Recommended reading / viewing / listening

What not to wear on a plane / Navy adviser torpedoed / Heading into the Republican National Convention

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. Airlines can say: You can’t wear that
By David Koenig | Associated Press | Aug, 25
“Airlines give many reasons for refusing to let you board, but none stir as much debate as this: How you’re dressed.”
Also see: Airline rules on clothing are usually vague

2. Sunk
By Jeff Stein | The Washington Post Magazine | Aug. 21
“Why was a Navy adviser stripped of her career?”

3. A Media Personality, Suffering a Blow to His Image, Ponders a Lesson
By Christine Haughney | The New York Times | Aug. 19
“Just as quickly as his employers had questioned his credibility, they rallied around him.”

4. How Long Do You Want to Live?
By David Ewing Duncan | The New York Times | Aug. 25
“How many years might be added to a life? A few longevity enthusiasts suggest a possible increase of decades. Most others believe in more modest gains. And when will they come? Are we a decade away? Twenty years? Fifty years?”

5. Hubble Captures a Collection of Ancient Stars
ScienceDaily | Aug. 25
“Hubble Space Telescope has produced a beautiful image of the globular cluster Messier 56 (also known as M 56 or NGC 6779), which is located about 33,000 light years away from Earth in the constellation of Lyra (The Lyre).”

6. For some Republicans, convention could be springboard to future
By Peter Schroeder | The Hill | Aug. 26
“Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) will introduce Romney before he officially accepts the party’s nomination, while Gov. Chris Christie (N.J.) is delivering the convention’s keynote address.”

7. Daniel Ogilvie: Why children believe they have souls
TED New York | July 2012
“Rutgers University Professor of Psychology Daniel Ogilvie is researching what causes people to believe in souls and the afterlife.”

8. A short history of the phony political convention
By Andrew O’Hehir | Salon | Aug. 25
“The GOP’s phony living-room stage is the latest twist in a history of carefully crafted, content-free spectacle”

9. The Author of the Civil War
By Cynthia Wachtell | Disunion :: The New York Times | July 6
“Sir Walter Scott not only dominated gift book lists on the eve of the Civil War but also dominated Southern literary taste throughout the conflict.”

10. The Mike Todd Party: Cronkite Recalls a TV Low
By Walter Cronkite | NPR | November 2004
“[W]hen the crowd got out of control, a bland publicity stunt turned into a giant food fight. Cronkite recalls the disastrous night.”

******************

TUNES

This weekend, I’m spending some time with the blues, specifically with the wonderful Texas Blues Café. Check out the line-up and then listen here.

1. Zed Head — Nice To Love You
2. Zed Head — Kick Start
3. Hill Country Review — Let Me Love You
4. Marc Brousard — Home
5. Bleu Edmondson — Southland
6. Popa Chubby — Fire
7. Rocky Athas Group — Tearin’ Me Up
8. Keb Mo — Shave Yo Legs
9. Kenny Wayne Shepherd — Blue On Black
10. Ian Moore — Nothing
11. Clay McClinton — One Of Those Guys
12. Anna Popovic — How’d You Learn To Shake It Like That
13. ZZ Top — Nasty Dogs And Funky Kings

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Kids of deported parents / Celebrating Neil Armstrong / English born in Turkey? / The dangerous sex study

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. Parents deported, what happens to US-born kids?
By Helen O’Neill | Associated Press | Aug. 25
“It’s a question thousands of other families are wrestling with as a record number of deportations means record numbers of American children being left without a parent.”

2. Made ‘Giant Leap’ as First Man to Step on Moon
By John Noble Wilford | The New York Times | Aug. 25
“Charles F. Bolden Jr., the current NASA administrator, said, ‘As long as there are history books, Neil Armstrong will be included in them, remembered for taking humankind’s first small step on a world beyond our own.'”

3. NASA’s pioneering astronauts: Where are they now?
Associated Press | Aug. 26
“As space exploration has become more common and the number of astronauts has risen past 300, many names have faded into the background. But some will forever be associated with the golden age of space exploration.”
Also see: 12 men who walked on the moon, from 1969 to 1972 | Key dates in history of space exploration

4. Calls to grant astronaut Neil Armstrong a state funeral
By Adam Lusher and Matthew Holehouse | The Daily Telegraph | Aug. 26
“A state funeral would typically involve pallbearers from five branches of the US Armed Forces, a series of artillery salutes, a flypast and a number of bands and choirs.”

5. Neil Armstrong: ‘Diffident’ emissary of mankind
By Paul Rincon | BBC News | Aug. 25
“After smiling and waving through the ticker tape parades, public audiences and television interviews, Armstrong stepped out of the spotlight and tried to rediscover the obscurity from which he had emerged.”

6. Before landing on the moon, Armstrong trained as a pilot in Corpus Christi
By Katherine Rosenberg | Corpus Christi Caller-Times | Aug. 25
“He racked up flight hours at Cabaniss Field in Corpus Christi in 1950. …”

7. Tania Luna: My story of gratitude
TED New York | July 2012
“Tania Luna co-founded Surprise Industries, the world’s only company devoted to designing surprise experiences.”

8. English language ‘originated in Turkey’
By Jonathan Ball | BBC News | Aug. 25
“The New Zealand researchers used methods developed to study virus epidemics to create family trees of ancient and modern Indo-European tongues to pinpoint where and when the language family first arose.”

9. The End of the Gutbuster
By Pat Leonard | Disunion :: The New York Times | July 5
“The soldiers could not have known then, and would not know until years later, the immense impact on their lives that would be wielded by the single unassuming officer who entered their camps that day.”

10. Every man’s favorite sex study
By Tracy Clark-Flory | Salon | Aug. 25
“The headlines were provocative: Semen cures depression! But the study is 10 years old, and far from conclusive”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Harry, Prince of Vegas / Obama: Romney has no ideas / The real Afghan War begins / HD video of Mars descent / Unknown Civil War soldier ID’d

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. Watch Out Mars! 1080 HD Video of Curiosity Descent
By Caleb. B. Scharf | Life, Unbounded :: Scientific American | Aug. 22
“Ok, so every so often something comes along that just blows away everything you’ve seen before. This is one of those things.”

2. Unknown soldier in famed Library of Congress Civil War portrait identified
By Charlie Wells | The New York Daily News | Aug. 22
“A chance encounter between the young soldier’s great-great granddaughter Patricia Mullinax and avid Civil War photography collector Tom Liljenquist led to the identification of Stephen Pollard.”

3. A paint-by-numbers portrait of changing nation
By Calvid Woodward and Christopher S. Rugaber | Associated Press | Aug. 25
“We’re heavier in pounds and hotter by degrees than Americans of old. We’re starting to snub our noses at distant suburbs after generations of burbs in our blood. Our roads and bridges are kind of a mess. There are many more poor, and that’s almost sure to get worse.”
Also see: Sign-of-the-times stats

4. Why Afghanistan Isn’t a Campaign Issue: Neither Obama nor Romney Have a Solution
By Tony Karon | Time World | Aug. 24
“The ‘systemic problem’ of uniformed Afghans attacking their American mentors raises questions about the viability of a bipartisan exit plan”

5. Ragtag Revolts in Parts of Afghanistan Repel Taliban
By Alissa J. Rubin and Matthew Rosenberg | The New York Times | Aug. 25
“[T]he movement has become another case study of a classic Afghan problem that directly challenges the Western goal of a stable country after the 2014 troop withdrawal: a threat posed by an armed group is answered by arming another group, which in turn becomes a game piece to be fought over by larger forces.”

6. Obama on Romney’s ‘extreme’ views
By Ben Feller | Associated Press | Aug. 25
“In an interview with The Associated Press, Obama said Romney lacks serious ideas, refuses to ‘own up’ to the responsibilities of what it takes to be president, and deals in factually dishonest arguments that could soon haunt him in face-to-face debates.”

7. Tania Luna: My story of gratitude
TED New York | July 2012
“Tania Luna co-founded Surprise Industries, the world’s only company devoted to designing surprise experiences.”

8. Las Vegas hails Prince Harry as a true son of Sin City
By Rory Carroll | The Guardian | Aug. 25
“Las Vegas is making the most of its role in a royal scandal — and young Britons are flocking to it for full-on fun”

9. The End of the Gutbuster
By Pat Leonard | Disunion :: The New York Times | July 5
“The soldiers could not have known then, and would not know until years later, the immense impact on their lives that would be wielded by the single unassuming officer who entered their camps that day.”

10. Does Self-Awareness Require a Complex Brain?
By Ferris Jabr | Brainwaves :: Scientific American | Aug. 22
“To be conscious is to think; to be self-aware is to realize that you are a thinking being and to think about your thoughts.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Mammogram questions / Romney and crisis / Fearing Obama / Witnesses to Empire State Building shooting / Social media at conventions

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. Mammograms and dense breasts — questions abound
By Lauran Neergaard | Associated Press | Aug. 20
“New York this summer became the fourth state to require that women be told if they have dense breasts when they get the results of a mammogram. That’s because women whose breast tissue is very dense have a greater risk of developing breast cancer than women whose breasts contain more fatty tissue.”

2. Romney in Crisis: Two Dark Spots in Fortunate Life
By Sherly Gay Stolberg | The New York Times | Aug. 14
“The French car crash and Ann Romney’s illness provide such a narrative; they are dark moments — bookends of sorts — in what otherwise has seemed a charmed existence.”

3. Fear of a Black President
By Ta-Nehisi Coates | The Atlantic | September 2012
“As a candidate, Barack Obama said we needed to reckon with race and with America’s original sin, slavery. But as our first black president, he has avoided mention of race almost entirely. In having to be ‘twice as good’ and ‘half as black,’ Obama reveals the false promise and double standard of integration.”

4. Witnesses tell dramatic story of shooting outside Empire State Building
By Aaron Feis, Bill Sanderson and Todd Venezia | The New York Post | Aug. 25
“Electrician Kevin O’Connell, 27, had been on a break when he heard the shots and looked out of a ninth-floor window of the Empire State Building to see a horrifying scene.”

5. New York’s World Class Subway Art, Identified
By Mallika Rao | The Huffington Post | Aug. 18
“Nearly 200 permanent works line the walls and floors of the city’s subways, commissioned by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Arts for Transit program.”

6. 2012 conventions embrace social media openness
By Jeffrey Collins and Tamara Lush | Associated Press | Aug. 17
“The Republicans call theirs a ‘convention without walls,’ while the Democrats say their gathering will be ‘the most open and accessible in history.’ ”

7. Raghava KK: What’s your 200-year plan?
TED | July 2012
“You might have a 5-year plan, but what about a 200-year plan?”

8. Cristina Kirchner: she’s not just another Evita
By Uki Goni | The Observer :: The Guardian | Feb. 4
“The Peronist leader combines glamour with political acumen, enormous popularity and a tough determination to beat down her rivals. And now she has put the Falklands back on the political agenda”

9. Schools for Soldiers
By Michael David Cohen | Disunion :: The New York Times | July 3
“To win the war, the Army had to create citizen-soldiers from scratch.”

10. The Massacre of Baghdad’s Jews
Witness :: BBC News | June 1
“Eye witness accounts of the killing of hundreds of Jews in the streets of the Iraqi capital, Bagdhad.”

********************

TUNES

This weekend, I’m spending some time with the blues, specifically with the Texas Blues Café. Check out the line-up and then listen here.

1. Edgar Winter — Texas Tornado
2. Marc Leon & Friends — Subway To Nowhere
3. Victor Wainwright & The Wildroots — What’d I Say
4. Rick Huckaby — City Life
5. 2 Slim & The Tail Dragers — Cowboy Boots
6. Albert Cummings — Party Right Here
7. Zed Head — Electri-Glide Shuffle
8. Old Southern Moonshine Revival — Two Shells
9. Mike Holt & The Trophy 500’s — Dimples
10. Robert Campbell — History Repeats Itself
11. George Thorogood — Hard Stuff
12. Capt. WAM — Skinny Woman
13. The Dennis McClung Blues Band — The Red Rooster
14. The Mark Knoll Band — Lay It On The Line

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Nazca Lines / Ocean exploration / Guernica blossoms / Campaign 2012 profiles: Obamas, Romneys, Biden, Ryan

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. Pigs and squatters threaten Peru’s Nazca lines
By Miltra Taj | Reuters | Aug. 17
“The Nazca lines known as geoglyphs, declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1994, were produced over a period of a thousand years on a 200 square mile stretch of coastal desert.”

2. Mars can wait. Oceans can’t
By Amitai Etzioni | Commentaries :: CNN | Aug. 17
“While space travel still gets a lot of attention, not enough attention has been accorded to a major new expedition to the deepest point in the ocean, some 7 miles deep — the recent journey by James Cameron, on behalf of National Geographic.”

3. In the town Picasso made a symbol of destruction, creativity is booming again
By Giles Tremlett | The Observer :: The Guardian | Aug. 18
“A film about the painter’s vision of a key event in Spain’s civil war sheds light on a community finally overcoming the tragic scars of the past”

4. No longer a blank slate: Obama, 4 years later
By Jerry Schwartz | Associated Press | Aug. 18
“Four years have passed. We have watched Obama as commander in chief, waging wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – and we have seen him accept the Nobel Peace Prize.”
Also see: Biographical information on Barack Obama

5. Michelle Obama: the person and the persona
By Jesse Washington | Associated Press | Aug. 18
“She is 5-foot-11 and world famous. Sometimes she inspires awe in her admirers. She has been accused of being the angry type. So when Michelle Obama meets people, she likes to bring things down to earth with a hug.”
Also see: Biographical information on Michelle Obama

6. The veep: A regular and not-so-regular Joe
By Adam Geller | Associated Press | Aug. 18
“After Joe Biden tripped up his boss by voicing support for same-sex marriage while the president remained on the fence, speculation was rampant about whether the remarks were spontaneous or deliberate. But to those who know Biden, there was no doubt. He was just speaking his mind.”
Also see: Biographical information on Joe Biden

7. Trying to see into the heart of the GOP candidate
By Helen O’Neill | Associated Press | Aug. 18
“Long before Mitt Romney became the millionaire candidate from Massachusetts, he was his father’s son, weeding the garden in the upscale suburb of Detroit where he grew up.”
Also see: Biographical information on Mitt Romney

8. Ann Romney proudly owns stay-at-home mom image
By Allen G. Breed | Associated Press | Aug. 18
“The 63-year-old mother of five and grandmother of 18 has embraced the homemaker image that Hillary Rodham Clinton so openly scorned. But … it’s clear she’s not going to be Mitt Romney’s silent partner.”
Also see: Biographical information on Ann Romney

9. Paul Ryan: Wisconsin roots, Washington clout
By David Crary | Associated Press | Aug. 18
“During his rapid political ascent, to become chief architect of love-it or hate-it Republican budget policy, many of his Democratic adversaries have coupled criticism of his ideology with praise for his cordiality, diligence and thoughtfulness.”

10. Robert Gould Shaw’s Gruesome Task
By Ronald S. Coddington | Disunion :: The New York Times | Aug. 12
“Perhaps no soldier was as profoundly moved by the losses at Cedar Mountain as Robert Gould Shaw.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Designers target toddlers / Air power and Mahan / Chelsea Clinton / Biden the perfect VP / Fiery Sean Penn

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. Rich toddlers draw fashion designers’ eyes
By Anne D’Innocenzio | Associated Press | Aug. 12
“Some designer houses like Oscar de la Renta and Marni say they’re careful to keep the clothes appropriate for kids. But there are plenty of miniature versions of the adult looks that raise eyebrows because of their eye-catching prices and sophisticated styles.”

2. Answering kids’ sex questions
By Tracy Clark-Flory | Salon | Aug. 15
“The blog ‘Sex Questions From Seventh Graders’ went viral. Now we answer their adult-stumping queries”

3. Air Power Meets Alfred Thayer Mahan
By James R. Holmes | The Naval Diplomat :: The Diplomat | Aug. 15
“In wartime, wrote Mahan, navies should amass ‘overbearing power’ to sweep enemy fleets from the nautical common. Having done so, the victor could put those waters to whatever use he pleased. Pilots likewise think in terms of ridding the skies of opposing fleets.”

4. Waiting in the Wings
By Jonathan Van Meter | Vogue | Aug. 13
“An Exclusive Interview with Chelsea Clinton”

5. Joe Biden: The ‘practically perfect’ vice president
By Jonathan Bernstein | Salon | Aug. 18
“Ignore the right-wing outrage: Barack Obama couldn’t have found a better vice president than Joe Biden”

6. Panorama: The big picture from Mars
The Los Angeles Times | Aug. 17
“This 360-degree panorama from NASA’s Curiosity rover shows the area within Gale Crater on Mars.”

7. Cesar Harada: A novel idea for cleaning up oil spills
TED | July 2012
“He designed a highly maneuverable, flexible boat capable of cleaning large tracts quickly. But rather than turn a profit, he has opted to open-source the design.”

8. Sean Penn: a firebrand on and off screen
By Peter Beaumont | The Observer :: The Guardian | Feb. 18
“The actor and director has angered some with his comments on the British stance on the Falklands. But he has a long history of speaking out passionately when he perceives injustice”

9. Brothers in Arms
By Terry L. Jones | Disunion :: The New York Times | July 2
“The 10th Louisiana was the only regiment in its brigade that penetrated the federal position atop Malvern Hill, but the Tigers paid dearly for the honor. …”

10. Retreat from Dunkirk
Witness :: BBC News | June 2
“A British soldier tells us of one extraordinary day on the beaches of Dunkirk during World War II.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Social media law enforcement / Tricking Hitler / Delving into the debates / The empty Social Security promise / The chaotic ’68 Dem convention

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. Police embrace emerging social media tool
By Terry Collins | Associated Press | Aug. 11
“Almost 6,000 law enforcement agencies are now deploying the public notification service Nixle to provide residents with real-time alerts on crimes in progress, traffic messes and missing children.”

2. How fiction fooled Hitler
By Jina Moore | Salon | Aug. 12
“Before there was James Bond, there was Gregory Sallust. Unlike Bond, who is just sexy fun, Sallust was out to trick the Nazis, defeat Hitler and save the world.”

3. Elite colleges transform online higher education
Terence Chea | Associated Press | Aug. 5
“The proliferation of so-called massive open online courses, or MOOCs, has the potential to transform higher education at a time when colleges and universities are grappling with shrinking budgets, rising costs and protests over soaring tuition and student debt.”

4. Debating Our Destiny
PBS NewsHour | 2012
“Throughout the last 20 years, Jim Lehrer has sat down with the presidential and vice presidential candidates to discuss one thing — the debates.”

5. Siri, Take This Down: Will Voice Control Shape Our Writing?
By Robert Rosenberger | The Atlantic | Aug. 1
“Do our writing means change our written ends?”

6. Social Security not deal it once was for workers
Associated Press | Aug. 6
“People retiring today are part of the first generation of workers who have paid more in Social Security taxes during their careers than they will receive in benefits after they retire. It’s a historic shift that will only get worse for future retirees, according to an analysis by The Associated Press.”
Also see: How much I pay, how much I get | Who gets it? | You can’t get these returns today

7. Will Wright makes toys that make worlds
TED | July 2007
“In a friendly, high-speed presentation, Will Wright demos his newest game, Spore, which promises to dazzle users even more than his previous masterpieces.”

8. Mary Beard: the classicist with the common touch
By Vanessa Thorpe | The Observer :: The Guardian | April 29
“Her current TV series on the Romans has occasioned unkind remarks about her appearance, when, in fact, we should be celebrating her eruditon and ability to animate her subject”

9. White House on the Pamunkey
By Jonathan Horn | Disunion :: The New York Times | June 29
“The irony of the Union destroying a home so closely associated with its founding president was hardly lost on Southern commanders.”

10. Recalling the Mayhem of ’68 Convention
By Walter Cronkite | NPR | July 2004
“Tensions over Vietnam Upset Chicago Political Scene”

******************

TUNES

Tonight I’m spending some time with the blues, specifically with the wonderful Texas Blues Café. Check out the line-up and then listen here.

1. Lance Lopez — So Alone
2. Bernard Allison — Slide Master
3. Betty LaVette — I Still Want To Be Your Baby
4. Joe Bonamassa — Blues Delux
5. John Hiatt — My Baby
6. Cross Canadian Ragweed — Wanna Rock n’ Roll
7. Tina Turner & Eric Clapton — Tearing Us Apart
8. Robin Trower — Feel So Bad
9. Guitar Shorty — Old School
10. Lost Imigrants — Never Been To Spain
11. Los Lonely Boys — Oye Mamacita
12. Watermealon Slim — Newspaper Reporter
13. Otis Taylor — Rain So Hard

A fascinating fall season approaches

The University of North Carolina Press just unveiled its lineup of Fall 2012 Civil War books.

The University of North Carolina Press just unveiled its lineup of Fall 2012 Civil War books. There are five titles, three new and two now available in paperback.

1. “War on the Waters: The Union and Confederate Navies, 1861-1865,” by James M. McPherson
2. “Two Captains from Carolina: Moses Grandy, John Newland Maffitt, and the Coming of the Civil War,” by Bland Simpson
3. “The Fire of Freedom: Abraham Galloway and the Slaves’ Civil War,” by David S. Cecelski
4. “Fredericksburg! Fredericksburg!” by George C. Rable (paperback)
5. “Army at Home: Women and the Civil War on the Northern Home Front,” by Judith Giesberg (paperback)

Read more about the books here.

They’ll make for a fascinating fall season.

Videos I Love: Miami Vice and the ‘Cry’ ending

The roar of Crockett’s Daytona Ferrari racing past. Castillo’s silent scowl. The police helicopter landing beside a glittering ocean.

I’m occasionally sharing some thoughts on a few videos that make me smile, make me think, or preferably do both. Read more from this special series here.

Some of the very best parts of “Miami Vice” were its musical sequences. The music of Phil Collins, Depeche Mode, and Russ Ballard both immortalized and were immortalized by the series’ grand sweep through Florida’s 1980s drug wars and the enduring post-Vietnam bitterness and cynicism that undermined Reagan’s hopeful vision for a reborn Cold War America. They often enhanced the few moments of decent acting and writing.

Admittedly, in retrospect, much of the series’ writing was not all that great, and much of the acting elicits from me, one of the show’s biggest fans, painful winces or laughter (when I’m sure laughter was not meant to be the reaction). Nevertheless, overall, the series was gorgeous.

My favorite musical sequence comes at the end of an episode titled “Definitely Miami,” the twelfth episode of the second season and the first episode of 1986. The sequence featured “Cry” by Godley & Creme. Click on the link for an episode synopsis that will place the ending in the proper context.

I think the “Cry” ending is truly amazing. The roar of Crockett’s Daytona Ferrari racing past. Castillo’s silent scowl. The police helicopter landing beside a glittering ocean. Crockett left alone in the sunshine, exhausted and shattered. It was another one of those moments where the series achieved a film-like quality, anticipating by decades what HBO drama series strive for and what Michael Mann would finally realize with “Heat,” “Collateral,” “Ali” and the wholly unnecessary “Miami Vice” movie.

Note: NBC Universal recently pulled the YouTube video to which this post refers. I have substituted a less-than-great approximation until I find another version of the original episode sequence.

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

The supervolcano / Romney’s plan for August / Overthrowing Mossadegh / Background on Sikh religion / Plan out your next 200 years

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. ‘Super volcano’, global danger, lurks near Pompeii
By Antonio Denti | Reuters | Aug. 3
“Across the bay of Naples from Pompeii, where thousands were incinerated by Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD, lies a hidden ‘super volcano’ that could kill millions in a catastrophe many times worse, scientists say.”

2. The longevity of US presidents’ mothers
By Richard Knight | BBC News Magazine | Aug. 3
“The mothers of US presidents and presidential candidates live far longer than the mothers of British prime ministers and opposition leaders. Is that just a statistical quirk?”

3. Romney’s August to-do list
By Maggie Haberman | The Arena :: Politico | Aug. 5
“The fear for Democrats is how much of a cash advantage Romney will have over them when his campaign begins its own serious spending.”

4. A Crass and Consequential Error
By Roger Cohen | The New York Review of Books | Aug. 16
“Muhammad Mossadegh, the Iranian prime minister overthrown by US and British agents in 1953, was a man who declined a salary, returned gifts, and collected tax arrears from his beloved mother.”

5. David Axelrod: Barack Obama’s street fighter
By Paul Harris | The Observer :: The Guardian | Aug. 5
“For the second time, the ultimate campaign manager is determined to get his man into the White House. And now the gloves are off as he masterminds a brutal ad campaign against Mitt Romney”

6. 5 Things To Know About The Sikh Religion
The Huffington Post | Aug. 5
“Sikhism is the fifth largest religion in the world with a population of upwards of 30 million worldwide. There are an estimated 250,000 Sikhs in the United States having first arrived in the late 19th century.”

7. Raghava KK: What’s your 200-year plan?
TED | April 2012
“Artist Raghava KK …. shows how it helps guide today’s choices and tomorrow’s goals — and encourages you to make your own 200-year plan too.”

8. Where Daisy Buchanan Lived
By Jason Diamond | The Paris Review | July 23
“Founded in 1861, Lake Forest, Illinois, was originally built as a college town by Presbyterians.”

9. Before the Storm
By Ronald S. Coddington | Disunion :: The New York Times | May 7
“James E. McBeth was a modest young man of few words who in 1862 left his job as a law clerk on Wall Street and enlisted in the Union Army. Later, in a series of wartime letters to a friend, he detailed the experiences that sparked his transformation into a military zealot advocating total war.”

10. Decoding the Science of Sleep
By David K. Randall | The Wall Street Journal | Aug. 3
“In today’s always-on economy, we’re tired like never before. Caffeine and sleeping pills only do so much. How did we get this far away from our most basic, ancient habits? And how can we get back on track?”