Tom Verducci on Derek Jeter

This paragraph in this week's SI in his cover story on "the most familiar player there ever was":

Jeter played his first game in 1995, two years after the Web browser was introduced; he won his first championship in '96, the year of the first high-definition boradcast; he was named to his first All-Star Game in '98, the year Google was founded; he was third in the American League MVP voting in '99, the year the commercial camera phone was introduced; he won the World Series MVP in 2000, as the Yankees began to form the YES Network; he notched his 2,000th hit in 2006, the first season with TMZ and Twitter.


Timely reminder from Jad Abumrad

"What is important is that you don't shut uncertainty down because it's uncomfortable. There is a place to stand between the idealism in your mind and the realism of the world you live in. Most people alive to doing new things are somehow able to stand in that gap. It's a place with a lot of doubt. Somehow you have to live in the real world or your dreams become dangerous and disengaged. At the same time, you have to follow your dreams or the real world becomes depressing." Click.


Walter Mischel on his secret

"It's to keep living in a way one wants to live and work; to distract constructively; to distract in ways that are in themselves satisfying; to do things that are intrinsically gratifying." Click.


This month's Findings

Three things I underlined in the feature in this month's Harper's:

1. A Notre Dame sociologist concluded that attractive and successful Americans tend to marry one another and that trophy wives are very rare.

2. Fist bumps are more hygienic than handshakes.

3. The kangaroo's tail is a fifth leg.


Paul Roberts in The American Scholar

Something I underlined in his essay on our impulse society:

... consumer culture in the Impulse Society does everything in its power to convince us that difficulty has no place in our lives (or belongs only in discrete, self-enhancing moments, such as really hard ab workouts). Discomfort, anxiety, suffering, depression, rejection, delays, uncertainty, or ambiguity—in the Impulse Society, these aren't opportunities to mature and toughen or become. Instead, they represent errors and inefficiencies, and thus opportunities for correction—nearly always with more consumption and self-expression.


MIT's Sherry Turkle on us and screens

Seven things I underlined in what she said to Mark Fischetti in the September Scientific American:

1. "One primary change I see is that people have a tremendous lack of tolerance for being alone."

2. "Every bit of research says people's capacity to be alone is disappearing."

3. "... children especially need solitude. Solitude is the precondition for having a conversation with yourself. The capacity to be with yourself and discover yourself is the bedrock of development. But now, from the youngest age — even two, or three, or four — children are given technology that removes solitude by giving them something externally distracting. That makes it harder, ironically, to form true relationships."

4. "... I interviewed a woman who said to me that she's okay with a robot boyfriend."

5. "We want more from technology and less from each other? Really?"

6. "... I think we are at a point of inflection. While we were infatuated with the virtual, we dropped the ball on where we actually live. We need to balance how compelling the virtual is with the realities that we live in our bodies and on this planet. It is so easy for us to look the other way. Are we going to get out there and make our real communities what they should be?"

7. "My message is not antitechnology. It's pro conversation and pro the human spirit."


Humans and monogamy and why

Blake Edgar in this month's Scientific American:

When a baby becomes too costly in terms of calories and energy for a mother to raise on her own, the father who stays with the family and provides food or other forms of care increases his offspring's chances of survival and encourages closer ties with the mother. A related idea, proposed by anthropologist Lee Gettler of the University of Notre Dame, holds that the mere carrying of offspring by fathers fosters monogamy. Mothers have to meet the considerable nutritional demands of nursing infants. Yet for primates and human hunter-gatherers, hauling an infant, especially without the benefit of a sling or other restraint, required an expense of energy comparable to breast-feeding. Carrying by males could have freed females to fulfill their own energetic needs by foraging.


Sports are important

Two things:

1. People who read this last week from Rick Maese learned that Adam Schefter, ESPN's "NFL reporting machine," went to zero games in 2013.

2. Then this in today's New York Times:

Last November, TMZ broke the news that the Heisman Trophy candidate Jameis Winston was being investigated by the Tallahassee Police Department over an allegation that he had sexually abused a fellow student at Florida State University.

In April, it posted an audio recording of the Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling making racist remarks.

And on Monday, it published a video showing Ray Rice knocking out his fiancée in an elevator in Atlantic City.

This remarkable string of scoops has highlighted the unexpected power and reach of a gossip website that's not even 10 years old. But maybe most surprising of all has been the nature of the stories. TMZ, which built a following by exposing the foibles of Hollywood celebrities — often by paying for tips — is now taking aim at a whole new category of prominent people and powerful institutions, including the country's richest, most popular sports league. And its reporting is having an impact.

And a question: What if some significant portion of the journalists who currently go to games and practices and press conferences ... didn't? And instead spent that time reporting on sports ... everywhere else?