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Recommended reading / viewing / listening

February 12, 2012

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. Gender-bending model pushes limits of the runway
By Bonny Ghosh | Associated Press | Feb. 9
“He has the kind of face that makes even the vainest woman jealous: high cheekbones, flawless skin and plump, shapely lips. When he speaks, his ever-so-slight Adam’s apple is the first sign of his masculinity.”

2. The XX factor
The Economist | Feb. 11
“Can a woman candidate count on female voters’ support?”

3. How to become Anthony Bourdain
The Daily Dish :: The Los Angeles Times | Feb. 10
“It’s no secret that Bourdain has what most people would consider to be a dream job — he travels around the world eating and drinking with his friends while making ‘self-indulgent’ television.”

4. Senate Republicans Would Require The Unemployed To Volunteer
By Arthur Delaney | The Huffington Post | Feb. 10
“A bill introduced Thursday by Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) would also require claimants drawing benefits six months or longer to search for work at least 20 hours a week.”

5. Mrs. Lincoln, I Presume? Well, as It Turns Out …
By Patricia Cohen | The New York Times | Feb. 11
“The story behind the picture was compelling: Mrs. Lincoln had Mr. Carpenter secretly paint her portrait as a surprise for the president, but he was assassinated before she had a chance to present it to him.”

6. Nixon’s great decision on China
By David Ignatius | The Washington Post | Feb. 10
“[H]ere’s a salute to inconsistency, cunning and other un-American traits that made Nixon’s opening to China possible. As we approach this week’s anniversary of his departure for Beijing, it’s useful to look back at one of the biggest — and best — flip-flops in American history.”

7. The Frog of War
By Dashka Slater | Mother Jones | January/February 2012
“When biologist Tyrone Hayes discovered that a top-selling herbicide messes with sex hormones, its manufacturer went into battle mode. Thus began one of the weirdest feuds in the history of science.”

8. This Story of Galactic Destruction and Time Will Blow Your Mind
By Jesus Diaz | Gizmodo | Feb. 11
“In 1995, the world was astonished by the image of a group of 4-light-year-tall columns located in the Eagle Nebula, 7,000 light years from here. So unimaginable it was that someone called them the Pillars of Creation. The only problem is that the pillars didn’t really exist. Something had destroyed them more than a thousand years ago.”

9. War on birth control
By Rachel Maddow | The Washington Post | Feb. 10
“Hormonal contraceptives generally prevent an egg from being fertilized in the first place, but the at-least-theoretical possibility that they might also prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus was enough to raise the specter of birth control pills being viewed as an instrument of homicide.”

10. Napoleon’s failure: For the want of a winter horseshoe
By Saul David | BBC News Magazine | Feb. 8
“Of all the challenges faced by generals through history, moving armies has been one of the greatest – and Napoleon Bonaparte’s invasion of Russia 200 years ago illustrates just how badly things can go wrong when it is underestimated.”

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