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Recommended reading / viewing / listening

June 15, 2011

Most of these great items come from my Twitter feed or Facebook news feed. Follow me on Twitter and on Facebook for more fascinating videos, articles, essays and criticism.

1. Regrets of the Dying
By Bronnie Ware | Inspiration and Chai
“For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. … When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five. …”

2. Arab revolutions mask economic status quo
By Mark LeVine | Al Jazeera | June 10
“Despite talk of a ‘new social contract’, financial powers seek to maintain their grip on the poor of the Middle East.”

3. Our Troops Abroad: What Does a Soldier Need to Read?
By Elizabeth D. Samet | The New Republic | June 11
“Few of us have been castaways, but we’ve all spun variations on the exercise of figuring out whatever is essential to the life of our minds.”

4. McNamara’s Non-War
By James Burnham | National Review | Sept. 19, 1967
“In the form of a statement, August 25, to the Senate Armed Services Committee, Secretary of Defense McNamara offered the most elaborate apologia yet made by the Johnson Administration for, specifically, “our conduct of the air war in Vietnam,” and, by implication, for the Vietnam policy in general. … Before trying to pass judgment on his conclusions, it is advisable to make sure we understand what he is saying.”

5. NASA Spacecraft Captures Video of Asteroid Approach
Jet Propulsion Laboratory | June 13
“Scientists working with NASA’s Dawn spacecraft have created a new video showing the giant asteroid Vesta as the spacecraft approaches this unexplored world in the main asteroid belt.”

6. After 90 Years, a Dictionary of an Ancient World
By John Noble Wilford | The New York Times | June 6
“Ninety years in the making, the 21-volume dictionary of the language of ancient Mesopotamia and its Babylonian and Assyrian dialects, unspoken for 2,000 years but preserved on clay tablets and in stone inscriptions deciphered over the last two centuries, has finally been completed by scholars at the University of Chicago.”

7. Just back: the painted houses of Peru
By Jonathan Carr | The Telegraph | June 10
“Lurid red and orange paint had been daubed everywhere. Villagers throughout Cajamarca region, like everyone else in Peru, were facing a choice between two alleged evils. … To help in the decision-making process, the villagers’ shacks had been marked with giant crosses. But there were no pleas for God to show mercy. This was not that kind of plague. Rather, the names of politicians had been invoked: left-wing Ollanta in red, right-wing Keiko in orange. Soon, the people were to decide which of the two would become president. “

8. Chekhov on Judgment
By David D. Robbins Jr. | The Fade Out | June 10
“Dover Koshashvili’s adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s short novella “The Duel”, a period drama about the residents of a seaside town in the Caucuses, correctly finds the tone set by the original. Take it from a Chekhov lover, the best thing about the Russian’s writing is his ability to arrive at a point of discovery without necessarily providing an apotheosis.”

9. The 10 Biggest Volcanic Eruptions in History
Our Amazing Planet | June 10
“June 15, 2011, marks the 20th anniversary of Mt. Pinatubo’s cataclysmic eruption. … On this anniversary, we countdown the largest volcanic eruptions in history as measured by the Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI), a classification system somewhat akin to the magnitude scale for earthquakes.”

10. 15 Fantastic Gadgets for Father’s Day
By Doug Aamoth and Chris Gayomali | Time | June 13
“Whether dad loves to grill, fish or take on projects around the house, any number of these geeky goodies are sure to be a hit.”

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