One day in the fall of 1981, eight men in their 70s stepped out of a van in front of a converted monastery in New Hampshire. They shuffled forward, a few of them arthritically stooped, a couple with canes. Then they passed through the door and entered a time warp. Perry Como crooned on a vintage radio. Ed Sullivan welcomed guests on a black-and-white TV. Everything inside — including the books on the shelves and the magazines lying around — were designed to conjure 1959. This was to be the men’s home for five days as they participated in a radical experiment, cooked up by a young psychologist named Ellen Langer.
After 80, some people don’t retire. They reign. A collection of portraits of and interviews with men and women of a certain age. Here there be wisdom.
Closing a Chapter of a Literary Life [New York Times] Ahead of the American publication of his latest work, “The Book of Strange New Things,” Michel Faber discusses it and why it will be his last novel.
For those of you who wanted to follow the exercise plan featured in the NY Times on the 7 minute workout (previously), they now offer an app to make it easier to follow their program. [more inside]
Exquisite Corpse [New York Times]
Taking their cue from the Surrealist parlor game, 15 renowned authors take turns contributing to an original short story.[more inside]
"The United States had gone to war declaring it must destroy an active weapons of mass destruction program. Instead, American troops gradually found and ultimately suffered from the remnants of long-abandoned programs, built in close collaboration with the West."
- The Secret Casualties of Iraq's Abandoned Chemical Weapons (SLNYT) [more inside]
The New York Times Magazine treated a group of second graders to a seven-course meal at a pricey NYC restaurant. Culinarity ensued. [video, via]
Eating healthy food and eating together is important. But if you hate to cook, what's the best way to do that? (SLNYT)
To Lure Young Readers, Nonfiction Writers Sanitize and Simplify: [New York Times]
"Inspired by the booming market for young adult novels, a growing number of biographers and historians are retrofitting their works to make them palatable for younger readers."
‘The Giving Tree’: Tender Story of Unconditional Love or Disturbing Tale of Selfishness?
Anna Holmes and Rivka Galchen reconsider Shel Silverstein’s classic, published 50 years ago.
Jean-Claude Duvalier, ‘Baby Doc’ of Haiti, Dies at 63: [New York Times]
"Jean-Claude Duvalier, a former president of Haiti known as Baby Doc who ruled the country with a bloody brutality and then shocked the country anew with a sudden return from a 25-year exile in 2011, died on Saturday."
All of Lanai's owners have sought, in one way or another, to refashion the island into a paradise on earth. Former Oracle CEO Larry Ellison hopes to transform it into the "first economically viable, 100% green community."
This morning, the New York Times published "Wrought in Their Creator’s Image", an article talking about the new network series “How to Get Away With Murder", produced by Shonda Rimes and starring Viola Davis. The articles claims about the beauty and character of Black women have created a discussion, from Rimes herself and others about the stereotype of the "angry Black woman" and whether Ms. Davis is, as the Times suggests #lessclassicallybeautiful than other women because of the age and color of her skin.
Portland’s paradox is that it attracts so many of “the young and the restless,” as demographers call them, that it has become a city of the overeducated and underemployed — a place where young people are, in many cases, forced into their semiretirement.
The Death of Adulthood in American Culture (SLNYTimes Magazine), by A.O. Scott: Comic-book movies, family-friendly animated adventures, tales of adolescent heroism and comedies of arrested development do not only make up the commercial center of 21st-century Hollywood. They are its artistic heart.
It’s as if every child under age 5 in the United States has seen it. Four times. The New York Times Magazine explores the world of unboxing videos and boggles at the appeal of DisneyCollector, an anonymous and seemingly independent female toy 'reviewer' who may be earning over seven figures. Are the videos' popularity connected to ASMR?
A New Yorker Faces His Phobia, One Stroke at a Time [New York Times] With Intensive Swim Lessons, a Man Attacks His Fear of Water
"Traumatized by childhood incidents, Attis Clopton was deathly afraid of water, so he attacked his phobia by enrolling in a program of swimming lessons."
Don’t Want Me to Recline My Airline Seat? You Can Pay Me [New York Times]
"...airline seats are an excellent case study for the Coase Theorem. This is an economic theory holding that it doesn’t matter very much who is initially given a property right; so long as you clearly define it and transaction costs are low, people will trade the right so that it ends up in the hands of whoever values it most. That is, I own the right to recline, and if my reclining bothers you, you can pay me to stop."
PAPER BOYS: The Dark World of Debt Collection [New York Times] In the murky world of unpaid bills, a banker and an ex-con can make a fortune — if they don’t run into too many crooks.
A New York Times interactive graphic feature charting how Americans have moved between states since 1900.
The Brazilian Bus Magnate Who's Buying Up All the World's Vinyl Records. By age 30, he had about 30,000 records. About 10 years later, his bus company expanded, making him rich. Not long after that, he split up with his wife, and the pace of his buying exploded. "Maybe it’s because I was alone," Freitas said. "I don't know." He soon had a collection in the six figures; his best guess at a current total is several million albums.
Weddings in the era of legalization Before Jennifer Beck, 27, and Chase Beck, 24, were married on May 3, also at the Devil’s Thumb Ranch, they briefly discussed serving THC-infused cupcakes in addition to traditional ones...[they] ultimately decided not to include the special cupcakes, in part because it was springtime, the season when the rivers are raging with snowmelt and the bears are coming out of hibernation — not the ideal moment for anyone to be stoned in the mountains.
This Weekend, The New York Times went all in for poetry. In addition to six — count ‘em — articles about poetry in the Review, the Times also included an entire panel in its “Room for Debate” section in which the mostly white and mostly male panelists responded to the essentially rhetorical question “Does Poetry Matter?” with some version of the expected answer: yes. [more inside]
In May, David Barron was confirmed as a judge in the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, after a half-hour filibsuter by Rand Paul, and opposition stemming from a confidential memo (previously) he wrote, justifying the use of targeted drone strikes against terrorists, e.g. Anwar al-Awlaki (previously). After a court ruling in the FOIA lawsuit filed by the ACLU and New York Times, Court Releases Large Parts of Memo Approving Killing of American in Yemen. [more inside]
"I was a nervous wreck because I was about to betray my beloved grandmother and visit her darkest secret. Her secret had a name, and I was going to see him." (SLNYTimes: Modern Love)
The New York Times examines the case of a student raped by football players at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. The colleges are under investigation by the Department of Education [Not Alone, previously] [more inside]
NYT Minus Context (SLTwitter) -- Does exactly what it says on the tin.
A 36 year old FDNY "probie" fights his first fire (SLNYTimes interactive)
Christopher Ketcham of the New Republic accuses Chris Hedges of widespread plagiarism.
The trouble began when Ross passed the piece along to the fact-checker assigned to the story. As Ross and the fact-checker began working through the material, they discovered that sections of Hedges’s draft appeared to have been lifted directly from the work of a Philadelphia Inquirer reporter named Matt Katz, who in 2009 had published a four-part series on social and political dysfunction in Camden.[more inside]
In advance of the HBO release of "The Normal Heart", Frank Bruni writes about Larry Kramer in today's New York Times.
The American Middle Class Is No Longer the World’s Richest. The American middle class, long the most affluent in the world, has lost that distinction. Comparing income by country. About the data.
Mark Danner has been writing a series in the New York Review Of Books: Rumsfeld's War And Its Consequences Now
A bare two weeks after the attacks of September 11, at the end of a long and emotional day at the White House, a sixty-nine-year-old politician and businessman—a midwesterner, born of modest means but grown wealthy and prominent and powerful—returned to his enormous suite of offices on the seventh floor of the flood-lit and wounded Pentagon and, as was his habit, scrawled out a memorandum on his calendar:[more inside]Interesting day— NSC mtg. with President— As [it] ended he asked to see me alone… After the meeting ended I went to Oval Office—He was alone He was at his desk— He talked about the meet Then he said I want you to develop a plan to invade Ir[aq]. Do it outside the normal channels. Do it creatively so we don’t have to take so much cover [?]
Can you live on the minimum wage? NYTimes.com has provided you with a handy calculator to find out.
Two guys try to drive from Moscow to Sochi in a Lada Niva, the "automotive version of the Russian soul". Hilarity ensues. [SLNYT]
In 1994, Douglas Davis [personal blog] created The World's First Collaborative Sentence. Last summer, The Whitney Museum faced a new challenge: what happens to digital art when the technology becomes obsolete? [more inside]
Fired? Speak no evil. "[A] termination agreement pinged into my inbox. Much of it set forth standard-issue language resolving such matters as date of termination, the vesting of options, the release of all claims against the company, and the return of company property. I think I get to keep last year’s Christmas gift of an iPad, and the previous year’s bottle of wine has long been drunk, but I must send back any company files in my possession. So far, so good. What brings me up short is clause No. 12: No Disparagement. 'You agree,' it reads, 'that you will never make any negative or disparaging statements (orally or in writing) about the Company or its stockholders, directors, officers, employees, products, services or business practices, except as required by law.' If I don’t agree to this nondisparagement clause, I will not receive my severance — in this case, the equivalent of two weeks of pay."
Do big fines actually prompt corporations to mend their ways? Or is it just the cost of doing business? (SLNYT+video) (previously/similarly)
A Speck in the Sea [NYTimes.com]: John Aldridge fell overboard in the middle of the night, 40 miles from shore, and the Coast Guard was looking in the wrong place.
Insomnia causes depression as much as depression causes insomnia: Three surprising points from a fascinating episode of KQED Forum [audio, no transcript] with guest Dr. Michelle Primeau of the Stanford School of Medicine.
First story: Treating Insomnia to Heal Depression,
Follow up a couple of days later: Double Effectiveness of Depression Treatment by Treating Insomnia,
Two readers (both psychiatrists) respond, and
A NYT editorial. [more inside]
- Insomnia has long been taught to be a symptom of depression, but in many cases is a cause of depression.
- CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) is an effective treatment for both insomnia and depression.
- CBT can be more effective and longer lasting than sleeping pills
Last month, we lost one of the great philosophers of the 20th century. Arthur C. Danto was perhaps the most eminent voice in contemporary aesthetics. Always on the cutting edge, Danto shined a light on aesthetics in the post-art world. [more inside]
William T. Vollmann: The Self Images of a Cross-Dresser [New York Times] From a profile on William T. Vollmann, in The New York Times. The profile centers around Vollmann’s latest book, The Book of Dolores.
In a remote corner of the South China Sea, 105 nautical miles from the Philippines, lies a submerged reef the Filipinos call Ayungin. In most ways it resembles the hundreds of other reefs, islands, rock clusters and cays that collectively are called the Spratly Islands. But Ayungin is different. In the reef’s shallows there sits a forsaken ship, manned by eight Filipino troops whose job is to keep China in check... It was hard to imagine how such a forsaken place could become a flash point in a geopolitical power struggle. Jeff Himmelman (words) and Ashley Gilbertson (images). A Game of Shark and Minnow [SLNYTimes interactive, (calm) autoplaying audio]
Bearing Arms: [New York Times] Articles in this series examine the gun industry’s influence and the wide availability of firearms in America. [more inside]
A new study from Harvard Law School (get the full paper here) reports that nearly half of the links cited in Supreme Court opinions are rotten (sometimes cleverly so).
A new web-service built through collaboration by many of the largest libraries in the world, Perma, currently in Beta, will enable users to create citation links that will never break.