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The best articles from The New York Times. (some great muddlers this week.)

The Music-Copyright Enforcers

During her five years with BMI — on trips to Texas, Ohio, Florida, Washington — Baker has learned a lot: managers of adult clubs tend to be polite. People who run coffee shops tend to be difficult. Skating rinks are a pain – they have the longest outgoing messages in the world. Casinos owned by Indian tribes are tough. Every decision goes to the tribal council, and it can take forever. Arts and crafts festivals, forget it; creative types never have any money. (“You’d think they’d get it,” Baker said, “But … .” She waved her hand.) The most important rule of the road, however, is never — Baker looked me in the eye — eat in the venue, even if they invite you. Because God only knows what they might put in your food.

The Medium: Amazon’s Prime Suspect

I came away thinking that there was no reason to quit Amazon Prime — yet. But there may be good reason to check my self-satisfaction over it. On the Web, often when we think we’re at our most savvy — conducting research, comparison shopping, deal getting — we’re engaged not in strategic critical thinking but in an infotainment ritual akin to watching commercial TV. At best, trying to beat the Web may make us spend a little more; at worst, it may deepen our involvement with a game that’s rigged against us.

When the Screen Goes Blank

The guy who constantly mentions he doesn’t own a television is an Onion joke. If you really believe that TV is a wasteland, you’re either a crank, a pedant or unfortunate enough to have missed that one episode of “Battlestar Galactica” in which we find out about the Cylons.

Or you’re Clay Shirky, a celebrated scholar of Internet culture who teaches at New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program. Shirky isn’t concerned with what’s on TV. What galls him is how much we watch, regardless of what’s on. Television, he writes in “Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age,” has “absorbed the lion’s share of the free time available to citizens of the developed world.”

E-Book Wars: The Specialist vs. the Multitasker

It’s not surprising that a “purpose-built device” does a better job at its one task. The question is whether some years down the road — say, in the 2020 holiday season — customers will still be willing to buy single-purpose devices in addition to irresistible multipurpose ones. Mr. Grandinetti points to running shoes for the answer. “If I’m going on a 10-mile run,” he says, “I want a really well-designed pair of running shoes instead of Converse high-tops.”

But Will It Make You Happy?

And it’s been a truism for eons that extra cash always makes life a little easier. Studies over the last few decades have shown that money, up to a certain point, makes people happier because it lets them meet basic needs. The latest round of research is, for lack of a better term, all about emotional efficiency: how to reap the most happiness for your dollar.

India Swoons Over Its Chess Champ, and Even the Game

Mr. Anand is no Bollywood heartthrob or pop singer. The idol the girls were swooning over was an unassuming, bespectacled, 40-year-old world chess champion.

Let Us Now Praise the Great Men of Junk Food

Soft drinks, ready-to-eat hamburgers, salty snacks, ice cream and candy all fall under his definitions of junk and fast food — products that have little or no nutritional value or are high in calories and fat, or both. Putting health questions aside, here, then, are a few great moments in junk-food history:

The First Church of Robotics

What bothers me most about this trend, however, is that by allowing artificial intelligence to reshape our concept of personhood, we are leaving ourselves open to the flipside: we think of people more and more as computers, just as we think of computers as people.

Cult Director Courts the Mass, Keeps the Crazy

As Quentin Tarantino, who befriended Mr. Wright after seeing “Shaun of the Dead,” described the mix of sincere young angst and cartoonish mortal combat in “Scott Pilgrim,” “It’s like ‘Say Anything’ meets ‘Five Deadly Venoms.’ ”

Should We Manipulate Our Dreams?

Recently, psychologists at the P.T.S.D. Sleep Clinic at the Maimonides Sleep Arts and Sciences center have developed a method called scripting or dream mastery to treat nightmares. Patients with severe sleeping problems can learn to control their dreams and replace unwelcome or terrifying images with ones that are pleasant or harmless.

But should we rush to replace our nightmares? Do nightmares have psychological meaning? Should we think of them as a problem or a resource?

Resistance Forms Against Hollywood’s 3-D Push

“If you can’t make it good, make it 3-D.”

Wringing Art Out of the Rubble in Detroit

Detroit hardly needs encouragement to do-it-yourself; it has a lineage of makers.

Scott Hocking, an artist who creates works out of materials salvaged from the many abandoned buildings here, said that the D.I.Y. culture is “in our DNA.”

Mosque Near Ground Zero Clears Key Hurdle

The issue had divided family members of those killed on Sept. 11. Some argued it was insensitive to the memory of those who died in the attacks. Others saw it as a symbol of tolerance to counter the religious extremism that prevailed on that day.

The debate over the center has become a heated political issue, drawing opposition from former Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska and members of the Tea Party.

Is Environmentalism a Luxury Good?

“Finally, in California, we find that an increase in a county’s unemployment rate is associated with a significant decrease in county residents choosing the environment as the most important policy issue.”

Green: Eat Lead?

But the petition raises the possibility that subsistence hunters, their families or even food-bank clients in rural states could ingest toxic levels of lead by swallowing some of a bullet’s leavings.

Mind: A Snapshot of a Generation May Come Out Blurry

In another critique, researchers at the University of Illinois reported data suggesting that narcissism peaks in young adulthood, “not because of cultural changes but because of age-related developmental trends.”

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