Real as We’ve Made Her

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

14. Climate Change and Human History

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

15. Anglos, Hispanics and the Formation of America

“History repeats itself, now as shame.”

16. The 25 Songs That Matter Right Now

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

Sunday 3.3.2019 New York Times Digest

1. How the Weather Gets Weaponized in Climate Change Messaging

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

2. Goodbye Sidewalk Trees

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

3. The A.I. Diet

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

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

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

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

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

6. Our Culture of Contempt

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

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

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

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

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

9. The New 30-Something

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

10. Animal Care

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

11. Toni Morrison: First Lady of Letters

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

12. Is the West Really the Best?

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

13. Recoil Offgrid

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

14. How to Tackle Someone

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

15. Inside the Secret Sting Operations to Expose Celebrity Psychics

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

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

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

17. Jasper Johns, American Legend

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