Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Fighting climate change / Iran’s view of the West / Kissinger on Trump’s America / The legacy of “The Dark Knight” / Remembering Blockbuster

This week: Fighting climate change / Iran’s view of the West / Kissinger on Trump’s America / The legacy of The Dark Knight / Remembering Blockbuster

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. Losing Earth: The Decade We Almost Stopped Climate Change
By Nathanial Rich | The New York Times Magazine | August 2018
“It tracks the efforts of a small group of American scientists, activists and politicians to raise the alarm and stave off catastrophe.”

2. Managing the Unmanageable
By Margaret MacMillian | The Reith Lectures :: BBC Radio 4 | July 2018
“Speaking to an audience at the Northern Irish Parliament Buildings at Stormont in Belfast, Professor MacMillan outlines how both states and the people have sought to justify warfare — from self-defence to civil war — focusing on examples from Irish and British history.”

3. What does Iran think of the West
By Pooneh Ghoddoosi and Matthew Chapman | The Inquiry :: BBC World Service | July 2018
“It dates back to the Western desire for Iran’s rich oil reserves in the early 20th century, and continues through the CIA-backed coup in 1953, which strengthened the Shah’s grip on the throne. The Western powers supported Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq War, while the US is believed to have unleashed a highly effective cyber-weapon against the Iranian nuclear programme. Iran has reasons to be equally suspicious of Moscow — with the Russian Empire seizing large parts of historical Persia in the 19th century.”

4. Deciphering the sex scenes in Spain’s medieval churches
By Manuel Morales | El Pais | July 2018
“Experts meet to discuss the meaning of highly explicit sculptures made 1,000 years ago”

5. 230 Minutes With Michiko Kakutani
By Shawn McCreesh | Vulture :: New York | July 2018
“Instagramming New York by night on her first publication day.”

6. The Complicated Legacy of ‘The Dark Knight’
By Richard Newby | The Hollywood Reporter | July 2018
“Christopher Nolan’s acclaimed film changed the movie landscape when it was released 10 years ago this month, but at what cost”

7. Americans Have Some Pretty Vanilla Sexual Fantasies
By Ashley Fetters | The Atlantic | July 2018
“A new book on the science of sexual desire finds Americans are surprisingly romantic and loyal to their partners when they fantasize about sex.”

8. The History Behind the Graffiti of War
By Jonathan Bratten | The New York Times Magazine | July 2018
“About 5,000 years ago, someone decided to paint a battle scene between archers in a cave in Spain — perhaps one of the first instances of what we’d call “war graffiti” today. That person was probably an early grunt who had just finished griping that the chow was bad and that he’d had to march too far that day. Because as long as there has been war, there have been soldiers leaving behind their doodles, names or other markings for historians to muse on why they did so.”

9. For One Last Night, Make It a Blockbuster Night
By Justin Heckert | The Ringer | July 2018
“Everything is 10 years behind in Alaska — including the way people see movies. In three stores across the coldest state in the union, Blockbuster captured the imagination of its residents long after the company ceased operations around the rest of the country. But now, the late fees are finally coming due, and the end of the Blockbuster era is upon us.”

10. Read 13 of the Best Literary Interviews from Interview
By Emily Temple | Interview :: LitHub | May 2018
“RIP a Great American Magazine”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Presidents and the press / AI and earthquakes / Swooning Ivanka / HIV capital of America / The Batmobile

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This week: Presidents and the press / AI and earthquakes / Swooning Ivanka / HIV capital of America / The Batmobile

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. Remember Nixon? There’s history behind Trump’s press attacks
By Nancy Benac | Associated Press | Feb. 17
“Historians can point to plenty of past presidents who have sparred with the press. But they’re hard-pressed to find anything that approaches the all-out attack on the media that President Donald Trump seems intent on escalating at every turn.”

2. Bigger Than Watergate? 10 Essential Books About Our Future Past
By Emily Temple | LitHub | Feb. 16
“Consider these your own personal set of crystal balls — they may not tell the future precisely, but they’re certainly full of clues. And possibly strategies.”

3. Can Artificial Intelligence Predict Earthquakes?
By Annie Sneed | Scientific American | Feb. 15
“The ability to forecast temblors would be a tectonic shift in seismology. But is it a pipe dream? A seismologist is conducting machine-learning experiments to find out”

4. Vice President Pence’s power grows in Trump’s White House
By Niall Stanage | The Hill | Feb. 16
“Insiders say Pence’s clout has been overlooked in media coverage that has often focused on more flamboyant or enigmatic Trump advisers.”

5. The Story Behind Planet Earth II’s Unbelievable ‘Iguana vs. Snakes’ Chase Scene
By Jesse David Fox | Vulture | Feb. 16
“A camera crew worked from dusk to dawn for weeks filming the exact spot, hoping something would happen, and if it did, that the camera would be in focus. As is often the case with the acclaimed series, they got their shot.”

6. Inside the Nation’s First Bilingual University
By Daniel Blue Tyx | The Texas Observer | Feb. 8
“UT-Rio Grande Valley looks to become the first ‘bilingual, bicultural, biliterate’ campus in the country.”

7. Pictures of ‘swooning’ Ivanka Trump and Justin Trudeau go viral
By Elena Cresci | The Guardian | Feb. 15
“The president’s daughter probably doesn’t fancy Canada’s PM like the rest of the internet — but that didn’t stop the jokes”

8. We cannot allow the anger in this moment to change who we are
By David Greene | Poynter | Dec. 20
“As journalists, we seek the truth. We are not advocates for a particular person or position. We are watchdogs who rigorously report on facts and use the truth to confront power. And we are listeners who foster dialogue and allow people … the freedom to think out loud.”

9. Austin, Indiana: the HIV capital of small-town America
By Jessica Wapner | Mosaic Science | May 2016
“[N]o one could explain what had happened to Austin. But a new theory of public health might yet hold the answer. Known as syndemics, it may also be the one thing that can rescue Austin and its people.”

10. The Batmobile: The Concept Car That Became a Star
By Michael Beschloss | HistorySource :: The New York Times | October 2014
“The Futura concept car was built for about $250,000 — more than $2 million today.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Psychology of Batman / Middle East’s future / Wedding depression / What’s Sorkin’s problem? / The HIV wars

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.

1. What Makes Batman Tick?
By Linda Holmes | MonkeySee :: Weekend Edition Sunday | July 15
“When you look at Batman with a coldly analytical eye … a few things stand out as potential red flags: the secrecy, the lair, the attraction to danger, the blithe self-sacrifice, the … cape.”

2. The good, the bad, and the ugly: Three scenarios for the Middle East
By Stephen M. Walt | Foreign Policy | July 20
“Although most commentary tends to obsess about recent events (Will Assad fall? Was Hezbollah for the bombing in Bulgaria? Will there be war with Iran? Is the two-state solution really dead? etc.) today, I want to step back and ask what the larger implications of these various events might be.”

3. The Wedding Effect
By Maggie Shipstead | The New York Times | July 18
“There is something numbing about all this marrying. The thrill of the first friends’ weddings, when everybody was young and lifelong commitment seemed wild and transgressive, has worn off, and a jaded peanut gallery has sprung up …”

4. NASA’s Mars rover may be in for blind landing
By Irene Klotz | Reuters | July 16
“That’s because the satellite that NASA was counting on for real-time coverage of the Mars Science Laboratory’s descent into Gale Crater, located near the planet’s equator, was sidelined last month by a maneuvering system glitch.”

5. Sharks tagged off Scotland monitored online
BBC News | July 20
“The movements of eight basking sharks can now be followed online, after scientists fitted them with satellite tags.”

6. ABC’s Ross takes heat for another blunder
By Dylan Byers | Politico | July 20
“Ross came under attack again Friday when he reported that James Holmes … may have connections to the Tea Party — basing that on a single web page that listed an Aurora-based ‘Jim Holmes’ as a member of the Colorado Tea Party Patriots”

7. Jean-Baptiste Michel: The mathematics of history
TED | May 2012
“From changes to language to the deadliness of wars, he shows how digitized history is just starting to reveal deep underlying patterns.”

8. Aaron Sorkin versus reality
By Alex Pareene | Salon | July 19
“The increasingly unpleasant superiority complex of America’s most prominent liberal screenwriter”

9. Semicolons: A Love Story
By Ben Dolnick | Opinionator :: The New York Times | July 2
“To abjure semicolons was to declare oneself pure of heart, steely-eyed, sadly disillusioned.”

10. The early days of HIV/Aids
Witness :: BBC News | June 3
“It’s 30 years since the HIV virus was first identified by medical experts. In the early days, carriers of the virus were stigmatised and treatment was in its infancy.”

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TUNES

Tonight I’m spending some time with the blues, specifically with the Texas Blues Café. Check out the line-up and then listen here.

1. The Jeff Strahan Band — Supercool
2. The Jeff Strahan Band — Folsom Prison Blues
3. Anna Popovic — My Man
4. Los Lonely Boys — Road House Blues
5. Bernard Allison — The Other Side
6. Zed Head — Till I Lost You
7. Scott Weis Band — Hurricane
8. Blackberry Smoke — Up In Smoke
9. The Derek Trucks Band — Revolution
10. ZZ Top — Brown Sugar
11. Etta James — Purple Rain
12. Brandon Jenkins — Austin
13. The Red Hot Blues Sisters — Bring It On Home

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Arnold’s film career / A certain San Antonio fashion designer / The physics of Batman / Let the dog make the baby healthier / A girl with two lovers

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.

1. Schwarzenegger Gears Up for Act 2 as an Action Hero
By Michael Cieply and Brooks Barnes | The New York Times | July 12
“[I]t was lost on no one that Mr. Schwarzenegger’s appearance marks his return to a film career that will find him taking more substantial action roles, even though he will qualify for Medicare upon turning 65 this month.”

2. To these successful designers, the concept of outsourcing is out of fashion
By Michael Quintanilla | San Antonio Express-News | July 12
“‘Made in the U.S.A.’ — it’s a refreshing phrase in a world of outsourcing and overseas production.”

3. Batman could fly, but he’d crash and die
By Michael Holden | Reuters | July 9
“Holy crash landing Batman! The crime-fighting caped crusader could fly but if he did, he would smash into the ground and probably die, a group of British physics students have calculated.”

4. Another Stab at the U.S. Constitution
Room for Debate :: The New York Times | July 9
“As the United States prepares to mark the 225th anniversary of its Constitution, we have the benefit of hindsight that the framers lacked. What should be omitted, clarified or added?”

5. Remember Iraq? Still A Mess, but the US Needs to Stay Out
By Robert Dreyfuss | The Nation | July 9
“Still, it’s important for liberals, the left and the antiwar movement to remember Iraq by borrowing the phrase, ‘Never again.’ And here’s what the Obama administration ought to do about violence in Iraq: Nothing.”

6. Babies in dog-owning families may be healthier
By Andrew M. Seaman | Reuters | July 9
“Dogs are no longer just man’s best friend: The furry family members may also protect infants against breathing problems and infections, a new study suggests.”

7. More public schools splitting up boys, girls
By Jessie L. Bonner and Heather Hollingsworth | Associated Press | July 8
“Proponents argue the separation allows for a tailored instruction and cuts down on gender-driven distractions among boys and girls, such as flirting. But critics decry the movement as promoting harmful gender stereotypes and depriving kids of equal educational opportunities.”

8. Woman With Two Lovers Trying to Hide the Bruises
Daily Intel :: New York Magazine | May 9
“Once a week, Daily Intel takes a peek behind doors left slightly ajar. This week, the Woman With Two Lovers Trying to Hide Bruises From Rough Sex: female, fashion buyer, 24, Williamsburg, straight, single.”

9. Rereading: A candid view of Candide
By Julian Barnes | The Guardian | July 1
“Julian Barnes pays tribute to Voltaire’s Candide, a satire that remains as fresh and pertinent today as when it was written in the 18th century”

10. The death of Pushkin
Witness :: BBC News | February 11
“Pushkin died after a duel with a Frenchman. Rumours about the other man’s relationship with Pushkin’s much younger wife had led to the stand-off.”

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Tonight I’m spending some time with the blues, specifically with the wonderful Texas Blues Café. Check out the line-up and then listen here.

1. Preacher Stone — Come On In
2. Preacher Stone — Judge Me Not
3. Ian Moore — Nothing
4. Big Head Tod & The Monsters — House Burn Down
5. The Geoff Everett Band — Hole In My Life
6. Los Lonely Boys — Evil Ways
7. Johnny Lang — Living For The City
8. JJ Gray & Mofro — All
9. Demian Bell — Long Way Up
10. Gerry Joe Weise — Who’s Calling
11. Jane Crow & Blues Inc — Back For More
12. Rocky Jackson — Goin’ Back To Texas
13. Joss Stone — Right To Be Wrong
14. Tommy Crain — Take Me To The River