Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Building your brain / Apocalypse myths / Detective troops / Quake myths / Iraqi translators

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. Buff Your Brain
By Sharon Begley | Newsweek | Jan. 1
“Read more. Learn a language. Get some sleep! Sharon Begley reports getting a bigger brain is easier — and more fun — than you think”

2. 2012 Pictures: 6 Maya Apocalypse Myths Debunked
National Geographic | Jan. 3
“The end of the world is near — December 21, 2012, to be exact — according to theories based on an purported ancient Maya calendar. Scientists, though, are tripping over themselves to deflate the ballooning hype as the new year dawns.”

3. Spec-Ops troops learn to be gumshoes
By Kimberly Dozier | Associated Press | Jan. 3
“Fort Bragg’s Special Warfare Center shows how the U.S. has turned hunting terror networks into half-science, half-art-form since the al-Qaida attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.”

9. Five myths about earthquakes
By Susan Hough | Five Myths :: The Washington Post | August 2011
“Earthquakes rattle our psyches as well as our structures. We Californians can crack jokes about jumpy East Coast types, but the truth is, our blood pressure also rises precipitously when the Earth suddenly springs to life, without so much as a warning.”

5. This much I know
By Elizabeth Day | The Guardian | May 2009
“Joan Rivers, comedian, 75, London”

6. Thousands of Iraqi translators who worked for American troops live in fear
By Sarah Mustafa | The Daily Beast | December 2011
“One Iraqi woman describes the sacrifices she made for friends who have returned home.”

7. What is Your Facebook Personality?
By Susan Krauss Whitbourne | Psychology Today | December 2011
“How to avoid regret and rumination in a socially connected world”

8. In Search of the Geep
By C. Claiborne Ray | Q&A :: The New York Times | November 2009
“I have a soft-drink bottle cap with a trivia item printed inside that says that if a sheep and a goat mate, the offspring is a geep. Can this be true?”

9. How Complicated was the Byzantine Empire?
By Brian Palmer | Explainer :: Slate | October 2011
“Right-wingers are always complaining about the ‘Byzantine’ tax code.”

10. Rosa Luxemburg
Witness :: BBC News | March 2011
“Feminist icon, writer and theorist — Lenin called her the Eagle of the Revolution.”