The Most Visited Content at The New York Times in 2013

I’ve blogged a few of the selections below, but this is what The New York Times claims were the most visited pieces of content at its site in 2013:

1. How Y’all, Youse and You Guys Talk:

2. Blasts at Boston Marathon Kill 3 and Injure 100:

3. 2nd Bombing Suspect Caught After Frenzied Hunt Paralyzes Boston:

4. My Medical Choice, by Angelina Jolie:

5. A Plea for Caution from Russia, by Vladimir Putin:

6. The Scientific 7-Minute Workout:

7. Site of the Explosions at the Boston Marathon:

8. Invisible Child:

9. The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food:

10. Cardinals Pick Bergoglio, Who Will Be Pope Francis:


(via @nytimes FB page)


New York Times Staffers Read Every Last Word of Magazines

I am enjoying this series titled “Every Last Word” in The New York Times where staffers are reading different magazines from cover to cover. Here’s the summary from the series’ beginning:

Edith Zimmerman learned that if you have something sexy or otherwise interesting to whisper, deliver it into the recipient’s left ear in Cosmopolitan.

Hugo Lindgren discovered the cost of a Maserati in Tehran in The Economist.

Greg Veis became aware of a dude in Chile with 83 tattoos of Julia Roberts in Vice.

Sheila Glaser learned what it means to be “young blood” in the art world in New York.

Adam Sternbergh was schooled in the art of proper egg-cracking in Real Simple.

Ilena Silverman found out that wealth inequality in China has become so inflammatory that the country stopped releasing numbers on it in The New Yorker.

Dean Robinson learned that there is more to learn about LeBron James in Sports Illustrated.

Wm. Ferguson gained insight on Spin’s new bimonthly format since his days as a hapless intern there.

Lauren Kern learned that private equity is kinder and gentler in real life than in the movies in Bloomberg Businessweek.

Samantha Henig discovered the true origins of lemon curd in Bon Appétit.

Jon Kelly was informed that fox hunts not longer involve hunting foxes in Vogue.

Vera Titunik identified her own behavior “type” in Psychology Today.

Joel Lovell discovered the controversy behind recreating a surfer’s wipeout for a film in Surfer.

Maya Lau learned that mice can swagger in Scientific American.

Yuri Chong realized the importance of true gilt in House Beautiful.

What was the last magazine you’ve read cover to cover?

The Curious Life of R.A. Dickey

Yesterday, the New York Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey became the first major leaguer player in 24 years to throw consecutive one-hitters. But it’s his life story that is worth considering. The following nuggets are taken from Wikipedia…

On his ability to throw, when he shouldn’t be able to:

After being drafted by the Rangers, Dickey was initially offered a signing bonus of $810,000, before a Rangers team physician saw Dickey’s throwing (right) arm hanging oddly in a picture. The Rangers subsequently did further evaluation of Dickey, leading to the discovery of a missing ulnar collateral ligament of elbow joint, and reduced their offer to $75,000. Dickey has been quoted as saying “Doctors look at me and say I shouldn’t be able to turn a doorknob without feeling pain,” making his ability to pitch somewhat remarkable.

On tying the record of most wild pitches in an inning, 4:

On August 17, 2008, Dickey tied the record for most wild pitches in an inning, with 4. This came against the Minnesota Twins in the 5th inning. He joins four others including Hall of Famers Walter Johnson and Phil Niekro among others who have accomplished this feat.

On being a studious reader:

One of his favorite hobbies is reading. He keeps a stack of books in his locker at all times, including a Life of Pi by Yann Martel and a collection of works by C. S. Lewis.

If Dickey wasn’t a baseball player, he wanted to be an English professor. Finally, this is the best part, perhaps. He has named his bats for literary swords:

Dickey named his bats for literary swords–Orcrist the Goblin Cleaver (from The Hobbit) and Hrunting (from Beowulf). Dickey mixed up Orcrist and Sting when explaining the origin of the name. This led to what is known to some as the BEST NEW YORK TIMES CORRECTION ever.

Finally, on Dickey being an inspiration to others:

In November 2011, Dickey announced that he would risk his 2012 season salary ($4,250,000) to attempt to climb Mount Kilimanjaro; he credits this aspiration to his boyhood reading of Hemingway’s The Snows of Kilimanjaro. While climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, he set out to raise awareness of the issue of human trafficking in India. His climb was in support of an organization called “Bombay Teen Challenge” that ministers to victims of human trafficking and their children in the heart of the redlight districts. Dickey returned from this trip in January 2012 with Mets bullpen catcher Dave Racaniello and the Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Kevin Slowey, and together raised over $100,000.

Innovations That Will Change Your Tomorrow

The New York Times has an excellent infographic showcasing 32 inventions that “will change your tomorrow.” The presentation and text behind the inventions is excellent. Here are the ones that stood out in my mind:

#10: Doctor on Board.Your car is already able to call for help when an accident occurs, but within a few years, it’ll tip paramedics off to probable injuries too. E.M.T.’s would know the likelihood of internal bleeding or traumatic head injury, for example, before arriving on the scene, which would help them decide whether to move you to a Level 1 trauma center or a standard emergency room.

This one is a real surprise to me:

#16: Your Body, Your Login. A team of Dutch and Italian researchers has found that the way you move your phone to your ear while answering a call is as distinct as a fingerprint. You take it up at a speed and angle that’s almost impossible for others to replicate. Which makes it a more reliable password than anything you’d come up with yourself. 

Is a world without hangovers a good thing?

#20: A world without hangovers. Researchers at Imperial College London are closing in on a formula for a new kind of booze — synthetic alcohol, it’s called — that would forever eliminate the next morning’s headache (not to mention other problems associated with drinking). The team, led by David Nutt, a psychiatrist and former British drug czar, has identified six compounds similar to benzodiazepines — a broad class of psychoactive drugs — that won’t get you rip-roaring drunk but will definitely provide a buzz.

Fire extinguishers contain toxic chemicals, so:

#27. A new firefighter.According to the program’s manager, Dr. Matt Goodman, an electric field destabilizes the flame’s underlying structure rather than blanketing the fire to smother it. Eventually, the technology could be used to create escape routes or extinguish fires without damaging sensitive equipment nearby.

See all of the 32 inventions here. Excellent list and food for thought.

The Origin of Food Criticism

On May 18, 1962 Craig Claiborne prefaced an article he wrote with a short note: “The following is a listing of New York restaurants that are recommended on the basis of varying merits. Such a listing will be published every Friday in The New York Times.” And so, on that day, the food critic was born (or at least, the contemporary version of it). This New York Times article provides the detail of the growing trend. Claiborne’s Directory to Dining, which celebrates a 50 year anniversary this month, marks the day when the country began paying attention to restaurant reviews in the newspaper.

The column’s most easily recognized field mark, the starred ranking, made its debut on May 24, 1963, with a three-star scale. A fourth star, still the newspaper’s top grade, was placed on the top of the tree a year later. The arguments about what it all means have been going on ever since.

Most influential of all were the rules Claiborne set for himself, which became the industry ideal. He was independent of advertising, tried to dine anonymously, and before passing judgment would eat at least two meals (later three) that were paid for by The Times, not the restaurants. Claiborne’s guidelines sent a message that he wasn’t an overprivileged and overfed man about town. He was a critic with a job to do.

Claiborne’s dedication to his job, I would argue, is unrivaled to this day:

Most influential of all were the rules Claiborne set for himself, which became the industry ideal. He was independent of advertising, tried to dine anonymously, and before passing judgment would eat at least two meals (later three) that were paid for by The Times, not the restaurants. Claiborne’s guidelines sent a message that he wasn’t an overprivileged and overfed man about town. He was a critic with a job to do.

Definitely some great trivia for all the foodies out there.

How to Get a “Lives” Essay Published in The New York Times

The “Lives” essay has been running in the magazine section of The New York Times since 1996. Though The Times solicits professional writers for this content, it is open to anyone with a good story to tell. Hugo Lindgren asked the magazine’s editors for a single, succinct piece of advice in order to get a better chance of having your story published. The advice is below:

• More action, more details, less rumination. Don’t be afraid of implicitness. And the old Thom Yorke line: “Don’t get sentimental. It always ends up drivel.”

• If it reads like it would make for a Hallmark TV episode, don’t submit it.

• Meaning (or humor, or interestingness) is in specific details, not in broad statements.

• Write a piece in which something actually happens, even if it’s something small.

• Don’t try to fit your whole life into one “Lives.”

• Don’t try to tell the whole story.

• Do not end with the phrase “I realized that … ”

• Tell a small story — an evocative, particular moment.

• Better to start from something very simple that you think is interesting (an incident, a person) and expand upon it, rather than starting from a large idea that you then have to fit into an short essay. For example, start with “the day the Santa Claus in the mall asked me on a date” rather than “the state of affairs that is dating in an older age bracket.”

The rest of the advice is here. If you can’t write it, try telling it.

Vision of the Internet from 1982

An archived article at The New York Times from 1982 envisages the internet:

The report suggests that one-way and two-way home information systems, called teletext and videotex, will penetrate deeply into daily life, with an effect on society as profound as those of the automobile and commercial television earlier in this century.

It conjured a vision, at once appealing and threatening, of a style of life defined and controlled by videotex terminals throughout the house.

As a consequence, the report envisioned this kind of American home by the year 1998: ”Family life is not limited to meals, weekend outings, and oncea-year vacations. Instead of being the glue that holds things together so that family members can do all those other things they’re expected to do – like work, school, and community gatherings -the family is the unit that does those other things, and the home is the place where they get done. Like the term ‘cottage industry,’ this view might seem to reflect a previous era when family trades were passed down from generation to generation, and children apprenticed to their parents. In the ‘electronic cottage,’ however, one electronic ‘tool kit’ can support many information production trades.”

I’ve never heard of the “videotex” industry before:

The study focused on the emerging videotex industry, formed by the marriage of two older technologies, communications and computing. It estimated that 40 percent of American households will have two-way videotex service by the end of the century. By comparison, it took television 16 years to penetrate 90 percent of households from the time commercial service was begun. 

Some incredibly prescient predictions here:

The home will double as a place of employment, with men and women conducting much of their work at the computer terminal. This will affect both the architecture and location of the home. It will also blur the distinction between places of residence and places of business, with uncertain effects on zoning, travel patterns and neighborhoods.

Home-based shopping will permit consumers to control manufacturing directly, ordering exactly what they need for ”production on demand.”

Interesting to dig up archive articles like this, no?