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?

KS33

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

Less poverty by 2030 / Don’t ‘Like’ James Holmes / Springsteen at 62 / What we don’t know about forgiveness / D-Day deception

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. US intelligence sees poverty plummet by 2030
By Kimberly Dozier | Associated Press | July 28
“The chief at the U.S. government’s top intelligence analysis shop says if current economic and demographic trends continue, 1 billion people who live on less than a dollar a day now will drop by half in roughly two decades.”

2. You Can Become a Fan of James Holmes on Facebook (But You Shouldn’t)
By Louis Peitzman | Gawker | July 28
“The largest fan page, which appeared the same day as the Aurora shooting massacre, has over 800 followers.”

3. Re:Re:Fw:Re: Workers Spend 650 Hours a Year On Email
By Jordan Weissmann | The Atlantic | July 28
“There’s a good chance you spend more than a quarter of each week reading and answering those emails.”

4. Myths of Forgiveness
By Will Meek | Notes to Self :: Psychology Today | July 26
“Most of them are ways that our minds and culture bundle other things with forgiveness, rather than seeing it as a process of its own.”

5. Before The D-Day Invasion, Double Talk And Deceit
Weekend Edition Saturday :: NPR | July 28
“The British effort to feign, trick and fool the Germans into believing the D-Day invasion would be anywhere but Normandy was largely the work of people plotting at desks: untrustworthy double-agents, West End set designers and at least one pigeon handler.”

6. We Are Alive
By David Remnick | The New Yorker | July 30
“Bruce Springsteen at sixty-two”

7. David Perry: Are games better than life?
TED | October 2008
“Game designer David Perry says tomorrow’s videogames will be more than mere fun to the next generation of gamers. They’ll be lush, complex, emotional experiences — more involving and meaningful to some than real life. ”

8. Presidents at the Olympics
Politico | July 24
“President Barack Obama does not plan to attend the London games, but first lady Michelle Obama will represent him at the event.”

9. Where Was Stonewall?
By Ben Cleary | Disunion :: The New York Times | June 22
“[Stonewall] Jackson may have relied on his will to push himself beyond the limits of human endurance, but those limits are very real, and he encountered them in the hot, swampy lowlands east of Richmond in the summer of 1862.”

10. Loss of Spy Plane Sabotaged 1960 Summit
By Walter Cronkite | NPR | May 2005
“Former CBS anchor and commentator Walter Cronkite recalls the tension of spring 1960 when an American spy plane helped to plunge East-West relations into one of the deepest chills of the Cold War.”

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

TUNES

My soundtrack for today included:
1. MOONLIGHT Ludwig von Beethoven & Cafe Del Mar
2. RIVERWIDE Sheryl Crow
3. I DON’T LIKE MONDAYS Tori Amos
4. SECRET GARDEN Bruce Springsteen
5. LOVELY DAY Bill Withers
6. CERTAMENTE Madreblu
7. THERE’S A RIVER Steve Winwood
8. TELL IT LIKE IT IS Aaron Neville
9. COUNTING WAVES Sarah Fimm
10. ALIBABA Karunesh

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Video of asteroid near miss / Peruvian food around the world / Death in a Facebook status / Cronkite remembers the Battle of the Bulge

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. Near-Earth Asteroid Fly-By Captured by Observatory
Space.com | July 2012
“Asteroid 2002 AM31 flew by Earth on July 22nd. The Slooh Space Camera in the Canary Islands observatory was on hand to capture the space rock zoom by. It was about 3.2 million miles away on its closest approach.”

2. Peruvian Independence Day Celebrated With Google Map Of Peruvian Restaurants Around The World
The Huffington Post | July 28
” You don’t have to travel all the way to South America for a taste of Peru’s cuisine.”

3. Facebook, in Life and Death
By Rubina Madan Fillon | The Juggle :: The Wall Street Journal | July 25
“I’ve grown accustomed to finding out about friends’ milestones on Facebook: graduations, engagements, weddings, new jobs and children. But hearing about death that way — I’m not sure I’ll ever get used to that.”

4. Gang Violence Smoulders On Hot Chicago Streets
By Scott Simon | Weekend Edition Saturday | July 28
“When the sun goes down behind the glimmering lakeshore skyline, blocks on the South and West Side of the city can ring with shots and sirens.”

5. She’s taking on everything that’s wrong with movies
By Karina Longworth | The Village Voice | July 25
“Julie Delpy materializes on the patio of Hollywood’s Chateau Marmont on a wave of nervous energy.”

6. Texting: Grammar suffering as a result, finds a new study
By Alexander Besant | GlobalPost | July 28
“Researchers from Penn State have found that teenagers who use text messages to communicate tend to have worse grammar skills than those who don’t.”

7. J.J. Abrams’ mystery box
TED | January 2008
“J.J. Abrams traces his love for the unseen mystery … back to its magical beginnings.”

8. Fancy that: the golden age of the sexy geeky leading male
By Zoe Williams | The Guardian | July 27
“The home-grown actors making it big in Hollywood these days aren’t chiselled or buff, but funny, nerdy and strangely attractive”

9. Runaway Masters
By Daniel W. Crofts | Disunion :: The New York Times | June 22
“All hope vanished that the war might end soon, or that the old Union might somehow be restored intact.”

10. The Battle of the Bulge Remembered
By Walter Cronkite | NPR | December 2004
“Cronkite reflects on what remains the largest pitched battle in the history of American arms.”

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

TUNES

My soundtrack for today included:
1. NEVER AN EASY WAY Morcheeba
2. AIR Cuba Percussion & Klazz Brothers
3. WITH YOU Smoke City
4. ISOBEL Dido
5. LIGHT MY FIRE Jose Feliciano
6. MAD MEN SUITE David Carbonara
7. I KNOW Fiona Apple
8. SEVEN YEARS Natalie Merchant
9. MAYBE I’M AMAZED Paul McCartney
10. CAN’T FIND MY WAY HOME Blind Faith

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

Her affair with JFK / Female sex drive / Style on the campaign trail / Artist faces Facebook millions / Jupiter’s moon / Miscarriage lawsuit after Costa Concordia

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. Woman recounts her affair with JFK when she was 19
By Cynthia R. Fagen | The New York Post | Feb. 5
“Their sex was ‘varied and fun.’ He could be seductive and playful and sometimes ‘acted like he had all the time in the world. Other times, he was in no mood to linger.’ ”

2. Female Sex Drive Decline Tied To Hormones, Evolution
By Jennifer Abbasi | The Huffington Post | Feb. 1
“[R]elationship duration was a better predictor of sexual desire in women than both relationship and sexual satisfaction.”

3. Why Are We So Obsessed With the Presidential Candidates’ Style?
By Noreen Malone | The Cut :: New York Magazine | January 2012
“Middle-aged and older white men in business-formal attire don’t tend to be the objects of sartorial fascination.”

4. Graffiti artist David Choe set for Facebook windfall
BBC News | Feb. 3
“A U.S. graffiti artist who painted Facebook’s offices is set to become a multi-millionaire when the social network begins trading as a public company.”

5. Latino voters favor protecting the environment
By Sara Ines Calderon | NewsTaco | Feb. 2
Among the findings, “76% of Latino voters voiced support for maintaining environmental protections.”

6. Tiny volcanic moon controls Jupiter’s auroras
By Lisa Grossman | New Scientist | Feb. 3
“Sometimes the puppets control the puppeteer. It seems volcanic outbursts on Jupiter’s moon Io control brilliant auroras on its parent planet.”

7. Lana Del Rey and the new culture of failure
By Stephen Deusner | Salon | Feb. 2
“The controversial pop sensation is somehow more interesting for her spectacular flameouts than her music”

8. Costa Concordia Lawsuit: Passenger Sues Cruise Line Over Miscarriage
The Huffington Post | Feb. 5
“[H]er doctors claim the ‘intense psychological stress suffered both during the night-time evacuation and when her lifeboat smashed up against rocks as it headed for the nearby shore’ is to blame.”

9. The Virgin Father
By Benjamin Wallace | New York Magazine | Feb. 5
“Trent Arsenault has never had sex, but he’s the father of fifteen children — and counting. The more he antagonizes the FDA, and unnerves television audiences across America, the more his in-box is flooded with requests for his sperm.”

10. Top five regrets of the dying
By Susie Steiner | The Guardian | Feb. 1
“A nurse has recorded the most common regrets of the dying, and among the top ones is ‘I wish I hadn’t worked so hard’. What would your biggest regret be if this was your last day of life?”

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

TUNES

My soundtrack for today included:
1. PUSH Sarah McLachlan
2. PURPLE RAIN Prince
4. NO ORDINARY LOVE Sade
5. TAKE MY BREATH AWAY Berlin
6. PERFECT GIRL Sarah McLachlan
7. MELTDOWN Lisa Gerrard & Pieter Bourke
8. CANDY PERFUME GIRL Madonna
9. #1 CRUSH Garbage
10. BABY DID A BAD, BAD THING Chris Isaak

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Guide to pliars / True sexuality in film / Dems fundraising / Zuckerberg still the boss / A Watergate reunion

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. The Skin Storm: Sex In Great & Meager Film
By David D. Robbins Jr. | The Fade Out | Feb. 2
“Is there a film that encompasses the erotic, the rich tapestry of thought, the complexity and introspective nature of it all?”

2. Pliers: A Modern Man’s Guide to Tools
By Jesse Stern | Primer | February 2012
“While man was blessed with nimbler, stronger gripping hands than most animals, they’re not quite small, or strong, enough for many jobs around the house. Enter: pliers.”

3. Dems outraised GOP majority in 2011
By Alex Isenstadt | Politico | Feb. 2
“Republicans aren’t panicking yet. Independent analysts estimate that if the election were held today, Democrats would be far short of winning the 25 seats they need to retake the House.”

4. Zuckerberg Remains the Undisputed Boss at Facebook
By Somini Sengupta | The New York Times | Feb. 2
“Zuckerberg’s success is an object lesson in what works in crowded, competitive Silicon Valley: Remain in charge, stave off potential predators and expand the company so quickly that no one can challenge the boss.”

5. The Storytellers of Empire
By Kamila Shamsie | Guernica | February 2012
“Captivated by an image of an atom bomb falling on Japan, Pakistani novelist Kamila Shamsie asks American writers why, ‘Your soldiers will come to our lands, but your novelists won’t.’ ”

6. John Dean has unexpected Watergate reunion at Nixon Library
The Reliable Source :: The Washington Post | Feb. 1
“John Dean was in Southern California for a legal symposium when he and a friend decided to check out the library’s exhibits. ”

7. A Symbol of Democracy Is Criticized as Undemocratic
By A.G. Sulzberger | The New York Times | Feb. 2
“Those in favor of the caucus format, in which party members typically attend meetings at a set time to vote, are worried that additional problems will further undermine a traditional system that has been in declining use, as more states move to the comparative convenience and reliability of a primary.”

8. The 9/11 decade
Al Jazeera World | October 2011
“A special three-part series taking an in-depth look at the post 9/11 ‘war on terror’ ”

9. This much I know: America Ferrera
By Megan Conner | The Observer | November 2011
“Actress America Ferrera on the origins of her name and what follows Ugly Betty

10. The Big Sleep
By C. Claiborne Ray | Q&A :: The New York Times | December 2011
“Ever since childhood, I have needed more sleep than most. Why do some people need so much more sleep than others?”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Advice for Facebook millionaires / New crocodile species / TV and iPad / The cruise liner treasure chest / Fall of Singapore

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. Advice to new Facebook millionaires: take a breath
By Jennifer Hoyt Cummings | Reuters | Feb. 2
“The first thing the 1,000 or so new post-IPO Facebook millionaire employees might need: a reality check.”

2. Obama uses Jesus as justification for taxing the rich
By Talia Ralph | Global Post | Feb. 2
“At the annual National Prayer Breakfast, Obama said that his tax policy proposals are shaped by his religious beliefs.”

3. Enormous, shielded crocodile species discovered
By Josh Berlinger | Africa Emerges :: Global Post | Feb. 2
“A unique crocodile fossil is found to be that of a new, gargantuan species nicknamed ‘Shieldcroc’ ”

4. Blurring the Line Between iPad and TV
By Nick Wingfield | Gadgetwise :: The New York Times | Feb. 2
“[A] lot of Web video viewing is the entertainment equivalent of snacking — bite-sized sessions that last no more than a few minutes a day. … A San Francisco start-up called Remixation is trying to change that …”

5. Five Luxury Items You Will (Probably) Never Own
By Michael Carl | Carl’s Crush :: Vanity Fair | Feb. 2
“This list is all about things that will make you feel like a kid again — even if you’ll never get to own them.”

6. From shipwreck in Italy, a treasure now beckons
By Vanessa Gera | Associated Press | Feb. 2
“It may be just a matter of time before treasure hunters set their sights on the sunken spoils of the Costa Concordia, which had more than 4,200 people on board.”

7. This much I know: Tony Blair
By Tim Adams | The Observer | June 2011
“The envoy and politician, 58, on not being prime minister, reading the Qur’an every day and his personal wealth”

8. Fighting in the Fifth Dimension
Al Jazeera World | October 2011
“Innovations in technology are changing the tactics of modern-day conflict, turning the cyberworld into a new frontline.”

9. A Matter of Time
By C. Claiborne Ray | Q&A :: The New York Times | December 2011
“I just noticed that my cholesterol-lowering prescription says it should be taken at bedtime, and I have always taken it in the morning. Does this reduce its effectiveness? Why does time of day matter for a once-a-day medication?”

10. Fall of Singapore
Witness :: BBC News | February 2011
“The fall of Singapore was one of the most serious losses suffered by the Allies during World War II. One British survivor of that battle tells his story.”

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

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. Wiser Time — Revolution 09
2. Midnight Blues Band — Mercury Blues
3. Susan Tedeschi — Theres A Break In The Road
4. Chris Juergensen — Long Time Wondering
5. Paul Thorn — Crutches
6. Tinsely Ellis — Left Of Your Mind
7. Rick Huckaby — Can’t Miss Kid
8. Chris Rea — Lone Star Boogie
9. Rob Allen — Rainbow Blues
10. Robert Earl Keen — That Buckin’ Song
11. George Thorogood — Boogie Chillun
12. Van Wilks — Long Way To Crawl
13. Mick Fleetwood Blues Band — Rollin’ Man, Bayou Queen
14. Creed Williams — Finally Down

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Racism and IQ / Strokes and apnea / Facebook’s stock listing / Celebrating Dundee / Wisdom from Christopher Plummer

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. Latino congressional candidate fundraising figures
By Sara Ines Calderon | NewsTaco | Feb. 2
“We compiled a list of fundraising for Latino congressional candidates using the Federal Election Commission’s 2012 House and Senate Campaign Finance database.”

2. Intelligence Study Links Low I.Q. To Prejudice, Racism, Conservatism
By Rebecca Searles | The Huffington Post | Feb. 2
“Are racists dumb? Do conservatives tend to be less intelligent than liberals? A provocative new study from Brock University in Ontario suggests the answer to both questions may be a qualified yes.”

3. For Facebook, exchange choice is a matter of image
By Matthew Craft | Associated Press | Feb. 2
“When Facebook goes public in a few months, will its stock appear on the New York Stock Exchange or the Nasdaq? Depends what its billionaire founder prefers for a backdrop – a trading floor on Wall Street or towering video screens in Times Square.”

4. Dundee was an ambassador for boxing
By Tim Dahlberg | Associated Press | Feb. 2
“He saved a young Cassius Clay when he was in trouble in England, convinced Sugar Ray Leonard that he could somehow overcome the fearsome Tommy Hearns. Angelo Dundee worked thousands of corners, and had just as many stories about fighters and the games they played in the ring.”

5. Sleep apnea may make people more prone to silent strokes
By Jeannine Stein | Booster Shots :: The Los Angeles Times | Feb. 1
“Silent strokes show no obvious symptoms, despite causing damage to the brain. White matter lesions, small patches of dead cells, can affect cognitive function.”

6. Federal Government Opens More Ocean to Wind Projects
By Diane Cardwell | Green :: The New York Times | Feb. 2
“Enthusiasm for offshore wind projects may have cooled among developers in the United States these days, but the Obama administration is still trying to make a ribbon of wind farms off the Atlantic Coast a reality.”

7. What’s a man?
The Economist | Feb. 4
“Studies of brain genetics are starting to reveal what makes humans human”

8. English ‘Til I Die
Al Jazeera World | October 2011
“Al Jazeera investigates the rise of the English Defence League.”

9. This much I know: Christopher Plummer
By Paul Harris | The Observer | May 2011
“The actor, 81, on having to leave Canada, picking his nose, and thinking he’d been sired by a dog”

10. Frequent Fliers
By C. Claiborne Ray | Q&A :: The New York Times | October 2011
“I know fruit doesn’t actually generate fruit flies, but how do they find out about a piece of fruit on the counter so quickly?”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Cut back on non-friends / What Obama knew / Future of OWS / New treasures in Istanbul / Why do we yawn?

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. Unfriend Everyone
By Sam Biddle | Gizmodo | Jan. 20
“You have too many Facebook friends. You’re following too many people on Twitter. You’re connected to too many people who don’t care too much about you. Get rid of them. Get rid of all of them.”

2. Courts Moving Too Slow for April Primary Elections
By Ross Ramsey | The Texas Tribune | Jan. 20
“The Democratic and Republican political parties hold their state conventions June 7-9.”

3. Italy Finds a Heroic Foil for Its Scorned Captain
By Elisabetta Povoledo | The New York Times | Jan. 19
“Easily adapting to the national propensity for dualism, Italians have got themselves a hero to play against their antihero, a champion to their villain …”

4. Obama warned about skyrocketing debt before he took office
By Donovan Slack | Politico 44 :: Politico | Jan. 23
“Economic advisers warned President Obama before he took the oath of office that he would have to spend hundreds of billions of dollars to help right the economy and such spending could run up the highest national debt since World War II. …”

5. What Future for Occupy Wall Street?
By Michael Greenberg | The New York Review of Books | Feb. 9
“Occupy Wall Street’s expansion to many other cities seems to have been preordained, but at the time it caught even its most committed supporters off guard.”

6. After Being Stricken by Drought, Istanbul Yields Ancient Treasure
By Jennifer Pinkowski | The New York Times | Jan. 23
“In the last dig season alone, the archaeologists uncovered port walls, elaborate buildings, an enormous cistern, a Byzantine church and stone roads spanning more than 1,000 years of occupation.”

7. Too many tests? Routine checks getting second look
By Lauran Neergaard | Associated Press | Jan. 23
“The worry: If given too often, these tests can waste time and money, and sometimes even do harm if false alarms spur unneeded follow-up care. It begs the question: Just what should be part of my doctor’s visit?”

8. Confident Obama Knows Wild Cards Can Loom Large
By Jackie Calmes | The New York Times | Jan. 23
“Democrats are enjoying the show, though mindful that much could change in the nine months before Election Day — as it often has in Mr. Obama’s term, and not for the better. ”

9. This Much I Know: Robert Duvall
By Tony Horkins | The Observer | February 2010
“The Hollywood legend, 79, on football, Brando and the tango”

10. The Yawning Gap
By C. Claiborne Ray | Q&A :: The New York Times | June 2011
“Do people yawn when they are asleep? Why do they yawn in the first place?”

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.”