"How Not To Be Alone" Author Jonathan Safran Foer touches on loneliness and empathy in an era of "iDistractions" during his commencement address at Middlebury College. (SLNYT)
"Despite her pedigree, success came slowly," the story bravely ventured. This slowness was maybe not so apparent to several thousand other 24-year-olds who want to be actresses, but who haven't even figured out how to get to a reading for Law & Order to fail at it. Tom Scocca on Nathaniel Rich, Lena Dunham, Zosia Mamet, and cultural nepotism. (Related: How David Carr Became the Daddy of Girls)
The ghost of gun control revisits the history of gun control in the US. (SLNYTOPED)
Spring Rain, Then Foul Algae in Ailing Lake Erie: [New York Times]
"A thick and growing coat of toxic algae appears each summer, so vast that in 2011 it covered a sixth of its waters, contributing to an expanding dead zone on its bottom, reducing fish populations, fouling beaches and crippling a tourism industry that generates more than $10 billion in revenue annually."
Becoming the All-Terrain Human: [New York Times]
"Kilian Jornet Burgada is the most dominating endurance athlete of his generation. In just eight years, Jornet has won more than 80 races, claimed some 16 titles and set at least a dozen speed records, many of them in distances that would require the rest of us to purchase an airplane ticket. He has run across entire landmasses (Corsica) and mountain ranges (the Pyrenees), nearly without pause. He regularly runs all day eating only wild berries and drinking only from streams."
The Cossacks Are Back. May the Hills Tremble. [New York Times]
"In his third term, President Vladimir V. Putin has offered one clear new direction for the country: the development of a conservative, nationalist ideology. Cossacks have emerged as a kind of mascot, with growing financial and political support."
Where Banks really Make Money On IPOs
All of these numbers are hypothetical, of course, but the bigger point is simple: if Goldman manages to get kickbacks, in terms of extra commissions, of more than 7% of its clients’ profits, then it has a financial incentive to underprice the IPO. And Goldman’s clients were desperate to give it kickbacks: they didn’t just route their standard trading through Goldman, since that wouldn’t generate enough commissions. Instead, they bought and sold stocks on the same day, at the same price. Capstar Holding, for instance, bought 57,000 shares in Seagram Ltd at $50.13 per share on June 21, 1999 — and then sold them, on the same day, at the same price. Capstar made nothing on the trade, but Goldman made a commission of $5,700. Capstar’s Christopher Rule says that in May 1999, fully 70% of all of his trading activity “was done solely for the purpose of generating commissions”, so that he could continue to keep on getting IPO allocations.Rigging The IPO Game [more inside]
Nora Ephron’s Final Act by Jacob Bernstein (her son). [NYTimes.com]
"At 10 p.m. on a Friday night in a private room on the 14th Floor of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital on 68th and York Avenue, my mother was lying in her bed hallucinating, in that dream space people go on their way to being gone."
A Trail of Bullet Casings Leads From Africa’s Wars Back to Iran. Iran’s Cartridges & Their Quiet Distribution to Brutal Regimes and Many Wars. [more inside]
Drowned in a Stream of Prescriptions. NYTimes link. From the article: "The story of Richard Fee, an athletic, personable college class president and aspiring medical student, highlights widespread failings in the system through which five million Americans take medication for A.D.H.D., doctors and other experts said." Trigger warning: addiction, suicide.
"We must never travel separately again.” Author Eve Pell on old, young love.
The Price of a Stolen Childhood [NYTimes.com] When Nicole was a child, her father took pornographic pictures of her that still circulate on the internet. [more inside]
Bolshoi Ballet Director Is Victim of Acid Attack: [NYTimes.com] "A masked man threw acid in the face of Sergei Filin, the artistic director of the legendary Bolshoi Ballet, on Thursday night, leaving him with third-degree burns and possibly threatening his eyesight, Bolshoi officials said on Friday morning."
Why You Won’t Be the Person You Expect to Be (NYT): "When we remember our past selves, they seem quite different. We know how much our personalities and tastes have changed over the years. But when we look ahead, somehow we expect ourselves to stay the same... They called this phenomenon the “end of history illusion,” in which people tend to “underestimate how much they will change in the future.”" (via exp.lore) [more inside]
Beate Sirota Gordon, Long-Unsung Heroine of Japanese Women’s Rights, Dies at 89: a NYT obituary relates the fascinating story of a young woman who was just the right person in just the right place at just the right time and managed to strike a blow for gender equality. [more inside]
The New York Times Magazine's latest issue, The Lives They Lived, is a tribute to cultural icons that have died in 2012. Adam Yauch, a.k.a MCA of the Beastie Boys, is featured on the cover. [more inside]
"Older parenthood will upend American society." "Is waiting to have kids a big mistake?" "Why do women believe they can delay children for so long?" "Older men are more likely than young ones to father a child who develops autism or schizophrenia, because of random mutations that become more numerous with advancing paternal age."
“This is also the limits of photography in that sense; it only goes so far in understanding what’s in front of you,”
New York Times' Lens blog: Looking at the Tangled Roots of Violence in Northern Nigeria highlights the work of Benedicte Kurzen. [more inside]
"For a few months in 1922, throngs of America’s youth — from schoolkids to shopgirls — were swept up in a leaderless pyramid scheme that promised “something for nothing” and encouraged promiscuous flirtation. These were the “Shifters.” This is their (brief) story." (NYTimes link) Previously on the flappers and flapper slang: 1, 2.
"If I was to die, today or tomorrow, I do not think I would die satisfied till you tell me you will try and marry some good, smart man that will take care of you and the children"
Author Jon Meacham has a new book out on Thomas Jefferson. It is reviewed in the New York Times: Cultivating Control in a Nation’s Crucible
But this book does not address its principal concern, power, until Jefferson has accrued some. When it comes to the force that he wielded as a slaveholder, Mr. Meacham finds ways to suggest that thoughts of abolition would have been premature; that it was not uncommon for white heads of households to be waited on by slaves who bore family resemblances to their masters; and that since Jefferson treated slavery as a blind spot, the book can too.[more inside]
Are Social Impact Bonds a good way to invest in public services? "Imagine a contract where private investors are paid by the government if there's a decrease in homelessness or convicts re-offending. It's a an idea that's taking shape in the UK and some US states. And now the Canadian government is considering piloting social impact bonds. Critics say it's a way of governments shirking their responsibilities." CBC's "The Current" reports. [more inside]
The Audacity Of Louis Ortiz is a kickstarter funded documentary that chronicles the life and times an unemployed Puerto Rican man from the Bronx, whose life completely changed when he was told that he resembles Barack Obama. The story of Ortiz has been featured on This American Life, NY Times, and DRS 3. Ortiz as Obama has been featured in a few TV spots including an episode of Flight of the Concords and a Korean satellite TV commercial.
Christopher Kimball: "He may be the sole person associated with food journalism to remark, 'There’s something about pleasure I find annoying.'"
"Cooking isn't creative, and it isn't easy." A NYT Magazine piece on Christopher Kimball, Cook's Illustrated, and his franchise (America's Test Kitchen, Cook's Country, et al.). "At the core of C.I.’s M.O. are two intrepid observations Kimball has made about the innermost psychology of home cooks. Namely that they 1) are haunted by a fear of humiliation, and 2) will not follow a recipe to the letter, believing that slavishly following directions is an implicit admission that you cannot cook... What the magazine essentially offers its readers is a bargain: if they agree to follow the recipes as written, their cooking will succeed and they will be recognized by family and friends as competent or even expert in the kitchen... The bargain further holds that the peppercorn-crusted filet of beef or butterscotch-cream pie will turn out not only in C.I.’s professional kitchen, with its All-Clad pans and DCS ranges, but also on a lowly electric four-top, using a dull knife and a $20 nonstick skillet." [more inside]
"The Hole is a small triangle of land divided in half by Brooklyn and Queens, and is located west of the intersection of Linden and Conduit Boulevard. The Hole is literally a hole. It is "30 feet below grade," according to the NY Times, sunken down from the busy roads around it. The neighborhood floods often and is only a few feet above the water table, so its homes are "not incorporated into the city sewer system. They all have cesspools," according to the NY Times. Streets are threatened by reedy marshes, and many residents keep a boat parked in the driveway." It's also home to some stables used by the Federation of Black Cowboys. Brooklyn's Lost Neighborhood [more inside]
Who Draws The Borders Of Culture?(NYTimes) Cultural border, as opposed to national borders, are funny things. One country can contain many (Coke vs. Soda. Vs. Pop, previously and previously-er). Cultural borders often appear as food and drink choices, like sweet tea, forms of alcohol, or BBQ sauce. [more inside]
A Short History Of Book Reviewing's Long Decline: 'By the time of the first quote “book-review,” criticism had been in circulation for centuries—long enough for writers to know how it can sting. Understandably, then, the critic’s skepticism of an artist's genius has invariably existed alongside the artist's doubt over the critic's judgment.' [more inside]
'While they never met, they had some things in common. Both were Army captains, engaged in important work for the nation, their costly educations paid for by U.S. taxpayers. Ian Morrison, 26, returned to Fort Hood, Texas, last December after nine months flying 70 combat missions over Iraq. Dr. Michael McCaddon, 37, was an ob-gyn resident at Hawaii’s Tripler Army Medical Center. The pilot and the doctor shared one other thing: they found themselves in a darkening, soul-sucking funnel that has trapped some 2,500 military personnel since 9/11. Like them, each died, at his own hand, on March 21, nearly 4,000 miles apart.' [more inside]
Ever since something was invented to replace it, people have been predicting the end of the book: The Death Of The Book Through The Ages [more inside]
"We worry. Nearly one in five Americans suffer from anxiety. For many, it is not a disorder, but a part of the human condition. This series explores how we navigate the worried mind, through essay, art and memoir." The New York Times is running a series of short memoirs written by sufferers of anxiety disorder. From the ways anxiety affects daily life to what happens when it's part of a marriage, many different angles are explored. (Previously)
"...he has been fairly clear that he is simply a boy who sometimes likes to dress and play in conventionally feminine ways."
"Ryan Holiday is not an expert in barefoot running, investing, vinyl records, or insomnia. But he is a liar. With a little creative use of the internet, he’s been quoted in news sources from small blogs to the most reputable outlets in the country talking about all of those things." [more inside]
Big Data On Campus (NYTimes) “We don’t want to turn into just eHarmony,” says Michael Zimmer, assistant professor in the School of Information Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, where he studies ethical dimensions of new technology. “I’m worried that we’re taking both the richness and the serendipitous aspect of courses and professors and majors — and all the things that are supposed to be university life — and instead translating it into 18 variables that spit out, ‘This is your best fit. So go over here.’ ”
Quite Likely The Worst Job Ever: 'The men who made it their living by forcing entry into London’s sewers at low tide and wandering through them, sometimes for miles, searching out and collecting the miscellaneous scraps washed down from the streets above' [more inside]
Officers in the United States Marine Corps face a long and rigorous selection and training process. First, Officer Candidate School, where they receive their commissions. Then The Basic School, where they are taught the credo: 'Every Marine A Rifleman.' Then, for those who choose and are selected for the infantry, the Infantry Officer's Course. With the 'front lines' of modern combat blurred at best, the United States Marine Corps will begin accepting women for the infantry in September, enrolling them in the Infantry Officer's Course. [more inside]
INTERVIEWER: "Was there some technical problem there? What was it that had stumped you?" HEMINGWAY: "Getting the words right."
To Use and Use Not: [NYTimes.com] "In an interview in The Paris Review in 1958 Ernest Hemingway made an admission that has inspired frustrated novelists ever since: The final words of “A Farewell to Arms,” his wartime masterpiece, were rewritten “39 times before I was satisfied.” A new edition of “A Farewell to Arms,” which was originally published in 1929, will be released next week, including all the alternate endings, along with early drafts of other passages in the book."
After much critical acclaim, the dramatic jury prize at Sundance, the Fipresci prize at Cannes, and a 'national critical response for the ages,' Louisiana-produced Beasts of the Southern Wild opened yesterday. [more inside]
With the election of Pena Nieto to the presidency, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) ends a twelve-year absence from the seat. [more inside]
Shelagh was here - an ordinary, magical life: The Toronto Star dedicated unprecedented coverage to the funeral of 55-year-old Shelagh Gordon – interviewing more than 100 of her friends and family – to show how a modest life can have a huge impact. "She didn’t have a great job, she wasn’t married and never had children, so she wasn’t successful in either the traditional male or female sense, Ms. Porter said. But people would keep telling stories about her kindness. 'She had a lot of magic in her life, and that’s reassuring... That you can live a full, interesting, ordinary life.'" The link includes an extensive interactive photograph of stories from those at Shelagh's funeral, and a video with clips from the memorial as well. Via the NYT: Redefining Success and Celebrating the Unremarkable. (previously: you are not special)
Mark Ames (of the eXile): The Left’s Big Sellout – How the ACLU and Human Rights Groups Quietly Exterminated Labor Rights (via naked capitalism) [more inside]
Clearing the Bar Is the Easy Part: [NYTimes] "Mark Hollis is a pole-vaulter, and while he and his competitors here feel significant pressure as they compete for a place on the Olympic team, the anxiety they experience just trying to get their equipment to meets is sometimes even more excruciating."
Online articles often change after publication, except there is no history tab and sometimes those revisions are controversial, for example this Politico story on General Stanley McChrystal. Enter NewsDiff: Tracking Online News Articles Over Time. It allows you to compare evolving versions of online news articles after they are published, starting with The New York Times and CNN. Here are some example diffs - see anything controversial? Last year, Times executive editor Jill Abramson called the idea "unrealistic" in response to an OpEd calling for diffs. (via)
An op-ed in today's New York Times promotes replacing public loans for university students with private equity contracts, wherein funding firms would receive a percentage of graduates' earnings. [more inside]