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?”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Being alone / Planning for post-Assad Syria / NASA preps for Mars landing / Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld get coffee / RFK’s secret archive

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. How to be alone
By Tracy Clark-Flory | Salon | Aug. 4
“We all have to learn to be by ourselves, whether it’s after a breakup, a move or a divorce — but how, exactly?”

2. State Department and Pentagon Plan for Post-Assad Syria
By Steven Lee Myers and Thom Shanker | The New York Times | Aug. 4
“Mindful of American mistakes following the invasion of Iraq in 2003, both agencies have created a number of cells to draft plans for what many officials expect to be a chaotic, violent aftermath that could spread instability over Syria’s borders …”

3. Ruins a memento of Iraqi Christians’ glorious past
By Kay Johnson | Associated Press | Aug. 5
“[R]uins have emerged from the sand over the past five years with the expansion of the airport serving the city of Najaf, and have excited scholars who think this may be Hira, a legendary Arab Christian center.”

4. NASA braces for ‘7 minutes of terror’ Mars plunge
By Alicia Chang | Associated Press | Aug. 5
“The Curiosity rover was poised to hit the top of the Martian atmosphere at 13,000 mph. If all goes according to script, it will be slowly lowered by cables inside a massive crater in the final few seconds.”

5. Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee: Larry Eats a Pancake
By Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David | Crackle | July 2012
“Jerry’s special guest is Larry David in the premiere episode of Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee.”

6. He May Be Leader of Peru, but to Outspoken Kin, He’s Just a Disappointment
By William Neuman | The New York Times | Aug. 4
“The president’s brother Ulises, the oldest of the seven Humala children, compared the family’s wranglings — ‘Humala vs. Humala’ is a headline that needs no translation here — to the escapades in ‘Dallas.’ ”

7. Theo Jansen creates new creatures
TED | September 2007
“Artist Theo Jansen demonstrates the amazingly lifelike kinetic sculptures he builds from plastic tubes and lemonade bottles.”

8. Kennedys keep vise-grip on RFK papers
By Bryan Bender | The Boston Globe | Aug. 5
“Scholars and government officials believe the 62 boxes of files covering Kennedy’s three years as attorney general during his brother’s administration could provide insights into critical Cold War decisions on issues ranging from the Cuban missile crisis to Vietnam.”

9. Left for Dead in Virginia
By Ronald S. Coddington | Disunion :: The New York Times | June 28
“George T. Perkins and his Union comrades breathed a collective sigh of relief on the afternoon of June 27, 1862.”

10. Mississippi 1964: Civil Rights and Unrest
By Walter Cronkite | NPR | June 2005
“Walter Cronkite recalls the story of the slaying of three civil rights workers in 1964. Cronkite saw the drama unfold amid two struggles: one for civil rights and another against the Vietnam War.”

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TUNES

My soundtrack for today included:
1. FULL MOON, EMPTY HEART Belly
2. COME TOGETHER The Beatles
3. STEP BY STEP Jesse Winchester
4. ATLANTIC CITY (Live) Bruce Springsteen
5. COME RAIN OR COME SHINE (Unplugged) Don Henley
6. ARE YOU GONNA GO MY WAY (Unplugged) Lenny Kravitz
7. RACING IN THE STREET Bruce Springsteen
8. AGAIN Lenny Kravitz
9. HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN The Animals
10. HELTER SKELTER U2