Summary of “The Building of the World Trade Center Restaurant Windows on the World”

There are few New York City restaurants more storied than Windows on the World.
The restaurant made its debut on the 107th floor of the World Trade Center’s North Tower in 1976, offering sweeping views of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and New Jersey – the earth itself peppered with the buildings, the bridges, the Statue of Liberty; the sky with tourist helicopters.
On that day, 73 Windows on the World employees lost their lives, and the stirring prologue of Tom Roston’s The Most Spectacular Restaurant in the World focuses on that day: both the seeming averageness of it among the employees heading into work, and the still-palpable ache as New Yorkers look back, 18 years later.
At night, the restaurant would be open to the public, which could use the World Trade Center’s 2,000-car underground garage for free.
The closest comparisons were smaller eateries Baum had set up with Restaurant Associates in Montreal building complexes Place Bonaventure and Place Ville Marie, both of which had restaurants and shops.
Windows on the World would function as an umbrella name for the group of eateries and bars on the 107th floor, most of which, other than the main restaurant, had unique names as well.
On the 107th floor were the five restaurants and bars, plus catering, that fell under the Windows on the World rubric.
Windows on the World would do a greater share of its preparation work in its own kitchen, but the rule for the restaurants and food stations below the 107th floor was to have Central Services, which covered 27,000 square feet, provide almost all the initial preparation of raw materials.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Spectacular Power of Big Lens”

The lenses in my glasses – and yours too, most likely – are made by Essilor, a French multinational that controls almost half of the world’s prescription lens business and has acquired more than 250 other companies in the past 20 years.
“You have to be not only courageous,” said Chemello, of the transaction, “But a little bit crazy.” Luxottica bought US Shoe for $1.4bn. Once the deal was done, Del Vecchio promptly broke up US Shoe, whose roots went back to 1879, until all that was left were the LensCrafters stores that he wanted in the first place, which he proceeded to fill with Luxottica frames.
Some opticians call Essilor “The Big E”. The company boasts of supplying between 300,000 and 400,000 stores around the world – three or four times as many as Luxottica.
If Luxottica has spent the last quarter of a century buying up the most conspicuous elements of the optical business then Essilor has busied itself in the invisible parts, acquiring lens manufacturers, instrument makers, prescription labs and the science of sight itself.
Within the industry, the Big E is generally considered less rapacious than Del Vecchio’s Luxottica; people regard it instead as a kind of unstoppable, enveloping tide.
“With Luxottica, it’s just lip service. It is all about domination.” The most infamous Luxottica deals carried an edge of brutality.
In the summer of 2004, as he approached his 70th birthday, Luxottica’s founder handed over day-to-day control of the company to Andrea Guerra, a young chief executive he hired from Indesit, the Italian white goods company.
According to several senior figures at Luxottica, Del Vecchio came to believe that folding Luxottica into Essilor was the best way for his work to endure, and informal talks between the two companies began.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How the English Language Is Taking Over the Planet”

Elevating English while denigrating all other languages has been a pillar of English and American nationalism for well over a hundred years.
It’s a strain of linguistic exclusionism heard in Theodore Roosevelt’s 1919 address to the American Defense Society, in which he proclaimed that “We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language, for we intend to see that the crucible turns our people out as Americans, of American nationality, and not as dwellers in a polyglot boardinghouse”.
There is only one: English, which De Swaan calls “The hypercentral language that holds the entire world language system together”.
What a work is English, how copious in its vocabulary, how noble in expression, how sinuous in its constructions, and yet how plain in its basic principles.
Here is the memoirist Eva Hoffman on the experience of learning English in Vancouver while simultaneously feeling cut off from the Polish she had grown up speaking as a teenager in Kraków: “This radical disjointing between word and thing is a desiccating alchemy, draining the world not only of significance but of its colours, striations, nuances – its very existence. It is the loss of a living connection.” The Chinese writer Xiaolu Guo described something similar in her recent memoir, writing about how uncomfortable she felt, at first, with the way the English language encouraged speakers to use the first-person singular, rather than plural.
In his landmark 1986 book Decolonising the Mind: the Politics of Language in African Literature, he describes the corrosive effect of English language instruction, comparing it to a form of “Spiritual subjugation”.
As he said in a recent interview: “If I meet an English person, and he says, ‘I write in English,’ I don’t ask him, ‘Why are you writing in English?’ If I meet a French writer, I don’t ask him, ‘Why don’t you write in Vietnamese?’ But I am asked over and over again, ‘Why do you write in Gikuyu?’ For Africans, the view is there is something wrong about writing in an African language.”
The hegemony of English is now such that, in order to be recognised, any opposition to English has to formulated in English in order to be heard.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Homo Narrativus and the Trouble with Fame”

Social groups are far more complicated than any individual story.
My own research has shown that fame has much less to do with intrinsic quality than we believe it does, and much more to do with the characteristics of the people among whom fame spreads.
In 2006, Matt Salganik, myself, and Duncan Watts reported the results of an online experiment of ours called Music Lab.1 We gathered roughly 14,000 Internet participants, and gave them a total of 48 songs by unknown artists to listen to, rate, and download. What we didn’t tell them was that they were randomly assigned to nine separate worlds: one world in which participants acted independently of each other, and eight parallel social worlds in which participants saw the current number of downloads of each song within their world-an indication of popularity.
Fame has much less to do with intrinsic quality than we believe it does, and much more to do with the characteristics of the people among whom fame spreads.
Our research has shown that a match-centric viewpoint completely fails to describe many model social networks.
Just as real forests must be ready to burn before a forest fire can erupt, the key condition for spreading in social networks is a global one: Many average, trusting people need to be able to experience and then want to share choices in their social networks, far away from the source.
For more complicated model networks, where our mathematical analyses come up short, Duncan Watts and myself have studied social contagion and influence through simulation.
In our paper, “Influentials, Networks, and Public Opinion Formation,”3 we again found that, for certain networks, individuals with many friends were actually less useful for spreading social contagion, and were less able to start social wildfires than those with a moderate number.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Illustrated History of How Sugar Conquered the World”

Sugar is first refined in India: the first description of a sugar mill is found in an Indian text from 100 A.D.400-350: Recipes call for sugar in the Mahabhashya of Patanjali.
Sugar Conquers the Western Hemisphere1402-1500: The Spanish colonize the Canary Islands, setting up sugar plantations and enslaving indigenous people to run the mills.
Sugar wine with cinnamon gives vigor to old people, especially sugar syrup with rose water which is recommended by Arnaldus Villanovanus.
Sugar and Slavery1583: São Tomé, a Portuguese colony that can’t keep up with Brazil’s rate of sugar production, starts exporting slaves to Brazil and other New World islands to work on sugar plantations.
Their arrival drastically increases sugar consumption, making sugar more popular than alcohol ever did, and increasing demand-with lower prices-means a greater reliance on slavery.
1837: Vilmorin, a French seed company, creates the sugar beet, which has a high sucrose content and a structure designed for optimal sugar extraction.
1887: Lower prices mean less profit, so in 1887, eight leaders in the American sugar industry form the American Sugar Trust with the intention of reducing production to increase prices and profits for all of their companies.
It doesn’t see widespread use until World War I, when sugar was subject to strict rationing; once sugar became available again, saccharine was shunted to diet foods.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Mary Oliver on What Attention Really Means and Her Moving Elegy for Her Soul Mate”

Mary Oliver with Molly Malone Cook at the couple’s home in Provincetown, Massachusetts.
Mary Oliver is one of our era’s most beloved and prolific poets – a sage of wisdom on the craft of poetry and a master of its magic; a woman as unafraid to be witty as she is to be wise.
For more than forty years, Oliver lived on Cape Cod with the love of her life, the remarkable photographer Molly Malone Cook – one of the first staff photographers for The Village Voice, with subjects like Walker Evans and Eleanor Roosevelt, and a visionary gallerist who opened the first photography gallery on the East Coast, exhibited such icons as Ansel Adams and Berenice Abbott, and recognized rising talent like William Clift.
She spent a year making her way through thousands of her spouse’s photographs and unprinted negatives, mostly from around the time they met, which Oliver then enveloped in her own reflections to bring to life Our World – part memoir, part deeply moving eulogy to a departed soul mate, part celebration of their love for one another through their individual creative loves.
Embraced in Oliver’s poetry and prose, Cook’s photographs reveal the intimate thread that brought these two extraordinary women together – a shared sense of deep aliveness and attention to the world, a devotion to making life’s invisibles visible, and above all a profound kindness to everything that exists, within and without.
The following year, Cook met Oliver and they remained together, inseparable, for more than four decades.
One evening in 1959, when Oliver was twenty-four and Cook thirty-four, the young poet returned to the house and found the photographer sitting at the kitchen table with a friend.
Oliver ends with a breath-stopping prose poem that brings full-circle her opening reflections on never fully knowing even those nearest to us – a beautiful testament to what another wise woman once wrote: “You can never know anyone as completely as you want. But that’s okay, love is better.”

The orginal article.

Summary of “20 Slang Terms From World War I”

One of the subtlest and most surprising legacies of the First World War-which the United States entered more than 100 years ago, when the country declared war on Germany on April 6, 1917-is its effect on our language.
Not all of these words and phrases have remained in use to this day, but here are 20 words and phrases that are rooted in First World War slang.
Booby-TrapBooby-trap had been in use since the mid-19th century to refer to a fairly harmless prank or practical joke when it was taken up by troops during the First World War to describe an explosive device deliberately disguised as a harmless object.
During the First World War the term came to be used as a nickname for shrapnel or shell-fire.13.
Shell-Shock Although the adjective shell-shocked has been traced back as far as 1898, the first true cases of shell-shock emerged during the First World War.
Spike-BozzledSpike was used during the First World War to mean “To render a gun unusable.” Spike-bozzled, or spike-boozled, came to mean “Completely destroyed,” and was usually used to describe airships and other aircraft rather than weaponry.
Strafe One of the German propagandists’ most famous World War I slogans was “Gott Strafe England!” or “God punish England,” which was printed everywhere in Germany from newspaper advertisements to postage stamps.
ZigzagZigzag has been used in English since the 18th century to describe an angular, meandering line or course but during the First World War came to be used as a euphemism for drunkenness, presumably referring to the zigzagging walk of a soldier who had had one too many.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Most Important Skill for 21st-Century Students Is the Discipline to Say “No””

Can you code? Speak a second language? How high is your IQ? There’s much debate on what students need most to succeed in an increasingly competitive world.
The challenges of automation, globalization, and political upheaval leave out the fact that we’re living an age of information overload. According to CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, the one thing that children will need to learn is “Intellectual discipline.” The ability to recall facts and parrot popular arguments has become obsolete.
In a panel on “Education in the Post-Truth World” at WISE 2017’s summit for education, Zakaria contrasts how the barrage of media effect how young people take in and process information.
In other words, students need to return to the fundamentals of education where you question the information and the source, which allows you to gain a greater understanding.
The report concludes: “Overall, young people’s ability to reason about the information on the Internet can be summed up in one word: bleak.”
Our primary sources of information come from the internet and social media but this, in turn, becomes a minefield for sorting out fact from fiction.
We’re at an inflection point where paring down and drilling deep into information is going to be a necessity.
The future is always uncertain but what seems clear is that one of the most powerful tools anyone can harness is the single-minded pursuit of mastering how to seek the truth from information.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Third Self”

Two hundred years before social media, the great French artist Eugène Delacroix lamented the necessary torment of avoiding social distractions in creative work; a century and a half later, Agnes Martin admonished aspiring artists to exercise discernment in the interruptions they allow, or else corrupt the mental, emotional, and spiritual privacy where inspiration arises.
Just as self-criticism is the most merciless kind of criticism and self-compassion the most elusive kind of compassion, self-distraction is the most hazardous kind of distraction, and the most difficult to protect creative work against.
Let all of them work, as ordinarily they do, in confident familiarity with whatever the work requires, and no more.
In creative work – creative work of all kinds – those who are the world’s working artists are not trying to help the world go around, but forward.
Part of this something-elseness, Oliver argues, is the uncommon integration of the creative self – the artist’s work cannot be separated from the artist’s whole life, nor can its wholeness be broken down into the mechanical bits-and-pieces of specific actions and habits.
Intellectual work sometimes, spiritual work certainly, artistic work always – these are forces that fall within its grasp, forces that must travel beyond the realm of the hour and the restraint of the habit.
The working, concentrating artist is an adult who refuses interruption from himself, who remains absorbed and energized in and by the work – who is thus responsible to the work Serious interruptions to work are never the inopportune, cheerful, even loving interruptions which come to us from another.
The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How Two Words Can Change Your Life”

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”
Why do we always desire what we don’t have? Desiring things you don’t have is not necessarily a bad thing.
If we didn’t desire unattainable stuff, the world probably wouldn’t advance one bit.
When I read about historical figures such as Christopher Columbus, the Wright Brothers, or Nikola Tesla, they used that desire for good things.
They didn’t complain and had an innate desire to achieve things.
Or you can go with a casual “Thanks.” You can say it to people, but more importantly, you can also say it to random things.
Appreciation is an important aspect of a happy life.
“Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.”

The orginal article.