Summary of “Black Panther and Marvel’s increasingly troubled relationship with America”

2, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Thor: Ragnarok, and Black Panther, with four more movies to come in 2018 and 2019 – the more complicated its relationship to power becomes, but only up to a point.
Another superhero movie was a smash hit in 2008: Iron Man, the beginning of Marvel’s entire cinematic universe and a movie about a man who realizes that his power has been used toward evil ends, so he decides to start using it toward good ones.
The long string of Batman movies from 1989 to 2012 were frequently criticized for having villains who outshone the movie’s hero, and for as good as Christopher Reeve’s Superman was, Gene Hackman’s Lex Luthor was having a lot more fun.
The Marvel movies couldn’t really do this because they seemed constantly uncomfortable with dissecting how their heroes, save maybe Captain America, were ultimately a little lacking in terms of moral clarity.
In a movie as good as The Avengers – still my favorite Marvel movie – the villains are literally a faceless, invading horde from outer space.
Something like the 2014 phase two movie Captain America: The Winter Soldier is interested in the idea that S.H.I.E.L.D. has caused more problems globally than it has solved, but it then contorts itself to suggest that this is because the organization has been infiltrated by literal Nazis.
The movie’s true villain was simply a puppet master, pulling strings to get Captain America and Iron Man to fight, because his life had been destroyed by the Avengers.
The movie spends most of its running time questioning whether Asgard itself, Thor’s home and the primary setting of much of the first two Thor movies, is worth preserving.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Free Speech and the Necessity of Discomfort”

Intelligent coverage requires intelligent readers, viewers and listeners.
In sum, we cannot be the keepers of what you might call liberal civilization – I’m using the word liberal in its broad, philosophical sense, not the narrowly American ideological one – if our readers have illiberal instincts, incurious minds, short attention spans and even shorter fuses.
Nate Silver, the Times’s former polling guru, said the article did “More to normalize neo-Nazism than anything I’ve read in long time.” An editor at The Washington Post accused us of producing “Long, glowing profiles of Nazis” when we should have focused on the “Victims of their ideologies.” The Times followed up with an explanatory, and somewhat apologetic, note from the national editor.
Just what do these readers think a newspaper is supposed to do?
How can we get our readers to understand that the purpose of The Times is not to be a tacit partner in the so-called Resistance, which would only validate the administration’s charge that the paper is engaged in veiled partisanship rather than straight-up fact-finding and truth telling?
Again, do these readers comprehend that we are in the business of news, not public relations? And does it not also occur to them that perhaps the real problem was coverage that was not aggressive enough, allowing Mrs. Clinton to dominate the Democratic field in 2016 despite her serious, and only belatedly apparent, shortcomings as a candidate?
The word “Modest” might have been a tip-off to modestly educated readers that I was not proposing to ban Jews at all.
How many people bother to read before they condemn? Are people genuinely offended, or are they looking for a pretext to be offended – because taking offense is now the shortest route to political empowerment? Am I, as a columnist, no longer allowed to use irony as a rhetorical device because there’s always a risk that bigots and dimwits might take it the wrong way? Can I rely on context to make my point clear, or must I write in fear that any sentence can be ripped out of context and pasted on Twitter to be used against me? Is a plodding, Pravda-like earnestness of tone and substance the only safe way going forward?

The orginal article.

Summary of “The History of Dice Reflects Beliefs in Fate and Chance”

Dice, in their standard six-sided form, seem like the simplest kind of device-almost a classic embodiment of chance.
Dice have been found all over Europe, says Jelmer Eerkens, an archaeologist at the University of California at Davis, who led the study.
The way Romans wrote about dice falls suggests they were regarded as signs of supernatural favor or of a player’s fortune, however.
Eerkens says, “Some of the non-symmetry that we see in the earlier dice might be a by-product that it wasn’t thought to be very important in the function of the dice-that it didn’t matter too much, because other things were controlling whether you would win or lose the game.”
Still, despite official disdain, by the 13th century, at least in some parts of Europe, people begin to write in a systematic way about why dice games work the way they do, as the dice themselves grow more and more uniform.
In the 17th century, even Galileo writes about why, in a game with three dice, the number 10 should come up more than the number 9.
The dice even switch back to the sevens configuration, a move that Eerkens suggests may have something to do with a growing sense that dice must be balanced, both physically and conceptually.
All these changes in dice come about, says Eerkens, “As different astronomers are coming up with new ideas about the world, and mathematicians are starting to understand numbers and probability.” Which came first: Did people begin to intuitively understand what true chance felt like, and adjusted dice accordingly, or did it trickle out from what would eventually become known as the scientific community? It isn’t clear, but to Eerkens, the story told by the dice is of a rising awareness of randomness.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Ban the Olympics”

Nearly every time the Olympics come to a city, they remind us how little human life and dignity are worth compared to the hardware required to pull them off.
In Vancouver, the build-up to the Olympics led to a housing squeeze, which, in turn, caused homelessness to spike in the years leading up to the 2010 Winter Games there.
The vast sums of money it takes to pay for the Olympics don’t come from nowhere.
Despite the Olympic Charter’s repeated and explicit ban on political propaganda at the Games, the Olympics have always been as much a political event as an athletic one.
In the first years of the Cold War, Josef Stalin seized on the Olympics as a way to compete with the United States in yet another arena.
“The Kremlin viewed athletics as a way of international recognition and legitimacy,” writes Erin Elizabeth Redihan in her book The Olympics and the Cold War, 1948-1968.
The 2008 Olympics in Beijing and the 2014 Olympics in Sochi served much the same purpose: showing the world that the Chinese and Russian regimes had arrived as new geopolitical and economic powerhouses.
What of the other side of the scale? What do the Olympics give us that you can’t glimpse at other championships and smaller-scale competitions? And can we really pretend that the chance to watch a sport few watch except at the Olympics-curling, weightlifting, the bobsled-is worth all the corruption, waste, and political ugliness? Do we really need our hockey games to be shadow wars? I don’t think we do.

The orginal article.

Summary of “I have forgotten how to read”

Out for dinner with another writer, I said, “I think I’ve forgotten how to read.”.
It’s been unnerving to realize: I have forgotten how to read – really read – and I’ve been refusing to talk about it out of pride.
To read was to disappear, become enrobed in something beyond my own jittery ego.
When we become cynical readers – when we read in the disjointed, goal-oriented way that online life encourages – we stop exercising our attention.
What’s at stake is not whether we read. It’s how we read. And that’s something we’ll have to each judge for ourselves; it can’t be tallied by Statistics Canada.
We should, instead, marvel at the fact we ever read books at all.
Do they grab; do they anger? Can this be read without care? Are the sentences brief enough? And the thoughts? It’s tempting to let myself become so cynical a writer because I’m already such a cynical reader.
So maybe that change into a cynical writer can be forestalled – if I can first correct my reading diet, remember how to read the way I once did.

The orginal article.

Summary of “12 of The Best Books on Psychology, Philosophy, and How to Live Meaningfully”

How do I make everyday decisions better? How do I live in the moment? How can I let myself be happy? Why in the world did I do that? How can I do better?
To understand how your mind works, why you behave the way you do and how you can improve your decision-making, explore these psychology, philosophy, and behavioral economics books.
The easiest way for us to gain happiness is to learn how to want the things we already have.
How to Find Fulfilling Work by Roman Krznaric”A first step is to humanize our imaginations by developing an awareness of all those individuals hidden behind the surface of our daily lives, on whom we might depend in some way.
The Examined Life: How We Lose and Find Ourselves by Stephen Grosz”Being present, whether with children, with friends, or even with oneself, is hard work.
You”.”Going nowhere, as Leonard Cohen would later emphasize for me, isn’t about turning your back on the world; it’s about stepping away now and then so that you can see the world more clearly and love it more deeply.
How Will You Measure Your Life? by Clayton Christensen”If you defer investing your time and energy until you see that you need to, chances are it will already be too late.”
“In order to really find happiness, you need to continue looking for opportunities that you believe are meaningful, in which you will be able to learn new things, to succeed, and be given more and more responsibility to shoulder.”

The orginal article.

Summary of “All you need is love: experts on the changing face of modern romance”

How are we to make sense of the swiftly changing world of falling in love? Five experts offer their perspective.
My business is at the back end of that story, digging about in the emotional debris left in its wake: fraudulent love, dead love, dirty love, broken love, unrequited love, failed love and all the many ways that love betrays our initial optimism.
It’s in love’s aftermath that you witness the immense fragility of human beings – whether a bereaved parent or a broken-hearted lover – and understand that we are shaped and formed, built and broken by our desperate desire to be connected to each other in meaningful ways.
I’ve spent some 40 years studying the science of love – my colleagues and I have put more than 100 people in a brain scanner, using magnetic resonance imaging to track the brain circuitry of romantic love and feelings of attachment to a partner.
As much as I loved my husband, there were days when I wanted to bury him in the backyard, and I’m sure he felt the same about me sometimes, but I believe in love.
I really believe in love and romance and everything that goes with it.
Highly educated people seem to fail at love as easily as poorly educated people do.
In editing stories about everything from new relationships to broken marriages to couples that have lasted for 50 years, I’ve learned that love is more about caring and kindness than romance and passion.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Recipe for Life”

“You want to be a doctor, too?” the patient asks me, pushing up his left shirtsleeve the way my father has instructed him to do.
“Cute little guy,” the patient says to my father in a confidential tone, then calls to me, parked in a corner on another kitchen chair, “You want to be a doctor, eh? Just like your daddy?” Trying again-maybe I didn’t hear him the first time.
Unlike my father’s, with its rubberized canvas cuff, sturdy squeeze bulb, and steel-and-glass gauge, mine is made entirely of brightly colored thin plastic, like my Taylor hammer, my otoscope, my syringe, and the stethoscope that I wear dangling like a pendant necklace, the way my father does, with the earpieces pincering my neck.
Later in life, I will encounter and come to understand other self-centered people capable of great feats of empathy if only within certain narrow yet powerful contexts-while writing novels, say-but for the moment I cling to the misguided hope that the ray of my father’s compassionate attention will one day be directed toward me.
My father, an inveterate list-maker, rattled off the names of games, trains, and radio shows, giving little in the way of description, yet it all came to life for me, as gaudy and vivid and fragrant as those boxes of cigars.
Let my father be the doctor-when I grow up, I want to tell the patient, I will become a guy who gets to live both inside and outside his own mind and body, travelling, without moving, into other worlds, other places, other lives.
Fifty years on, though my father has long since retired from regular practice both as a doctor and as a father, I’m still chasing after that recipe for life and still, four times a father myself, doing part-time work as a son.
The flat-screen television mounted on the opposite wall is tuned to TCM, which happens to be showing a film I first saw with my father, when I was eleven or twelve: Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis.” Every few minutes, my father is racked by spasms of gnarly-sounding coughing that leave his voice a ragged whisper; if he taxes it for more than a sentence or two, whatever he says dissolves into a fit of hacking and gasping for breath.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Ten phrases smart people never say”

These phrases carry special power: They have an uncanny ability to make you look bad even when the words are true.
No matter how talented you are or what you’ve accomplished, there are certain phrases that instantly change the way people see you and can forever cast you in a negative light.
These phrases are so loaded with negative implications that they undermine careers in short order.
Saying it’s not fair suggests that you think life is supposed to be fair, which makes you look immature and na├»ve.
These overly passive phrases instantly erode your credibility.
Even if you follow these phrases with a great idea, they suggest that you lack confidence, which makes the people you’re speaking to lose confidence in you.
There will always be rude or incompetent people in any workplace, and chances are that everyone knows who they are.
These phrases have a tendency to sneak up on you, so you’re going to have to catch yourself until you’ve solidified the habit of not saying them.

The orginal article.

Summary of “”Phantom Thread” Is the Best Food Movie in Ages”

When it comes to the dramatic core of the film, the romantic struggle of Reynolds and Alma, “Phantom Thread” isn’t a movie about fashion any more than “American Psycho” is a movie about banking.
In a brief scene early in the film, Reynolds’s cook offhandedly tells Alma that her employer hates his mushrooms cooked in anything more than a whisper of butter.
It’s yet another illustration of the suffocating precision of his desires, which Alma, if she wants to be with Reynolds, must learn to accommodate.
As a dress designer, Reynolds can effortlessly take charge of Alma’s body.
He pauses, ominously: “If I choose to.” But, in the realm of food, Alma sees a chance to seize the advantage.
Alma has elbowed her way into cooking Reynolds a special meal for his birthday-he does not like surprises, Cyril tries to warn her, but she is undeterred.
Alma’s voice-over fills the film, low and hypnotic with her steady love and determination.
It comes at the very end of the movie, when Alma makes Reynolds a mushroom omelette in the kitchen of their country home.

The orginal article.