Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Great iPhone apps / Smarties’ gadgets / Bachelor pad essentials / Writers’ libraries / Octopus intellect

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. Some New Little Treasures for the iPhone
By Bob Tedeschi | The New York Times | Dec. 21
“If you really want to turbocharge your device, combine these with last year’s picks. … Like last year’s list, this one includes many free picks.”

2. The Indispensable Gadgets of the World’s Smartest People
By Larry Greenemeier | Scientific American | Dec. 21
“We ask our board of advisers to choose the technologies that they could not live without.”

3. Nine Essentials for the Perfect Bachelor Pad
By Michael Carl | Carl’s Crush :: Vanity Fair | Dec. 21
“So here are the nine things you need to create the perfect apartment for ‘company’ (I’m trying to avoid saying ‘getting laid,’ O.K.?).”

4. Writers and Their Books: Inside Famous Authors’ Personal Libraries
By Maria Popova | The Atlantic | Dec. 21
“As a hopeless bibliophile, an obsessive lover of bookcases, and a chronic pursuer of voyeuristic peeks inside the minds of creators, I’m utterly spellbound by Unpacking My Library: Writers and Their Books — a vicarious journey into the personal libraries of thirteen favorite authors. …”

5. Trial of the Will
Vanity Fair | January 2012
“Reviewing familiar principles and maxims in the face of mortal illness, Christopher Hitchens has found one of them increasingly ridiculous: ‘Whatever doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.’ Oh, really?”

6. The Gulf War
By Raffi Khatchadourian | The New Yorker | March 14
“Were there any heroes in the BP oil disaster”

7. Deep Intellect
By Sy Montgomery | Orion Magazine | Nov./Dec. 2011
“Inside the mind of an octopus”

8. India, China Show Military Grit
By Nitin Gokhale | The Diplomat | Dec. 22
“The latest defense dialogue between the Chinese and Indian militaries had some constructive ideas for improving military ties. Can they follow through?”

9. Analysis: Republicans risk backlash in 2012
By Tim Reid | Reuters | Dec. 21
“This week’s tense standoff over how to extend payroll tax cuts for 160 million Americans offered an unflattering look at how conservative House Republicans occasionally have overreached in avoiding compromise, lawmakers, strategists and analysts say.”

10. Reagan assassination attempt
Witness :: BBC News | March 30
“On 30 March 1981, there was an attempt to assassinate the US President.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Twain’s lost love / No more experts / Stalled computer / Cheney myth / Bombing of Guernica

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. Iraq: What Remains
Christopher de Bellaigue | NYR Blog :: The New York Review of Books | Dec. 21
“[M]any Americans continue to see in Iraq a reflection of their own country’s ideals and contradictions. They will remember Iraq as an American trauma. But it was, above all, an Iraqi trauma.”

2. Mark Twain in Love
By Ron Powers | Smithsonian | May 2010
“A chance encounter on a New Orleans dock in 1858 haunted the writer for the rest of his life ”

3. The Information
By Adam Gopnik | The New Yorker | Feb. 14
“How the Internet gets inside us”

4. Wikipedia and the Death of the Expert
By Maria Bustillos | The Awl | May 17
“If learners are indeed doers and not recipients, from whom are they learning? From one another, it appears; same as it ever was.”

5. My daughter longs to meet real dad despite his snubs
Troubleshooter :: The Yomiuri Shimbun | Dec. 16
“I’m a woman in my 40s who got divorced when my daughter was 5 years old. I remarried a foreigner and we are currently living overseas. My daughter is now in high school and she misses her biological father.”

6. Q&A: Getting a Response From Stalled Software
By J.D. Biersdorfer | Gadgetwise :: The New York Times | Oct. 13
“Q: What causes a long pause with “Not Responding” indicated at the top of a program’s window?”

7. Drunks on a Plane: The Top 10 Hottest Messes at 35,000FT
The Flying Pinto | November 2011
“In honor of holiday travel: a look at the airline industry’s most infamous inebriates.”

8. Five myths about Dick Cheney
By Stephen F. Hayes | Five Myths :: The Washington Post | Sept. 9
“He’s been called Darth Vader, feared or derided as a trigger-happy, torture-loving puppet master who called the shots over the eight years of the George W. Bush White House. … But what about the former vice president is real, exaggerated, or outright myth?”

9. Civil War women: Fanny Kemble
Civil War Women Blog | Aug. 27
“Fanny Kemble was a famous British actress prior to her marriage to slaveholder Pierce Mease Butler, grandson of Founding Father Pierce Butler. Fanny was an independent and highly intelligent woman who had no idea how much her life would be affected by the institution of slavery in America.”

10. The bombing of Guernica
Witness :: BBC News | April 26
“It was one of the worst atrocities of the Spanish Civil War. German bombers, backing Franco’s fascist forces, virtually destroyed the Basque town.”