Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Cooking a steak … Ending the Cuban embargo … An asteroid flyby … Texas Democrats win … Voyager 2’s second wind.

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. Read past recommendations from this series here.

1. Voyager 2 to Switch to Backup Thruster Set
NASA | Nov. 5
“The change will allow the 34-year-old spacecraft to reduce the amount of power it requires to operate and use previously unused thrusters as it continues its journey toward interstellar space, beyond our solar system.”

2. Day After Day, Her Voice Takes Listeners to the Stars
By Sonia Smith | Texas Monthly and the New York Times | Oct. 29
“On a clear, cool night in the early 1960s, a father drove his young, pajama-clad daughter to one of the T-head piers on Corpus Christi Bay to marvel at an object in the sky. The girl who peered up at the sky was Sandy Wood, and this year marked her 20th anniversary as the voice of the nationally syndicated radio program ‘StarDate.’ ”

3. Texas Democrats Win Redistricting Battle
By Jessica Taylor | Hotline On Call :: National Journal | Nov. 8
“A Washington, D.C. federal court blocked the Republican-drawn Texas redistricting maps in a ruling, clearing the path for a three-judge panel to draw new congressional lines expected to benefit Democrats.”

4. Big asteroid has close encounter with Earth
By Irene Klotz | Reuters | Nov. 8
“With a diameter estimated at 400 meters, or about a quarter of a mile, Asteroid 2005 YU 55 is the biggest asteroid to make a close pass by Earth since 1976.”

5. Madness marches on
By Peter Brookes | The New York Post | Nov. 6
“With Osama bin Laden, Anwar al-Awlaki and Moammar Khadafy swept into the dustbin of history and the full US withdrawal from Iraq in the works, there’s a prevailing sense that, for us, all’s reasonably right with the world. Pity, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.”

6. 10 More Stubborn Food Myths That Just Won’t Die, Debunked by Science
Lifehacker | Nov. 7
“We asked our nutritionists back to debunk some more common misconceptions about food, health, and nutrition that are still widely believed, even though there’s overwhelming evidence to the contrary. We also asked them some of your questions. Here’s what they said.”

7. Commando-Style DEA Squads Fight Cartels Abroad
By Evann Gastaldo | Newser | Nov. 7
“Squads train local authorities, but sometimes things get ugly”

8. Why the U.S. Should Drop the Embargo and Prop Up Cuban Homeowners
By Tim Padgett | Global Spin :: Time | Nov. 5
“It may not lead to a Caribbean Spring in Cuba – but then, neither has five wasted decades of embargo. The bottom line is that Washington needs to conjure the common sense to engage alternatives when Castro himself provides them.”

9. How to pan fry steak
BBC Food | June 2009
“Chef Barney Desmazery runs through the best way to cook Sirloin Steak medium rare.”

10. Turkish students bond over earthquake experiences
By Victoria Garten | The Oklahoma Daily | Nov. 7
“Oklahoma’s recent earthquakes have not fazed Turkish exchange student Mehmet Ali Nerse because he’s been there before.”