Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Afghan and U.S. soldiers / Penis sizes / ‘Downton’ prequel planned / Designer John Hockenberry / Moneymaking brains

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. Afghan troops get a lesson in American cultural ignorance
By Kevin Sieff and Richard Lieby | The Washington Post | Sept. 28
“Eleven years into the war in Afghanistan, NATO troops and Afghan soldiers are still beset by a dangerous lack of cultural understanding, officials say. …”

2. No, really: Penises are not shrinking
By Debby Herbenick | Salon | Sept. 27
“Rush Limbaugh is wrong about that. But here’s the long (and short) of what science really does tell us about size.”

3. Report Examines How Budget Cuts Affected Texas Schools
By Morgan Smith | The Texas Tribune | Sept. 27
“There are two immediate take-aways. First, districts absorbed the cuts in diverse ways. Second, many of them were unable to do that without laying off teachers.”

4. Julian Fellowes Plans ‘Downton Abbey’ Prequel
By Stuart Kemp | The Hollywood Reporter | Sept. 28
“The Oscar winning scribe says he wants to look at the early relationship between the characters currently played by Hugh Bonneville and Elizabeth McGovern in the new show.”

5. The Election Isn’t Over
By Pete Du Pont | The Wall Street Journal | Sept. 27
“Only fools and partisans think Obama has it locked up.”

6. If America had compulsory voting, would Democrats win every election?
Lexington’s Notebook :: The Economist | Sept. 28
“Democrats are pretty convinced that voter suppression is precisely what their Republican foes are up to, via a new law … that requires voters to show an up-to-date identity card with a photograph and expiry date, issued by one of a list of official authorities.”

7. John Hockenberry: We are all designers
TED | March 2012
“Journalist John Hockenberry tells a personal story inspired by a pair of flashy wheels in a wheelchair-parts catalogue — and how they showed him the value of designing a life of intent.”

8. The Right Drink for Every Situation
By Nicole McDermott | Healthland :: Time | Sept. 28
“From pickle juice to whiskey to cherry juice, these drinks can boost endurance, ease colds and even help beat upset stomachs.”

9. How Species Save Our Lives
By Richard Conniff | Specimens :: The New York Times | February 27
“We still scoff at naturalists today. We also tend to forget how much we benefit from their work.”

10. How Brains Make Money
Innovations :: Smithsonian.com | Sept. 28
“Meet the neuroeconomists, pioneers of sorts in an emerging field based on the notion that financial decisions have their roots in neuron connections.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Films on the environment / The perfect paper clip / Summer books for politicos / The Lucretius effect / The end of men?

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. The Environment video collection
PBS :: American Experience | May 2012
“Ever wonder what would happen if Antarctica’s ice melted? Or whether you live near a nuclear power plant? Or what kind of rare and intriguing indigenous animals live on Cuba’s undeveloped islands? Find the best green indie films, and learn more about what you can do to help the Earth.”

2. The Perfection of the Paper Clip
By Sara Goldsmith | Slate | May 22
“It was invented in 1899. It hasn’t been improved upon since.”

3. A better border is possible
By Katie Ryder | Salon | May 26
“A more enlightened boundary could make us richer, save lives and even help rescue the Rust Belt.”

4. Summer 2012 Reading List
By Gwen Ifill | Washington Week | May 26
“Looking for some good summer reading? Check out the books Gwen and the Washington Week panelists recommend for the beach, the car, the plane or the pool. From fiction to politics, history to biography, there is something for everybody. The smartest reporters in Washington, D.C. bring you their suggestions for the summer’s best reads.”

5. ‘The Swerve’: When an Ancient Text Reaches Out and Touches Us
By Jeffrey Brown | PBS NewsHour | May 25
“In his new book, ‘The Swerve: How the World Became Modern,’ author Stephen Greenblatt unearths the tale of a book collector whose discovery of poet Lucretius’ ‘On the Nature of Things’ helped change the direction of human thought.”

6. Infertility Genes Could Lead to Male Contraception
By Jennifer Welsh | LiveScience | May 24
“Infertility remains a sensitive topic, and about 25 percent of cases remain unexplained.”

7. The Demise of Guys
By Philip G. Zimbardo and Nikita Duncan | Hero :: Psychology Today | May 23
“In record numbers, guys are flaming out academically, wiping out socially with girls, and failing sexually with women.”

8. Japan Tsunami Debris: Bones Expected To Wash Ashore, Oceanographer Says
Associated Press | May 23
“Anyone who discovers such remains should call 911 and wait for police. DNA may identify people missing since the March 2011 tsunami hit Japan.”

9. Feeding a hungry world — or meddling with laws of nature?
By Michael McCarthy | The Independent | May 25
“As scientists at Rothamsted’s GM trials plead with activists not to sabotage their work, Michael McCarthy visits the battle field”

10. Making iTunes Ignore the Gap
By J.D. Biersdorfer | Gadgetwise :: The New York Times | May 21
“I enjoy listening to opera on my iPhone, but the Music app treats the parts of an opera recording as if they were ‘songs.’ Because of this, there is always a gap between the tracks of an opera CD. Is there a way to defeat this feature so that an entire act of an opera is played back seamlessly?”

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

TUNES

My soundtrack for today included:
1. 24 DEEP Brotha Lynch Hung
2. BLING BLING B.G.
3. MS. FAT BOOTY Mos Def
4. ELECTRIC RELAXATION A Tribe Called Quest
5. HEY MAMA Black Eyed Peas
6. NO FEAR Originoo Gunn Clappaz
7. HEART OF THE CITY Jay-Z
8. TOO CLOSE Next
9. COLD ROCK A PARTY MC Lyte
10. PICTURE ME ROLLIN’ 2Pac

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