Recommended reading / viewing / listening

A surprise oasis / Dustin Hoffman on ‘Luck’ / Old bitterness for Bill Clinton / Surviving Antarctica / How do you talk to an alien?

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. Underground oasis found below Earth’s driest desert
By Lisa Grossman | New Scientist | Feb. 18
“A thriving community of microorganisms nestles two metres below the surface of the ultra-arid Atacama desert in Chile.”

2. US intelligence officials offer grim words on Afghanistan
By Ken Dilanian | Stars & Stripes | Feb. 17
“Senior U.S. intelligence officials offered a bleak view of the war in Afghanistan in testimony to Congress on Thursday, an assessment they acknowledged was more pessimistic than that of the military commanders in charge.”

3. The .0000063% Election
By Ari Berman | Mother Jones | Feb. 16
“How American politics became the politics of the superrich.”

4. Big screen or small, Dustin Hoffman feels ‘Luck’-y
By Scott Timberg | The Los Angeles Times | Feb. 17
“The Oscar-winning actor says at age 74, he is fortunate to have landed such a richly written part in HBO’s new horse-racing series.”

5. Some Arkansas Dems still waiting for Clinton’s ‘thank you’
By Suzi Parker | She the People :: The Washington Post | Feb. 16
“For many party activists in Clinton’s home state, the subject of his relationship with Monica Lewinsky evokes bitterness even after 14 years. Privately, some grumble even now about how Clinton betrayed them, too.”

6. Rereading: Seamus Heaney on Czeslaw Milosz’s centenary
By Seamus Heaney | The Guardian | April 2011
“Czeslaw Milosz was a veteran of European turmoil. His fellow Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney pays tribute to a Polish poet poised between lyricism and witness”

7. A communist in the US
Witness :: BBC News | February 2011
“On 9 February 1950 Senator Joseph McCarthy began his hunt for communists in the US. Throughout the Cold War, people on the left of politics came under attack in the US.”

8. Rereading: Rosemary Sutcliff’s The Eagle of the Ninth
By Charlottle Higgins | The Guardian | April 2011
“Not just a rollicking adventure, Rosemary Sutcliff’s The Eagle of the Ninth, which has just been filmed, is a touching true story about love and loyalty. Charlotte Higgins looks back on a childhood favourite”

9. Crossing Antarctica
Witness :: BBC News | Jan. 18
“The Norwegian polar explorer Borge Ousland spent more than two months skiing alone across the continent of Antarctica.”

10. What Do You Say to an Alien?
By Sam Roberts | The New York Times | Feb. 12
“If we made contact, what would we say? And what answers would we anticipate?”

**************

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. Bettye LaVette — I Still Want To Be Your Baby
2. Michael Holt & The Trophy 500’s — To The River
3. Daddy Long Legs — Use Me
4. Marc Broussard — Home
5. Jimmy Warren — It Aint Fair
6. Hill Country Review — Highway Blues
7. ZZ Top — Double Back
8. Jacks O’Diamonds — Dusty Man
9. Old Southern Moonshine Revival — New Pair of Boots
10. Chris Rea — Texas Blue
11. Otis Taylor — Rain So Hard
12. Derek Trucks Band — Get What You Deserve
13. Paul Rodgers and Garry Moore — Tribute To Muddy Waters
14. The Informants — Goodnight My Love

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Allende’s suicide / Babymaking time / Cartels’ radio systems / Lazy in-laws / Fall of Berlin

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. Chile closes Allende case after confirming suicide
Associated Press | Dec. 29
“An international panel of experts convened by Judge Mario Carroza determined that Allende took his own life with an AK-47 while defending the presidential palace in Chile’s 1973 coup.”

2. It’s High Time for Conception: Studies Show Peak Times, Weather for Sex
By Anneli Rufus | The Daily Beast | Dec. 27
“Studies show the holiday season is prime time for baby making. Anneli Rufus reports on which day, at what time, and in what weather you stand the best chance of having sex.”

3. How to function after a sleepless night
By Ed Vanstone | Men’s Health | December 2011
“No sleep? No problem — if you follow our advice”

4. Gentleman’s Goal: Get Outside Your Comfort Zone
By Patrick Wittwer | The Primer | September 2011
“After graduating college it’s easy to get caught in a rut. If you don’t make an active attempt at getting out of your comfort zone you’re going to miss out on a lot of opportunities.”

5. Mexico’s cartels build own national radio system
By Michael Weissenstein | Associated Press | Dec. 26
“The Mexican army and marines have begun attacking the system, seizing hundreds of pieces of communications equipment in at least three operations since September that offer a firsthand look at a surprisingly far-ranging and sophisticated infrastructure.”

6. Volcanic Cooling
By C. Claiborne Ray | Q&A :: The New York Times | July 2009
“Could an increase in volcanic eruptions counter global warming with the resulting dust, smoke and debris?”

7. Revolutionary Daughters
By Kate Taunton | Activate :: Al Jazeera | October 2011
“How two activists are challenging Indian society and transforming trafficked girls into the leaders of tomorrow.”

8. This Drone Will Self-Destruct in Five Seconds
By Brian Palmer | Explainer :: Slate | Dec. 7
“Can unmanned spy planes be destroyed from afar?”

9. At the end of my tether with lazy, selfish, controlling in-laws
Troubleshooter :: The Yomiuri Shimbun | Dec. 16
“I get frustrated with both of them, but can’t live independently from my father-in-law for financial reasons. I wish I could give them a piece of my mind and make them shut up once and for all.”

10. The fall of Berlin
Witness :: BBC News | May 16
“The Red Army took control of the German capital Berlin, in May 1945. The Soviet soldiers had a terrifying reputation and civilians in their path feared looting and violence.”