Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Call death what it is / The arc of Afghanistan / O. Henry’s house / Finding new life in alien oceans / The real Julius Caesar

This week: Call death what it is / The arc of Afghanistan / O. Henry’s house / Finding new life in alien oceans / The real Julius Caesar

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. This Report Could Make or Break the Next 30 Years of U.S. Astronomy
By Lee Billings | Scientific American | August 2021
“A battle for the future of American stargazing is about to begin — and the stakes are sky high”

2. A Better Place
By David Sedaris | The New Yorker | August 2021
“Why the euphemisms? My father did not ‘pass.’ Neither did he ‘depart.’ He died.”

3. Afghanistan’s arc from 9/11 to today: Once hopeful, now sad
By Kathy Gannon | Associated Press | August 2021
“From hundreds of years ago right up to the jumbled chaos of recent days as the United States pulled out of its air base and then the capital, the word ‘foreigner’ has meant many things in the Afghan context, from invaders to would-be colonizers. But in November 2001, in a mostly ruined Afghan capital where rutted roads were filled with bicycles and beat-up yellow taxis, it meant hope.”

4. Twenty Years After 9/11, Are We Any Smarter?
By Jordan Michael Smith | The New Republic | August 2021
“Our foreign policy wise people responded to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks by embracing belligerence. What, if anything, have they learned?”

5. Most Arab countries now focus on domestic concerns, not unity
The Economist | August 2021
“But the presence of foreign powers is still dearly felt”

6. In the House of O. Henry
By David Maraniss | The Washington Post | December 1985
“He wrote about the downtrodden, the depressed, the out-of-luck, and yet usually, somewhere in his characters’ souls, he found that clean, clear whistle of hope, even romance.”

7. New Approach Could Boost the Search for Life in Otherworldly Oceans
By By Natalie Elliot | Scientific American | July 2021
“‘Ecological biosignatures’ hold promise for revealing alien organisms that may dwell within icy moons such as Jupiter’s Europa and Saturn’s Enceladus”

9. ‘Welcome 2 America’: The Oral History of Prince’s Lost Album
By David Browne | Rolling Stone | July 2021
“A previously unreleased 2010 Prince record arrives this month. His collaborators look back on the sessions and offer a glimpse into the icon’s private world”

9. Roma, or the Art of Making Ruins
By Valeria Luiselli | The Criterion Collection | February 2020
“It’s very much a mirror of the city it portrays: an emotional earthquake, a world about to shatter, something about to end—but that doesn’t, because it’s all held together by the equilibrium, tenderness, and strength of a woman who can stand on one leg with her eyes closed.”
Also see: The Layers of Roma

10. Is Shakespeare History? The Plantagenets
By Melvyn Bragg | In Our Time :: BBC 4 | 2014-2018
Also see: Thucydides | The Trinity | Julius Caesar | Truth

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Abolition in D.C. … Muslims and evolution … Pets celebrating Christmas … GOP candidates on the issues … Sex talk vocabulary.

Most of these great items come from my Twitter feed or Facebook news feed. Follow me on Twitter and on Facebook for more fascinating videos, articles, essays and criticism. Read past recommendations from this series here.

1. Doolittle’s raid recalled almost 70 years later
By Mary Foster | Associated Press | Dec. 5
“Coming just four months after the Imperial Japanese Navy savaged the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, and with U.S. defense of the Philippines crumbling, the April 18, 1942, raid on Japan’s home islands electrified a world at war.”

2. Earth’s wild ride: Our voyage through the Milky Way
By Stephen Battersby | New Scientist | Dec. 5
“Weaving our way through the disc of the Milky Way, we have drifted through brilliant spiral arms, braved the Stygian darkness of dense nebulae, and witnessed the spectacular death of giant stars.”

3. Panama’s jailed former ruler Noriega to be sent home
BBC News | Dec. 7
“Noriega, aged 77, is also wanted in Panama for other crimes allegedly committed during his 1983-89 rule.”

4. Riding in PopPop’s Vulva
By Joanna Schroeder | The Good Men Project | Dec. 7
“While I agree that children should learn the proper names for their body parts, I don’t believe there is any magic to vagina, vulva, penis, clitoris or testicles aside from their accuracy”

5. Positions of the Republican candidates, in brief
By Calvin Woodward | Associated Press | Dec. 6
“A look at where the 2012 Republican presidential candidates stand on a selection of issues.”

6. Q&A: Creating a Queue of YouTube Clips
By J.D. Biersdorfer | Gadgetwise :: The New York Times | Sept. 5
“Q: When I’m on the computer, how can I watch a bunch of YouTube videos all at once without having to select the next one each time?”

7. For pet-owners, holiday plans revolve around pets
By Sue Manning | Associated Press | Dec. 6
“Dexter’s social calendar this holiday season is chock-full of travel plans, party invites, new clothes, special meals and trips to see Santa Claus.”

8. Securing US border impossible
By Will Wissert | Associated Press | Dec. 6
“The U.S. Border Patrol says 873 miles of the border, about 44 percent, have been brought under operational control. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has said that ‘the border is better now than it ever has been.’ Still, that means full control isn’t even half met.”

9. Are evolution and religion compatible?
The Stream :: Al Jazeera | Dec. 7
“A growing number of Muslim biology students are walking out of lectures on evolution, according to a genetics professor in the United Kingdom. The students claim the course material is incompatible with their religious beliefs in creationism.”

10. Washington’s Black Codes
By Kate Masur | Disunion :: The New York Times | Dec. 7
“The messages at the heart of the abolitionist indictment of the Washington jail were threefold: Slavery was morally wrong, all free people had a right to equal treatment before the law, and the government should stand for freedom and equality, not slavery and oppression.”