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"our healthy but preposterous need to make lists"

The Perfect Beat is an article by The New Yorker's music critic Sasha Frere Jones where he lays out the reasoning behind his "Perfect Recordings" project, essentially a list of 200 songs that fit his personal criteria for perfection. The lists are available as Twitter timelines (volumes 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5), Spotify playlists (volumes 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5) or as one 200 song Rdio playlist. Frere-Jones answered some questions about the project and spoke about a few individual songs in The Guardian.
posted by Kattullus on Sep 8, 2014 - 45 comments

Why can't our education system be more like theirs?

In China, there are now more than 200 Waldorf elementary schools, filled with the children whose parents are looking for a more child-centered alternative to the test-driven state education system. Why can't Chinese schools be more like American schools? Meanwhile, in America, Stephen Pinker argues that Harvard and other elite universities are wasting their resources on athletes and musicians, and should select students by standardized test scores, the way Chinese colleges do. Why can't American schools be more like Chinese schools?
posted by escabeche on Sep 7, 2014 - 56 comments

"...that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow."

Why Walking Helps Us Think: [The New Yorker] In a variety of ways, going for a stroll keeps our brains on their toes.
posted by Fizz on Sep 6, 2014 - 25 comments

“...every angel has a past and every sinner has a future.”

Staten Island’s Pill Problem: [The New Yorker] "New York City is the heroin capital of the country, and the epidemic has hit its most tranquil borough the hardest."
posted by Fizz on Sep 1, 2014 - 18 comments

instructions from Superman's dad

"But not doing things too disastrously is not some minimal achievement; it is a maximal achievement, rarely managed." Does it help to know history?
posted by theodolite on Aug 29, 2014 - 46 comments

I have only the vaguest memory of a life before fear.

Lena Dunham writes about her childhood anxieties, and growing up in therapy. (SLNewYorker)
posted by magstheaxe on Aug 26, 2014 - 131 comments

The Troll Slayer

A profile of classicist Mary Beard, and, among other things, her decision to confront sexist detractors online. "The real issue, she suggested, is not merely guaranteeing a woman’s right to speak; it is being aware of the prejudices that we bring to the way we hear her. Listening, she implied, is an essential element of speech."
posted by OmieWise on Aug 25, 2014 - 22 comments

A heart rather than a phone call.

A Memoir Is Not a Status Update by Dani Shapiro [The New Yorker] "What would have become of me if I had come of age as a writer during these years of living out loud?"
posted by Fizz on Aug 18, 2014 - 20 comments

“May cause dizziness, sexual nightmares, and sleep crime.”

[...] others resist sleep and embrace the woozy, out-of-body license. To some, this is an opportunity to take part in what Rachel Uchitel, a former girlfriend of Tiger Woods, has reportedly described as “crazy Ambien sex.” [more inside]
posted by the young rope-rider on Aug 16, 2014 - 138 comments

Reasoning with your muscles.

Every Good Boy Does Fine: A life in piano lessons. [SLNewYorker]
posted by Lutoslawski on Aug 11, 2014 - 16 comments

The radiance of life

"Woolf often conceives of life this way: as a gift that you've been given, which you must hold onto and treasure but never open. Opening it would dispel the atmosphere, ruin the radiance—and the radiance of life is what makes it worth living. It's hard to say just what holding onto life without looking at it might mean; that's one of the puzzles of her books. But it has something to do with preserving life's mystery…" Virginia Woolf's Idea of Privacy
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Aug 10, 2014 - 11 comments

Nina Simone's raised voice

“My skin is black,” the first woman’s story begins, “my arms are long.” And, to a slow and steady beat, “my hair is woolly, my back is strong.” Singing in a club in Holland, in 1965, Nina Simone introduced a song she had written about what she called “four Negro women” to a young, homogeneously white, and transfixed crowd. “And one of the women’s hair,” she instructed, brushing her hand lightly across her own woolly Afro, “is like mine.”
posted by ChuraChura on Aug 6, 2014 - 23 comments

Poking the Jazz Hive

On July 31st the New Yorker posted on Shouts and Murmurs: "Sonny Rollins: In His Own Words BY DJANGO GOLD". Plenty of people were not pleased. Including, yes, Sonny Rollins himself. (The editor's note on Shouts and Murmurs was added afterwards and was not part of the initial publishing of the piece)
posted by josher71 on Aug 5, 2014 - 91 comments

The truth is stranger than fiction

From behind the New Yorker's temporarily removed paywall, a postmodern murder mystery from Poland in 2007.
posted by ellieBOA on Jul 25, 2014 - 10 comments

"wait for a bunch of old ideas to die in order for a church to live"

A Church Divided Over Marriage Equality
The Church’s rules against homosexuality have divided Methodists for forty years. Attempts to abolish or even soften these rules have failed at every General Conference, the quadrennial meeting of the denomination, since they were first added, in 1972, to the Book of Discipline, which contains the Church’s laws and doctrine.

"And They Will Know We Are Christians by Our Love"
"Methodists should call meeting on gay divide, pastor says"
"Ranks of defiant United Methodist clergy rise"
"Defrocking of Minister Widens Split Over Gays"
posted by davidstandaford on Jul 23, 2014 - 22 comments

Guy Walks Into a Bar

And the bartender's, like, "No kidding. You think I wished for a twelve-inch pianist?" So the guy processes this. (SLNewYorker) [more inside]
posted by Metroid Baby on Jul 23, 2014 - 138 comments

"Publishing the best work possible remains our aim."

Today, The New Yorker announces a redesign, temporary free access to their archives for all web visitors, and a soon-to-be implemented paywall, modelled on that of The New York Times. The New Yorker website--which now publishes 15 original stories a day--has been steadily expanding their offerings (and increasing their traffic) under online editor Nicholas Thompson. Perhaps TNY seeks to finally answer the question: what's an old magazine to do on the internet? Capital NY digs into the history of the relaunch and how striving for timeliness on the web may affect the publication. Others maintain that a remaining problem is Andy Borowitz, whose vague satire accounted for 6% of traffic to the website last year.
posted by youarenothere on Jul 21, 2014 - 46 comments

Maps and info about New York's other MTA

The New Yorker investigates the routes, drivers, and ridership of NYC's "dollar vans" [SLNew Yorker]. (Dollar Vans, previously)
posted by Itaxpica on Jul 2, 2014 - 9 comments

He's on the menu on the table, he's the knife and he's the waiter

"His work is rooted in the power of collaboration within systems: instructions, rules, and self-imposed limits. His methods are a rebuke to the assumption that a project can be powered by one person’s intent, or that intent is even worth worrying about. To this end, Eno has come up with words like “scenius,” which describes the power generated by a group of artists who gather in one place at one time. (“Genius is individual, scenius is communal,” Eno told the Guardian, in 2010.) It suggests that the quality of works produced in a certain time and place is more indebted to the friction between the people on hand than to the work of any single artist." The New Yorker's Sasha Frere-Jones on Brian Eno's career and new album High Life.
posted by porn in the woods on Jun 30, 2014 - 10 comments

David Sedaris, meet your new obsession

Living the Fitbit life.
posted by ellieBOA on Jun 25, 2014 - 90 comments

They moved my bowl

Charlie Barsotti, one of the great cartoonists, passed away. Charlie drew close to fourteen hundred cartoons for The New Yorker over the years, beginning in the nineteen-sixties and continuing right through last week’s issue.
Many more here. Previously.
posted by growabrain on Jun 22, 2014 - 45 comments

The Disruption Machine

What the gospel of innovation gets wrong. The championing of "disruption" in modern business is built around some very flaky research that does not bear out its sweeping conconclusions.
posted by smoke on Jun 17, 2014 - 54 comments

Doesn’t your life feel like his?

This week sees the publication of the third volume of “My Struggle,” the thirty-six-hundred-page autobiographical novel by Karl Ove Knausgaard, the Norwegian novelist. It’s hard to overstate the strangeness of the book’s success. The six volumes of “My Struggle” chronicle, in hypnotic detail, episodes from Knausgaard’s life. There is no plot to speak of, unless you consider real life a plot. [more inside]
posted by whyareyouatriangle on Jun 3, 2014 - 31 comments

"Don’t Forget to Be Awesome"

The Teen Whisperer by Margaret Talbot [New Yorker] How the author [John Green] of “The Fault in Our Stars” built an ardent army of fans.
posted by Fizz on Jun 3, 2014 - 24 comments

Readers' Night Out

At silent-reading parties, guests bring books, stay as long as they want, and aren't allowed to speak to one another.
posted by paleyellowwithorange on May 29, 2014 - 47 comments

“the machinery that was built up for computer chess is pretty useless"

The Mystery of Go, the Ancient Game That Computers Still Can’t Win
The challenge is daunting. In 1994, machines took the checkers crown, when a program called Chinook beat the top human. Then, three years later, they topped the chess world, IBM’s Deep Blue supercomputer besting world champion Garry Kasparov. Now, computers match or surpass top humans in a wide variety of games: Othello, Scrabble, backgammon, poker, even Jeopardy. But not Go. It’s the one classic game where wetware still dominates hardware.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on May 26, 2014 - 72 comments

Manners are sort of my thing, and I’d love to teach you some.

Passive Aggressive Missed Connections
posted by roomthreeseventeen on May 8, 2014 - 99 comments

Cold Pastoral

We were in the stage where we couldn’t make serious eye contact for fear of implying we were too invested. We used euphemisms like “I miss you” and “I like you” and smiled every time our noses got too close.
[more inside]
posted by Sokka shot first on May 1, 2014 - 9 comments

First Class

How do you cram a bunch of strangers into an airborne metal tube, charge them a lot of money for the privilege, and get them to rave about it? Hire people like James Park to attract the one percent. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Apr 26, 2014 - 52 comments

One of Christie’s flaws “is that he makes enemies and keeps them.”

When Christie was fourteen years old, he heard [now former NJ Governor Thomas] Kean, who was then a member of the state legislature, speak at his junior high school. He told his mother that he wanted to become a politician; she drove him to Kean’s house and told him to knock on the legislator’s door. “Sir, I heard you speak,” he told Kean. “I think I want to get into politics. How do I do it?” Writing for The New Yorker, Ryan Lizza provides an account of Chris Christie's political history from start to Bridgegate.
posted by Going To Maine on Apr 8, 2014 - 29 comments

I thought it was amusing that you bought a budgeting app.

If you're going to read one piece on fictional, passive aggressive banking services make it Kelly Stout's short "Alert!" [more inside]
posted by sacrifix on Apr 4, 2014 - 10 comments

“But it’s real,” he said. “It doesn’t have to be understood to be real.”

Adam Lanza's father, Peter Lanza, speaks with the New Yorker, his first interview since the Sandy Hook shootings.
posted by skycrashesdown on Mar 9, 2014 - 104 comments

My parents and I never discussed death . . .

"Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?" an upcoming graphic memoir from Roz Chast is excerpted in the New Yorker online.
posted by Obscure Reference on Mar 3, 2014 - 16 comments

“I developed games to escape. This was my own world I created."

The New Yorker profiles Klaus Teuber: The Man Who Built Catan
posted by Going To Maine on Feb 18, 2014 - 106 comments

Extra innings

"Why am I not constantly grieving?" The wonderful Roger Angell on love, loss, sex, death, time, and the view from age 94.
posted by Miko on Feb 17, 2014 - 31 comments

relentless.com

Is Amazon Bad For Books?
posted by the man of twists and turns on Feb 11, 2014 - 91 comments

Walking to The Far Lands in Minecraft

Simon Parkin writes 1600 words for The New Yorker online about The Far Lands or Bust!, an ongoing effort to walk to the end of a world in Minecraft. [via Boing Boing] [more inside]
posted by cgc373 on Feb 6, 2014 - 45 comments

The science-fiction part of the show is that the Machine is accurate

“Person Of Interest”: The TV Show That Predicted Edward Snowden
posted by Rustic Etruscan on Jan 14, 2014 - 57 comments

Incomplete, apparently

Here she discovered photographs of several of the absent illuminations, a partial ownership history, and a surprising fact: Christie’s had listed the book as “APPARENTLY COMPLETE.” In other words, the devotional had been taken apart—“broken” is the industry term—not a hundred years ago, but within the last three years. Its leaves had been stripped for individual sale by a modern-day dealer. “I was almost physically sick,” Treharne told me. “I could not believe what I had in front of me.”
posted by PussKillian on Jan 12, 2014 - 66 comments

Structure

I had done all the research I was going to do, assembled enough material to fill a silo. And now I had no idea what to do with it - John McPhee, on narrative structure. [more inside]
posted by Turkey Glue on Jan 9, 2014 - 16 comments

Last week I thought about being a nurse.

10 Under 10: Writers to Watch. Bonus: 3 Under 3.
posted by en forme de poire on Jan 7, 2014 - 23 comments

We don't have cameras

This past October, just before the leaves changed, I went on a six-day hike through the mountains of Wakayama, in central Japan, tracing the path of an ancient imperial pilgrimage called the Kumano Kodo. I took along a powerful camera, believing, as I always have, that it would be an indispensable creative tool. But I returned with the unshakeable feeling that I’m done with cameras, and that most of us are, if we weren’t already.

Author and designer Craig Mod asks if we're seeing the end of the non-networked, standalone camera.
posted by Horace Rumpole on Jan 3, 2014 - 69 comments

i. Scarf jerks and sweater jerks are different jerks

How well does this test of regional slang reveal where you’re from? Answer the questions below to find out.
posted by griphus on Jan 3, 2014 - 64 comments

I'm gonna eat a shit ton more ants.

New Year's resolutions for an anteater.
posted by hydrophonic on Jan 1, 2014 - 28 comments

New Frontiers In Science

Can plants think? Michael Pollan asks the question. (SLNewYorker)
posted by Diablevert on Dec 23, 2013 - 75 comments

"People in power ... will routinely lie to their population,"

The Men Who Leaked The Secrets
To the likes of Brooks, Snowden was a disconcerting mystery; Glenn Greenwald, though, got him right away. "He had no power, no prestige, he grew up in a lower-middle-class family, totally obscure, totally ordinary," Greenwald says. "He didn't even have a high school diploma. But he was going to change the world – and I knew that." And, Greenwald also believed, so would he. "In all kinds of ways, my whole life has been in preparation for this moment," he says.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Dec 10, 2013 - 46 comments

One more drink and I'd have been under the nymphet

Edmund Wilson was a friend [Vladimir] Nabokov shared with many people in American literary circles—including Dorothy Parker. Wilson had first learned about Nabokov's Lolita in the summer of 1953, when he was contemplating an article about Nabokov and asked the novelist whether he had a new project in the works.... A year later, Nabokov offered to let Wilson read his new novel, which he said he considered "to be my best thing in English."

In November, while in New York talking to Straus about his own projects, Wilson got the Lolita manuscript and was a bit less discreet than Nabokov would have wanted.


--How Edmund Wilson may have leaked the plot of Nabokov's Lolita to Dorothy Parker, who then published in the New Yorker a story titled "Lolita," about a middle-aged man in love with a teenage girl, three weeks before the novel came out.
posted by Cash4Lead on Nov 23, 2013 - 7 comments

Prolly I’ll just flush all this soup down the toilet. . .?

Actor Michael Cera invents a twisted text message relationship between actor Michael Cera and the unsuspecting "Jeremy" in a Shouts & Murmurs piece for the New Yorker.
posted by Clustercuss on Nov 20, 2013 - 72 comments

Thanksgiving in Mongolia

Thanksgiving in Mongolia. Ariel Levy writes a harrowing, heartbreaking story of her late pregnancy loss, adventure, and grieving.
posted by c'mon sea legs on Nov 11, 2013 - 21 comments

February 28th—I hate this month. I can’t take one more day of it.

The Man Who Invented the Calendar. [SLNewYorker]
posted by Halloween Jack on Nov 5, 2013 - 18 comments

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