Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Iowa vote confusion / Europe’s future / Olympic sheep-shearing / Lovers exchange passwords / Preschool cuts

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. 2021: The New Europe
By Niall Ferguson | The Saturday Essay :: The Wall Street Journal | November 2011
“Niall Ferguson peers into Europe’s future and sees Greek gardeners, German sunbathers — and a new fiscal union. Welcome to the other United States.”

2. Sheep shearing an Olympic sport? New Zealand farmers hope so
By Matt Brooks | The Early Lead :: The Washington Post | Jan. 17
“With New Zealand hosting the world shearing championships in March, Federated Farmers Mean and Fiber chairwoman Jeannette Maxwell believes it’s time to strike while the clippers are hot.”

3. Countries consider time out on the ‘leap second’
By Frank Jordans | Associated Press | Jan. 17
“The United States, France and others are pushing for countries at a U.N. telecom meeting to abolish the leap second, which for 40 years has kept computers in sync with the Earth day.”

4. Password Sharing: For Teens, Access To Online Accounts Is A Sign Of Love
The Huffington Post | Jan. 18
“Would you want to share access to your email, Facebook and Tumblr accounts with the one you love? For more and more teens, the key to their heart comes with the passwords to their digital lives.”

5. Iowa Republicans to call caucus result split decision
Reuters | Jan. 19
“The Iowa Republican Party will certify this month’s presidential caucuses as a split decision between former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, citing missing data from eight precincts, the Des Moines Register reported on Thursday.”

6. Recession slows growth in public prekindergarten
By Kimberly Hefling | Associated Press | Jan. 17
“The expansion in public prekindergarten programs has slowed and even been reversed in some states as school districts cope with shrinking budgets. As a result, many 3- and 4-year-olds aren’t going to preschool.”

7. This much I know: Morgan Freeman
By Simon David | The Observer | October 2010
“The actor, 73, on wearing an earring, being a good sailor, and dreaming big”

8. As the World Turns
By C. Claiborne Ray | Q&A :: The New York Times | April 2011
“Do the shifts of the Earth’s axis produced by earthquakes alter world weather?”

9. Five myths about the American flag
By Marc Leepson | Five Myths :: The Washington Post | June 10
“Americans love our flag. … Yet the iconography and history of the American flag, especially its early history, are infused with myth and misrepresentation. Here are five of the most prevalent myths.”

10. Civil War women: Abigail May Alcott
Civil War Women Blog | Oct. 22
“Abigail ‘Abby’ May Alcott (1800–1877) was an abolitionist, women’s rights activist, pioneer social and one of the first paid social workers in the state of Massachusetts.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Understanding SOPA / The 5-Second Rule / Looking back at Election 2012 / MLK papers now online / Romney’s faith issue

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. Concerns about Romney’s faith quieter but not gone
By Rachel Zoll | Associated Press | Jan. 16
“The second time around, the shock has worn off. The prospect of a Mormon president appears to be less alien to South Carolina Republicans who are giving Mitt Romney a second look after his failed White House bid in 2008.”

2. Peruvian food put back on the map in Britain
By Sam Jones | The Guardian | Jan. 16
“Restaurants will offer a taste of Lima — with the help of a ‘sacred quartet’ of chillies”

3. 200,000 Martin Luther King Papers Go Online
Open Culture | Jan. 16
“The documents give you a good glimpse of Dr. King’s role as a scholar, father, pastor and catalyst for change.”

4. 10 Important Life Lessons You Learn From Living Abroad
By Whitney Cox | BootsNAll | Jan 16
“It’s a world of implicit triumphs and it’ll-be-funny-later humiliations. Unpack your bags and look forward to these life lessons”

5. Analysis: Wannabe stars, failed hopefuls and the GOP drama that wasn’t
By Steve Krakauer | CNN | Jan. 16
“How did we get here? Where’s the drama, the intrigue, the subplots worthy of intense media salivation? Let’s take a look back”

6. Split by Race and Wealth, but Discovering Similarities as They Study Steinbeck
By Winnie Hu | The New York Times | Jan. 16
“Westfield and Plainfield are linked by a railroad line, but little else connects their residents.”

7. What Is SOPA?
By Brian Barrett | Gizmodo | Jan. 17
“SOPA is an anti-piracy bill working its way through Congress…”

8. This much I know: Tim Robbins
By Emma John | The Observer | September 2010
“The actor and musician, 51, on hatred, ice hockey, and winning an Oscar”

9. The 5-Second Rule
By C. Claiborne Ray | Q&A :: The New York Times | February 2011
“You know the five-second rule for dropped food? Is it really safe if you pick it up in time?”

10. The Krakow Ghetto
Witness :: BBC News | March 2011
“The city of Krakow in Poland was home to a large Jewish community before World War II. But with the arrival of the Nazis many of its Jews were deported, or fled. Then in 1941 a Jewish ghetto was built.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

More twins / Takes those meds / Wisdom from Damien Lewis / Healthier 2012 / How funny are you?

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. More US women having twins; rate at 1 in 30 babies
By Mike Stobbe | Associated Press | Jan. 4
“Some increase was expected as more women are delaying starting a family until they are over 30. For some unknown reason, mothers in their 30s are more likely to have twins than younger or older women.”

2. The books that shaped history: The Gutenberg Bible
By Melvyn Bragg | BBC News Magazine | Jan. 5
“The 15th-Century Gutenberg Bible changed the way books were received and read. It was the first real book to be mass-produced using movable type printing techniques – and so could be made in a fraction of the time it had previously taken scribes to write by hand.”

3. Taking your meds can save money, hospital trips
By Linda Johnson | Associated Press | Jan. 3
“Not filling prescriptions and even skipping doses can result in serious complications and lead to ER visits and hospital stays, even premature death.”

4. This much I know
By Tony Horkins | The Guardian | April 2009
“Damian Lewis, actor, 38, Los Angeles”

5. An Economist’s Guide to Dieting and Burning Calories
By Richard McKenzie | The Daily Beast | December 2011
“10 counterintuitive ideas to make calories more expensive and exercise more valuable in the New Year.”

6. Are You as Funny as You Think You Are?
By Susan K. Perry | Psychology Today | December 2011
“Not everything is equally amusing in the comedy writers’ room.”

7. Almonds for Calcium?
By C. Claiborne Ray | Q&A :: The New York Times | March 2010
“I have read that almonds are a good source of calcium and also that they can block calcium absorption. Which is correct?”

8. Before Hitler, Who Was the Stand-In for Pure Evil?
By Brian Palmer | Explainer :: Slate | October 2011
“The Egyptian Pharaoh, of course”

9. Five myths about NASA
By Eric Sterner | Five Myths :: The Washington Post | July 2011
“Today, many Americans have no memory of the moon landing, and NASA isn’t a source of pride but a budget line that needs to be cut. Why spend billions exploring an uninhabitable environment when many Americans don’t have health care? To understand the importance of our space program, it’s first necessary to debunk some misconceptions about what NASA is and how it operates.”

10. Civil War women: Anna Cora Mowatt
Civil War Women Blog | October 2011
“Anna Cora Mowatt (1819–1870) was an author, playwright and actress. She was the first upper-middle-class woman to make a career in the theater, and her successes helped to legitimize acting as an occupation for women. Mowatt is generally regarded as a significant contributor to the development of American drama.”

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.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

How to pack / Voyager 1 / 9/11 myths / Iowa’s ad wars / Thatcher’s 1981 crisis

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. Guapura 101: How to pack for a long trip
By Sara Ines Calderon | NewsTaco | Dec. 26
“Many of us are either currently on a vacation, or will be taking one soon, and so I thought it would be a good opportunity to share a tip that I learned a few years ago that has made packing much easier.”

2. Iowa ad war: late starting but nasty
By Beth Fouhy | Associated Press | Dec. 29
“At least $12.5 million and counting has blanketed the airwaves ahead of next Tuesday’s Republican presidential caucuses, with hard-hitting commercials awash in ghoulish images and startling claims. Most are coming from a proliferation of new independent groups aligned with the candidates.”

3. Newly released files detail Thatcher’s 1981 crisis
By David Stringer | Associated Press | Dec. 29
“Official records for 1981 released by the National Archives depict a prime minister grappling with violent dissent, rising tensions in Northern Ireland and sharp criticism from her own allies. The papers were being made public just five days before the London premiere of ‘The Iron Lady,’ the film about Thatcher’s career starring Meryl Streep.”

4. Voyager 1 Speeds Toward The Brink Of Interstellar Space
By Bill Chappell | The Two-Way :: NPR | Dec. 28
“The craft is currently in what NASA calls, not undramatically, ‘the boundary between the solar wind from the Sun and the interstellar wind from death-explosions of other stars,’ an area that astrophysicists also call, less dramatically, a stagnation layer.”

5. Baby Bird Alert
By C. Claiborne Ray | Q&A :: The New York Times | July 2009
“When you find a baby bird on the ground, what should you do to rescue it?”

6. How to Stop a Multinational
By Rodrigo Vazquez | Activate :: Al Jazeera | October 2011
“Three Argentinians put themselves in harm’s way as they try to stop a gold mining company destroying their environment.”

7. DWI Versus DW-High
By Brian Palmer | Explainer :: Slate | Nov. 30
“Is it more dangerous to drive drunk or stoned?”

8. Five myths about 9/11
By Brian Michael Jenkins | Five Myths :: The Washington Post | Sept. 2
“We all remember where we were on Sept. 11, 2001, when al-Qaeda launched its horrific attacks on the United States. In the decade since, no number of commissions, books, films and reports has been able to end the misconceptions about what 9/11 meant, America’s response to it and the nature of the ongoing threat.”

9. Civil War women: Olivia Clemens
Civil War Women Blog | Nov. 14
“Olivia Langdon Clemens was the wife of the famous American author Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, and was a major influence on his writing.”

10. Italian Bombing of Libya – 1911
Witness :: BBC News | May 10
“A young Italian flyer describes in a letter home how he mounted the world’s first ever aerial bombing run during an attack on Ottoman forces in Libya, in 1911.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Less marriage / Buttercups’ secret / Facebook targets suicidal intent / Ongoing Iran war / Social media myths

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. Married couples at a record low
By Carol Morello | The Washington Post | Dec. 13
“Just 51 percent of all adults who are 18 and older are married, placing them on the brink of becoming a minority, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of census statistics. …”

2. The Buck Stops Here: $1 Coins to Be Curtailed
By Jefrey Sparshott | The Wall Street Journal | Dec. 13
“More than 40% of the coins that are minted are returned to the government unwanted, the Treasury said. The rest apparently sit in vending machines — one of the few places they are widely used — or in the drawers of coin collectors.”

3. Secret to Buttercups’ Yellow Spotlight Revealed
By Wynne Parry | LiveScience | Dec. 13
“Children have long known that if you hold a little buttercup flower under your chin on a sunny day, the underside of your chin will be bathed in a yellow light.”

4. Hope in a Sea of Dictatorship
By Ahmed Rashid | NYR Blog :: The New York Review of Books | Dec. 13
“One of the uncomfortable results of Pakistan’s late November decision to close down US and NATO supply routes to Afghanistan is that it has forced Washington to rely more on the Central Asian countries that border Afghanistan to the north.”

5. Facebook offers counselling to suicidal users
By Emma Barnett | The Telegraph | Dec. 13
“Facebook has launched a new initiative which will allow those users with suicidal thoughts instant access to crisis counsellors via its instant messenger service.”

6. Iran war: Has it already begun?
By Noga Tarnopoisky | GlobalPost | Dec. 12
“Analysts say the war with Iran began years ago, and is now reaching its apex.”

7. Rives: A story of mixed emoticons
TED Talks | Feb. 2008
“Rives tells a typographical fairy tale that’s short and bittersweet ;)”

8. Five myths about social media
By Ramesh Srinivasan | Five Myths :: The Washington Post | Sept. 15
Myth 1: “Social media gives power to the people”

9. Civil War women: Anna Surratt
Civil War Women Blog | Sept. 4
“Anna Surratt is remembered chiefly for her heartbreaking efforts to save her mother from being hanged by the U.S. government. After the guilty verdict, a tearful Anna tried to see President Andrew Johnson at the White House to plead for her mother’s life, but she was prevented from doing so.”

10. Waco siege
Witness :: BBC News | April 19
“In 1993, around 80 people died in the fire that ended the siege at the headquarters of a Christian cult in Waco, Texas.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

The Iran problem / Tips from Bismarck / Daddy Longlegs myth / A serene Basra / Humans and monsters

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 There’s No Quick Iran Fix
The Diplomat | Dec. 13
“The last three months have witnessed the crisis with Iran turn from a simmer to a boil.”

2. After 207 years, Navy commandos’ wait continues
By Stephan Dinan | The Washington Times | Dec. 1
“Navy commandos whose remains have languished in Libya for more than two centuries will have to wait at least a little longer after the Navy on Thursday blocked senators’ efforts to have their bodies brought back to the U.S.”

3. The Leadership Secrets of Bismarck
By Michael Bernhard | Foreign Affairs | Nov./Dec. 2011
“The larger-than-life figure who presided over Germany’s rise was Otto von Bismarck, foreign minister and minister-president of Prussia during the 1860s, architect of German unification in 1871, and chancellor of a unified German empire from 1871 to 1890.”

4. Are Daddy Longlegs Really the Most Poisonous Spiders In the World?
By Natalie Wolchover | Life’s Little Mysteries | Dec. 8
“It turns out that the notion is false on both counts. But a little clarification is needed.”

5. Once bustling U.S. base in Basra now a ghost town
By Erik Slavin | Stars and Stripes | Dec. 10
“It is also a testament to one of the largest military logistics feats in history: With just four open bases remaining in Iraq, the U.S. is on the verge of completing the withdrawal of thousands of troops and millions of pieces of equipment before the Dec. 31 exit deadline.”

6. Cheryl Hayashi: The magnificence of spider silk
TED Talks | Feb. 2010
“Each species of spider can make up to 7 very different kinds of silk. How do they do it?”

7. Iraq: A war of muddled goals, painful sacrifice
By Robert H. Reid and Rebecca Santana | Associated Press | Dec. 11
“Nearly 4,500 American and more than 100,000 Iraqi lives later, the objective now is simply to get out — and leave behind a country where democracy has at least a chance, where Iran does not dominate and where conditions may not be good but ‘good enough.’ ”

8. Why we invented monsters
By Paul A. Trout | Salon | Dec. 3
“How our primate ancestors shaped our obsession with terrifying creatures”

9. On the cutting room floor: a century of film censorship
By Andrew Pulver | The Guardian | Dec. 9
“The director of Britain’s film censorship body reveals all about the thinking underpinning its controversial decisions”

10. Iraq after the US: Will it survive?
Scott Peterson | The Christian Science Monitor | Dec. 10
“Iraqis harbor anger, deep concerns — and some optimism — as American troops withdraw after nearly nine years of war and occupation.”

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

Healthy eating myths … Poison and Jane Austen … NASA’s Dawn spacecraft … Clinton’s new advisers … Pearl Harbor myths

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. Five myths about Pearl Harbor
By Craig Shirley | Five Myths :: The Washington Post | Dec. 2
“President Franklin D. Roosevelt called Dec. 7, 1941, ‘a date which will live in infamy.’ And that day, when the Japanese launched a surprise attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, has lived in infamy for 70 years. Yet even as the memory of the attack has lasted, so have the misperceptions surrounding it.”

2. Pearl Harbor survivors share stories of attack
By Audrey McAvoy | Associated Press | Dec. 5
“The College of the Ozarks program aims to preserve the stories of veterans – something that’s becoming increasingly urgent for Pearl Harbor survivors as the youngest are in their late 80s.”

3. Smallest habitable world around sun-like star found
By Melissae Fellet | New Scientist | Dec. 5
“The new planet was found with the KeplerMovie Camera telescope, which searches for signs that a star’s light has dimmed because a planet has passed between it and the telescope — an event called a transit.”

4. Who will be whispering in Hillary Clinton’s ear now?
By Howard LaFranchi | Christian Science Monitor | Dec. 6
“Secretary Hillary Clinton, eager for the State Department to have its own advisory panel of big thinkers, is convening the new, 25-member Foreign Affairs Policy Board this month.”

5. NASA: Massive Asteroid Vesta ‘Unlike Any Other’
By Alicia Chang | Associated Press | Dec. 5
“Since slipping into orbit around Vesta in July, NASA’s Dawn spacecraft has beamed back stunning images of the second largest object residing in the asteroid belt.”

6. Q&A: Lending Out an Electronic Book
By J.D. Biersdorfer | Gadgetwise :: The New York Times | Aug. 10
“Q: Can you lend a Kindle e-book out to someone who doesn’t have a Kindle e-reader?”

7. Michele Bachmann Loves Vaccines After All
By Benjy Sarlin | Talking Points Memo | Dec. 7
“Michele Bachman, who was condemned as an anti-vaccination conspiracy theorist after suggesting that Gardasil causes ‘mental retardation,’ said Wednesday that she was in fact a big supporter of vaccines. Not only that, she thinks there are too many regulations on them.”

8. Was Jane Austen Poisoned by Arsenic? Science May Soon Find Out
By Ferris Jabr | Scientific American | Dec. 5
“Modern techniques could reveal whether the celebrated English novelist’s surviving hair contains unusually high levels of arsenic”

9. Five myths about healthy eating
By Katherine Mangu-Ward | Five Myths :: The Washington Post | Oct. 14
Myth 1: “People in poor neighborhoods lack access to fresh fruits and vegetables.”

10. Civil War women: Elizabeth Townsend Meagher
Civil War Women blog | Sept. 19
“Elizabeth Meagher was 36 years of age when she arrived on the Montana frontier. She had married the brilliant, but unpredictable, Irish exile in New York and often served as his secretary and nurse. She first arrived at Fort Benton June 5, 1866, aboard the sternwheeler Ontario in the company of her husband who had gone downriver from Benton to meet her.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Overpopulation myths … Obama’s reality … Sexy health benefits … Float the park … Canine PTSD

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 origins of Peru’s mysterious Nasca Lines
By Suemedha Sood | Travelwise :: BBC Travel | Dec. 2
“Preserved by the hot sun and a dry climate, the Nasca Lines have been embedded with mystery ever since the Nasca civilization collapsed, around 600 AD.”

2. After Duty, Dogs Suffer Like Soldiers
By James Dao | The New York Times | Dec. 1
“If anyone needed evidence of the frontline role played by dogs in war these days, here is the latest: the four-legged, wet-nosed troops used to sniff out mines, track down enemy fighters and clear buildings are struggling with the mental strains of combat nearly as much as their human counterparts.”

3. The city that floats
By Will Doig | Salon | Nov. 29
“Want more waterfront? Need room for garages or playgrounds? In the future, they’ll float — and the future is now.”

4. Sexual Healing
By Christie Aschwanden | Medical Examiner :: Slate | Dec. 1
“Does making love make you well?”

5. When ‘getting it done’ becomes impossible
By Danny Schechter | Al Jazeera | Nov. 30
“Obama started out with the idealistic ‘Yes We Can’, but now focuses on re-election and being the lesser of two evils.”

6. Q&A: Finding Other Ways to Record TV Shows
By J.D. Biersdorfer | Gadgetwise :: The New York Times | June 22
“Q: Can I digitally record TV shows without having to pay extra for the DVR equipment and service from the cable company?”

7. Obama 101
By Victor Davis Hanson | National Review | Nov. 30
“Few presidents have dashed so many illusions as Obama.”

8. 5 Things Afghan History Can Teach Us
By Suleiman Wali | The Hiuffington Post | Nov. 29
“[F]ive key points emerge that could help the country lay a better foundation for itself once American and NATO forces reduce their presence or leave altogether.”

9. Five myths about the world’s population
By Nicholas Eberstadt | Five Myths :: The Washington Post | Nov. 4
“The world’s population hit 7 billion people this past week, according to United Nations estimates, launching another round of debates about ‘overpopulation,’ the environment and whether more people means more poverty. …”

10. Civil War women: Annie Haggerty Shaw
Civil War Women Blog | Sept. 28
“Annie Shaw died without ever seeing the Shaw Memorial on Boston Common. What many consider to be the greatest public sculpture in the United States, the high-relief bronze monument honors Colonel Robert Gould Shaw and the African American soldiers of the 54th Massachusetts Regiment. It took sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens almost 14 years to complete.”

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

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. Big Head Todd & The Monsters — House Burn Down
2. Big Head Todd & The Monsters — Sweet Home Alabama
3. Little Big Town — Boondocks
4. Hill Country Review — Let Me Love You
5. The Geoff Everett Band — On the Road Again
6. Robert Earl Keen — 10,000 Chinese Walk Into a Bar
7. Garry Moore — King of the Blues
8. The Mark Knoll Band — Lay It On the Line
9. Chris Rea — Truck Stop
10. Kenny Wayne Shepard — Was
11. Wes Jeans — Stratus
12. Clay McClinton — One of those Guys
13. Cactus — The Groover
14. The Pride and Joy Band — Evil Thoughts