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Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press

Alarms and diversions for the thinking person

Saturday, January 07, 2017 8:01 AM
The reading list

“There’s a well-known contradiction in the way many of us behave online, which is this: We know we’re being watched all the time and pay lip service to the evils of surveillance by Google and the government. But the bounds of what’s considered too personal, revealing or banal to be uploaded to an app or shared with a circle of social media ‘followers’ seems to shrink by the day. When faced with an abundance of digital toys that offer magical levels of connectivity and convenience, many of us succumb to a ‘giddy sense that privacy is kind of stupid,’ as the writer Gary Shteyngart wrote in The New Yorker in 2013.

“That’s not to say that social media curbs our self-awareness, or that our internet selves aren’t highly artificial and curated. Nor that people living in oppressive regimes, or as minorities in societies where they know they will be targeted, aren’t justifiably anxious about what they say online. But the point remains that digital media have radically transformed our conceptions of intimacy and shame, and they’ve done so in ways that are unpredictable and paradoxical.”

— From “Shame on you” at aeon.co

A quiz

What sign out West, erected at a cost of $21,000, was designed to publicize a real estate development?

Wisdom of the ages

“In the case of good books, the point is not how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you.” — Mortimer J. Adler

Current wisdom

“It’s no longer just a game or a political line to say ‘repeal.’ Because now, you have to replace.” — Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, to Republicans, on Obamacare

Quiz answer

Hollywoodland, later shortened to Hollywood.

Snob words

(often lowercase) Draconian (druh-KOH-nee-uhn), adj. — rigorous; unusually severe or cruel; overly harsh, as in: “The editorial writer considered being forced to attend the government meeting to be the most draconian assignment he would imagine.”

Today in history

On this date in 1714, the typewriter was patented by Englishman Henry Mill; it had a pretty good run. In 1959, the U.S. recognized Fidel Castro’s Cuban government; ah, such naive innocence. In 1968, the cost of a 1st-class postage was raised from 5 cents to 6 cents; and believe it or not, people even used them to mail letters.

Now you know

President James Garfield could write Latin with one hand and Greek with the other hand simultaneously.

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