Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Havana’s neon past / 48 hours that almost destroyed Trump / The myth of nice-guy Gen. Lee / The voice of a Ken Burns documentary film / Women on the edge of the ‘glass cliff’

This week: Havana’s neon past / 48 hours that almost destroyed Trump / The myth of nice-guy Gen. Lee / The voice of a Ken Burns documentary film / Women on the edge of the ‘glass cliff’

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. In Search of the Brain’s Social Road Maps
By Matthew Schafer and Daniela Schiller | Scientific American | January 2020
“Neural circuits that track our whereabouts in space and time may also play vital roles in determining how we relate to other people”

2. Inside the restoration of Havana’s 20th-century neon signs
The Economist | January 2020
“After the Cuban revolution, much of the signage was destroyed or fell into disrepair. One artist has made it luminous again.”

3. Do women feel guilt after having an abortion? No, mainly relief
By Suzanne Moore | The Guardian | January 2020
“Most women don’t regret their decision to have a termination — and that outlook could help us protect reproductive rights”

4. Is this the most powerful word in the English language?
Helene Schumacher | BBC Culture | January 2020
“The most commonly-used word in English might only have three letters — but it packs a punch.”

5. ‘Mother Is Not Going to Like This’: The 48 Hours That Almost Brought Down Trump
By Tim Alberta | Politico Magazine | July 2019
“The exclusive story of how Trump survived the Access Hollywood tape.”

6. The Myth of the Kindly General Lee
By Adam Serwer | The Atlantic | June 2017
“The legend of the Confederate leader’s heroism and decency is based in the fiction of a person who never existed.”

7. The Golden Voice Behind All Those Ken Burns Documentaries
By Tim Greiving | Vulture | September 2019
” His calm, cowboy-around-a-campfire timbre is basically the voice of America, at least within the orbit of PBS.”

8. The ‘glass cliff’ puts women in power during crisis — often without support
By Traci Tong | PRI :: The World | March 2019
“It’s the phenomenon of women in leadership roles — CEOs or political figures — who are far more likely to ascend to leadership roles during a crisis, when the risk of failure is highest.”

9. What Survival Looks Like After the Oceans Rise
By Andrea Frazzetta | The New York Times Magazine | April 2019
“At the site of a Bangladeshi town lost to devastating storms, locals make do by scavenging what remains.”

10. Slavery and Abolition
By Brooks Winfree | Not Even Past :: UT Austin Department of History | April 2018
“Who were abolitionists How did they organize What were their methods And, considering that it took a Civil War to put an end to slavery, did they have any real effect”

Kate Stone’s Civil War: Lose our scalps

Stone’s critical eye takes in a town’s beauty, overpriced luxuries, her brother’s love, and a gentleman’s proper language use.

KS29

From 2012 to 2015, Stillness of Heart will share interesting excerpts from the extraordinary diary of Kate Stone, who chronicled her Louisiana family’s turbulent experiences throughout the Civil War era.

Learn more about Stone’s amazing life in 1861, 1862, 1863, 1864, 1865 and beyond. Click on each year to read more about her experiences. You can read the entire journal online here.

(Photo edited by Bob Rowen)

Stone’s critical eye takes in a town’s beauty, overpriced luxuries, her brother’s love, and a gentleman’s proper language use.

Aug. 3, 1863

Lamar County, Texas

Paris is a clean, pretty place in the edge of Blossom Prairie — clumps of trees and deep white sand in the streets.

We went to church and saw a really nice-looking congregation of refined-looking people. We all liked the place so well that Mamma would rent a place there, but it is too near the borderline, the first point for an invasion and right next to the Indian Nation. We do not wish to lose our scalps in addition to everything else. We saw a large party of Indian men dashing through the town. They are nearly all Southern sympathizers, we hear.

We went shopping. There are several well-filled stores, but the prices are beyond anything. We saw a pretty light calico but Mamma could not afford it at $6 a yard. A penknife was very tempting, but who would give $25 for a little Yankee knife? Our nails will have to grow like eagle’s claws before we can afford an extravagance of that kind. We did get a few articles, absolute essentials, and Mamma indulged me in a piece of extravagance a deck of playing cards at $5. They are a different kind from those the girls use out here, but I fancy they will afford us more amusement than the finest pair of cotton cards.

A gentleman gave us a late Louisiana paper containing Mary Gustine’s marriage on July 21. I know she was a beautiful bride, and our best wishes go with her for her future happiness. I wonder how Brother Coley will stand the loss of his sweetheart, his first love affair. Like most boys, he lost his heart to a girl several years the older — fortunately a disease that never kills a boy of that age.

The Baptist meeting has been going on in Paris for seven weeks, and sixty have joined that church. It seems the strongest church of this section. Sunday morning we heard a splendid sermon, the best since hearing Dr. Marshall preach two years ago. I wish Jimmy could have heard it. It was the first real Baptist sermon I ever really listened to. Have heard the preacher, Mr. Buckner — knows what he believes and is not afraid to preach it from the pulpit.

We have made the acquaintance of another Texas gallant. Dr. Bywaters, introduced as a friend by Mr. McGleason, walked home with us from church. One thing in his favor: he does not say “mile” for “miles,” and he does not ignore the plural of “year.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Kids of deported parents / Celebrating Neil Armstrong / English born in Turkey? / The dangerous sex study

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. Parents deported, what happens to US-born kids?
By Helen O’Neill | Associated Press | Aug. 25
“It’s a question thousands of other families are wrestling with as a record number of deportations means record numbers of American children being left without a parent.”

2. Made ‘Giant Leap’ as First Man to Step on Moon
By John Noble Wilford | The New York Times | Aug. 25
“Charles F. Bolden Jr., the current NASA administrator, said, ‘As long as there are history books, Neil Armstrong will be included in them, remembered for taking humankind’s first small step on a world beyond our own.'”

3. NASA’s pioneering astronauts: Where are they now?
Associated Press | Aug. 26
“As space exploration has become more common and the number of astronauts has risen past 300, many names have faded into the background. But some will forever be associated with the golden age of space exploration.”
Also see: 12 men who walked on the moon, from 1969 to 1972 | Key dates in history of space exploration

4. Calls to grant astronaut Neil Armstrong a state funeral
By Adam Lusher and Matthew Holehouse | The Daily Telegraph | Aug. 26
“A state funeral would typically involve pallbearers from five branches of the US Armed Forces, a series of artillery salutes, a flypast and a number of bands and choirs.”

5. Neil Armstrong: ‘Diffident’ emissary of mankind
By Paul Rincon | BBC News | Aug. 25
“After smiling and waving through the ticker tape parades, public audiences and television interviews, Armstrong stepped out of the spotlight and tried to rediscover the obscurity from which he had emerged.”

6. Before landing on the moon, Armstrong trained as a pilot in Corpus Christi
By Katherine Rosenberg | Corpus Christi Caller-Times | Aug. 25
“He racked up flight hours at Cabaniss Field in Corpus Christi in 1950. …”

7. Tania Luna: My story of gratitude
TED New York | July 2012
“Tania Luna co-founded Surprise Industries, the world’s only company devoted to designing surprise experiences.”

8. English language ‘originated in Turkey’
By Jonathan Ball | BBC News | Aug. 25
“The New Zealand researchers used methods developed to study virus epidemics to create family trees of ancient and modern Indo-European tongues to pinpoint where and when the language family first arose.”

9. The End of the Gutbuster
By Pat Leonard | Disunion :: The New York Times | July 5
“The soldiers could not have known then, and would not know until years later, the immense impact on their lives that would be wielded by the single unassuming officer who entered their camps that day.”

10. Every man’s favorite sex study
By Tracy Clark-Flory | Salon | Aug. 25
“The headlines were provocative: Semen cures depression! But the study is 10 years old, and far from conclusive”