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

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Thoughts from the Second Gentleman / The history of land borders / Caligula’s gardens / Cleavage and modern culture / Demonic possession

This week: Thoughts from the Second Gentleman / The history of land borders / Caligula’s gardens / Cleavage and modern culture / Demonic possession

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 Has the Pandemic Done to Our Eyes?
By Eve Peyser | Intelligencer :: New York Magazine | January 2021
“Take a minute every hour to look away and close your eyes. Somehow in the darkness, with your eyeballs moist and safe, everything feels just a little bit better.”

2. I Might Be the First Second Gentleman, But I Don’t Want to Be the Last
By Douglas Emhoff | GQ | January 2021
“Douglas Emhoff reflects on his unique place in history at the side of his wife Kamala Harris.”

3. The Oldest, The Longest, The Weirdest: A Brief History of Land Borders
By Simon Winchester | Harper :: LitHub | January 2021
“The great majority of the world’s land borders were fashioned in the late 19th and early 20th centuries: a fierce acceleration of nation building got under way in 1850, became territorial mayhem between 1875 and 1899 … and reached its climacteric in the first two decades of the 20th century. …”

4. Trump revived Andrew Jackson’s spoils system, which would undo America’s 138-year-old professional civil service
By Barry M. Mitnick | The Conversation | January 2021
“Less than two weeks before Election Day, Donald Trump signed an executive order that threatens to return the U.S. to a spoils system in which a large share of the federal government’s workforce could be fired for little or no reason. … While President Joe Biden appears likely to reverse the order, its effects may not be so easily undone. And he may have his own reasons for keeping it temporarily in place.”

5. Busted! What The Great and Bridgerton reveal about cleavage
By Morwenna Ferrier | The Guardian | January 2021
“Corset sales are up, even in lockdown, as the nation binge-watches glossy costume dramas. But even in the 18th century, the cantilevered look could be fraught”

6. Caligula’s Garden of Delights, Unearthed and Restored
By Franz Lidz | The New York Times | January 2021
“Relics from the favorite hideaway of ancient Rome’s most infamous tyrant have been recovered and put on display by archaeologists.”

7. Which winter sports are safest to play during COVID-19?
Associated Press | December 2020
“The best physical activities for limiting the risk of coronavirus infections are the ones you do alone or with members of your household”

8. ‘Demonic Possession’ in Early Modern Europe
By Christopher Rose, Joan Neuberger and Henry Wiencek | 15 Minute History :: UT Department of History | 2014-2020
Also see: History of the Ottoman Empire, Part 1 | History of the Ottoman Empire, Part 2 | European Imperialism in the Middle East, Part 1 | European Imperialism in the Middle East, Part 2

9. How to Scatter Cremated Remains
By Malia Wollan | Tip :: The New York Times Magazine | October 2020
“Note the location with GPS coordinates. At sea, human remains, including ashes, must be thrown at least three nautical miles from land.”

10. Coffee
By Melvyn Bragg | In Our Time :: BBC 4 | 2013-2020
Also see: The Valladolid Debate | The Amazons | Japan’s Sakoku Period | Ice Ages

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: 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

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: How to stop biting your nails / Hoping for the end of the world / Madrid’s abandoned ‘beach’ / Swimming with a shark / India’s ‘solar canals’

This week: How to stop biting your nails / Hoping for the end of the world / Madrid’s abandoned ‘beach’ / Swimming with a shark / India’s ‘solar canals’

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 Handbook for Our Times: The Elements of Stress
By Bob Eckstein | LitHub | November 2020
“Things could not get any worse but they can get funnier.”

2. Notes on Grief
By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie | The New Yorker | September 2020
“Grief is a cruel kind of education. You learn how ungentle mourning can be, how full of anger. You learn how glib condolences can feel. You learn how much grief is about language, the failure of language and the grasping for language.”

3. The ‘solar canals’ making smart use of India’s space
By Kalpana Sunder | Future Planet :: BBC | August 2020
“Solar energy is clean, but it usually takes up huge tracts of land. In India, an alternative is turning the country’s canals into glittering trails of solar panels.”

4. How to Stop Biting Your Nails
By Malia Wollan | Tip :: The New York Times Magazine | July 2020
“Keep in mind that putting your hands in your mouth during a viral pandemic increases your infection risk.”

5. ‘Dad, I’m bored’: What I learned from my son’s incurable boredom
By Mark O’Connell | 1843 :: The Economist | October 2020
“My insistence on the connection was, in retrospect not only a cliché but strangely puritanical, as though boredom could not be encountered on its own terms but only as a necessary stage on the way to productivity.”

6. The Pros and Cons of Swimming With a Hammerhead
By Cara Giaimo | The New York Times | September 2020
“A new study suggests that the ocean’s strangest-looking headgear is difficult to tote around.”

7. Yearning for the end of the world
By Dina Nayeri | The Guardian | August 2017
“Though the word ‘rapture’ never appears in the Bible, the concept has gripped Christians for centuries. It has spawned novels and movies, books interpreting modern events and thousands upon thousands of feverish pulpit speeches”

8. How to Mend a Pair of Jeans
By Malia Wollan | Tip :: The New York Times Magazine | July 2020
“Wives of rural, working-class farmers and fishermen developed the stitching technique as early as the 1600s as a means to reinforce and mend their clothing.”

9. When in Doubt, Smile Like an Axolotl
By Aimee Nezhukumatathil | LitHub | September 2020
“If a white girl tries to tell you what your brown skin can and cannot wear for makeup, just remember the smile of an axolotl. The best thing to do in that moment is to just smile and smile, even if your smile is thin. The tighter your smile, the tougher you become.”

10. The story of Madrid’s abandoned ‘beach’ for its working class
By Peio H. Riano | El Pais | September 2020
“Built in 1932 in a style reminiscent of Le Corbusier and used by Robert Capa for a famous photograph, the landmark site is in a state of complete neglect after years of payment defaults”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Spared from the office party / The Pease River massacre / A century of trust / Frank Gehry's tribute to Eisenhower / What bees need in the apiary

This week: Spared from the office party / The Pease River massacre / A century of trust / Frank Gehry’s tribute to Eisenhower / What bees need in the apiary

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. Winters of Discontent
By Matt Hanson | The Baffler | December 2020
“On John Steinbeck’s bleak America”

2. These women dread office holiday parties. They’re glad to be off the hook this year.
By Sydney Page | The Lily :: The Washington Post | December 2020
“‘I definitely am not missing the forced interaction, the small talk, the sizing up’”

3. ‘The Earth and its oceans are finite. We need to show mutual restraint’
By David Attenborough | The Guardian | December 2020
“At 94, what has the world’s most-travelled naturalist learned? He talks garden birds in lockdown, the eerie silence of Chernobyl — and tackling the climate crisis”

4. How to Rename a Street
By Malia Wollan | Tip :: The New York Times Magazine | June 2020
“Choose the street carefully. Roadways with few or no addresses, like highways, are the easiest to rename.”

5. What Happened at Pease River Wasn’t a Battle. It Was a Massacre
By W.K. Stratton | Texas Monthly | December 2020
“How a Texas Ranger’s personal mythology came to be accepted as popular history”

6. The 10 most important things I’ve learned about trust over my 100 years
By George P. Shultz | The Washington Post | December 2020
“When trust was in the room, whatever room that was — the family room, the schoolroom, the locker room, the office room, the government room or the military room — good things happened. When trust was not in the room, good things did not happen. Everything else is details.”

7. What if the Great American Novelist Doesn’t Write Novels?
By Mark Binelli | The New York Times Magazine | December 2020
“Frederick Wiseman’s documentary films offer an unparalleled, panoramic vision of society. His 45th feature, ‘City Hall,’ is on PBS this month — and he’s eager to get back to work.”

8. Frank Gehry sees end to ‘bombastic’ monuments as Eisenhower tribute unveiled
By David Smith | The Guardian | September 2020
“The memorial, in a four-acre park near the US Capitol in Washington, [was dedicated] at a time when racial unrest has prompted the removal of numerous statues of Confederate soldiers who fought to uphold slavery and debate over those commemorating former presidents such as Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson and even Abraham Lincoln.”

9. Aromatherapy in the Apiary Is What Bees Need
By Matt Kaplan | The New York Times | September 2020
“Honeybees were better at pollinating crops after scent training.”

10. Did a Revolution in Latin American Publishing Make One Hundred Years of Solitude the Success It Is Today?
By Álvaro Santana-Acuña | LitHub | September 2020
“For decades, low print runs weakened the circulation of literature in the region and beyond. In Mexico and Argentina, which published more titles than the rest of Latin American countries combined, the print run of most literary books was under five thousand copies. In Spain, it was three thousand.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Reading faster / Biden’s foreign policy challenges / Remembering a slave’s death in a pandemic / The rise of freebirthing / The fall of Rome and the fall of America

This week: Reading faster / Biden’s foreign policy challenges / Remembering a slave’s death in a pandemic / The rise of freebirthing / The fall of Rome and the fall of America

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’s next for America’s favorite news podcast
By Kerry Flynn | CNN Business | December 2020
“[W]ith an incoming president who ran on restoring normalcy to a chaotic White House, what remains to be decided is whether listeners will still flock to ‘The Daily’ for deep dives and explanations of the news.”

2. How to Read Faster
By Malia Wollan | Tip :: The New York Times Magazine | March 2020
“You tend to read faster by reading more.”

3. Biden faces a changed world and no end of foreign policy challenges from China to Iran
By Karen DeYoung | The Washington Post | December 2020
“Biden faces competing priorities, congressional hurdles and wary, if welcoming, allies. In some cases, such as with North Korea and Venezuela, the most daunting obstacle to foreign policy success is the one that has bedeviled several presidents before him. There are no good options.”

4. How to Talk to Yourself
By Malia Wollan | Tip :: The New York Times Magazine | April 2020
“Research suggests that people with low self-esteem who try to force positive self-talk can end up feeling worse.”

5. A Brief Appreciation of the Incest Gnocchi Scene in The Godfather: Part III
By Roxana Hadadi | Vulture :: New York Magazine | December 2020
“In the kitchen of Vincent’s club, though, Mary stops being his ‘little cousin’ and asserts herself as the executor of her own desires. She is a young woman discovering her sexuality, and I’m sorry, who wouldn’t fall for a man who makes his own pasta?”
Also see, from Vulture: In Conversation: Francis Ford Coppola

6. Cicely was young, Black and enslaved – her death during an epidemic in 1714 has lessons that resonate in today’s pandemic
By Nicole S. Maskiell | The Conversation | December 2020
“Throughout the United States, as COVID-19 affects frontline workers and communities of color far more than other demographic groups … I believe it’s important to look back at how a few marginalized and oppressed people who served on the front lines of prior epidemics have been treated and remembered. ”

7. ‘Women feel they have no option but to give birth alone’: the rise of freebirthing
By Hannah Summers | The Guardian | December 2020
“As Covid infections rose, hospital felt like an increasingly dangerous place to have a baby. But is laboring without midwives or doctors the answer?”

8. The Social Life of Forests
By Ferris Jabr | The New York Times Magazine | December 2020
“Trees appear to communicate and cooperate through subterranean networks of fungi. What are they sharing with one another?”

9. America Is Eerily Retracing Rome’s Steps to a Fall. Will It Turn Around Before It’s Too Late?
By Tim Elliott | Politico Magazine | November 2020
“Two thousand years ago, the famous Republic had a chance to reject a dangerous populist. It failed, and the rest is history.”

10. The Amazon has seen our future
The New York Times | October 2020
“We’ve been talking about ‘saving the rainforest’ for decades, but trees are still burning, oil is still spilling, and dams are still being built. Today, the people of the Amazon are living through the most extreme versions of our planet’s most urgent problems.”