Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Reading faster / Biden’s foreign policy challenges / Remembering a slave’s death in a pandemic / The rise of freebirthing / The fall of Rome and the fall of America

This week: Reading faster / Biden’s foreign policy challenges / Remembering a slave’s death in a pandemic / The rise of freebirthing / The fall of Rome and the fall of America

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. Learn more about my academic background here.

1. What’s next for America’s favorite news podcast
By Kerry Flynn | CNN Business | December 2020
“[W]ith an incoming president who ran on restoring normalcy to a chaotic White House, what remains to be decided is whether listeners will still flock to ‘The Daily’ for deep dives and explanations of the news.”

2. How to Read Faster
By Malia Wollan | Tip :: The New York Times Magazine | March 2020
“You tend to read faster by reading more.”

3. Biden faces a changed world and no end of foreign policy challenges from China to Iran
By Karen DeYoung | The Washington Post | December 2020
“Biden faces competing priorities, congressional hurdles and wary, if welcoming, allies. In some cases, such as with North Korea and Venezuela, the most daunting obstacle to foreign policy success is the one that has bedeviled several presidents before him. There are no good options.”

4. How to Talk to Yourself
By Malia Wollan | Tip :: The New York Times Magazine | April 2020
“Research suggests that people with low self-esteem who try to force positive self-talk can end up feeling worse.”

5. A Brief Appreciation of the Incest Gnocchi Scene in The Godfather: Part III
By Roxana Hadadi | Vulture :: New York Magazine | December 2020
“In the kitchen of Vincent’s club, though, Mary stops being his ‘little cousin’ and asserts herself as the executor of her own desires. She is a young woman discovering her sexuality, and I’m sorry, who wouldn’t fall for a man who makes his own pasta?”
Also see, from Vulture: In Conversation: Francis Ford Coppola

6. Cicely was young, Black and enslaved – her death during an epidemic in 1714 has lessons that resonate in today’s pandemic
By Nicole S. Maskiell | The Conversation | December 2020
“Throughout the United States, as COVID-19 affects frontline workers and communities of color far more than other demographic groups … I believe it’s important to look back at how a few marginalized and oppressed people who served on the front lines of prior epidemics have been treated and remembered. ”

7. ‘Women feel they have no option but to give birth alone’: the rise of freebirthing
By Hannah Summers | The Guardian | December 2020
“As Covid infections rose, hospital felt like an increasingly dangerous place to have a baby. But is laboring without midwives or doctors the answer?”

8. The Social Life of Forests
By Ferris Jabr | The New York Times Magazine | December 2020
“Trees appear to communicate and cooperate through subterranean networks of fungi. What are they sharing with one another?”

9. America Is Eerily Retracing Rome’s Steps to a Fall. Will It Turn Around Before It’s Too Late?
By Tim Elliott | Politico Magazine | November 2020
“Two thousand years ago, the famous Republic had a chance to reject a dangerous populist. It failed, and the rest is history.”

10. The Amazon has seen our future
The New York Times | October 2020
“We’ve been talking about ‘saving the rainforest’ for decades, but trees are still burning, oil is still spilling, and dams are still being built. Today, the people of the Amazon are living through the most extreme versions of our planet’s most urgent problems.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Martin Sheen offers dad advice / Answering technology questions / The nation’s best small towns / Greening the soda can / Locating ‘Girls’ in New York

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. Martin Sheen on fathering: Faith, love, no regrets
By Lynn Elber | Associated Press | June 15
“Go ahead, ask the perfect father of the perfect child for parenting tips. But since most of us fall short of flawless, how about considering Father’s Day advice from a dad who’s grappled with personal shortcomings, seen a son face his own struggles and still counts his blessings.”

2. ‘The Godfather’ Monopoly: Make Him an Offer He Can’t Refuse
By Tim Newcomb | Time | June 15
[T]wo of the six tokens are a gun and a cannoli. … The other four tokens include a detailed Genco olive oil tin, the Don’s limousine, a dead fish and, of course, a horse’s head.”

3. Your Tech Questions, Answered: Part 1
By Sam Grobart | Gadgetwise :: The New York Times | June 4
“I store a lot of video, so ideally the backup drive has plenty of capacity. (And while I’m making this request from my wish list can my iTunes library be stored on this device so it’s accessible from any computer?)”

4. Your Tech Questions, Answered: Part 2
By Sam Grobart | Gadgetwise :: The New York Times | June 4
“In this batch of questions, I answer questions about scheduling e-mail messages, setting up a Wi-Fi network with multiple access points, how to archive iTunes music files. …”

5. Your Tech Questions Answered, Part 3
By Sam Grobart | Gadgetwise :: The New York Times | June 4
“In this batch of questions, I answer questions about setting up wireless audio, remotely accessing a parent’s computer, choosing a streaming-video option. …”

6. Your Tech Questions, Answered: Part 4
By Sam Grobart | Gadgetwise :: The New York Times | June 5
“In this batch of questions, I answer questions about unlocking an iPhone; using a projector and laptop for all your video needs; the most cost-effective way to connect your computer to your stereo system. …”

7. Your Tech Questions Answered, Part 5
By Sam Grobart | Gadgetwise :: The New York Times | June 5
“In this batch, I answer questions about turning an old PC into a server of sorts; getting an HD signal through an antenna; contract-free mobile Wi-Fi. …”

8. Where to Find the ‘Girls’ in NYC
By Abbie Fentress Swanson | WNYC | June 11
“Help us map out where to find the ‘Girls’ in the city by sending in a spot you’ve seen in the series.”

9. The 20 Best Small Towns in America
By Susan Spano and Aviva Shen | Smithsonian | May 2012
“From the Berkshires to the Cascades, we’ve crunched the numbers and pulled a list some of the most interesting spots around the country.”

10. Toward a Greener Soda Can
By Matthew L. Wald | Green :: The New York Times | June 12
“Of all the materials that are commonly dropped in recycling bins, aluminum is by far the most valuable.”

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TUNES

My soundtrack for today included:
1. WHEN A MAN LOVES A WOMAN Percy Sledge
2. YUMMY YUMMY YUMMY Julie London
3. FLY ME TO THE MOON Julie London
4. I’LL FLY AWAY The Kossoy Sisters and Erick Darling
5. WHAT A DIFFERENCE A DAY MAKES Dinah Washington
6. TRAV’LIN’ LIGHT Billie Holiday
7. I COVER THE WATERFRONT Billie Holiday
8. DREAM A LITTLE DREAM OF ME The Mamas & The Papas
9. UNCLE SAM SAYS Josh White
10. IN THE MOOD Glenn Miller Orchestra

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Bin Laden’s private life / The ‘sea monster’ / ‘Star Wars’ dead / A billion stars photographed / Thin women

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. Osama bin Laden lived in 5 safe houses, fathered 4 children
Associated Press | March 30
“The details of bin Laden’s life as a fugitive in Pakistan are contained in the interrogation report of Amal Ahmed Abdel-Fatah al-Sada, bin Laden’s 30-year-old Yemeni widow.”

2. Unemployment rates fall in 29 US states
By Christopher S. Rugaber | Associated Press | March 30
“Ohio, Texas and New York reported the biggest job gains.”

3. Towns People Realize ‘Sea Monster’ Is Actually a Big, Rotten Fish
By Maureen O’Connor | Gawker | March 30
It was just a sturgeon.

4. George Lucas: ‘Star Wars’ is dead
TMZ | March 29
“The Jedi Master’s master was leaving Toast in L.A. yesterday when we asked when he was finally going to release the long-awaited 7th, 8th and 9th installments of the greatest space saga of all time.”

5. Spotify Decides to Let Us Freely Stream Whatever We Want for a While Longer
By Adrian Covert | Gizmodo | March 29
“The company decided to extend free and unlimited streaming for everyone. How long the company won’t say, but if you’ve been holding off on paying for the service, you can breathe easy for a bit.”

6. The Pill Makes Women Richer
By Kate Sheppard | Mother Jones | March 28
“Widespread availability of oral contraception … has played a major role in closing the gender wage gap since the 1980s, according to a new working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research.”

7. This Undulating US Wind Map Is Utterly Hypnotic
By Andrew Tarantola | Gizmodo | March 29
“Appropriately dubbed “Wind Map,” it graphically displays barometric data — specifically surface wind speeds — collected from the from the National Digital Forecast Database.”

8. Mob trial gets reel with stunt out of ‘The Godfather: Part II’
By Mitchel Maddux and Dan Mangan | The New York Post | March 29
“In a scene straight out of “The Godfather: Part II,” a Mafia rat on the witness stand yesterday watched his brother walk into a Brooklyn courtroom — and sit with the family of the mobster he was testifying against.”

9. Picture captures a billion stars
By Jonathan Amos | BBC News | March 29
“Scientists have produced a colossal picture of our Milky Way Galaxy, to reveal the detail of a billion stars.”

10. Are thin women the enemy?
By Kate Dailey | BBC News Magazine | March 22
“From super-skinny celebrities to models with low BMI, people are speaking out about women they perceive to be too thin. But some experts worry this behaviour makes things worse.”