Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Fearless WWII spies / The asteroid and the Amazon forest / Walt Whitman and the Civil War / Percy the Mars rover / The tango and samba

This week: Fearless WWII spies / The asteroid and the Amazon forest / Walt Whitman and the Civil War / Percy the Mars rover / The tango and samba

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. Five fearless female WWII spies and resistors
By Erika Robuck | CrimeReads | April 2021
“Operating behind enemy lines, women took on some of the war effort’s most dangerous clandestine work.”

2. The Asteroid That Killed the Dinosaurs Created the Amazon Rain Forest
By Rachel Nuwer | Scientific American | April 2021
“Fossilized pollen and leaves reveal that the meteorite that caused the extinction of nonavian dinosaurs also reshaped South America’s plant communities to yield the planet’s largest rain forest”

3. How the American Civil War Gave Walt Whitman a Call to Action
By Mark Edmundson | LitHub | April 2021
“Lincoln said that if he could save the Union without freeing a single slave, he would do so. Whitman the citizen and journalist would have concurred: though as we’ve seen, Whitman the visionary nurtured other aspirations about race in democratic America.”

4. One of the World’s Oldest Science Experiments Comes Up From the Dirt
By Cara Giaimo | The New York Times | April 2021
“Every 20 years under the cover of darkness, scientists dig up seeds that were stashed 142 years ago beneath a college campus.”

5. Rediscovering the Scientist-Priest Who Radically Changed Our View of the Universe
By Guido Tonelli | LitHub | April 2021
“He is among the first to grasp that Einstein’s equations can also describe a dynamic universe, a system of constant mass but one that is expanding—with a radius, that is, which gets bigger with the passage of time.”

6. What’s new with Percy the Mars rover?
By Nick Kirkpatrick, Frank Hulley-Jones and Laris Karklis | The Washington Post | April 2021
“Over the next 31 days, Ginny the chopper will make a handful of test flights in the thin Mars air under the watchful gaze of Percy, which will relay images and data back to NASA. The flight is one of several astonishing successes so far, in a Martian-year-long mission dedicated to a centuries-old mystery: Did ancient microbial life flourish somewhere besides Earth?”

7. The invention of whiteness: The long history of a dangerous idea
By Robert P. Baird | The Guardian | April 2021
“Before the 17th century, people did not think of themselves as belonging to something called the white race. But once the idea was invented, it quickly began to reshape the modern world”

8. The Case for Women’s History
By Christopher Rose, Joan Neuberger and Henry Wiencek | 15 Minute History :: UT Department of History | 2014-2020
Also see: The Legacy of WWI in the Balkans and Middle East | The Yazid Inscription | A History of the U.S. Marine Corps | The Tango and Samba

9. A DNA Zoo Maps the Mysteries of All Creatures Great and Small
By Jeff Balke | Texas Monthly | April 2021
“Scientists at a Baylor College of Medicine lab in Houston are sequencing the genomes of the world’s animals, one strand at a time.”

10. A Midsummer Night’s Dream
By Melvyn Bragg | In Our Time :: BBC 4 | 2009-2019
Also see: Pythagoras | The Silk Road | Sparta | The Geological Formation of Britain

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Dealing with your cat’s death / The final chapter of Queen Elizabeth II / Learning to appreciate spring beauty again / The imperial governors / Exploring Antarctica

This week: Dealing with your cat’s death / The final chapter of Queen Elizabeth II / Learning to appreciate spring beauty again / The imperial governors / Exploring Antarctica

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. The Excruciating Decision to End a Cat’s Life
By Martha Cooley | LitHub | April 2021
“I cannot tell my cat that I don’t want her days to be full of stress. Nor can I tell her how grateful I am for her quickness and humor, her curiosity, her regular gestures of what I receive as affection, her discretion.”

2. Queen enters ‘twilight’ of reign after farewell to Philip
By Danica Kirka | Associated Press | April 2021
“While most observers say the queen is unlikely to abdicate given her lifelong commitment to public service, she has already started to turn over more responsibilities to Prince Charles, 72, her eldest son. That process is likely to accelerate following Philip’s death.”

3. How to Help St. Vincent Amid Volcanic Disaster
By Claire Lampen | The Cut :: Vulture | April 2021
“Thankfully, residents were evacuated 24 hours ahead of time, so no one was injured or killed by the event itself. But now, an estimated 20,000 people have been displaced from their homes, and the island faces a growing humanitarian crisis.”

4. Pandemic puts tulips, bluebells, cherry blossoms in hiding
By Raf Casert | Associated Press | April 2021
“From Japan’s cherry blossom trees, to the endless Keukenhof tulip fields in the Netherlands, to the riot of purple bluebells in the Hallerbos south of Brussels, everything looks its best this spring when conditions are at its worst.”

5. Howard University’s removal of classics is a spiritual catastrophe
By Cornel West and Jeremy Tate | The Washington Post | April 2021
“The Western canon is, more than anything, a conversation among great thinkers over generations that grows richer the more we add our own voices and the excellence of voices from Africa, Asia, Latin America and everywhere else in the world. We should never cancel voices in this conversation, whether that voice is Homer or students at Howard University. For this is no ordinary discussion.”

6. The end of the imperial governorship
By Nick Niedzwiadek | Politico Magazine | April 2021
“Lawmakers across the country want to curtail the sweeping powers of state executives after the pandemic led governors to flex their muscles in historic new ways.”

7. It is time to reassess our obsession with women’s fertility and the number 35
By Arwa Mahdawi | The Guardian | April 2021
“A study extending women’s reproductive years offers a chance to look again at how the age of 35 has been treated as a fertility cliff”

8. Violent Policing of the Texas Border
By Christopher Rose, Joan Neuberger and Henry Wiencek | 15 Minute History :: UT Department of History | 2014-2020
Also see: Slavery and Abolition | Slave-Owning Women in the Antebellum U.S. | The Caribbean Roots of Biodiversity Science | Albert Einstein – Separating Man from Myth

9. Meet the introverts who are dreading a return to normal
By Roxanne Roberts | The Washington Post | April 2021
“Social scientists correctly predicted that introverts were best suited to weather the stress of the past year. After months of lockdown, the question now is whether introverts can teach the rest of us something about moving forward.”

10. Nero
By Melvyn Bragg | In Our Time :: BBC 4 | 2010-2019
Also see: Antarctica | Mathematics’ Unintended Consequences | Ibn Khaldun | The Samurai

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Pelosi’s war with the next generation / The evolution of the romance genre / Remembering the fall of Saigon / The T. Rex census / New histories of the UT Tower shooting

This week: Pelosi’s war with the next generation / The evolution of the romance genre / Remembering the fall of Saigon / The T. Rex census / New histories of the UT Tower shooting

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. Inside Nancy Pelosi’s War With AOC and the Squad
By Susan Page | Politico Magazine | April 2021
“How the House speaker put Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in her place.”

2. How the romance genre found its happily ever after
By Angela Haupt | The Washington Post | April 2021
“Here, a dozen people — authors, editors, agents, cover artists and one mononymous male model — recount how the modern romance industry came together and took off.”

3. The Rhymes And Reasons Behind Re-Recording Your Own Classics
By Annie Zaleski | NPR | April 2021
“In general, the reasons for these re-records are simple: financial control and creative ownership.”

4. The Wizard in the White City
By Kirstin Butler | American Experience :: PBS | April 2021
“L. Frank Baum’s long and winding road to Oz, and the Chicago World’s Fair that inspired his life’s work.”

5. How many Tyrannosaurus rex walked the Earth?
By Ashley Poust and Daniel Varajão de Latorre | The Conversation | April 2021
“To estimate population, our team of paleontologists and scientists had to combine the extraordinarily comprehensive existing research on T. rex with an ecological principle that connects population density to body size.”

6. Forty years on from the fall of Saigon: Witnessing the end of the Vietnam war
By Martin Woollacott | The Guardian | April 2015
“Much suffering and grief lay in the past, but there was a presentiment, even as things ended in Saigon, that the future held more of the same.”

7. How to Collect Firewood
By Malia Wollan | Tip :: The New York Times Magazine | March 2021
“To cut enough wood to keep a house warm for the winter, you’ll need to know your way around a chain saw.”

8. Behind the Tower: New Histories of the UT Tower Shooting
By Christopher Rose, Joan Neuberger and Henry Wiencek | 15 Minute History :: UT Department of History | 2014-2020
Also see: 1968 – The Year the Dream Died | Harvey Milk, Forty Years Later | Stokely Carmichael: A Life | The History of the Family

9. What’s next for Cuba and the United States after Raul Castro’s retirement
By Joseph J. Gonzalez | The Conversation | April 2021
“Cuban President Miguel Díaz Canel, who took office in 2018 after Raul Castro stepped down as president, has resisted calls for democratic reforms and has pressing economic issues to manage, as well as a pandemic. So does his American counterpart, President Joe Biden. The White House recently said Cuba policy is ‘not a top priority.’ ”

10. Frankenstein
By Melvyn Bragg | In Our Time :: BBC 4 | 2010-2019
Also see: Shinto | The Hippocratic Oath | Thomas Edison | Cleopatra

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Healing in cold water / Selena thrives on TikTok / The benefits of oak trees / Microaggressions / Low tech interventions for loneliness

This week: Healing in cold water / Selena thrives on TikTok / The benefits of oak trees / Microaggressions / Low tech interventions for loneliness

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. Women Are Instrumental To Latin Music
By Anamaria Sayre and Felix Contreras | Alt Latino :: NPR | March 2021
“Latin music has a history of disenfranchising women. They’re often placed behind the mic or in the background — assuming they’re allowed to participate at all.”

2. Cold comfort: How cold water swimming cured my broken heart
By Wendell Steavenson | The Guardian | March 2021
“I never in a million years thought I would be a person who would enjoy swimming in cold water. I swam when the weather was hot, or did laps in indoor swimming pools; I spent a lot of time in the bath. I loved the water, but I was like a cat, I liked being warm more.”

3. Selena Is Still Alive on TikTok
By Daise Bedolla | The Cut :: New York Magazine | March 2021
“Selena impersonations are particularly popular around Halloween when fans and celebrities … transform themselves into la reina de Tejano. … But scroll through the app, and you’ll find much more than just impersonations.”

4. Why You Should Plant Oaks
By Margaret Roach | The New York Times | March 2021
“These large, long-lived trees support more life-forms than any other trees in North America. And they’re magnificent.”

5. In Hotter Climate, ‘Zombie’ Urchins Are Winning And Kelp Forests Are Losing
By Lauren Sommer | NPR | March 2021
“Kelp forests provide a crucial ecosystem for a broad range of other marine life and animals, so their demise threatens the ecology across the entire stretch of California coast.”

6. How Animal Intelligence Helps Us Speculate About the Alien Mind
By Arik Kershenbaum | Lit Hub | March 2021
“Intelligence evolves all the time to fit specific needs — it is not merely an inherited trait from the dawn of time.”

7. Microaggressions: Death by a Thousand Cuts
By Derald Wing Sue | Opinion :: Scientific American | March 2021
“The everyday slights, insults and offensive behaviors that people of marginalized groups experience in daily interactions cause real psychological harm”

8. Operation Intercept
By Christopher Rose, Joan Neuberger and Henry Wiencek | 15 Minute History :: UT Department of History | 2014-2020
Also see: Seven Skeletons | The Search for Family Lost in Slavery | Rethinking the Agricultural ‘Revolution’ | How Jews Translate the Bible and Why

9. Loneliness Is a Public Health Problem: This Low-Tech Intervention Can Help
By Kasra Zarei | Scientific American | March 2021
“Phone calls may be integral to connecting with people who are lonely and isolated”

10. Napoleon’s Retreat from Moscow
By Melvyn Bragg | In Our Time :: BBC 4 | 2011-2019
Also see: The Druids | Xenophon | The Anatomy of Melancholy | Islamic Law and its Origins

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Understanding your zodiac sign / Saving the butterflies / Pence lays groundwork for the future / Sharon Stone’s story / New insight into Pliny’s masterpiece

This week: Understanding your zodiac sign / Saving the butterflies / Pence lays groundwork for the future / Sharon Stone’s story / New insight into Pliny’s masterpiece

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. Save the Butterflies — but Not to Save Our Food Supply
By Erica Fleishman | Opinion :: Scientific American | March 2021
“These insects are lovely, but despite what many think, they aren’t significant contributors to pollinating agriculturally important plants”

2. How to Understand Every Zodiac Sign, by Element
The Cut :: New York Magazine | March 2021
“The signs are grouped into four elements — fire, water, earth, and air — with three signs in each.”

3. How to make sure Biden’s infrastructure plan can hold up to climate change – and save money
By Jeremy Bricker | The Conversation | March 2021
“In the Netherlands, some flood control systems are designed to adapt to future climate change.”

4. Insurrections, Indigenous Power, & The Empire for Slavery in the Southwest
By Max Flormen | Muster :: The Journal of the Civil War Era | March 2021
“The realities of Indigenous power, marronage, and Mexico’s emancipation policies haunted Anglo-American visions of a white supremacist imperial order in the trans-Mississippi West.”

5. Trump’s heir? Pence reemerges, lays groundwork for 2024 run
By Jill Colvin | Associated Press | March 2021
“The former vice president is steadily reentering public life as he eyes a potential run for the White House in 2024. He’s joining conservative organizations, writing op-eds, delivering speeches and launching an advocacy group that will focus on promoting the Trump administration’s accomplishments.”

6. Seeing Isaac Woodard
By Kirstin Butler | American Experience :: PBS | March 2021
“Remembering the WWII veteran beyond the vicious racist attack that blinded him.”

7. The Essential Larry McMurtry
By Tina Jordan | The New York Times Book Review | March 2021
“The Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and Academy Award-winning screenwriter explored the myths and legacies of the West in his work.”

8. Fishmeal—The Superfood That Never Was
By Christopher Rose, Joan Neuberger and Henry Wiencek | 15 Minute History :: UT Department of History | 2014-2020
Also see: Simone de Beauvoir and ‘The Second Sex’ | What Writing Can Tell Us About the Arabs before Islam | The Trans-Pacific Silver Trade and Early-Modern Globalization | Colonial Medicine and STDs in 1920s Uganda

9. Sharon Stone Is Telling Her Side of the Story
By Dave Itzkoff | The New York Times | March 2021
“The actress and star of films like Basic Instinct and Casino writes about her life, upbringing and brushes with death in a new memoir, The Beauty of Living Twice.”

10. President Ulysses S Grant
By Melvyn Bragg | In Our Time :: BBC 4 | 2010-2019
Also see: The Unicorn | The Spanish Armada | The Delphic Oracle | Pliny’s Natural History

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: How horses evolved / Spanish king does damage control / Humanity and Halley’s Comet / COVID’s sexual secrets / Kim Novak survived Hollywood’s abuses

This week: How horses evolved / Spanish king does damage control / Humanity and Halley’s Comet / COVID’s sexual secrets / Kim Novak survived Hollywood’s abuses

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. ‘What I Want Out of Life Is to Be Loved’: Kim Novak on Healing After Leaving Hollywood
By Scott Feinberg | The Hollywood Reporter | March 2021
“The icon of Vertigo — and Trump target at the 2014 Oscars — reveals what liberated her after years of studio system abuse, her bipolar diagnosis and the untold story behind her rumored romance with Sammy Davis Jr.”

2. A year on, what lessons have been learned from the pandemic?
Babbage :: The Economist | March 2021
“How past pandemics shaped society and can the ‘new normal’ be a better normal?”

3. 160 years later, Confederate constitution an ignoble relic
By Jay Reeves | Associated Press | March 2021
“Composed in faded ink on five large sheets of animal skin connected in a single scroll more than 12 feet (3.7 meters) long, the constitution is stored in a vault and rarely seen in public. By contrast, the U.S. Constitution is on display at the National Archives, visited by 1 million people in a typical year.”

4. In the Path of Halley’s Comet, Humanity Might Find Its Way Forward
By Henry DaCosta, Mitch Myers and Jeffery DelViscio | Scientific American | March 2021
“The work of decoding the cosmic traveler has surprising relevance right now”

5. A Year of Secrets
By Anna Silman | The Cut :: New York Magazine | March 2021
“COVID-era confessions, from ski trips to lovers to second jobs”

6. Spain’s King Felipe VI struggles to repair tarnished image of royal family
By Miguel Gonzalez | El Pais | March 2021
“The scandal over the alleged financial irregularities of his father, Juan Carlos I, has been compounded by his sisters’ decision to jump the Covid-19 vaccine line. Can the monarch fix the damage?”

7. Fences around the Capitol are a temporary fix. Here’s what we should do.
By Russel Honoré | Opinion :: The Washington Post | March 2021
“We don’t want to lose our democracy, but fences won’t protect it.”

8. Witch Hunting in Early Modern Europe
By Christopher Rose, Joan Neuberger and Henry Wiencek | 15 Minute History :: UT Department of History | 2014-2020
Also see: The Precolumbian Civilizations of Mesoamerica | Islam’s Enigmatic Origins | White Women of the Harlem Renaissance | The Harlem Renaissance

9. Why we need to take bad sex more seriously
By Katherine Angel | The Guardian | March 2021
“Consent has been portrayed as the cure for all the ills of our sexual culture. But what if the injunction to ‘know what you want’ is another form of coercion?”

10. Cave Art
By Melvyn Bragg | In Our Time :: BBC 4 | 2020
Also see: The Trojan War | Marco Polo | Clausewitz and On War | The Evolution of Horses

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Does Texas face a massive bug storm? / Brood X cicadas are coming / Black women want better births / The founding fathers / Care for a wounded manatee

This week: Does Texas face a massive bug storm? / Brood X cicadas are coming / Black women want better births / The founding fathers / Care for a wounded manatee

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. Do Thousands of Bat Deaths Mean Texans Will Face a Mosquito-Ridden Summer?
By Tara Haelle | Texas Monthly | March 2021
“Last month’s winter storm decimated the state’s populations of the winged mammals, which may have lasting ecological effects.”

2. In search of lost smell and taste
By Sasha von Oldershausen | The Believer | February 2021
“Mapping the sensory fallout from COVID-19”

3. Billions of cicadas may be coming soon to trees near you
By John Cooley and Chris Simon | The Conversation | March 2021
“Starting sometime in April or May, depending on latitude, one of the largest broods of 17-year cicadas will emerge from underground in a dozen states, from New York west to Illinois and south into northern Georgia. This group is known as Brood X, as in the Roman numeral for 10.”

4. Unmasked: Across Texas, elation and caution as COVID-19 restrictions end after a year
By Karen Brooks Harper, Duncan Agnew and Marissa Martinez | The Texas Tribune | March 2021
“A newly ‘open’ state will likely look very different in rural towns and suburban neighborhoods compared to more populous areas and coronavirus hot spots, residents and business owners say.”

5. Why Black Women Are Rejecting Hospitals in Search of Better Births
By Alice Proujansky | The New York Times | March 2021
“Some mothers are seeking alternatives, worried about Covid-19 and racial inequities in health care.”

6. One, two, tree: how AI helped find millions of trees in the Sahara
By Amy Fleming | The Guardian | January 2021
“Efforts to map the Earth’s trees are growing – and could change our understanding of the planet’s health”

7. The Physician Who Presaged the Germ Theory of Disease Nearly 500 Years Ago
By Ewan Morgan | Scientific American | January 2021
“Largely forgotten today, Girolamo Fracastoro was a seminal figure in our understanding of infectious illness”

8. The February Revolution of 1917
By Christopher Rose, Joan Neuberger and Henry Wiencek | 15 Minute History :: UT Department of History | 2014-2020
Also see: An Iranian Intellectual Visits Israel | Perspectives of the Founding Fathers | The Scramble for Africa | Islamic Extremism in the Modern World

9. How to Treat a Wounded Manatee
By Malia Wollan | Tip :: The New York Times Magazine | January 2021
“To accelerate healing, Peterson’s team uses antibiotics, cold-laser therapy and stem cells, as well as raw, unpasteurized honey.”

10. Battle of the Teutoburg Forest
By Melvyn Bragg | In Our Time :: BBC 4 | 2012-2020
Also see: Literature | Heraclitus | Ptolemy and Ancient Astronomy | The Moon

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Martian probe’s video / Dogs in the White House / Joan Didion on writing / Pop music and segregation / Revolutions of 1848

This week: Martian probe’s video / Dogs in the White House / Joan Didion on writing / Pop music and segregation / Revolutions of 1848

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. Mars Video Reveals Perseverance Rover’s Daring Touchdown
By Alexandra Witze | Scientific American | February 2021
“The NASA spacecraft has also snapped more shots of its surroundings and listened to a Martian wind gust”

2. The Wonder of It All
By Jon Kirby | Oxford American | November 2019
“In Ron McNair’s Orbit”

3. ‘Who pours the kibble?’ And other answers about daily life for dogs in the White House
By Bonnie Berkowitz | The Washington Post | January 2021
“When the two German shepherds entered the White House, they brought a great opportunity to dig into the day-to-day doggie logistics in one of the busiest and most powerful households in the world.”

4. Joan Didion: Why I Write
By Joan Didion | LitHub | January 2021
“All I knew then was what I wasn’t, and it took me some years to discover what I was.”
Also see, from The New Yorker: What We Get Wrong About Joan Didion

5. Fran Lebowitz on Not Sleeping, Not Writing, and Not Naming Names
By Brian Alessandro | Interview | January 2021
“Lebowitz and I discussed her relationship with Warhol … her disdain for bad art, taxing the tasteless, and trigger warnings, among other topics. No matter what she’s saying, it’s always imbued with her trademark wit and bold judgments.”

6. Biden administration could have record number of Indian Americans — more than half women
By Alexa Mikhail | The 19th | January 2021
“The Biden-Harris administration has named or nominated the most Indian Americans for positions in the administration in American history.”

7. Trump’s useful thugs: how the Republican party offered a home to the Proud Boys
By Brendan O’Connor | The Guardian | January 2021
“Early in Trump’s presidency, emboldened neo-Nazi and fascist groups came out into the open but were met with widespread revulsion. So the tactics of the far right changed, becoming more insidious — and much more successful”

8. Developing the Amazon
By Christopher Rose, Joan Neuberger and Henry Wiencek | 15 Minute History :: UT Department of History | 2014-2020
Also see: Climate Change and World History | Segregating Pop Music | The Senses of Slavery | The Myth of Race in America

9. Have You Ever Experienced ‘Impostor Syndrome’?
By Nicole Daniels | The New York Times | January 2021
“Do you ever have feelings of self-doubt, that you’re not good enough or that you don’t belong?”

10. Pericles
By Melvyn Bragg | In Our Time :: BBC 4 | 2012-2020
Also see: Erasmus | The Kama Sutra | 1848: Year of Revolution | The Safavid Dynasty

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: The graceful Cary Grant / Have in drink in Pompeii / Kate Moss and achievement / The Ottoman Balkans / Li Shizhen

This week: The graceful Cary Grant / Have in drink in Pompeii / Kate Moss and achievement / The Ottoman Balkans / Li Shizhen

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. The Acrobatic Grace of Cary Grant
By Angelica Jade Bastién | Current :: The Criterion Collection | February 2021
“It is axiomatic, perhaps, that Cary Grant was as much a creation as the films he starred in.”

2. The Lingering Terror of Silence of the Lambs
By Chris Nashawaty | Esquire | February 2021
“30 years after its release, the Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins masterpiece still fascinates us. But the movie almost never even got made.”

3. Why Are Young People Having So Little Sex?
By Kate Julian | The Atlantic | December 2018
“Despite the easing of taboos and the rise of hookup apps, Americans are in the midst of a sex recession.”

4. Reconstructing the Menu of a Pub in Ancient Pompeii
By Farrell Monaco | Atlas Obscura | January 2021
“Eat like a first-century Roman, using recent archaeological discoveries as your guide”

5. Once Upon a Time, Kate Moss Thought She Couldn’t Take a Good Picture
By Mitchell Nugent | Thirstory :: Interview | March 1999
“Moss, then 25, recalled that before her career took off, neither she nor her mom had much confidence in her modeling potential.”

6. Is working in bed ruining your sleep and sex life? Here’s how to fix it
By Linda Geddes | The Guardian | January 2021
“Using the bedroom as a workspace has its pitfalls, from a disturbed body clock to a dampened libido. But it doesn’t have to be that way”

7. ‘I Could Just Vanish’: In Kabul, Pocket Notes to Prevent Anonymous Death
By David Zucchino and Fatima Faizi | The New York Times | January 2021
“As violence engulfs them, some Afghans carry notes with their names, blood types and relatives’ phone numbers in case they are killed or severely wounded.”

8. The Royal Proclamation of 1763
By Christopher Rose, Joan Neuberger and Henry Wiencek | 15 Minute History :: UT Department of History | 2014-2020
Also see: The Ottoman Balkans | Apartheid | The Egyptian Revolution | The Social Legacy of Andrew Jackson

9. Quilt artists create textiles to admire or cozy up with
By Kim Cook | Associated Press | January 2021
“Los Angeles-based artist Sabrina Gschwandtner has created a quilt series stitching together 16 mm and 35 mm film strips and backlighting them with a lightbox to illuminate the patterns.”

10. Li Shizhen
By Melvyn Bragg | In Our Time :: BBC 4 | 2012-2020
Also see: Cosmic Rays | Gnosticism | Benjamin Franklin | The An Lushan Rebellion

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Trump, the KGB agent? / The Biden-McConnell relationship / Fran Lebowitz Loves Dolly Parton / Thomas Jefferson’s Qur’an / Fermat’s Last Theorem

This week: Trump, the KGB agent? / The Biden-McConnell relationship / Fran Lebowitz Loves Dolly Parton / Thomas Jefferson’s Qur’an / Fermat’s Last Theorem

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. ‘The perfect target’: Russia cultivated Trump as asset for 40 years – ex-KGB spy
By David Smith | The Guardian | January 2021
“Yuri Shvets, posted to Washington by the Soviet Union in the 1980s, compares the former US president to ‘the Cambridge five,’ the British spy ring that passed secrets to Moscow during the second world war and early cold war.”

2. Enemies, a Love Story: Inside the 36-year Biden and McConnell Relationship
By Alex Thompson | Politico Magazine | January 2021
“The two 78-year-old deal-makers have been parties to the collapse of Capitol culture. Now they’ll need to make Washington work again.”

3. The Troubled Task of Defining Southern Literature in 2021
By Ed Tarkington | Algonquin Books :: LitHub | January 2021
“Today, I think, stories set in the South should be recognized not as stories about a particular place and time, but as microcosms of the great crucible in which all Americans now labor in our ongoing struggle over the future of our country’s divided soul.”

4. How Nothingness Became Everything We Wanted
By Kyle Chayka | The New York Times Magazine | January 2021
“Even before the pandemic, American culture was embracing numbness as an antidote for the overload of digital capitalism. But is it a real escape — or another trap?”

5. Everyone, Including Fran Lebowitz, Loves Dolly Parton
By Mitchell Nugent | Thirstory :: Interview | July 1989
“Parton shot down any idea of running for government, saying, ‘If I ever ran in East Tennessee, I’d probably win. I’m just jokin’ but I have been asked to run. But I don’t want to get into that. I don’t get involved in politics. I just have my own views, and I usually don’t tell people my opinions; I keep them to myself.’ ”

6. The Pandemic Has Erased Entire Categories of Friendship
By Amanda Mull | The Atlantic | January 2021
“There’s a reason you miss the people you didn’t even know that well.”

7. If I’ve already had the coronavirus, can I get it again?
Associated Press | January 2021
“It’s possible, but such cases seem to be rare.”

8. The Slavic Vampire
By Christopher Rose, Joan Neuberger and Henry Wiencek | 15 Minute History :: UT Department of History | 2014-2020
Also see: Thomas Jefferson’s Qur’an | Who are the Turks? | The American Revolution in Global Context, Part I | The American Revolution in Global Context, Part 2

9. Is Letterboxd Becoming a Blockbuster?
By Calum Marsh | The New York Times | January 2021
“The social media network has finally left the cinephile niche and entered the mainstream.”

10. Lawrence of Arabia
By Melvyn Bragg | In Our Time :: BBC 4 | 2020
Also see: The Anarchy | Paul Dirac | Fermat’s Last Theorem | Hannibal