Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Secrets to San Antonio / Houston’s dolphins / Tarantino’s ‘Star Trek’ / The best Texas playlist / Kirsten Gillibrand in the spotlight / Robert Caro and LBJ

This week: Secrets to San Antonio / Houston’s dolphins / Tarantino’s ‘Star Trek’ / The best Texas playlist / Kirsten Gillibrand in the spotlight

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. Insider’s Guide to San Antonio
By Lauren Smith Ford | Texas Monthly | December 2017
“Join the dapper Mike Casey for a bicycle tour of his favorite bars, restaurants and more in the funky, charming King William neighborhood.”

2. Galveston Bay dolphins struggle to recover from Hurricane Harvey
By Alex Stuckey | Houston Chronicle | November 2017
“Researchers observe lesions covering the marine mammals”

3. Pulp science-fiction? How Quentin Tarantino could save Star Trek
By Luke Holland | The Guardian | December 2017
“The tepid recent installment left Kirk and co needing direction, dialogue and a decent baddie. Luckily Hollywood’s grandmaster of profanity has one more film to make.”

4. Hundreds of dams in Texas could fail in worst-case flood
By Ralph K.M. Haurwitz | Austin American-Statesman | November 2017
“Texas applies its strictest safety standards only if a dam’s failure would probably cost seven or more lives.”

5. Winston Churchill Got a Lot of Things Wrong, But One Big Thing Right
By Matt Lewis | The Daily Beast | December 2017
“He contemplated using poison gas on German civilians. He wanted to keep England white. And more. But he had the quality Britain needed most at exactly the moment it was needed.”

6. Kirsten Gillibrand’s Moment Has Arrived
By David Freedlander | Politico Magazine | December 2017
“The New York senator has made sexual assault the focus of her political career. Now, the world has caught up with her.”

7. Oil and gas industry is causing Texas earthquakes, a ‘landmark’ study suggests
By Ben Guarino | The Washington Post | November 2017
“An unnatural number of earthquakes hit Texas in the past decade, and the region’s seismic activity is increasing. In 2008, two earthquakes stronger than magnitude 3 struck the state. Eight years later, 12 did.”

8. You May Want to Marry My Husband
By Amy Krouse Rosenthal | Modern Love :: The New York Times | March 2017
“He is an easy man to fall in love with. I did it in one day.”

9. Listen to the Ultimate Texas Music Playlist
By Katy Vine | Texas Monthly | November 2017
“We set out to hear what our state sounds like. We brought back the latest and best of Texas music — so listen up.”

10. Robert Caro: Rising Early, With a New Sentence in Mind
By John Leland | Sunday Routine :: The New York Times | May 2012
“I always remember Ernest Hemingway’s advice to writers: always quit for the day when you know what the next sentence is.”
Also see: Robert Caro’s Big Dig | Robert Caro’s Painstaking Process

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: The mayoral presidency / Make yourself charming / Turkey and Kurdish culture / The new intellectual / Celebrating ‘The Sopranos’

This week: The mayoral presidency / Make yourself charming / Turkey and Kurdish culture / The new intellectual / Celebrating ‘The Sopranos’

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. America’s Mayor
By Jack Shafer | Politico | July/August 2017
“The 45th president is trying to run the White House like it’s city hall.”

2. Volcano Forecast? New Technique Could Better Predict Eruptions
By Annie Sneed | Scientific American | June 29
“Taking a cue from weather forecasters, researchers combine satellite measurements and models in attempt to predict volcanic activity”

3. The tricks to make yourself effortlessly charming
By Tiffanie Wen | Capital :: BBC News | June 28
“From the first moment you walk into a room people are making judgements about how much they like you. Fortunately, there are ways to improve your chances”

4. Amid Turkey’s Purge, a Renewed Attack on Kurdish Culture
By Patrick Kingsley | The New York Times | June 29
“Since the founding of the Turkish republic in 1923, which enshrined a monocultural national identity, the country’s sizable Kurdish minority — around 20 percent of the population — has often been banned from expressing its own culture or, at times, from speaking the Kurdish language.”

5. The Rise of the Thought Leader
By David Sessions | The New Republic | June 28
“How the superrich have funded a new class of intellectual.”

6. How Frank Lloyd Wright changed architecture
By Anthony Paletta | 1843 :: The Economist | June 28
“A gripping exhibition in New York unearths fresh insights into his work”

7. The Sopranos: 10 years since it finished, it’s still the most masterful show ever
By David Stubbs | The Guardian | June 8
“It’s been a decade since that final, agonisingly tense Soprano sitdown — and TV is still in thrall to this remarkably human, and inhuman, drama”

8. Why is One Hundred Years of Solitude Eternally Beloved?
By Scott Esposito | LitHub | June 6
“At 50 Years Old, García Márquez’s Masterpiece is as Important As Ever”

9. Will Trump’s presidency finally kill the myth of the special relationship?
By Geoffrey Wheatcroft | The Guardian | February 2017
“Ever since Winston Churchill invented it in 1946, successive prime ministers have discovered that the bond between the US and UK is anything but sacred. So, why does this absurd idea refuse to go away?”

10. Q&A: ‘Honey badger’ Brian Karem on taking a stand in White House press room
By Justin Ray | Columbia Journalism Review | June 28
“We talked to Karem about his experiences inside the White House press corps, reactions to his interjection, and the lesson he hopes journalists learn from the confrontation.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: CSS H.L. Hunley emerges / Writing: A job or a calling? / Solving a math mystery / Gaza children with PTSD / What caused her cancer?

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This week: CSS H.L. Hunley emerges / Writing: A job or a calling? / Solving a math mystery / Gaza children with PTSD / What caused her cancer?

Most of these great items come from my social media networks. Follow me on Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn, MySpace, and Facebook for more fascinating videos, photos, articles, essays, and criticism.

1. After 150 years, Confederate submarine’s hull again revealed
By Bruce Smith | Associated Press | Jan. 30
“What [scientists] find may finally solve the mystery of why the hand-cranked submarine sank during the Civil War.”

2. Facebook needs a ‘Sympathy’ button
By Amy-Mae Elliott | Mashable | Jan. 25
” It can mean a feeling of pity or sorrow for someone else’s misfortune, and also an understanding between people — a common feeling.”

3. Is Being a Writer a Job or a Calling?
By Benjamin Moser and Dana Stevens | Bookends :: Sunday Book Review | Jan. 27
Moser: “Even the best writing won’t have the immediate, measurable impact of a doctor’s work, or a plumber’s.”
Stevens: “Of course a writer is going to lean toward saying writing is a calling — that’s our job.”

4. The Pursuit of Beauty
By Alec Wilkinson | The New Yorker | Feb. 2
“Yitang Zhang solves a pure-math mystery.”

5. Hundreds of thousands of children shell-shocked after the war in Gaza
By Robert Tait | The Telegraph | Jan. 29
“Children who saw their siblings or parents killed, often gruesomely, have been left stricken, and around 35 per cent to 40 per cent of Gaza’s million children are suffering from shell-shock according to Hasan Zeyada, a psychologist with the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme.”

6. What Caused My Cancer?
By Shana Bernstein | Pacific Standard | Jan. 29
“Was it bad genes? Bad luck? Or was it the toxins I eat, drink, breathe, and touch on a regular basis because the United States has a policy of putting the burden of proof for product safety on the consumer?”

7. The Fire of 1910 — Why It Still Matters
By Timothy Egan | Inside American Experience | Jan. 29
“Never in recorded United States history has there been anything to match the fire of 1910. For its size, its ferocity, its impact, nothing comes close.”

8. 50 years after funeral, Churchill towers over UK politicians
By Jill Lawless | Associated Press | Jan. 30
“Modern politicians know better than to invite comparisons to the larger-than-life Churchill — a noted ‘bon vivant’ … who kept 10 Downing St. stocked with Pol Roger Champagne.”

9. Seven questions every editor should ask the writer
By Roy Peter Clark | Poynter | Jan. 30
“After asking these questions to hundreds of writers, I have confidence that the answers provided by the writer can guide a coaching editor on how best to help the writer over time.”

10. For Incarcerated Japanese-Americans, Baseball Was ‘Wearing the American Flag’
By Michael Beschloss | HistorySource :: The New York Times | June 2014
“By 1943, when some of those in the relocation camps were allowed to volunteer for war service, some of the ballplayers joined the Army’s almost all-Japanese-American 442nd Regimental Combat Team, which suffered grievous casualties in Europe and came to be called the most decorated military unit in American history.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Churchill’s brutal decision / How cats fall / Grieving for pets / Flying the Dawn spacecraft / A classic interview with Fidel Castro

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. An Interview with Fidel Castro
By Barbara Walters | Foreign Policy | Sept. 15, 1977
“Fidel Castro on communism, his own death, and the U.S. embargo.”

2. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos Discovers Apollo 11 Rocket Engines at the Bottom of the Sea
By Rebecca J. Rosen | The Atlantic | March 28
“For four decades, the engines that powered Apollo 11 to the moon have lain at the bottom of the Atlantic. But they’ll soon rise again.”

3. How to Fly the Slowest Spacecraft in the Cosmos
By Jeffrey Kluger | Time Science | March 28
“You may never have heard of Dawn, and if you haven’t, you’re not alone.”

4. Grieving for Pets and Humans: Is There a Difference?
By Tara Parker-Pope | Well :: The New York Times | March 27
“Can the death of a pet hurt as much as the loss of a relative?”

5. The dirty little secret about second-term presidents
By Daniel W. Drezner | Foreign Policy | March 26
“Consider the last three two-term presidents: Reagan, Clinton, and Bush 43. I’ll grant this is a very small sample, but bear with me. Did their second-term policies look different from their first-term? You bectha.”

6. Who, What, Why: How do cats survive falls from great heights?
BBC News Magazine | March 24
“A cat in the US city of Boston survived a fall from a 19-storey window and only bruised her chest. How do cats survive falls from such great heights?”

7. Gingrich Stuck to Caustic Path in Ethics Battles
By Sheryl Gay Stolberg | The Long Run :: The New York Times | Jan. 28
“Newt Gingrich had an urgent warning for conservatives: Jim Wright, the Democratic speaker of the House, was out to destroy America.”

8. Rereading: RK Narayan
By Charles Nicholl | The Guardian | May 14
“A visit to the city that inspired RK Narayan’s fictional south Indian town, Malgudi, on the 10th anniversary of his death”

9. Churchill’s Deadly Decision
Secrets of the Dead :: PBS | May 13, 2010
“Churchill had to make a choice. He could either trust the promises of the new French government that they would never hand over their ships to Hitler. Or he could make sure that the ships never joined the German navy by destroying them himself.”

10. Assassination of Malcolm X
Witness :: BBC News | February 28
“In February 1965, the controversial black leader, Malcolm X, was assassinated in Harlem, New York.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Air Force cuts / What big donors want / Mom’s secret bank balance / Supporting snail mail / Aroused by armpits

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. Air Force plans to cut 10,000 airmen
By Samantha Stainburn | GlobalPost | Feb. 3
“The Air Force also expects to save $8.7 billion over five years by retiring 123 fighters, 133 transport planes and 30 aircraft used for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.”

2. Big donors and what they want
By Stephen Braun, Jack Gillum and Richard Lardner | Associated Press | Feb. 3
“The Associated Press reviewed financial reports, regulatory filings, court records, public statements and more to identify favors that the biggest donors so far in the presidential campaign might want in return for their contributions worth $100,000 or more.”

3. Domnica Cemortan, ‘I Am In Love With Captain Francesco Schettino’
By Sara C. Nelson | The Huffington Post UK | Feb. 3
“The 25-year-old initially denied any romantic involvement with the married captain, but last night reportedly admitted her feelings after divers found her lingerie in his cabin.”

4. Only in Austin: a legal argument about whether it’s the state capital
By Mike Ward | Austin American-Statesman | Feb. 2
“Could Austin not be the capital of Texas? That’s the assertion that Railroad Commission Chairwoman Elizabeth Ames Jones makes in a newly filed request for Attorney General Greg Abbott to resolve a nagging issue in her campaign for the Texas Senate.”

5. Parents’ finances: When the family secret is Mom’s bank balance
By Rosemary McClure | The Los Angeles Times | Feb. 3
“Conversations we loathe: Telling a spouse that it’s over. Explaining sex to our kids. Asking our elderly parents about their finances. How do you broach that last subject without sounding greedy? It’s an important conversation to initiate, experts say.”

6. In Afghan War, Officer Becomes a Whistle-Blower
By Scott Shane | The New York Times | Feb. 5
“Since enlisting in the Army in 1985, he said, he had repeatedly seen top commanders falsely dress up a dismal situation. But this time, he would not let it rest.”

7. Will America’s Solar Civil War Destroy The Industry?
By Carl Franzen | Talking Points Memo | Feb. 6
“Behind the headlines of a looming solar trade war between the U.S. and China is a messy fight between two major sectors of the American solar industry — manufacturers against ‘downstream’ companies.”

8. Notable Authors Give Snail Mail a Boost
By John Williams | ArtsBeat :: The New York Times | Feb. 3
“For $5 a month, readers of the Web site The Rumpus can receive a new letter every week or so from writers including Dave Eggers, Jonathan Ames, Aimee Bender and The Rumpus’s editor in chief Stephen Elliott, who came up with the idea.”

9. It’s the pits
By Tracy Clark-Flory | Salon | Feb. 2
“A middle-aged man says he ‘can be sexually aroused’ by women’s shaved underarms. Our experts sniff at his kink”

10. Funeral of Winston Churchill
Witness :: BBC News | Jan. 24
“With the death of Sir Winston Churchill Britain went into mourning for its great wartime leader.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

What your hair does for you / Inside Shuttle Atlantis / Cute baby animals / A lesser navy / Intel failure

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. In Kim’s Death, an Extensive Intelligence Failure
By Mark Lander and Choe Sang-Hun | The New York Times | Dec. 19
“As the United States and its allies confront a perilous leadership transition in North Korea — a failed state with nuclear weapons — the closed nature of the country will greatly complicate their calculations.”

2. Young women’s use of reproductive health services declines
By Shari Roan | Booster Shots :: The Los Angeles Times | Dec. 19
“This includes services such as Pap tests, pregnancy tests, contraception prescriptions, tests for sexually transmitted disease and other gynecological and obstetric care.”

3. The not-so-naked ape
The Economist | Dec. 17
“Human body hair, once thought to be an evolutionary relic, has a real job to do”

4. Last look inside space shuttle Atlantis
By Dean Putney | Boing Boing | Dec. 19
“It hadn’t occurred to me until now how little of the space shuttle I’ve seen.”

5. A Two-Ocean Navy No More?
By James R. Holmes | The Diplomat | Dec. 19
“With U.S. naval leaders more choosy amid fiscal austerity, a two-ocean strategy may be a luxury the U.S. can no longer afford. What does it mean for the Pacific?”

6. The top 6 incidents of ojo
By Sara Ines Calderon and Victor Landa | NewsTaco | April 2011
“Even though we all like to pretend that we’re modern and non-superstitious, you know that sometimes when someone is complimenting you, or when you all of a sudden fall ill for no reason, there’s that creeping suspicion that … could it be … alguien me echó ojo? But you don’t really believe in it, right?”

7. World’s Cutest Baby Wild Animals
By Clara Moskowitz | LiveScience | February 2011
Don’t deny it. You love them.

8. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison decries nine ‘accounting tricks’ that hide government spending
Texas on the Potomac :: Houston Chronicle | Dec. 17
“The national debt is now more than $15 trillion. The budget deficit for this fiscal year alone will be more than $1 trillion. This mountain of debt is a growing obstacle to economic recovery. But for many in Washington, it’s business as usual.”

9. Carry-on Essentials for Air Travel
The Flying Pinto | September 2011
“The trick to stress free air travel is to be able to roll with the punches. The trick to being able to roll with the punches when flying is a well packed carry on!”

10. Victory in Europe Day
Witness :: BBC News | May 6
“On May 8 1945, Winston Churchill announced the end of the war in Europe. It meant defeat for Germany, but great rejoicing in Britain.”