It’s only the beginning of the intellectual journey

I don’t consider myself particularly wise or much of a role model, but I thought I had a few guiding principles that might be useful, if only because history, journalism and fiction are my passions too.

I was reviewing old emails the other day, and I came across a letter I wrote to a young college student who asked for my advice. He was considering joining his college newspaper. He also hoped to pursue an academic career as a historian and maybe dabble in writing historical fiction. He was worried he couldn’t do it all.

Now, I don’t consider myself particularly wise or much of a role model, but I thought I had a few guiding principles that might be useful, if only because history, journalism and fiction are my passions too.

Here’s shortened and edited version of what I said.

******

Thank you for reaching out. It sounds like you’re taking the right perspective and asking the right questions. My overall advice is this: Stick with journalism and see where it takes you. Does this mean you can’t be a historian? No. It will make you a better historian and academic writer. Does this mean you can’t be a fiction writer? Absolutely not. It will make you a clear thinker and writer.

I was always shy, but I realized early in life that I enjoyed expressing myself through the written word. When I was in my teens or early twenties, I read about Theodore Roosevelt and the many different passions he pursued throughout his life, and I decided I would be someone like that. I decided that my life would focus on three overall passions. I decided that I wanted to be remembered as a journalist, as a historian and as a historical novelist.

I started writing in college newspapers at Del Mar College in Corpus Christi (The Foghorn) and at the University of Texas at Austin (The Daily Texan). I wrote book reviews, reviewed theater performances and movies, and contributed op-ed pieces. I was already deeply interested in history, and I convinced the editors at the Texan to let me write an occasional column on history. Ironically, I wasn’t interested in straight reporting and was too shy to speak to strangers, so I never became a reporter. I worked as a proofreader — what they call a copy editor — and as a page designer.

After college, I eventually got a job at the Corpus Christi Caller-Times. No matter how accomplished you may be, always swallow your pride and start at the bottom — I started as a news assistant and junior copy editor — and work your way up. I did this even in college. Step by step. Prove yourself to your colleagues and to yourself. Learn everything you can from everyone — they all know something you don’t.

Figure out how each job and experience can help you move on to the next job and take on the challenge. The college newspaper jobs helped me get the Caller-Times job. The Caller-Times job led to a similar job at the San Antonio Express-News. That editing and writing experience was invaluable in graduate school at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and at the University of Texas at San Antonio. After several years in academics, as you know, I’m now an editor at Texas Public Radio. …

I had always been interested in current events and foreign affairs. I always saw journalism and history as two halves of the same heart, the two ends of the same spectrum of civilization. I had an old-fashioned idea that all smart people — writers, scientists, athletes, anyone — should all spend at least a year working in some capacity at a newspaper. It’s a great place to learn how to write clearly and succinctly. Experience the constant flow of information all around you and through you. Understand the value of journalism in a democracy. I equated journalism to public service or military service — an enriching challenge that benefits everyone. That’s what motivated me to enter journalism and become an editor. I feel it is noble work, just as noble as being a teacher. You are really making a difference as a journalist. I wish more people would participate in the industry. I wish it was better funded.

Working in a newspaper taught me to pay close attention to details and maintain a consistent sense of what’s important and what isn’t. It strengthened my capacity to deal with all kinds of different people and personalities and deepened my sympathy for the less fortunate, those without a voice, those who need help. You can’t be afraid of a newsroom’s chaos, and you have to have faith that you can bring a semblance of order to it all. Always view problems and setbacks as opportunities. Always.

You’ve got your foot in the door at the student newspaper. Stay with it. Work for free. Work for the experience. Work at one job, then at another, then another. Build up a body of experience and a body of work. Work in different departments. Figure what you don’t like doing and what you really like to do. Write book reviews. Learn about the newspaper’s website. If you want to work at a professional newspaper or radio station, bring them a wide variety of examples of the work you’ve done in college. That will take time but it’s doable and worth every second of effort. Talk to journalism professors and to the leaders of the college newspaper or radio station. When you have time, see if professional newspapers/news web sites need help from a smart college journalist. That’s great experience too.

The great advantage of staying with journalism is this: The field has space for and needs all kinds of different, smart people to illustrate and explain the world for everyone else. Also, don’t assume that once you enter journalism you will be a journalist forever. Learn about science, literature, law, history, engineering, politics and other subjects. Let journalism be the foundation upon which you build a life filled with different experiences, different expertise and different ambitions. Becoming an effective journalist — editor, reporter, whatever — is only the beginning of your intellectual journey.

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Charting the road to today’s divided America / Billie Eilish and James Bond / Remembering Flight 93 on 9/11 / Men and beach body tyranny / Women’s experiences in the military

This week: Charting the road to today’s divided America / Billie Eilish and James Bond / Remembering Flight 93 on 9/11 / Men and beach body tyranny / Women’s experiences in the military

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 don’t need new year resolutions: we’re pressured to improve ourselves every day
By Yomi Adegoke | The Guardian | January 2020
“Don’t worry if you haven’t kept your promises this month: there’s always the rest of the year to feel the expectation to make yourself better”

2.America’s Great Divide: From Obama to Trump
Frontline :: PBS | January 2020
Part One traces how Barack Obama’s promise of unity collapsed as increasing racial, cultural and political divisions laid the groundwork for the rise of Donald Trump.
Part Two examines how Trump’s campaign exploited the country’s divisions, how his presidency has unleashed anger on both sides of the divide, and what America’s polarization could mean for the country’s future.”

3. How AP will call Iowa winner
By Lauren Easton | The Definitive Source :: Associated Press | January 2020
“The Associated Press will declare the winner of the Feb. 3 Iowa caucuses based on the number of state delegate equivalents awarded to the candidates.”

4. Globally, roads are deadlier than HIV or murder
The Economist | January 2020
“The tragedy is that this is so easy to change”

5. Is Billie Eilish too cool for the James Bond franchise?
By Stuart Heritage | The Guardian | January 2020
“The 18-year-old will be the youngest singer to do a 007 theme but she might prove too contemporary for one of the dustiest film franchises around”
Also see: Midas touch: how to create the perfect James Bond song

6. ‘We May Have to Shoot Down This Aircraft’
By Garrett M. Graff | Politico Magazine | September 2019
“What the chaos aboard Flight 93 on 9/11 looked like to the White House, to the fighter pilots prepared to ram the cockpit and to the passengers.”

7. Beach Body Tyranny Hurts Men Too
By Katharine A. Phillips | The New York Times | August 2019
“Women feel tremendous pressure to look good, especially during vacation season. But what about the men and boys who are suffering quietly?”

8. Albert Einstein – Separating Man from Myth
By Augusta Dell’Omo | Not Even Past :: UT Austin Department of History | February 2019
“We go deep into the personal life of Einstein, discussing his damaged relationships, intellectually incoherent views on pacifism and religion, and his own eccentric worldview.”

9. 40 Stories From Women About Life in the Military
By Lauren Katzenberg | At War :: The New York Times | March 2019
“For International Women’s Day, The Times asked servicewomen and veterans to send us the stories that defined their experiences in the military. We left it to them whether to share their accomplishments, the challenges they faced or something unforgettable from their time in the military. Below is a selection of the more than 650 submissions we received.”

10. Ending in 2020, NASA’s Infrared Spitzer Mission Leaves a Gap in Astronomy
By Jonathan O’Callaghan | Scientific American | June 2019
“Delays to the James Webb Space Telescope will result in at least a yearlong hiatus in space-based infrared observations”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Do you know your ‘type’? / The women who must self-erase / Living apart together: the solution for some couples / The scientist who tried to control hurricanes / The warnings from volcanoes

This week: Do you know your ‘type’? / The women who must self-erase / Living apart together: the solution for some couples / The scientist who tried to control hurricanes / The warnings from volcanoes

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. Forget cat ladies: the eight real tribes of modern dating – from fantasists to routiners
By Ellie Hunt | The Guardian | January 2020
“Finding a mate now involves navigating the perils of sword enthusiasts, 9/11 ‘truthers’ and the risk that it’s your beagle they really want, rather than you.”

2. The Crane Wife
By C. J. Hauser | The Paris Review | July 2019
“To keep becoming a woman is so much self-erasing work. She never sleeps. She plucks out all her feathers, one by one.”

3. Two Houses Is Better Than a Divorce
By Emily Alford | Jezebel | January 2020
“There are myriad reasons to sleep apart that don’t involve a fight or indicate a dead bedroom.”

4. The people trying to save scents from extinction
By Miguel Trancozo Trevino | BBC Future | January 2020
“The smells of ordinary life, from traditional pubs to old books, are part of our culture and heritage — and many of them are in danger of being lost.”

5. ‘I Want Him on Everything’: Meet the Woman Behind the Buttigieg Media Frenzy
By David Freelander | Politico Magazine | April 2019
“How hard-charging New York operative Lis Smith helped turn an obscure Indiana mayor into a national name.”

6. Zen and the art of opening an iPhone box
By Tom Vanderbilt | 1843 :: The Economist | August / September 2019
“You do not merely open an iPhone. You are welcomed inside.”

7. The Chemist Who Thought He Could Harness Hurricanes
By Sam Kean | The Atlantic | September 2017
“Irving Langmuir’s ill-fated attempts at seeding storms showed just how difficult it is to control the weather.”

8. We’re Barely Listening to the U.S.’s Most Dangerous Volcanoes
By Shannon Hall | The New York Times | September 2019
“A thicket of red tape and regulations have made it difficult for volcanologists to build monitoring stations along Mount Hood and other active volcanoes. ”

9. The Radical Vision of Toni Morrison
By Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah | The New York Times Magazine | April 2015
“Morrison is a woman of guardrails and many boundaries; she keeps them up in order to do the work.”

10. The ‘Servant Girl Annihilator’
By Augusta Dell’Omo | Not Even Past :: UT Austin Department of History | January 2018
“The serial killer phenomenon was so new that some even went so far as to speculate that Jack the Ripper was the same person.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Havana’s neon past / 48 hours that almost destroyed Trump / The myth of nice-guy Gen. Lee / The voice of a Ken Burns documentary film / Women on the edge of the ‘glass cliff’

This week: Havana’s neon past / 48 hours that almost destroyed Trump / The myth of nice-guy Gen. Lee / The voice of a Ken Burns documentary film / Women on the edge of the ‘glass cliff’

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. In Search of the Brain’s Social Road Maps
By Matthew Schafer and Daniela Schiller | Scientific American | January 2020
“Neural circuits that track our whereabouts in space and time may also play vital roles in determining how we relate to other people”

2. Inside the restoration of Havana’s 20th-century neon signs
The Economist | January 2020
“After the Cuban revolution, much of the signage was destroyed or fell into disrepair. One artist has made it luminous again.”

3. Do women feel guilt after having an abortion? No, mainly relief
By Suzanne Moore | The Guardian | January 2020
“Most women don’t regret their decision to have a termination — and that outlook could help us protect reproductive rights”

4. Is this the most powerful word in the English language?
Helene Schumacher | BBC Culture | January 2020
“The most commonly-used word in English might only have three letters — but it packs a punch.”

5. ‘Mother Is Not Going to Like This’: The 48 Hours That Almost Brought Down Trump
By Tim Alberta | Politico Magazine | July 2019
“The exclusive story of how Trump survived the Access Hollywood tape.”

6. The Myth of the Kindly General Lee
By Adam Serwer | The Atlantic | June 2017
“The legend of the Confederate leader’s heroism and decency is based in the fiction of a person who never existed.”

7. The Golden Voice Behind All Those Ken Burns Documentaries
By Tim Greiving | Vulture | September 2019
” His calm, cowboy-around-a-campfire timbre is basically the voice of America, at least within the orbit of PBS.”

8. The ‘glass cliff’ puts women in power during crisis — often without support
By Traci Tong | PRI :: The World | March 2019
“It’s the phenomenon of women in leadership roles — CEOs or political figures — who are far more likely to ascend to leadership roles during a crisis, when the risk of failure is highest.”

9. What Survival Looks Like After the Oceans Rise
By Andrea Frazzetta | The New York Times Magazine | April 2019
“At the site of a Bangladeshi town lost to devastating storms, locals make do by scavenging what remains.”

10. Slavery and Abolition
By Brooks Winfree | Not Even Past :: UT Austin Department of History | April 2018
“Who were abolitionists How did they organize What were their methods And, considering that it took a Civil War to put an end to slavery, did they have any real effect”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Touring fire-ravaged Australia / A cuttlefish wears 3-D glasses / Check your email etiquette / Remembering sexual oppression / World War I in the Balkans

This week: Touring fire-ravaged Australia / A cuttlefish wears 3-D glasses / Check your email etiquette / Remembering sexual oppression / World War I in the Balkans

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. Going camping in apocalyptic Australia
Marketplace :: PRI | January 2020
“Brent Dunn is an architect whose home and studio are located in the bush south of Sydney. There’s no fire there for now. Dunn just returned from an annual camping trip that, this year, seemed apocalyptic: Wind as hot as a hairdryer’s blast, a thunderstorm raining down wet ash, and a smokey rainbow that stretched across the sky.”

2. As a Young Metropolitan Person, I Am Ready to Die on an Electric Scooter
By Maria Sherman | Jezebel | January 2020
“If you live in a metropolis and have felt irrationally annoyed by the increased number of electric scooter brands littering your beautiful city streets, well, turns out there’s an even bigger and better reason to hate them: they’re dangerous!”

3. Yes, This Cuttlefish Is Wearing 3-D Glasses
By Veronique Greenwood | The New York Times | January 2020
“Scientists knew octopuses and squid don’t have any depth perception, but they had a hunch their cuttlefish cousins might.”

4. This browser extension shows you which Amazon books are available free at your local library
By Rich Brolda | Cheapskate :: CNET | April 2019
“Available for Chrome and Firefox, the insanely great Library Extension saves you time and money.”

5. Is your email etiquette up to snuff?
By Kai Ryssdal and Maria Hollenhorst | Marketplace | January 2020
“Maybe you spent your holiday break on a social media detox or cleaning out your email inbox for the new year. Now that you’re back, you might want to brush up on your online etiquette.”

6. Feminist Icons in Love
By Vivian Gornick | Boston Review | October 2002
“The romantic obsessions of Colette, Simone de Beauvoir, and Marguerite Duras”

7. Remembering a Woman Who Was a Leader of the French Resistance
By Kati Marton | The New York Times Book Review | March 2019
“Just how did Hitler nearly fulfill his murderous vision, and why did so few resist his monstrous plans? Marie-Madeleine Fourcade certainly did, and with this gripping tale Lynne Olson pays her what history has so far denied her. France, slow to confront the stain of Vichy, would do well to finally honor a fighter most of us would want in our foxhole.”

8. Memories of Sexual Oppression
Evergreen Review | March 2019
“We all understand that because society needs to protect us from rape and assault, we are going to be restricted to a very narrow range of experience, which will stunt our imaginations.”

9. Notorious: The Same Hunger
By Angelica Jade Bastien | Current :: The Criterion Collection | January 2019
“The performances by Grant and Rains are dynamic high-water marks in their towering careers. But even amid these wonders, it is Bergman who is the crowning jewel. She brings an untold warmth, a sincerity, and a vulpine physicality that make her character a beguiling outlier not only in Hitchcock’s canon but also within forties cinema and Bergman’s own career.”

10. The Legacy of WWI in the Balkans and Middle East
By Christopher Rose | Not Even Past :: UT Austin Department of History | October 2018
“World War I dramatically changed the face of Europe and the Middle East. The war had caused millions of deaths and millions more were displaced. Two great multinational empires–the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Ottoman Empire–were dissolved into new nation states, while Russia descended into a chaotic revolution.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: The fate of Trump’s followers / How we speak to our dogs / The women taking down Harvey Weinstein / Slavery in Native America / Are you doing enough?

This week: The fate of Trump’s followers / How we speak to our dogs / The women taking down Harvey Weinstein / Slavery in Native America / Are you doing enough?

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 Will Happen to The Trump Toadies?
By Frank Rich | Intelligencer :: New York Magazine | January 2020
“Look to Nixon’s defenders, and the Vichy collaborators, for clues.”

2. Which Star Trek Captain Has the Best Managerial Technique?
By Keith Phipps | Vulture | March 2019
“We considered the captains featured in various film and TV branches of the Star Trek universe and tried to rank them based on who would provide the best work experience — and who would be most likely to bring you back home in one piece.”

3. Why Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis spent her final days in an office instead of a yacht
By Eric Spitznagel | The New York Post | April 2019
“What makes her editing career so remarkable — besides that it lasted longer than her two famous marriages combined — was how it shed new light on a woman whose name is synonymous with 20th-century glamour.”

4. Things People Say to Their Dogs
By Alexanda Horowitz | The New York Times | August 2019
“Our running commentary tells us a lot about who we are — and who we think animals are.”

5. Can CBD Really Do All That?
By Moises Velasquez-Manoff | The New York Times Magazine | May 2019
“How one molecule from the cannabis plant came to be seen as a therapeutic cure-all.”

6. We Have Always Loved Ranking Things, Particularly American Presidents
By Douglas Brinkley | LitHub | May 2019
“In the 18th century, when the Republic began, ranking the American presidents was not much of a discussion. Washington was a demigod, and Adams acted like one, making him a bitterly controversial second choice. From 1800 onward, however, as more presidencies piled up, the debate expanded, but only in a cracker-barrel way.”

7. 100 Women vs. Harvey Weinstein
By Irin Carmon and Amanda Demme | The Cut :: New York Magazine | January 2020
“The disgraced movie mogul finally faces his day in court. But as his accusers know best, there might not be a Hollywood ending. ”
Also see: The Complete List of Allegations Against Harvey Weinstein

8. The Voice of Orson Welles
By Farran Smith Nehme | Current :: The Criterion Collection | November 2018
“In Welles’s The Magnificent Ambersons (1942), the summit of his work as a vocal actor, he is chronicling the decline of an entire wealthy midwestern civilization—both how the Ambersons pulled their own world down and what was lost with it. He does so with breathtaking grace.”

9. Slavery in Indian Territory
By Brooks Winfree | Not Even Past :: UT Austin Department of History | December 2018
“Many American Indian cultures, like the Choctaw and Chickasaw Indians, practiced a form of non-hereditary slavery for centuries before contact with Europeans. But after Europeans arrived on Native shores, and they forcibly brought African people into labor in the beginning of the 17th century, the dynamics of native slavery practices changed.”

10. Do you ever feel like you’re not enough?
By Mary Halton | Ideas :: TED.com | March 2019
“If your self-worth seems to rise and fall according to what other people think, you’re not alone. But you can challenge this mindset and find a new way of valuing yourself, says psychologist Meag-gan O’Reilly.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: The secrets of Afghanistan / The female gaze on film / 2019’s best books / Loving and hating the New York subway / Boris Johnson and the future

This week: The secrets of Afghanistan / The female gaze on film / 2019’s best books / Loving and hating the New York subway / Boris Johnson and the future

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 Afghanistan Papers: A secret history of the war
By Craig Whitlock, Leslie Shapiro and Armand Emamdjomeh | The Washington Post | December 2019
“In a cache of previously unpublished interviews and memos, key insiders reveal what went wrong during the longest armed conflict in U.S. history.”

2. ‘Hustler’s’ Greatest Trick Is Its Take on the Female Gaze
By Alison Willmore | Vulture :: New York Magazine | October 2019
“The intention is not to evoke the lust of the money-hurling mass of customers but to show us Ramona the way Destiny sees her, as this powerful, enviable whole.”

3. How photos taken from the sky are helping farmers
By Andie Corban and Kai Ryssdal | Marketplace | October 2019
“Technology is changing the way most of us work these days, and farming is no exception. There are several new ag-tech companies dedicated solely to making agriculture more efficient.”

4. Our 50 Favorite Books of the Year
LitHub | December 2019
“Highlights From a Year in Reading by the Literary Hub Staff”

5. I Still Kind of Love the New York Subway
By Maeve Higgins | The New York Times | December 2019
“Sometimes I wonder if I can stand many more years of unreliable service. Then something happens that gets me all mushy again.”

6. Could Boris Johnson Be the Last Prime Minister of the U.K. As We Know It?
By Jonah Shepp | Intelligencer :: New York Magazine | December 2019
“British — or rather, English — politicians a generation from now could find themselves in a downsized House of Commons, debating whether breaking up with the European Union was worth breaking up their own union as well.”

7. The worst takes of the 2010s
The Outline | December 2019
“The past decade had a lot of pieces that should have been left unpublished.”

8. How Fiction Can Defeat Fake News
By Amitava Kumar | Columbia Journalism Review | Fall 2019
“There is fiction and then there is fiction — falsities that lead to lynchings and riots. Both rely on storytelling, but that’s like saying soil is used both in gardens and in graves. The way language is used in each case is entirely different, if not opposed.”

9. A Tiny Leak Led to a Massive, Unexpected Collapse at Kilauea Volcano
By Stephanie Pappas | Scientific American | December 2019
“Its caldera’s dramatic, surprisingly slow collapse could point to other risks worldwide.”

10. The War That Continues to Shape Russia, 25 Years Later
By Andrew Higgins | The New York Times | December 2019
“Haunting images show how the first Chechen war humiliated post-Soviet Russia, exposed its weakness, strengthened hard-liners and enabled the rise of Vladimir V. Putin.”

My Old-Fashioned Summer

Several friends this summer fell in love with my Old-Fashioned cocktails.

Several friends this summer fell in love with my Old-Fashioned cocktails. One friend said he always loved the simplicity of my preparation. I said I never did anything fancy. It was always simply about the drink and about the ceremony of sharing that first sip with someone special.

Salud …

 


1. I begin with a beautiful glass …

 



2. I drop in a Demerara sugar cube …

 



3. I douse it with aromatic bitters. Three or four dashes. I give the cube a moment to soak it up. ​…

 



4. I use a muddler to crush the soaked cube and mix it with the bitters. Essentially, I’m trying to make a paste or syrup base.​ …

 



5. I drop in a single large ice cube or sphere.​ …

 



6. I slowly pour in three fluid ounces of bourbon, usually Bullitt.​ …

 



7. I gently stir it 20 times, keeping the back of the spoon lightly pressed against the inside of the glass as I stir.​ …

 



8. I cut off an orange rind, and with the white part facing up, I hold it over the drink and quickly fold it lengthwise. The oils spray into the bourbon. I then rub the rind along the edge of the glass and the inside of the glass. I then drop it into the drink.​ …

 



9. I drop in two Luxardo cherries and two spoonfuls of the dark syrup.​ …

 



10. I light a cigar, watch the sunset and take a moment to appreciate the small luxuries and pleasures of life.​

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Gayle King’s R Kelly interview / Mental illness as an evolutionary trait / The world built for men / Are you feeling love or lust? / The reign of komodo dragons

This week: Gayle King’s R Kelly interview / Mental illness as an evolutionary trait / The world built for men / Are you feeling love or lust? / The reign of komodo dragons

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.

1. The AI-Art Gold Rush Is Here
By Ian Bogost | The Atlantic | March 2019
“An artificial-intelligence “artist” got a solo show at a Chelsea gallery. Will it reinvent art, or destroy it?”

2. Susceptibility to Mental Illness May Have Helped Humans Adapt over the Millennia
By Dana G. Smith | Scientific American | March 2019
“Psychiatrist Randolph Nesse, one of the founders of evolutionary medicine, explains why natural selection did not rid our species of onerous psychiatric disorders”

3. Kelly interview becomes a spotlight moment for Gayle King
By David Bauder | Associated Press | March 2019
“King proved unflappable as a crying Kelly leaped up in anger. … [S]he didn’t flinch from challenging the singer as he denied multiple allegations that he sexually abused underage girls and was controlling in his relationships. She drew praise for her performance.”

4. The deadly truth about a world built for men — from stab vests to car crashes
By Caroline Criado-Perez | The Guardian | February 2019
“Crash-test dummies based on the ‘average’ male are just one example of design that forgets about women — and puts lives at risk”

5. A Message in a Bottle Washed Up on Padre Island — 57 Years Later
By Dan Solomon | Texas Monthly | February 2019
“The missive was part of a 1962 study that attempted to track the flow of ocean currents.”

6. How Does Spotify Know You So Well
By Sophia Ciocca | Medium | October 2017
“A software engineer explains the science behind personalized music recommendations”

7. Is it lust or is it love How to tell — and how you can have both at once
By Terri Orbuch | Ideas: TED Talks | February 2018
“I’ve studied the romances and relationship patterns of thousands of people for three decades, and I’ve heard many of them talk about that wild, out-of-control feeling at the beginning of a new relationship. …”

8. Why do zebras have stripes Perhaps to dazzle away flies
By Danica Kirka | Associated Press | February 2019
“The researchers found that fewer horseflies landed on the cloaked horses than on the ones without striped coats, suggesting that zebra stripes may offer protection from blood-sucking insects that can spread disease.”

9. Former deputy chief inspector for NYPD dies at 104 years old
By Larry Celona and Ben Feuerherd | The New York Post | February 2019
“Former NYPD Deputy Chief Inspector John Downer, who joined the force in 1941 and served more than 30 years, died …”

10. Why Komodo Dragons Haven’t Conquered the World
By Veronique Greenwood | The New York Times | November 2018
“The razor-toothed predators are fierce, but scientists found that they’re real homebodies. “

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Dealing when a friend has a baby / America beyond Trump / Powerless Puerto Rico / Dancing with Madonna / Loving your library

This week: Dealing when a friend has a baby / America beyond Trump / Powerless Puerto Rico / Dancing with Madonna / Loving your library

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.

1. A Friend’s Pregnancy
By Julia Wertz | The New Yorker | October 2016
“I was happy for her, but I was afraid it would have a negative impact on our relationship. It was certainly not what I wanted, but I knew such an epic life event would change our relationship irrevocably, and I was scared.”

2. War Without End
By C.J. Chivers | The New York Times Magazine | August 2018
“The Pentagon’s failed campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan left a generation of soldiers with little to fight for but one another.”

3. Planning for the Post-Trump Wreckage
By Stephen M. Walt | Foreign Policy | August 2018
“When the president eventually exits the White House, the rest of us will quickly have to make sense of the world he’s left behind.”

4. What Happened in the Dark: Puerto Rico’s Year of Fighting for Power
By Daniel Alarcon | Wired | August 2018
“More Americans rely on Puerto Rico’s grid than on any other public electric utility. How one renegade plant worker led them through the shadows.”

5. Nuance: A Love Story
By Meghan Daum | Medium | August 2018
“My affair with the intellectual dark web”

6. 2001 Is Still Teaching Us How to Pay Attention to Movies
By Colin Fleming | Slate | August 2018
“Your mind need not be going.”

7. Step one for befriending a goat: Smile
By Karin Brulliard | Animalia :: The Washington Post | August 2018
“Goat subjects … had already shown themselves to be adept at reading subtle human body language. Now, the researchers have found, goats are also able to distinguish happy people faces from sad ones — and they prefer happy.”

8. Dancing with Madonna Kept Me Alive
By Salim Gauwloos | Outlook :: BBC World Service | July 2018
“Salim Gauwloos became famous dancing with Madonna on her iconic Blond Ambition tour. Madonna used the tour to promote freedom of sexuality and sexual health. All of this made a young Salim feel extremely uncomfortable. The reason he was so anxious was that he was harbouring a secret.”

9. The Dos and Don’ts of Supporting Your Local Library
By Kristin Arnett | LitHub | August 2018
“For God’s sake, do not recatalog a book with Sharpie”

10. My son, Osama: the al-Qaida leader’s mother speaks for the first time
By Martin Chulov | The Guardian | August 2018
“Nearly 17 years since 9/11, Osama bin Laden’s family remains an influential part of Saudi society – as well as a reminder of the darkest moment in the kingdom’s history. Can they escape his legacy”