Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: A message from our neighboring star? / The history of Wikipedia / No corset craze / Too much sperm / Causes of the U.S. Civil War

This week: A message from our neighboring star? / The history of Wikipedia / No corset craze / Too much sperm / Causes of the U.S. Civil War

Most of these great items come from my social media networks. Follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and Facebook for more fascinating videos, photos, articles, essays, and criticism. Learn more about my academic background here.

1. A post-America world: Biden’s challenges begin at home
The World :: PRI | January 2021
“A majority of Europeans think the United States’ political system is broken beyond repair — and that President Joe Biden will be unable to halt the country’s decline on the world stage as China fills the power void.”

2. Did We Receive a Message from a Planet Orbiting the Nearest Star?
By Avi Loeb | Scientific American | January 2021
“A radio blip, seemingly from Proxima Centauri, where an Earth-size planet world orbits in the habitable zone, is tantalizing—but it’s probably not a signal from aliens”

3. An Oral History of Wikipedia, the Web’s Encyclopedia
By Tom Roston | OneZero :: Medium | January 2021
“It’s hard to imagine the internet without Wikipedia. Just like the air we breathe, the definitive digital encyclopedia is the default resource for everything and everyone — from Google’s search bar to undergrad students embarking on research papers.”

4. Why ‘Bridgerton’ won’t start a craze for corsets
By Luke Leitch | 1843 :: The Economist | January 2021
“Netflix hits are praised for their styling. But the screen no longer dictates how we dress”

5. Disused airport runway takes flight as public park
By Adam Williams | New Atlas | January 2021
“Sasaki has transformed a dilapidated airport runway in Shanghai, China, into a large public park. The project retains elements of the original airport, while integrating sustainable design like recycled materials and a rainwater collection system.”

6. The Sperm Kings Have a Problem: Too Much Demand
By Nellie Bowles | The New York Times Magazine | January 2021
“Many people want a pandemic baby, but some sperm banks are running low. So women are joining unregulated Facebook groups to find willing donors, no middleman required.”

7. Will children be able to get COVID-19 vaccines?
Associated Press | December 2020
“Not until there’s enough data from studies in different age groups, which will stretch well into [2021].”

8. Inside the Indian Independence Movement
By Christopher Rose, Joan Neuberger and Henry Wiencek | 15 Minute History :: UT Department of History | 2013-2020
Also see: Mexican Migration to the U.S. | Causes of the U.S. Civil War (Part 1) | Causes of the U.S. Civil War (Part 2) | Reconstruction

9. How to Find a Lost Hamster
By Malia Wollan | Tip :: The New York Times Magazine | November 2020
“Check small, dark spaces, like under the fridge, beneath a dresser, between couch cushions, even inside a box of tissues.”

10. Solar Wind
By Melvyn Bragg | In Our Time :: BBC 4 | 2013-2020
Also see: Water | Alfred Russel Wallace | Chekhov | Absolute Zero

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Pandemic and protest slang / Ripples in spacetime / Worries about racist Capitol police / Detecting cancer earlier / Mandatory vaccinations

This week: Pandemic and protest slang / Ripples in spacetime / Worries about racist Capitol police / Detecting cancer earlier / Mandatory vaccinations

Most of these great items come from my social media networks. Follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and Facebook for more fascinating videos, photos, articles, essays, and criticism. Learn more about my academic background here.

1. Shot in the arm: how the pandemic transformed protest slang
1843 :: The Economist | January 2021
“If you’re taking to the streets, you’d better speak the slanguage”

2. Astronomers may have detected background ripples in spacetime itself
By Michael Irving | New Atlas | January 2021
“The gravitational waves we’ve detected so far have been like tsunamis in the spacetime sea, but it’s believed that gentle ripples should also pervade the universe. Now, a 13-year survey of light from pulsars scattered across the galaxy may have revealed the first hints of these background signals.”

3. Black Cops Warned About Racist Capitol Police Officers for Years
By Joshua Kaplan and Joaquin Sapien | ProPublica | January 2021
“Allegations of racism against the Capitol Police are nothing new: Over 250 Black cops have sued the department since 2001. Some of those former officers now say it’s no surprise white nationalists were able to storm the building.”

4. Bali’s thieving monkeys can spot high-value items to ransom
By Rebecca Ratcliffe | The Guardian | January 2021
“Study finds macaques go for tourists’ electronics and wallets over empty bags and then maximise their profit”

5. We Must Find Ways to Detect Cancer Much Earlier
Scientific American | January 2021
“The job of the oncologist of the future will be to prevent and treat the emergence of disease”

6. The Last Two Northern White Rhinos On Earth
By Sam Anderson | The New York Times Magazine | January 2021
“What will we lose when Najin and Fatu die?”

7. Can employers make COVID-19 vaccination mandatory
Associated Press | December 2020
“Yes, with some exceptions.”

8. Early Drafts of the Declaration of Independence
By Christopher Rose, Joan Neuberger and Henry Wiencek | 15 Minute History :: UT Department of History | 2014-2020
Also see: Eugenics | The Buddha and His Time | The First Illegal Aliens? | The ‘Era Between The Empires’ of Ancient India

9. How to Get in Sync With Someone
By Malia Wollan | Tip :: The New York Times Magazine | November 2020
“Walking is an easy way to get in sync, but researchers have shown that it also works with other rhythmic activities, including finger-tapping, dancing, marching and drumming.”

10. Catullus
By Melvyn Bragg | In Our Time :: BBC 4 | 2012-2020
Also see: Bertrand Russell | Shahnameh of Ferdowsi | The Borgias | The Upanishads

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Biden’s first hundred days / The second impeachment / A new look at kangaroos / Romulus and Remus / The Spanish Inquisition

This week: Biden’s first hundred days / The second impeachment / A new look at kangaroos / Romulus and Remus / The Spanish Inquisition

Most of these great items come from my social media networks. Follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and Facebook for more fascinating videos, photos, articles, essays, and criticism. Learn more about my academic background here.

1. Donald Trump impeached a second time over mob attack on US Capitol
By Lauren Gambino | The Guardian | January 2021
“The sole article of impeachment charges the defeated president with ‘inciting an insurrection’ that led to what the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, said would be immortalized as a ‘day of fire’ on Capitol Hill.”
Also see, from Foreign Affairs: Present at the Destruction
Also see, from The Washington Post: Four years ago, I wondered if the media could handle Trump. Now we know.
Also see, from The Lily: One way women in D.C. are trying to identify pro-Trump rioters? Dating apps.
Also see, from The New York Times: A Preordained Coda to a Presidency
Also see, from NPR Public Editor: From ‘Protest’ To ‘Riot’ To ‘Insurrection’ — How NPR’s Language Evolved

2. The hundred day mistake
By Alasdair Roberts | The Wilson Quarterly | Winter 2021
“Is an FDR-style legislative blitz the best way forward in our present crisis?”

3. World’s oldest painting of animals discovered in an Indonesian cave
By Ibrahim Sawal | New Scientist | January 2021
“The paintings of three pigs, alongside several hand stencils, were discovered in the limestone cave of Leang Tedongnge on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi.”

4. Vogue’s Kamala Harris cover shows that diminishing powerful Black women is still in fashion
By Karen Attiah | Opinion :: The Washington Post | January 2021
“In life, as in boxing, it’s often the punches you don’t see coming that knock you out.”

5. Queen Bee Sperm Storage Holds Clues to Colony Collapse
By Karen Kwon | Scientific American | January 2021
“Analyzing fluid from queen bees’ specialized sperm sacs can expose stressors”

6. Will COVID-19 vaccines work on the new coronavirus variant?
Associated Press | December 2020
“Experts believe so, but they’re working to confirm that.”

7. ‘A Social Species’: How Kangaroos Communicate With People
By Yan Zhuang | The New York Times | December 2020
“Researchers say that kangaroos are the first wild animals to exhibit interspecies communication that is more commonly seen in animals that have evolved alongside humans.”

8. The End of Colonialism in South Asia
By Christopher Rose, Joan Neuberger and Henry Wiencek | 15 Minute History :: UT Department of History | 2014-2020
Also see: The Spanish Inquisition | The Haitian Revolution | America’s Entry in to World War I | Simón Bolívar

9. How to Build a Covert Fire
By Malia Wollan | Tip :: The New York Times Magazine | December 2020
“First, find a suitable place to dig. Look for firm soil, not too rocky or sandy; a trowel, while not strictly necessary, will make the job easier.”

10. Tutankhamun
By Melvyn Bragg | In Our Time :: BBC 4 | 2013-2020
Also see: Epicureanism | The War of 1812 | Romulus and Remus | Comets

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Looking back at the goth girls of 2009 / The U.S. Capitol lives on / Andrew Johnson and Donald Trump / A decade since the Arab Spring / The hellish three months ahead of us

This week: Looking back at the goth girls of 2009 / The U.S. Capitol lives on / Andrew Johnson and Donald Trump / A decade since the Arab Spring / The hellish three months ahead of us

Most of these great items come from my social media networks. Follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and Facebook for more fascinating videos, photos, articles, essays, and criticism. Learn more about my academic background here.

1. After the insurrection
The Economist | January 2021
“The terrible scenes on Capitol Hill illustrate how Donald Trump has changed his party”

2. Our Capitol perseveres
By Greg Roney | Opinion :: The Washington Post | January 2021
“The Capitol Dome is topped by the Statue of Freedom, under which Lincoln lay in state for three days following his funeral. … The Union did not allow the South within the city limits, yet Wednesday’s lawless rioters trampled the Capitol’s sacred halls waving Confederate flags over the very spot Lincoln was bid farewell by a grateful nation.”

3. This impeached, one-term president refused to go to his successor’s inauguration. Now Trump will do the same.
By Robert G. Schafer | Retropolis :: The Washington Post | January 2021
“It’s been 152 years since Andrew Johnson decided not to attend the swearing-in of Ulysses S. Grant”

4. Raven, the Acid Bath Princess of the Darkness, Emerges from the Depths of Hell (the Internet)
By Clare Martin | Vulture :: New York Magazine | January 2021
“Their YouTube channel, xXblo0dyxkissxX, featured the girls and, occasionally, their friend Azer (who was briefly disowned after being spotted in a Hollister) dancing and singing along to the likes of Good Charlotte and Papa Roach, while also asserting their devotion to the goth lifestyle.”

5. The Next 3 Months Are Going to Be Pure Hell
By Timothy Egan | The New York Times | December 2020
“We are prisoners of our homes and our minds, Zoom-fatigued, desperate for social contact. As a nation, we are diminished and exhausted, and millions remain out of work.”

6. Pandemic-era Mardi Gras: No big crowds, but plenty of cake
By Rebecca Santana | Associated Press | January 2021
“The season is usually marked by extravagant balls and parades where costumed riders throw trinkets to the mobs of people packed along the parade routes. The coronavirus has put an end to those large events. But that has not stopped notoriously creative New Orleanians from coming up with socially distant ways to celebrate.”

7. How to Collect Salt
By Malia Wollan | Tip :: The New York Times Magazine | December 2020
“Find somewhere warm, near the sea, and fashion shallow evaporation ponds to concentrate salinity.”

8. Mapping Perspectives of the Mexican-American War
By Christopher Rose, Joan Neuberger and Henry Wiencek | 15 Minute History :: UT Department of History | 2014-2020
Also see: Effects of the Atlantic Slave Trade on the Americas | Russia’s October 1917 Revolution | The International Energy Crisis of 1973 | America and the Beginnings of the Cold War

9. ‘He ruined us’: 10 years on, Tunisians curse man who sparked Arab spring
By Michael Safi in Sidi Bouzid | The Guardian | December 2020
“Thanks in part to Mohamed Bouazizi’s self-immolation, Tunisians are freer than before, but many are miserable and disillusioned”

10. Fernando Pessoa
By Melvyn Bragg | In Our Time :: BBC 4 | 2020
Also see: The Zong Massacre | Maria Theresa | Alan Turing | Macbeth

100 Years Ago in Texas: A Selection from the General Photograph Collection

The Top Shelf

For our first blog post this year we display a few images that give us a glimpse of Texas in 1921. They show typical small businesses in a time before chain stores. Views in rural communities reveal streets reminiscent of the 19th century. At the same time, urban areas were growing fast. We selected one image to illustrate the expanding role of military bases as one of the vehicles of growth. There were no major events in Texas that year other than the tragic flooding that took place in Central Texas in September, caused by a dying hurricane moving over the area. At least 215 people died, including 51 in San Antonio. Most of these photographs are copies from family collections.

La Gloria, 101 South Laredo Street, San Antonio, one of many small neighborhood grocery stores before the arrival of chain supermarkets. (098-1119, courtesy of Patti Elizondo)

Brooks Field…

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