Summary of “The Death of a Once Great City”

I have never seen what is going on now: the systematic, wholesale transformation of New York into a reserve of the obscenely wealthy and the barely here-a place increasingly devoid of the idiosyncrasy, the complexity, the opportunity, and the roiling excitement that make a city great.
For all of New York’s shiny new skin and shiny new numbers, what’s most amazing is how little of its social dysfunction the city has managed to eliminate over the past four decades.
Far from discouraging new construction, New York’s housing policies encourage and subsidize it at every turn-and, in doing so, have only made the city less affordable than ever.
Fumihiko Maki’s 400,000 square foot, $300 million black monolith at 51 Astor Place-nicknamed the Death Star by local residents-may well be the single worst act of vandalism in New York since the original Pennsylvania Station was torn down more than fifty years before, a looming wall that effectively obliterates what was one of the oldest and most vital public places in New York.
To facilitate this process, writes the impassioned social advocate Jeremiah Moss in his wrathful howl Vanishing New York: How a Great City Lost Its Soul, $1 billion worth of public land was transferred, gratis, to two developers, including Sterling Equities, controlled by Mets owner Fred Wilpon and his brother-in-law, Saul Katz.
The result was perverse, a New York that was home to more than a million welfare recipients and featured almost full employment for everyone else; a city where 7 million to 14 million square feet of office space-the size of the entire downtown of a metropolis such as Kansas City or Pittsburgh-was built in New York every year from 1967 to 1970, as Ric Burns and James Sanders noted in their history of the city.
What is the point, after all, of paying a fortune to live in a city that is more and more like everywhere else? New York is now jammed with some 62 million tourists every year, flocking to Disneyfied Broadway that is a pathetic imitation of what it once was.
These industries were constantly in flux, and by the end of World War II, as the only great world city that remained unbloodied and unbowed, New York still had more than a million manufacturing jobs, more than any other city on the planet.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Messi Walks Better Than Most Players Run”

In the 12 years since he became the youngest Argentine to score a World Cup goal, Lionel Messi has won more Ballon d’Or trophies, awarded to the world’s best player, than anyone before him.
Messi may get the ball more than most, but he, like all players, still spends the majority of his time without it – making runs, hiding in space, creating space for his teammates.
The most popular explanation has been that Messi walks to conserve his energy for critical moments, like a perfectly efficient machine.
Applying the models to data from that La Liga match between Barcelona and Villarreal in January 2017, Bornn and Fernandez found that Barcelona’s most important principle space gainers were Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta and Messi.
Remarkably, in about 66 percent of the moments Messi won control of valuable space, he was walking.
In the same match, Messi was one of Barcelona’s top three players in terms of gaining space, along with Luis Suarez and Neymar.
Whether Messi consciously decides to go against the run of play with his movement is difficult to ascertain.
“Can we say Messi gets a lot of his space by not chasing the play? Yes, that’s precisely what our research shows.” Bornn said.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Stress Around You Could Cause Obesity or Diabetes”

When they went back and measured the differences between people who got vouchers and people who didn’t, the results were remarkable: The people who got vouchers to move to low-poverty neighborhoods had significantly lower rates of obesity and Type 2 diabetes.
“By dint of the design, the cause of the difference in diabetes and obesity was the voucher and the move to a less-distressed neighborhood,” Whitaker says.
“The amazing thing is that the cause of the difference in obesity and diabetes was the move.”
“Even if you’re not stress-eating, there’s a direct link between cortisol and Type 2 diabetes risk, and cortisol and obesity,” Hasson says.
In its early stages, drugs that increase sensitivity to insulin, along with diet and exercise, can restore some cell function in people with Type 2; later, people with Type 2 diabetes need insulin injections to keep high blood sugar in check.
That’s not the case: Black Africans have lower rates of cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, and depression than their distant cousins in the U.S. And Hasson says Type 2 diabetes among blacks and Hispanics drops just as fast as among whites in response to changes in exercise or diet-powerful evidence that there’s no inherent physiological difference at play.
He’s spent a decade and a half hunting for genes that contribute to racial differences in obesity and diabetes.
Perhaps no program is as identified with the individual approach to preventing obesity and Type 2 diabetes as Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move.” With the telegenic First Lady as its figurehead, the program has put a spotlight on encouraging kids and adults to exercise more and eat less.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Rise of the machines: has technology evolved beyond our control?”

In the 1950s, a new symbol began to creep into the diagrams drawn by electrical engineers to describe the systems they built: a fuzzy circle, or a puffball, or a thought bubble.
The purpose of such orders is not to actually communicate or make money, but to deliberately cloud the system, so that other, more valuable trades can be executed in the confusion.
Mirai looks like nothing so much as Stuxnet, another virus discovered within the industrial control systems of hydroelectric plants and factory assembly lines in 2010.
In Hollywood, studios run their scripts through the neural networks of a company called Epagogix, a system trained on the unstated preferences of millions of moviegoers developed over decades in order to predict which lines will push the right – meaning the most lucrative – emotional buttons.
Feeding directly on the frazzled, binge-watching desires of news-saturated consumers, the network turns on itself, reflecting, reinforcing and heightening the paranoia inherent in the system.
Rather than trying to understand how languages actually worked, the system imbibed vast corpora of existing translations: parallel texts with the same content in different languages.
Our understanding of those systems, and of the conscious choices we make in their design, remain entirely within our capabilities.
It remains to be seen whether cooperation is possible – or will be permitted – with the kinds of complex machines and systems of governance now being developed, but understanding and thinking together offer a more hopeful path forward than obfuscation and dominance.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Why the old way of parenting no longer works”

Today’s children tend to roam the world as independent contractors, and are taught to focus more on individual achievement rather than their contributions to family, neighborhoods and friends.
“There are no longer these straight lines of authority. The boss is no longer in charge of the dad, the dad is no longer in charge of the mom, and the mom is no longer in charge of the kids. They are growing up in a culture of democracy and equality and they feel that,” she explained, referring to the changes in workplaces, homes and schools that have led to more decision-making by committee.
Today’s parents, she explained, are looking to foster a “Close connected nurturing relationship, which science tells us is good for their well-being, while also having consequences that children would respect.” This is a parenting style many refer to as “Authoritative.”
The key to getting today’s children to behave is forgoing the fear-based methods of yesteryear and helping them learn how to self-regulate instead. Lewis’ book wisely refrains from prescribing one particular method, and instead looks at a number of approaches to helping children learn self-control and how they play out in different scenarios.
“Punishment is something imposed on a less powerful person by a more powerful person. It sets up our children to want power and control,” she said.
“Consequences teach us a lesson, and allow children to learn by the situation. What happens when I forget my sweatshirt? I am a bit chilly. It’s a cleaner lesson, and works much faster.”
While allowing older children to sort out conflicts on their own can be an effective way of presenting them with natural consequences and reducing future arguments, little children are ineligible for a mostly hands-off approach.
Not as a panacea, because there is no such thing when it comes to regulating most adults’ emotions, let alone our children’s.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Is America Ready for a Global Pandemic?”

Sub-Saharan Africa’s population will more than double during the next three decades, and urban centers will extend farther into wilderness, bringing large groups of immunologically naive people into contact with the pathogens that skulk in animal reservoirs-Lassa fever from rats, monkeypox from primates and rodents, Ebola from God-knows-what in who-knows-where.
Most of the country is covered by thick forest, crisscrossed by just 1,700 miles of road. Large distances and poor travel infrastructure limited the spread of Ebola outbreaks in years past.
In an otherwise unmarked corridor, this, she says, is the first sign that I am approaching the biocontainment unit-a special facility designed to treat the victims of bioterror attacks, or patients with a deadly infectious disease such as Ebola or sars.
The University of Nebraska Medical Center is one of the best in the country at handling dangerous and unusual diseases, Ron Klain, who was in charge of the Obama administration’s Ebola response, tells me.
Those three hospitals were the only ones ready to take patients when Ebola struck in 2014, but within two months, Klain’s team had raised the number to 50 facilities.
“In a nearby room, dried blood dots the floor around an old operating table, where a sick lab technician once passed Ebola to five other medical staff members, starting a chain of transmission that eventually enveloped Mikolo and many of his friends. The phlebotomist who drew the blood samples that were used to confirm Ebola also still works at the hospital. I watch as he handles a rack of samples with his bare hands.”Ask someone here, ‘Where are the kits that protect you from Ebola?,’‚ÄČ” Donat Kuma-Kuma Kenge, the hospital’s chief coordinator, tells me.
Unfamiliarity with Ebola allowed the virus to spread among the staff of Kikwit’s hospital, just as it did among nurses in Dallas, where an infected patient landed in September 2014.
The largely successful U.S. response to Ebola in 2014 benefited from the special appointment of an “Ebola czar”-Klain-to help coordinate the many agencies that face unclear responsibilities.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Did Toolmaking Pave the Road for Human Language?”

To understand what Kolodny’s getting at, I ask Bovaird to walk me through the history of Stone Age technologies.
Somewhere on the timeline between the long run of the Oldowan and the more rapid rise of Acheulean technologies, language likely made its first appearance.
Rather, they theorize, the emergence of language was predicated on our ancestors’ ability to perform sequence-dependent processes, including the production of complex tools.
A flintknapper himself, Stout has taught hundreds of students how to make Acheulean-era tools, and he’s tracked their brain activity during the learning process.
His research suggests that producing complex tools spurred an increase in brain size and other aspects of hominin evolution, including-perhaps-the emergence of language.
Language couldn’t just pop out fully formed, like Athena from the head of Zeus.
“Every evolutionary process, including the evolution of language, has to be incremental and composed of small steps, each of which independently needs to be beneficial,” Kolodny explains.
When hominins like Homo ergaster and Homo erectus taught their close relatives how to make complex tools, they worked their way into an ever more specialized cultural niche, with evolutionary advantage going to those individuals who were not only adept at making and using complex tools, but who were also able-at the same time-to communicate in more and more sophisticated ways.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Netflix Binge Factory”

“I’ve never seen any one company drive the entire business in the way Netflix has right now,” says Chris Silbermann, managing director of ICM Partners and agent for Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal creator Shonda Rhimes, who moved her production company to Netflix last year.
When Netflix adds more content, it lures new subscribers and gets existing ones to watch more hours of Netflix.
Netflix has a division devoted to acquiring foreign programs from networks like the BBC, but Barmack oversees the production of original non-English-language shows made for Netflix outside the U.S., including Dark, Ingobernable, and 3%. A number of Netflix American-made originals are popular outside the States – “As a percentage of total watchers, as many people watch 13 Reasons Why in India as watch it in the U.S.,” Sarandos tells me – but in order to compete and grow in foreign markets, Netflix believes it needs to offer subscribers stuff made in their own countries, by local artists.
“One in three subscribers watch Netflix unscripted shows monthly,” says Netflix content VP Bela Bajaria, whose team scored an early victory with its Queer Eye reboot.
Instead of grouping members by age or race or even what country they live in, Netflix has tracked viewing habits and identified almost 2,000 microclusters that each Netflix user falls into.
“We try not to program for ourselves. That’s the key. We’ve had to cancel shows that I’ve loved.” But given how many dozens of series and specials and movies Netflix now greenlights every year, couldn’t Netflix do, say, one or two fewer $20 million stand-up specials and make a season three of a Lady Dynamite? “Yeah, but our fans are trusting us to spend their subscription money well,” he says.
“The one thing we’ve been able to do is keep a foot firmly rooted in Silicon Valley and a foot in Hollywood. We don’t jam the tech culture on the entertainment company and vice versa.” By contrast, Sarandos argues, “No studio has been particularly successful with their tech initiatives, and it’s also true that no tech company outside of Netflix has been particularly successful with their entertainment initiatives. That is what’s different about the Netflix story from everyone else. People underestimate the 1,000 engineers in Silicon Valley who make Netflix work every single time you push play.”
Still, Juenger’s theory for why Netflix will succeed seems logical: Subscription video-on-demand services are rapidly replacing linear television, Netflix is the clear leader in the category, and there are still hundreds of millions of potential subscribers to acquire.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Gossiping Is Good”

A team of Dutch researchers reported that hearing gossip about others made research subjects more reflective; positive gossip inspired self-improvement efforts, and negative gossip made people prouder of themselves.
In another study, the worse participants felt upon hearing a piece of negative gossip, the more likely they were to say they had learned a lesson from it.
Negative gossip can also have a prosocial effect on those who are gossiped about.
By far the most positive assessment of gossip comes courtesy of the anthropologist and evolutionary psychologist Robin Dunbar.
Once upon a time, in Dunbar’s account, our primate ancestors bonded through grooming, their mutual back-scratching ensuring mutual self-defense in the event of attack by predators.
As hominids grew more intelligent and more social, their groups became too large to unite by grooming alone.
That’s where language-and gossip, broadly defined-stepped in.
This article appears in the July/August 2018 print edition with the headline “Gossip Is Good.”.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Dinner Party Flex: Cooking in the Age of Social Media”

An interesting thing began to happen as I looked for harder proof, interviewing non-food people their 20s and 30s who post frequently about home cooking and collecting data to attempt to back it up.
Yes, my peers are bragging about home cooking on social media, but their motivations are largely not about performing some rite of adulthood or aspiring to show off a hashtag-blessed lifestyle.
I don’t think it’s a stretch to suggest that these converging behaviors, combined with the overwhelming amount of digital cooking content available, has encouraged younger audiences to both cook and post about it more frequently.
Audrey Schield, a 22-year-old recent college graduate working in advertising in Chicago, told me that cooking with her friends is a way of socializing that doesn’t revolve around “Doing homework or drinking”-two group activities that defined the majority of her social life in college.
Samantha Garfield, a brand impact strategist in New York, who at 30 is older than Schield, enjoys a level of personal and professional independence that makes cooking feel special.
Alanna Bass, 29, who works at a startup, recently relocated from Atlanta to New York and likes the “Intimate experience” you get cooking with friends rather than going out.
Several people mentioned posting about cooking on Instagram Stories or Snapchat as a way to showcase their more mundane going-ons.
“Snapchat is all about personalized one-to-one communications, so you feel like you can let someone in on more everyday moments,” says Schield, who sends friends and family step-by-step videos of what she’s cooking at home.

The orginal article.