Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Costa Concordia a personal disaster / Russians reach Antarctic lake / Father/son presidencies / Gingrich and Huckabee / Where does love come from?

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 Flub Watch Never Stops for Obama’s Team
By Helene Cooper | The New York Times | Feb. 5
“In the rarefied world that is dedicated to getting Mr. Obama re-elected, the battle has never been viewed through the prism of how to beat Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum or Ron Paul. It has always been about Mitt Romney.”

2. Looking for love
By Karen Weintraub | The Boston Globe | Feb. 6
“Surveys also show that whom we fall in love with is largely influenced by who we are; our personality traits and values drive our choices.”

3. Life with Trig
By Sarah Palin | Newsweek | Feb. 6
“He’s nearing his fourth birthday. He has Down syndrome. And he greets every day with a round of applause.”

4. Mike Huckabee is Newt Gingrich’s new role model
By Jonathan Martin | Politico | Feb. 6
“Running a seat-of-his-pants campaign that was short on cash but long on one-liners, the former Baptist preacher enjoyed early 2008 success, hit a rough patch and then had what turned out to be a meaningless rebound when the race turned to his native South.”

5. Earth Station: The Afterlife of Technology at the End of the World
By Alexis Madrigal | The Atlantic | Feb. 6
“This is the story of one of the old, weird ties between Earth and space.”

6. Presidential Fathers and Sons
By Michael Medved | The Wall Street Journal | Feb. 6
“For the seventh consecutive election, the winning candidate will be either a privileged prince with an adored, powerful patriarch, or an up-from-nothing scrapper with no relationship with his biological dad.”

7. 10 Bright Ideas to Get You Through February
Innovations :: Scientific American | Feb. 6
“The Super Bowl is over and now we have to face an ugly reality. It’s February and we’re only one week in. With the hope of lifting your spirits, here are 10 examples of innovative thinking to remind you that better things are coming.”

8. Russians drill into previously untouched Lake Vostok below Antarctica
By Marc Kaufman | The Washington Post | Feb. 6
“It has taken the Russians more than 20 years to drill into the lake, operating in some of the most brutal weather conditions in the world.”

9. For Reporter, Cruise Ship Disaster Is A Local Story
By Sylvia Poggioli | NPR | Feb. 5
“Bad weather has thus far prevented salvage workers from pumping out the half-million gallons of fuel onboard. But the ship has already started polluting the shallow shoreline with leaks of some of the other toxic substances onboard — detergents, paints, solvents, chlorinated swimming pool water and more than 1,300 gallons of olive oil.”

10. Vincent Cassel: ‘You can’t escape from what you are’
By Elizabeth Day | The Guardian | Feb. 4
“The actor, trained ballet dancer, and husband of Monica Bellucci is a man of hidden depths. In his latest role, he plays an anarchic disciple of Sigmund Freud. ”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Gingrich and Clinton / Christmas stress / Marine recalls coming home / Teaching James Franco / SAD songs

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. Gingrich, Clinton had stormy partnership
By Laurie Kellman | Associated Press | Dec. 22
“To hear Republican presidential contender Newt Gingrich tell it, he and Democratic President Bill Clinton were political partners in the 1990s, lowering unemployment, balancing the federal budget and keeping the nation’s economy in robust health.”

2. Brain strain: Christmas shopping when money tight
By Malcom Ritter | Associated Press | Dec. 18
“Plenty of Americans are having to hold back this year as the lure of flashy ads, tempting bargains and family expectations clashes with the realities of the economy. Experts in consumer behavior say that situation can strain the brain.”

3. Coming Home: A Marine Officer Remembers His Tours In Iraq
By Benjamin Busch | The Daily Beast | Dec. 19
“A Marine officer who served two tours of duty shares memories of his time in Iraq and what the return home has meant.”

4. What It’s Like To Be James Franco’s Professor
By R. John Williams | Slate | Dec. 20
“His English professor at Yale reveals that the actor rarely missed a discussion, even when filming in Detroit.”

5. Twenty Songs To Go With Your Seasonal Affective Disorder
By Dave Bry | The Awl | Dec. 22
Leonard Cohen, Bill Withers, Stone Temple Pilots, Bruce Springsteen and more.

6. Q&A: Locking Up a USB Drive
By J.D. Biersdorfer | Gadgetwise :: The New York Times | Nov. 2
“Q: I like to transfer files between machines with a portable USB drive. Is there a way to protect this drive with a password in case I ever lose it?”

7. Learn From A Dog: 15 Life Lessons From Your Pet
The Huffington Post | Dec. 22
“Dogs tend to be happy, active and well rested — things we could all stand to learn.”

8. Why women need fat
By Hannah Tepper | Salon | Dec. 18
“Evolution shows that women’s dieting beliefs aren’t just unrealistic — they’re unnatural. An expert explains.”

9. My overworked wife is becoming increasingly bitter toward me
Troubleshooter :: The Yomiuri Shimbun | Dec. 16
“I’m tired of trying to hold my feelings in and am beginning to wonder if I have to continue living like this. Please give me some advice about how I should deal with my wife.”

10. The death of Kurt Cobain
Witness :: BBC News | April 5
“In April 1994 the lead singer of the grunge rock band Nirvana was found dead in his home in Seattle.”

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

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. Blue Condition — Lady from the Delta
2. Boogie Bone — Don’t Mean a Thing
3. Alejandro Escovedo — Castanets
4. Robert Earl Keen — Throwin’ Rocks
5. Bobby Blue Bland — Let’s Straighten It Out
6. Philosopher Stone — Sweet Charity
7. Dr. Wu — I Don’t Need No Woman Like You
8. Joe Bonamassa — Walking Blues
9. Lost Immigrants — Genevieve
10. The Insomniacs — 20-20
11. Zack Walther & The Conkites — Georgia Cane

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Fight over Amazon / Appreciating gravity / Obama’s 2012 issues / The pizza-sized burger / Embracing sex

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. Saving the Amazon, from forest floor up
By Bradley Brooks | Associated Press | Dec. 11
“Just three years ago, the manmade fires here were so fierce smoke would blot out the Amazon sky, turning the days dark. Towering rainforest trees exploded in flames, their canopies cleared to let pasture grow for cattle.”

2. Gravity: You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone
LiveScience | May 2011
“Here on Earth, we take gravity so for granted that it took an apple falling from a tree to trigger Isaac Newton’s theory of gravitation. But gravity, which draws objects together in proportion to their mass, is about much more than fallen fruit.”

3. Obama decides high-profile issues ahead of 2012
By Erica Werner | Associated Press | Dec. 10
“On issues from air pollution to contraception, President Barack Obama has broken sharply with liberal activists and come down on the side of business interests and social conservatives as he moves more to the political middle for his re-election campaign.”

4. The First Taste Test: Burger King’s Pizza-Sized Burger
By Patrick St. Michel | Esquire | Dec. 9
“Half of the hulking sandwich gets done up like a regular Whopper; for the other half, customers can select a ‘fresh avocado’ or ‘cheese nacho’ variation.”

5. Why Russia’s Post-Putin Future May Not Be Democratic
By Paul Starobin | The New Republic | Dec. 12
“Vladimir Putin, rather suddenly, is shifting from Good Czar to Bad Czar in the minds of the Russian people.”

6. Q&A: Taking Action on Google+
By J.D. Biersdorfer | Gadgetwise :: The New York Times | Aug. 22
“Q: If I block someone on Google+, can that person still see the things I post?”

7. Flaws and All, Gingrich Says Life Is an Open Book
By Trip Gabriel | The New York Times | Dec. 11
“Gingrich’s skill in facing criticisms head-on — sometimes fiercely rebutting them, sometimes apologizing for past errors in judgment — has only swelled his support.”

8. Saudi Arabia: Woman Convicted Of ‘Sorcery’ Executed
Associated Press | Dec. 12
“Saudi authorities have executed a woman convicted of practicing magic and sorcery.”

9. Stop Making Sex Taboo
By Hugo Martins | The Good Men Project | Dec. 9
“Make it clear. Make it simple. Make it right.”

10. Joe Sabia: The technology of storytelling
TED Talks | May 2011
“iPad storyteller Joe Sabia introduces us to Lothar Meggendorfer, who created a bold technology for storytelling: the pop-up book.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Smarter shopping … Wasting time online … High-speed rail derailed … Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich … Women’s pleasure

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. Smart Spending: Minimize your mall time
By Mae Anderson | Associated Press | Dec. 8
“With advance planning and a little know-how you can minimize your mall time — and save money.”

2. 10 Stupid Male Misconceptions About Female Masturbation
Sex :: The Frisky | Nov. 15
“Men, bless them. They love to think about us masturbating, at least the way they think we masturbate based on porn they’ve seen.”

3. Ron Paul, spoiler?
By George Will | The Washington Post | Dec. 9
“He is in the top tier in Iowa and would alienate Republican voters if he indicated an interest in bolting the party next autumn.”

4. Why the Odds Are Still Stacked Against Women in Hollywood
By Kim Masters | The Hollywood Reporter | Dec. 9
“A handful of women run studios, win Oscars and influence TV, but across the board, the gains females had begun to make in the entertainment industry are leveling off.”

5. The creative side of ‘doing nothing’ online
By Melissa Bell | The Washington Post | Dec. 9
“Beguiled by gifs of polar bear babies being tickled and people eating popcorn, we return, lemming-like, to dive off the cliff into the sea of Internet memes and Facebook posts.”

6. Golden Moche Bead Returned to Peru
Andean Air Mail and Peruvian Times | Dec. 9
“The gold bead, measuring 4.5cm tall by 7cm wide and most probably once on a necklace, was part of an exhibition on Art of Ancient America in the Palace of Governors in Santa Fe, New Mexico.”

7. Gingrich the candidate? GOP lawmakers grapple with the idea
By Kathleen Hennessey | The Washington Post | Dec. 9
“For some who had a close-up view of his tumultuous House leadership, his surge in the Republican race isn’t welcome. Others say he’s changed.”

8. The Misplaced Stuff: NASA loses moon, space rocks
By Seth Borenstein | Associated Press | Dec. 8
“In a report issued by the agency’s Inspector General on Thursday, NASA concedes that more than 500 pieces of moon rocks, meteorites, comet chunks and other space material were stolen or have been missing since 1970.”

9. Requiem for a Train
By Will Oremus | Slate | Dec. 7
“High-speed rail is dead in America. Should we mourn it?”

10. Q&A: Ditching Dial-Up for 3G
By J.D. Biersdorfer | Gadgetwise :: The New York Times | Dec. 5
“Q: We spend our weekends in a rural area that offers only dial-up Internet, which is very inconvenient. We do, however, have both AT&T and Verizon cellphone coverage. Can we use these cellphone networks to access the Internet? If so, will we need to pay by minutes of usage?”

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

TUNES

My soundtrack for today included:
1. CRAWLIN’ KINGSNAKE Buddy Guy
2. SMOKESTACK LIGHTNIN’ Howlin’ Wolf
3. THE THINGS (THAT) I USED TO DO Stevie Ray Vaughan
4. DEATH LETTER (Organized Noize remix) Johnny Farmer
5. BALL N’ CHAIN Big Mama Thornton
6. BORN UNDER A BAD SIGN Albert King
7. AS THE YEARS GO PASSING BY Mighty Joe Young
8. HAVE YOU EVER LOVED A WOMAN Derek & The Dominoes
9. PRIDE AND JOY Stevie Ray Vaughan
10. TAKE ME Mable John

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Obama and TR … Afghanistan’s future … Flash drive lifespan … Voyager 1 flies on … ‘Acceptable’ GOP candidate.

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. Planning Afghanistan’s future beyond 2014
By Anne Gearan and Juergen Baetz | Associated Press | Dec. 4
“Pakistan is seen as crucial player in the region because of its links and influence on insurgent groups that are battling Afghan government and foreign troops and that sometimes use Pakistan as a base for their operations.”

2. Hidden mountains make up Antarctica’s true terrain
Short Sharp Science :: New Scientist | Dec. 5
“Antarctica is hiding something. It may look like a fairly flat, snow-covered wasteland, but the BEDMAP project has pulled back the ice sheet to reveal the mountainous bed topography of the continent underneath.”

3. Republicans See Gingrich, Romney as ‘Acceptable’ Nominees
By Frank Newport | Gallup.com | Dec. 5
“All other candidates seen as unacceptable by half or more of Republicans.”

4. Rooftop Films Gives Occupy Wall Street Its Own Film Series
By Felicia R. Lee | ArtsBeat :: The New York Times | Dec. 5
“Rooftop Films is a nonprofit best known for showing movies outdoors (hence the name). In a statement released on Monday, Dan Nuxoll, the program director for Rooftop, said the series was prompted by a public outpouring over the events surrounding Occupy Wall Street.”

5. Before Obama Invites Teddy Roosevelt Comparisons, Read TR’s Words
By Mark Memmott | The Two-Way :: NPR | Dec. 6
“Roosevelt’s speech — delivered after he had left the White House and as he was beginning a bid to return there on the Bull Moose Party ticket (he didn’t succeed) — has become known for his words about ‘the square deal.’ ”

6. Q&A: The Lifespan of a Flash Drive
By J.D. Biersdorfer | Gadgetwise :: The New York Times | July 19
“Q: Several years ago when I bought a flash drive, the clerk said it would retain info for five years. Is this true as a general rule for flash drives? Do they wear out?”

7. From the archive, 6 December 1933: Liquor legal again in the United States. Mr Roosevelt’s appeal last night
The Guardian | Dec. 6
“In this the President called on all citizens to co-operate with the Government in its efforts to restore a greater respect for law by confining purchases of alcoholic beverages to licensed dealers or agencies. ”

8. Barack Obama channels Teddy Roosevelt
By Edward-Isaac Dovere and Jennifer Epstein | Politico | Dec. 6
“Just over a hundred years after the Bull Moose delivered his New Nationalism speech in Osawatomie, Kansas, Obama is scheduled to tout his own square deal — he’ll describe it as everyone getting a fair shot — there on Tuesday. The president will call for broader consumer protections and for the Senate to confirm his director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.”

9. The Future of Computing
Science :: The New York Times | Dec. 6
“This special issue takes a many-faceted look at a set of technologies that are changing the world in more ways than could ever have been foreseen.”

10. NASA spacecraft exploring solar system’s edge
By Alicia Chang | Associated Press | Dec. 5
“Voyager 1 still has a little way to go before it completely exits the solar system and becomes the first man-made probe to cross into interstellar space, or the vast space between stars.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Saying sorry … Condi’s regret … Hawthorne’s inspiring words … Latino birth rate drop … A sexy inventor.

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. Why Some People Say ‘Sorry’ Before Others
By Lauren F. Friedman | Scientific American | Nov. 28
“Certain character traits influence people’s willingness to apologize”

2. Rice regrets N.Y.C. vacation in wake of Katrina
Politico Live :: Politico | Nov. 27
“Reflecting on the Bush administration’s response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says that as the administration’s highest-ranking African-American at that time, she regretted being on vacation in New York during the storm crisis.”

3. An implausible candidate’s implausible story
By Helen O’Neill | Associated Press | Nov. 26
“He’s a mathematician, a minister, a former radio talk show host and pizza magnate. But most of all, Herman Cain is a salesman. And how he sells.”

4. Waiting to die: Cervical cancer in America
By Amanda Robb | Al Jazeera | Nov. 22
“Geography largely determines whether US women will suffer from cervical cancer — and whether they will die from it.”

5. Hawthorne Feels Your Pain: Understanding Economic Crisis Through American Literature
By Daniel Honan | BigThink | Nov. 29
“According to Lisa New, professor of English at Harvard University, Americans ought to download Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The House of Seven Gables to their smartphones. Indeed, classic American literature abounds with examples of how Americans have responded to economic upheavals.”

6. Newt Gingrich, Crackpot Historian
By Tim Murphy | Mother Jones | Nov. 29
“The GOP presidential candidate has a new piece of historical fiction out. Emphasis on fiction.”

7. Latino birth rate drops during recession
By Sara Ines Calderon | NewsTaco | Nov. 29
“Since 2007, the number of Latino babies born in the U.S. has dropped by 11% — or below 1 million in 2010.”

8. Hedy Lamarr: World’s Sexiest Inventor
Life | Nov. 29
“Fascinated by science and eager to find a way to help the Allies during World War II, Lamarr came up with a way to make radio signals jump between frequencies, and thus prevent the signals from becoming jammed.”

9. Visualizing the World’s Food Consumption
Food Service Warehouse | Nov. 29
Guess which country consumed most of the world’s calories.

10. The Sex Addiction Epidemic
By Chris Lee | The Daily Beast | Nov. 25
“It wrecks marriages, destroys careers, and saps self-worth. Yet Americans are being diagnosed as sex addicts in record numbers. Inside an epidemic.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Latinos ready to ‘teach’ … GOP candidate spouses … New approach to sex ed … The GOP debate … Rivers that go nowhere.

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. 11 ways to skip weight gain this Thanksgiving
The Dallas Morning News | Nov. 15
“Thanksgiving kicks off a season of plentiful food, parties and stress. Staying healthy, both mentally and physically, can be a challenge. Avoid common pitfalls with these healthy strategies, adapted from a story by health reporter Nancy Churnin.”

2. Couple forced to exchange Facebook passwords during divorce
By Michael Gartland | New York Post | Nov. 20
“The legal precedent, in the midst of a nasty custody battle between Stephen and Courtney Gallion, could mean more battling couples will be forced to give up their social-networking secrets.”

3. Aging in place: A little help can go a long way
By David Crary | Associated Press | Nov. 20
“According to surveys, aging in place is the overwhelming preference of Americans over 50. But doing it successfully requires both good fortune and support services. …”

4. Taking First-Class Coddling Above and Beyond
By Jad Mouawad | The New York Times | Nov. 20
“Carriers on international flights are offering private suites for first-class passengers, three-star meals and personal service once found only on corporate jets. They provide massages before takeoff, whisk passengers through special customs lanes and drive them in a private limousine right to the plane. … The amenities in the back of the cabin? Sparse.”

5. Not All Rivers Reach the Sea
By Rachel Nuwer | Gadgetwise :: The New York Times | Nov. 17
“For six million years, the Colorado River ran its course from its soaring origins in the Rockies to a once-teeming two-million-acre delta, finally emptying 14 million acre-feet of fresh water into the Sea of Cortez. But now, a multitude of straws are drinking from the river. …”

6. GOP debate: Newt Gingrich beats back immigration critique
By Alexander Burns | Politico | Nov. 22
“Ascendant Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich delivered an unapologetic defense of his views on immigration Tuesday night, declaring in a foreign policy debate that the GOP should not adopt a platform on immigration that ‘destroys families that have been here a quarter-century.’

7. The meaning of 9/11’s most controversial photo
By Jonathan Jones | The Guardian | Sept. 2
“Thomas Hoepker’s photo of New Yorkers apparently relaxing as the twin towers smoulder says much about history and memory”

8. Teaching Good Sex
By Laurie Abraham | The New York Times Magazine | Nov. 16
“Across the country, the approach ranges from abstinence until marriage is the only acceptable choice, contraceptives don’t work and premarital sex is physically and emotionally harmful, to abstinence is usually best, but if you must have sex, here are some ways to protect yourself from pregnancy and disease.”

9. GOP candidate spouses — secret weapons or dangerous millstones?
By Chris McGreal | The Guardian | Nov. 18
“Gloria Cain helped dent harassment accusations against her husband but Anita Perry’s defence of Rick made things worse”

10. Latino men are always the most critical of me
NewsTaco | Nov. 18
“Latino men are the ones who have most insulted my intellect and tried to ‘teach me’ how I should navigate the world.”