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: 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

Amazing microbes / The world capital of prison / Phil Collins and the Alamo / Pros and cons of cohabitation / Tides and quakes

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. Millennia-old Microbes Found Alive in Deep Ocean Muck
By David Biello | Scientific American | May 18
“The microbes are still being precisely identified but they are not like the other deep-sea extremophiles that scientists have found everywhere from hydrothermal vents to more than a kilometer beneath some parts of the ocean floor.”

2. Louisiana Incarcerated
The New Orleans Times-Picayune | May 13
“How we built the world’s prison capital”

3. Phil Collins remembers the Alamo
By Michael Schulman | Page-Turner :: The New Yorker | May 18
“How did an English rocker become an authority on one of America’s bloodiest battles?”

4. Hit on the head
By Sarah Hepola | Salon | May 18
“For five years, I was haunted by a violent crime and a broken relationship. Then came a twist I never expected”

5. Facebook’s Technology Timeline
By Rachel Metz | Technology Review | May 17
“A look back at the moments that have shaped Facebook’s success.”

6. Considering Cohabitation
Psychology Today | May 2012
“More and more couples are packing up their things, moving in and sharing digs. They say it’s because they want to try things out to avoid a bad marriage — or simply more economical than living apart. But is it a good idea?”

7. Monitoring tides could predict major quakes
By Michael Marshall | New Scientist | May 18
“The rise and fall of the tides could help us to predict major earthquakes like the magnitude 9 quake that triggered Japan’s tsunami last year.”

8. Solar Eclipse 2012: Where, When ‘Ring Of Fire’ Will Be Visible
By Joe Rao | Huff Post Science | May 17
“On Sunday afternoon, the path of an annular solar eclipse will cross parts of eight western states. SPACE.com estimates that an estimated 6.6 million Americans live within the path of annularity.”

9. 5 myths about Rick Perry
By Evan Smith | Five Myths :: The Washington Post | Aug. 18
Myth 1: “He’s a Bush clone”

10. Rereading: Beware of Pity by Stefan Zweig
By Micholas Lezard | The Guardian | July 15
“Famous for his novellas, popular histories and biographies, Stefan Zweig wrote only one novel, a study of nostalgia and disillusionment.”

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

TUNES

My soundtrack for today included:
1. RUN THROUGH THE JUNGLE Creedence Clearwater Revival
2. LOST ONES Lauryn Hill
3. LET IT BE The Beatles
4. I CAN SEE IT IN YOUR FACE Pretty Lights
5. HEARTBREAK HOTEL U2
6. SWIM Madonna
7. GASOLINE ALLEY (Unplugged) Rod Stewart
8. FREEDOM 90 George Michael
9. OH ME (Unplugged) Nirvana
10. BEHIND BLUE EYES The Who

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Castro’s new memoir / New York-sized iceberg / Tweeting truckers / CIA holds back Cuba history / Seductive Super Bowl ads

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. Fidel Castro presents 2-volume memoir
By Anne-Marie Garcia | Associated Press | Feb. 4
“Fidel Castro spent six hours presenting a two-volume memoir to an audience at a Havana convention center, state media said Saturday. It was a rare appearance for the retired and increasingly reclusive former Cuban leader.”

2. Petraeus, with plenty of practice, sticks to message
By Greg Miller | Checkpoint :: The Washington Post | Feb. 3
“In his first extended public appearance as CIA director, David H. Petraeus this week did more than display his well-known discipline for staying on message. He did his best to bring other government voices back on message as well.”

3. Antarctica’s 19-Mile Ice Crack Will Produce New York-Sized Iceberg
By Carl Franzen | Talking Points Memo | Feb. 3
“[T]he great ice crack measures 19 miles long, 260 feet wide and 195 feet deep and the resulting iceberg will nearly 350 square miles, NASA reported.”

4. Palestina Amore
Al Jazeera World | October 2011
“Some Italians have made it their mission to mobilise support on behalf of the Palestinian cause.”

5. Shake, Rattle and Roll
By C. Claiborne Ray | Q&A :: The New York Times | October 2011
“Can human actions cause earthquakes?”

6. Sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff
Witness :: BBC News | January 25
“Horst Woit was just 10 years old when he and his mother boarded a ship in the hope of escaping Russian forces towards the end of World War II.”

7. The latest Twitter revolution
By Irin Carmon | Salon | Feb. 2
“Long-haul truckers gather in Mississippi to learn social media skills, burnish their image — and fight regulations”

8. CIA: Release of its History of the Bay of Pigs Debacle Would ‘Confuse the Public.’
By Nate Jones | Unredacted | Feb. 3
“Even if parts of the document truly are predecisional, only they can be withheld, the facts leading up to that decision — and histories are (hopefully) based primarily on facts — must be released.”

9. Super Bowl ads: The art of seduction
Company Town :: The Los Angeles Times | Feb. 3
“The art, and the challenge, is to weave a company’s brand and message into the story line of a commercial without making it feel forced or heavy-handed.”

10. Revisiting the power of Nazi propaganda
By Ellen Shapiro | Salon | Feb. 2
“A new Holocaust Museum exhibit provides unique insight into one of the world’s most devastating ad campaigns”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Building your brain / Apocalypse myths / Detective troops / Quake myths / Iraqi translators

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. Buff Your Brain
By Sharon Begley | Newsweek | Jan. 1
“Read more. Learn a language. Get some sleep! Sharon Begley reports getting a bigger brain is easier — and more fun — than you think”

2. 2012 Pictures: 6 Maya Apocalypse Myths Debunked
National Geographic | Jan. 3
“The end of the world is near — December 21, 2012, to be exact — according to theories based on an purported ancient Maya calendar. Scientists, though, are tripping over themselves to deflate the ballooning hype as the new year dawns.”

3. Spec-Ops troops learn to be gumshoes
By Kimberly Dozier | Associated Press | Jan. 3
“Fort Bragg’s Special Warfare Center shows how the U.S. has turned hunting terror networks into half-science, half-art-form since the al-Qaida attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.”

9. Five myths about earthquakes
By Susan Hough | Five Myths :: The Washington Post | August 2011
“Earthquakes rattle our psyches as well as our structures. We Californians can crack jokes about jumpy East Coast types, but the truth is, our blood pressure also rises precipitously when the Earth suddenly springs to life, without so much as a warning.”

5. This much I know
By Elizabeth Day | The Guardian | May 2009
“Joan Rivers, comedian, 75, London”

6. Thousands of Iraqi translators who worked for American troops live in fear
By Sarah Mustafa | The Daily Beast | December 2011
“One Iraqi woman describes the sacrifices she made for friends who have returned home.”

7. What is Your Facebook Personality?
By Susan Krauss Whitbourne | Psychology Today | December 2011
“How to avoid regret and rumination in a socially connected world”

8. In Search of the Geep
By C. Claiborne Ray | Q&A :: The New York Times | November 2009
“I have a soft-drink bottle cap with a trivia item printed inside that says that if a sheep and a goat mate, the offspring is a geep. Can this be true?”

9. How Complicated was the Byzantine Empire?
By Brian Palmer | Explainer :: Slate | October 2011
“Right-wingers are always complaining about the ‘Byzantine’ tax code.”

10. Rosa Luxemburg
Witness :: BBC News | March 2011
“Feminist icon, writer and theorist — Lenin called her the Eagle of the Revolution.”