Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Hauling a rock into orbit / A comatose Senate / Fiction to understand Iraq War / Navy SEALS fighting Jabba the Hutt / John Kerry and Cuba

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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. Senatus Decadens
By George Packer | The Daily Comment :: The New Yorker | Jan. 4
“The Senate is in a prolonged, self-induced coma. It does not produce creative legislation. It does not inspire important debate. It is not responsive to key national problems. Its pretense of institutional dignity is so battered that junior senators openly mock it.”

2. Emerging wave of Iraq fiction examines America’s role in ‘bullshit war’
By Paul Harris | The Guardian | Jan. 3
“Flood of books with ‘elegiac feel running through them’ tackle eight-year conflict and help US to understand the folly of war”

3. Be Cautious With Free Software
By J.D. Biersdorfer | Gadgetwise :: The New York Times | August 2012
“Is it safe to install freeware and shareware on my computer?”

4. Can Kerry make friends with Cuba?
By Nick Miroff | GlobalPost :: Salon | Jan. 2
“While the ex-senator’s been a harsh critic of U.S. policy toward Havana, he’ll have a hard time changing anything”

5. Louis C. K.’s Symphony Of Comedy
By Chris Duffy | WBUR | Jan. 3
“In a field notorious for compromise, where comedians routinely change personas and water down material to get sitcom deals, C.K. has managed to maintain his voice.”

6. High schooler suspended for poem on understanding Adam Lanza
By Natasha Lennard | Salon | Jan. 2
“A 17-year-old high school student in San Francisco has been suspended indefinitely after she wrote a poem in her personal notebook which included the lines, ‘I understand the killings in Connecticut; I understand why he pulled the trigger.’ ”

7. Good and Bad, the Little Things Add Up in Fitness
By Gretchen Reynolds | Well :: The New York Times | Jan. 2
“I was delighted to report … that the ‘sweet sport’ for health benefits seems to come from jogging or moderately working out for only a brief period a few times a week.”

8. How Real Navy SEALs Would Handle Famous Movie Missions
By Shane Snow | Underwire :: Wired | December 2012
“[W]e asked 17-year SEAL veteran Don Mann … how the SEALs would handle a few epic missions of our own devising. And by ‘our,’ we mean Hollywood’s.”

9. Dissatisfaction City
By Jesse Elias Spafford | The New Inquiry | Jan. 2
“The Las Vegas casino is a machine for social control that works not through repression, but disinhibition”

10. NASA mulls plan to drag asteroid into moon’s orbit
By Jeff Hecht | New Scientist | Jan. 2
“The mission would cost about $2.6 billion — slightly more than NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover — and could be completed by the 2020s.”

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