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Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: The politics and literature of the coronavirus / Statistically efficient sex lives / Correcting the 1619 Project / Christopher Walken is too normal / Rethinking a Cold War hero

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. When Newspapers Were New, or, How Londoners Got Word of the Plague
By Alexis C. Madrigal | The Atlantic | March 2020
“Daniel Defoe’s novel about London’s 1665 plague can help us understand new media. No, really.”
Also see, from The Guardian: When binge-watching goes viral
Also see, from Politico: Andrew Cuomo, a Man Alone
Also see, from CNET: Online coronavirus scams are here, watch out for these red flags
Also see, from The Atlantic: The Dos and Don’ts of ‘Social Distancing’
Also see, from The Medium: The Secret Glee of Shy People and Plan-Cancelers in Coronatimes

2. I’m Not Feeling Good at All
By Jess Bergman | The Baffler | March 2020
“The perplexingly alienated women of recent American fiction”

3. Between the spreadsheets
By Alice Hines | 1843 :: The Economist | March 2020
“All these people are trying to optimise the process of acquiring a partner and maintaining a relationship. Optimisation grew out of attempts to solve real-world problems with mathematical techniques. People are most likely to have experienced the effects of optimisation in their workplace.”

4. I Helped Fact-Check the 1619 Project. The Times Ignored Me
By Leslie M. Harris | Politico | March 2020
“The paper’s series on slavery made avoidable mistakes. But the attacks from its critics are much more dangerous.”

5. How the coronavirus could limit shoe-leather reporting
By Jon Allsop | Columbia Journalism Review | March 2020
“Nor is access the only concern; like politicians, some journalists fly all around the country — and the world — meeting people, then returning to busy offices in big cities. We often think of ourselves as neutral observers standing outside the stories we cover. Viruses don’t respect such wishes.”

6. Is There a Bourbon Barrel Shortage on the Horizon?
By Lew Bryson | The Daily Beast | March 2020
“We chatted with loggers, wood scientists, and mills to see if the supply of barrels can keep up with bourbon demand”

7. The Secret History of a Cold War Mastermind
By Alex French | Wired | March 2020
“Gus Weiss, a shrewd intelligence insider, pulled off an audacious tech hack against the Soviets in the last century. Or did he?”

8. Christopher Walken Remains Endearingly Ordinary After All These Years
By Steve Garbarino | Interview | March 2020
“Once in a while, I go to a Christmas party or a birthday party. Nowadays, I try to eat right and get rest and stay healthy, so that if somebody offers me a job, I’m ready to go. I’m always kind of getting ready to go to work, even if I don’t have anything in particular to work on.”

9. Wild West Texas
By Christian Wallace | Boomtown :: Texas Monthly | January 2020
“The uneasy alliance between ranchers and the oil industry goes all the way back to the early wildcatting days in West Texas. But today, that relationship is more fraught than ever.”

10. ‘This is not how sequoias die. It’s supposed to stand for another 500 years’
By Patrick Greenfield | The Guardian | January 2020
“Giant sequoias were thought to be immune to insects, drought and wildfires. Then the unthinkable happened: trees started to die — and scientists began the search for answers”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Practice your phone sex / What can the 1918 flu teach us? / What “I can’t” really means / The role of podcasting in 2020 / Gardening in a world of extreme weather

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. Get Ready to Have a Lot of Phone Sex
By Amanda Arnold | The Cut :: New York Magazine | March 2020
“I would suggest that we all charge our phones and ready our dry-ass hands that are likely cracked from vigorous washing. For those of us who feel too anxious to rub our naked bodies up against others, the time is nigh to get horny on the phone.”

2. Closed borders and ‘black weddings’: what the 1918 flu teaches us about coronavirus
By Laura Spinney | The Guardian | March 2020
“The influenza of 1918 killed up to 100 million people. What lessons does it offer for our current health crisis?”

3. We Went There: Brooklyn’s Annual Valley of the Dolly Partons
By Jadie Stillwell | Interview | March 2020
“This year’s six contestants lined up under big golden D-O-L-L-Y balloons to clear a number of substantial hurdles Parton has surely never had to face.”

4. Report: Neighbor steals skeleton over offensive gesture
Associated Press | March 2020
“A New Mexico woman is facing a larceny charge after authorities say she stole a neighbor’s anatomical skeleton model that allegedly was making an offensive gesture toward her.”

5. The Many Meanings of ‘I Can’t’
By Amanda Baker | Budding Scientist :: Scientific American | February 2020
“So much can hide behind those two little words”

6. The unspeakably brutal life of Harry Haft
By J. Bennett | OZY | February 2020
“Forced to fight fellow prisoners at Auschwitz for the amusement of Nazi officers, this boxer lived the rest of his life in a spiral of remorse, defeat and abuse.”

7. The 2016 Election Shaped Podcasting. Will Podcasts Shape the 2020 Election?
By Nicholas Quah | One Great Story :: Vulture | February 2020
“But while the 2016 presidential election cycle was consequential to podcasting, the impact going the other way around is less clear. Has podcasting become big enough to shape election politics?”

8. Extreme weather has gardeners looking for resilient plants
By Dean Fosdick | Associated Press | February 2020
Fiercer and more frequent natural disasters in recent years have many homeowners re-evaluating their landscaping. Many are restocking with trees and plants more resilient in the face of storms, fires and flooding.”

9. Mojo Magic
By Christian Wallace | Boomtown :: Texas Monthly | January 2020
“The Permian Basin is the birthplace of Friday Night Lights. But the historic oil boom threatens beloved high school football traditions.”

10. Mount Vesuvius eruption ‘turned victim’s brain to glass’
By Nicola Davis | The Guardian | January 2020
“Scientists discover vitrified remains caused by immense 520C heat of disaster in AD79”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: When coronavirus hits / When couples decorate together / Problematic David Foster Wallace / 250 years after the Boston Massacre / What writers can learn from Richard Pryor

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 can Texas do if a coronavirus outbreak hits?
By Edgar Walters | The Texas Tribune | March 2020
“While Texas has not yet seen ‘community spread’ of coronavirus, U.S. health officials have told states to begin considering special measures in case of a COVID-19 outbreak.”
Associated Press: How risky is that virus? Your mind may mislead
Associated Press: Dogs, cats can’t pass on coronavirus, but can test positive

2. How to Write a Perfect Resignation Letter
By Alison Green | Ask a Boss :: The Cut | February 2020
“How do you tell your boss? How do you initiate that meeting? What do you write in your resignation letter? And for that matter, considering that it’s 2020, why are we still marking this important conversation by letter?”

3. Til decor do us part? How couples can decorate together
By Melissa Rayworth | Associated Press | February 2020
“If one partner loves filling every space with mementos and the other is clutter-averse, who gets their way? It can be hard to find good compromises when one loves bold colors and patterns, while the other favors calming shades of gray.”

4. Are Kids Bad for the Planet?
The Politics of Everything :: The New Republic | January 2020
“The fraught decision to have children — or not — in an era of climate crisis”

5. Dead tyrants, foiled dreams and failed states: How Arab literature captures the spirit of the times
By Khalid Hajji | Middle East Eye | February 2020
“Powerful novels provide a spectacle of our weaknesses, failures, foiled dreams, slain tyrants and frustrated reformers”

6. The Fraught Task of Describing Life with David Foster Wallace
By Zan Romanoff | LitHub | February 2020
“The book maps a man’s abusive behavior towards a woman, the external force he exerts on her, almost incidentally; its true interest is in describing what it feels like to be a person having that kind of force enacted on you at time in your life when you don’t know what the rules are yet—when you have to wonder if what’s happening to you is normal, or, if not normal, then no more than what you deserve.”

7. The Boston Massacre: Deadly squabble was not quite as the propaganda portrayed it
By Brian MacQuarrie | The Boston Globe | March 2020
“It was a deadly confrontation between familiar faces. Little would ever be the same again in Boston, a cramped town of 15,000 people packed into a single square mile.”

8. What Richard Pryor’s Stand-Up Can Teach Writers
By Joe Fassler | The Atlantic | May 2018
“The nonfiction author Cutter Wood on how the comedian’s work helped him imbue minor characters with emotional life”

9. A Thin Line
By Christian Wallace | Boomtown :: Texas Monthly | January 2020
“During booms, the Permian Basin sees a rise in prostitution charges. But misperceptions and stereotypes about sex work have led to policies that may actually harm the women involved.”

10. My best friend seems to have no time for me. Am I being too demanding?
By Eleanor Gordon-Smith | The Guardian | January 2020
“The world divides into people. … Those who need plans and people who are constrained by them”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Coronavirus is everywhere — now what? / Sharing secrets with a stranger / The beauty of bread / Black queer people join the literature / Writing as the world burns up

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. So What Should I Do About Coronavirus Now?
By Josh Barro | Intelligencer :: New York Magazine | February 2020
“[P]eople should make sure they are up-to-date on their vaccines, including flu shots, because a community that is more resilient overall and less likely to get other diseases is going to be better positioned to handle a novel pandemic. And schools and employers should be preparing their plans for what they will do if the epidemic hits where they are located. …”

2. How to Write Fiction When the Planet Is Falling Apart
By Parul Sehgal | The New York Times Magazine | February 2020
“Jenny Offill is the master of novels told in sly, burnished fragments. In her latest, ‘Weather,’ she uses this small form to address the climate collapse.”

3. That Feeling When You Share Your Deepest Secrets With a Stranger You’ll Never See Again
By Bryan Washington | The Cut :: New York Magazine | February 2020
“Itinerant Love: The feeling of unfettered closeness and guiltless exposure that comes from spending an intimate night with someone while knowing that you won’t see that person again, despite it just being really lovely, thereby giving you both license to share more of yourselves than you ever would otherwise.”

4. Waterlines: On Writing and Sailing
By Martin Dumont | NYR Daily :: New York Review of Books | February 2020
“I had spent hundreds of hours building that novel, dreaming it, conceiving it, putting it down on paper, and now it was going to live a life beyond my control. An existence in the hands of others — the readers, who would likely always remain unknown to me. It was terrifying and fascinating.”

5. Polar Extremes
NOVA :: PBS | February 2020
“Paleontologist Kirk Johnson explores the dynamic history — and future — of ice at the poles”

6. What’s in Kale (or a Pear) that Seems to Lower Alzheimer’s Risk?
By Gary Stix | Scientific American | January 2020
“Particular antioxidants in fruits and vegetables may lower chances of getting the disease”

7. Daily Bread
The Splendid Table :: APM | January 2019
“If you have ever wondered why New York bagels are great or not so, we get the answer from Dianna Daoheung of Black Seed Bagels. …”

8. Black Queer People Writing Ourselves Into History: An Autostraddle Master List
By Carmen Phillips | Autostraddle | February 2020
“As we imagine new worlds for ourselves as queer black women, we want to know –who were the visionaries of our past? And who are those visionaries right now? As queer and trans black people, who have we’ve loved or looked up to? When did have we found clarity about our purpose? Who helped us imagine our own future?”

9. Boobtown
By Christian Wallace | Boomtown :: Texas Monthly | January 2020
“We explore a different kind of boom in the Permian Basin. Meet the women working at a lingerie coffee shop, a ‘breastaurant,’ and two area strip clubs.”

10. The world’s oldest asteroid strike in Western Australia may have triggered a global thaw
The Conversation :: The Guardian | January 2020
“A new study showing the 70km-wide Yarrabubba crater dates impact to 2.29bn years ago”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Fanfiction of Pete Buttigieg / Flavors of tamarind / NASA’s war on naked women / Smart napping / The mystery of quipus

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 the Extremely Vanilla World of Pete Buttigieg Fanfiction
By Ashley Reese | Jezebel | February 2020
“I’ve read several Pete/Chasten fanfics over the last couple of weeks, and save one particularly intense Pete/Chasten/Beto O’Rourke fetish fic I stumbled upon, they are overwhelmingly vanilla, with an emphasis on how much the two men love and adore one another. They’re soulmates who will brave any storm, even that of a raucous political campaign.”

2. Tamarind delivers a double punch of sweet and sour
By Niki Segnit | 1843 :: The Economist | February / March 2020
“The ginger-colored pods taste like the sweet of your dreams — until you notice the enamel-like seeds rattling around in your mouth”

3. NASA’s fight to protect aliens from naked ladies
By Mark Hay | OZY | February 2020
“It is not clear why the Pioneer plaque omitted external female genitalia, but not male genitalia. Sagan once claimed it was a stylistic choice, emulating ancient Greek statuary.”

4. Post-‘Radiolab,’ Robert Krulwich plans many more experiments with storytelling
By Joe Kalish | Current | February 2020
“For the 72-year-old broadcast news legend, retirement means moving on to a slew of eclectic and ambitious projects that will apply his talents to complex topics in new mediums.”

5. How Long Should a Nap Be?
By Charlotte Cowles | The Cut :: New York Magazine | February 2020
“Interestingly, a 30-minute nap produced about the same benefits as a 10-minute one, but only after subjects managed to push through a period of post-snooze grogginess.”

6. The mystery of quipus — Incan knot records
The Economist | February 2020
“In a small Peruvian town, the Incas’ method of record-keeping survives”

7. Dog Tales
NOVA :: PBS | February 2020
“Follow the epic journey of dog domestication and see what science says about dogs’ love.”

8. Why Don’t People Care That More Men Don’t Choose Caregiving Professions?
By Scott Barry Kaufman | Beautiful Minds :: Scientific American | February 2020
“People attribute the lack of women in STEM fields to external factors but attribute the lack of men in helping professions to internal factors.”

9. Creating a buzz: Turkish beekeepers risk life and limb to make mad honey
By Bethan McKernan | The Guardian | January 2020
“History is littered with stories of the psychoactive properties of deli bal, still produced today in the Kaçkar mountains”

10. Life and Death on the Rig
By Christian Wallace | Boomtown :: Texas Monthly | December 2019
“Working in the oil patch is incredibly dangerous. But March 10, 2015, brought unimaginable tragedy for one Andrews family.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: The princess myth / Cyborg jellyfish / Weekend loneliness / The United States of Mac ‘n’ Cheese / The history of quarantines

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. Meghan Markle and the Myth of Happily Ever After
By Rhonda Garelick | The Cut :: New York Magazine | February 2020
There’s a reason fairy tales always end at the wedding.”

2. Why are pop songs getting sadder than they used to be?
By Alberto Acerbi | Aeon | February 2020
“All these hypotheses could be tested using the data described here as a starting point. Realising that there’s more work to be done to better understand the pattern is always a good sign in science. It leaves room for fine-tuning theories, improving analysis methods, or sometimes going back to the drawing board to ask different questions.”

3. As ‘On the Media’ drifts from original focus, some listeners take note
By Joey Peters | Current | January 2020
“In its place, OTM’s focus has shifted to dissecting narratives, or, as Garfield put it, ‘the stories we tell ourselves based largely on what we heard for our whole lives, often through the media.'”

4. Cyborg Jellyfish Could One Day Explore the Ocean
By Sophie Bushwick | Scientific American | February 2020
“An electronic device increases their speed, and later versions could control their direction as well”

5. Dust to Dust
By Christian Wallace | Boomtown :: Texas Monthly | December 2019
“A devastating bust transforms the Permian from the promised land into a wasteland.”

6. The agony of weekend loneliness: ‘I won’t speak to another human until Monday’
By Paula Cocozza | The Guardian | January 2020
“For growing numbers of people the weekend is an emotional wilderness where interaction is minimal and social life non-existent. What can be done to break this toxic cycle?”

7. World Without End
By Martha Park | Guernica | January 2020
“Lately, I’ve found the language of apocalypse creeping up in my own life for the first time, and with increasing frequency.”

8. How mac ’n’ cheese was baked into American culture
By Josie Delap | 1843 :: The Economist | February / March 2020
“Macaroni cheese is now an American staple. But it probably arrived there via France — and Thomas Jefferson”

9. Does the naked body belong on Facebook? It’s complicated
By Barbara Ortutay| Associated Press | January 2020
“Artists can be suddenly left without their audience, businesses without access to their customers and vulnerable people without a support network. And it means that a company in Silicon Valley, whose online platforms have become not only our town squares but diaries, magazines, art galleries and protest platforms, gets final say on matters of free speech and self-expression.”

10. A History Of Quarantines, From Bubonic Plague To Typhoid Mary
By Eleanor Klibanoff | Goats and Soda :: NPR | January 2020
“The idea of putting a possibly sick person in quarantine goes back to the ancient texts. The book of Leviticus tells how to quarantine people with leprosy. Hippocrates covered the issue in a three-volume set on epidemics, though he came from a time in ancient Greece when disease was thought to spread from “miasmas,” or foul-smelling gas that came out of the ground.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: The Founding Fathers and Trump / The rise of the ‘virtual girlfriend’ / The first known drag queen / Explaining paint color names / The designer who dresses ‘Mrs. Maisel’

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. Even the Founding Fathers Couldn’t Envision a President Like Trump
By Liesel Schillinger | LitHub | February 2020
“The ideals of the 1780s and the 1830s are still current, still vital, in 2020, even if they’re couched in antiquated language that we must strain to enfold in our contemporary idiom.”

2. Someone Used Neural Networks To Upscale An 1895 Film To 4K 60 FPS
Digg | February 2020
“YouTuber Denis Shiryaev wanted to update the look of the clip, so — with the help of several neural networks — he upscaled the clip to 4K resolution and 60 FPS.”

3. No One Can Explain Why Planes Stay in the Air
By Ed Regis | Scientific American | February 2020
“Do recent explanations solve the mysteries of aerodynamic lift?”

4. Cam girl reality: an enticing illusion leaves many models poor and defeated
By Sofia Barrett-Ibarria | The Guardian | January 2020
“The rise of the ‘virtual girlfriend’ is changing the porn industry — but the many downsides for performers may threaten its staying power.”

5. Inside the Massive, Elaborate Care Packages Filipinos Send Home
By Joy Shan | The California Sunday Magazine | Janaury 2020
“An extensive shipping network allows millions to stay connected to the friends, relatives, and children they rarely see.”

6. The First Drag Queen Was a Former Slave
By Channing Gerard Joseph | The Nation | January 2020
“Who fought for queer freedom a century before Stonewall.”

7. The Rise of the Permian
By Christian Wallace | Boomtown :: Texas Monthly | December 2019
“The Santa Rita oil well, named after the patron saint of impossible dreams, launched the first Permian Basin boom and has been fueling the dreams of West Texas wildcatters ever since.”

8. Calamine pink, or Dead Salmon? What’s behind paint names
By Kim Cook | Associated Press | January 2020
“If you’re shopping for pink, say, you’ll find dozens of shades referencing roses, bubblegum and shells. There are some extra-evocative names like Calamine and Dead Salmon. And what about a pink called Harajuku Morning? Modern Love?”

9. Meet The Designer Who Makes ‘Mrs. Maisel’ Look So Marvelous
By Jeff Lunden | NPR | January 2020
“Mrs. Maisel’s world is a romanticized fantasy of color, and color comes naturally to Zakowska, who initially trained as a painter and a dancer.”

10. Isabel dos Santos: president’s daughter who became Africa’s richest woman
By Jason Burke and Juliette Garside | The Guardian | January 2020
“From her first investment in a beach bar, Dos Santos has built a $2bn empire. But her wealth is the subject of mounting scrutiny”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Women in midlife / 78 new emotions to deal with / Matt Drudge turns on Trump / Cookies baked in space / Clinton and Nixon impeachments, in retrospect

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. Fighting Words: Journalism Under Assault in Central and Eastern Europe
By Meera Selva | Reuters Institute | January 2020
“This report focused very much on the experience of working journalists and the threats that they directly identify. The journalists questioned spoke of coming under attack from politicians who discredit individual journalists and media outlets, launch vexatious lawsuits, and weaponise government advertising revenue to harm critical media and financially boost friendly outlets.”

2. Liegasm, Jealoushy, and Feminamity
The Cut :: New York Magazine | February 2020
“Introducing 78 new emotions.”

3. The Wounded Presidency
By Timothy Naftali | Foreign Affairs | January 2020
The untold stories of U.S. foreign policy during the Nixon and Clinton impeachment crises, in two parts.

4. This is what midlife looks like for women
By Ann Neumann and Elinor Carucci | The Guardian | January 2020
“Guts, blood, hair, sex and love — it’s time to reclaim menopause as a time for self-discovery”

5. Why did Matt Drudge turn on Donald Trump?
By Bob Norman | Columbia Journalism Review | January 2020
“He didn’t sound angry; much of the call was oddly pleasant. But he became defensive when I asked him if he felt he was in danger from fans or stalkers. ”

6. This Sculpture Holds a Decades-Old C.I.A. Mystery. And Now, Another Clue.
By John Schwartz and Jonathan Corum | The New York Times | January 2020
“Kryptos, a sculpture in a courtyard at the headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency in Langley, Va., holds an encrypted message that has not fully yielded to attempts to crack it. It’s been nearly 30 years since its tall scroll of copper with thousands of punched-through letters was set in place.”

7. Highway to Hell
By Christian Wallace | Boomtown :: Texas Monthly | December 2019
“In the first episode of our new podcast series, host Christian Wallace takes us back to his hometown in the Permian Basin, which is nearly unrecognizable to him today. We meet a few of the people whose lives have been upended by the biggest oil boom in U.S. history.”

8. First space-baked cookies took 2 hours in experimental oven
By Marcia Dunn | Associated Press | January 2020
“And how do they taste? No one knows. Still sealed in individual baking pouches and packed in their spaceflight container, the cookies remain frozen in a Houston-area lab after splashing down two weeks ago in a SpaceX capsule. They were the first food baked in space from raw ingredients.”

9. The best Apple iPad apps of all time: Media players, graphics tools and more
By Alison DeNisco Rayome | CNET | January 2020
“On the iPad’s 10th birthday, we look back at the apps that have made Apple’s tablet a hit with people of all ages.”

10. What Is Postpartum Depression? Recognizing The Signs And Getting Help
By Rhitu Chatterjee | Life Kit :: NPR | January 2020
“Left untreated, depression during this time can have serious consequences on the health of the mother, the baby and the entire family.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: J. Lo’s halftime show still resonates / When another woman supports you / Another, bigger spy for the Soviets / Advancements in football gear / Ideas for a new NYC subway mascot

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 J.Lo Super Bowl Discourse Is All About the Invisibility of Middle-Aged Women
By Tracy Clary-Flory | Jezebel | February 2020
“In that halftime show, as with her existence on any stage or screen, J. Lo demonstrates the possibility of being a 50-year-old sex symbol, an older woman on display. There is cognitive dissonance here, because women of her age are so infrequently seen in this way: sexy, vivacious, and worthy of the camera’s zoomed-in gaze.”
Also see: I Feel Personally Judged by J. Lo’s Body

2. That Feeling When Another Woman Hypes You Up
By Jenny Tinghui Zhang | The Cut :: New York Magazine | February 2020
“You’re waiting for the toilet, washing your hands, or fixing your hair. Another woman, a little tipsy, maybe topsy-turvy drunk, accosts you with her sweet, eyes-half-shut warbling. She tells you you’re both doing great. She tells you you look beautiful. She tells you she loves you.”

3. For women, running is still an act of defiance
By Rachel Hewitt | 1843 :: The Economist | June / July 2019
“Female runners have long fought for the recognition and status of male ones. Rachel Hewitt asks why running doesn’t offer women the freedom it should”

4. The NYC Subway Needs Its Own Mascot. We Have 12 Contenders
By Ben Yakas | Gothamist | January 2020
“Some of them are animals, and some of them are superheroes; some of them are based on already-existing characters, and some of them are clearly attempts to grab the zeitgeist. All of them are beautiful freaks.”

5. NFL At 100: From head to toe, players equipment has evolved
By Dennis Waszak Jr. | Associated Press | January 2020
“From the crude, oblong leather helmets to the sparsely padded brown and blue vertical-striped uniforms of the Chicago Bears, it’s easy to see how equipment has drastically evolved in the NFL since the days of The Galloping Ghost in the 1920s and ’30s.”

6. Buc-ee’s: The Path to World Domination
By Erik Benson | Texas Monthly | February 2019
“Beaver Aplin built the quirky convenience chain into a Texas empire. Will his tactics translate outside the state?”

7. Fourth Spy at Los Alamos Knew A-Bomb’s Inner Secrets
By William J. Broad | The New York Times | January 2020
“Historians recently uncovered another Soviet spy in the U.S. atomic bomb program. Fresh disclosures show he worked on the device’s explosive trigger.”

8. This courageous historian fought to make Black History Month possible
By Erin Blakemore | National Geographic | January 2020
“Determined to counter racist stereotypes, Carter G. Woodson worked tirelessly to promote the accomplishments of African Americans.”

9. Tracing The Expanding Definition Of Fatherhood
By Cameron Pollack | The Picture Show :: NPR | June 2019
“It was important to Anschütz to show the personal relationships between the fathers and sons. As a result, he decided to only use first names. He intended for the project to be more art than journalism.”

10. Designer destination: architects’ favorite hotels
By Sarah Miller | The Guardian | January 2020
“From a rocket tower and a pasha’s palace to a beachside bungalow and a geometric masterpiece”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Kobe’s Mamba mentality / Bloomberg’s presidential prospects / Sweet potato’s warnings / Azalea Trail Maids / The evolution of the presidency

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 women did for surrealism
By Tim Smith-Lang | 1843 :: The Economist | December 2019 / January 2020
“Dora Maar used photographic montages to make daring images inspired by dreams”

2. Say hello to the bad guy: How Kobe Bryant crafted the Mamba mentality
By Hunter Felt | The Guardian | January 2020
“The late LA Lakers star was a ruthless opponent, a difficult teammate and an undeniable athletic genius”

3. The Hidden Stakes of the 1619 Controversy
By David Waldstreicher | Boston Review | January 2020
“Seeking to discredit those who wish to explain the persistence of racism, critics of the New York Times’s 1619 Project insist the facts don’t support its proslavery reading of the American Revolution. But they obscure a longstanding debate within the field of U.S. history over that very issue — distorting the full case that can be made for it.”

4. Bloomberg creates a parallel presidential race. Can he win?
By Kathleen Ronayne and Andrew DeMillo | Associated Press | January 2020
“He’s staked his hopes on states like Texas, California and Arkansas that vote on March 3, aiming to disrupt the Democratic primary right around the time it’s typically settling on a front-runner. Or, should Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, be that front-runner, Bloomberg could be a backstop to Democrats still looking for a moderate choice.”

5. Sweet Potato Sends Secret Signals
By Priyanka Runwal | Scientific American | January 2020
“One variety alerts neighbors to keep pests at bay”

6. ‘Extremely rare’ Assyrian carvings discovered in Iraq
By Adnrew Lawler | National Geographic | January 2020
“Stone reliefs more than 2,700 years old date to the reign of the mighty King Sargon II.”

7. What Should Classic Books Smell Like?
By McKayla Coyle | Electric Lit | January 2020
“An upcoming novel called ‘Bubblegum’ will smell like bubblegum. Is this the start of a fragrant trend?”

8. The Dress Hasn’t Changed, But The Girls Have
By Lindsey Feingold | The Picture Show :: NPR | July 2019
“They are the Azalea Trail Maids — the embodiment of old school Southern hospitality with a modern twist.”

9. Climate, inequality, hunger: which global problems would you fix first?
By Garry Blight, Liz Ford, Frank Hulley-Jones, Niko Kommenda and Lydia Smears | The Guardian | January 2020
“Interactive quiz: With only 10 years left to achieve the UN’s sustainability goals, find out how your priorities compare”

10. The Impossible Presidency
By Christopher Rose | Not Even Past :: UT Austin Department of History | September 2017
“Over the past two and a half centuries, the expectations placed upon the office of the President have changed and evolved with each individual charged with holding the position.”

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