Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Asteroid may strike in 2100s / Pandemic hobbies good for brain / The sexy green M&M / Catastrophism / Black Americans and the war on drugs

This week: Asteroid may strike in 2100s / Pandemic hobbies good for brain / The sexy green M&M / Catastrophism / Black Americans and the war on drugs

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. NASA Probe Finds Higher Chance of Asteroid Bennu Striking Earth
By Meghan Bartels | Scientific American | August 2021
“Using data from the OSIRIS-REx mission, scientists calculated slightly increased (but still low) odds the space rock will collide with our planet in the 2100s”

2. Keep your pandemic hobbies — your brain will thank you
By Ruth Kogen Goodwin | Salon | August 2021
“Any hobbies that help you attain a ‘flow state’ are good for your brain, scientists say”

3. The Cursed History of the Sexy Green M&M
By Hazel Cills | Jezebel | August 2021
“With her go-go boots and perpetual smize, for decades the green M&M has persisted as the definitively “sexy” one”

4. Solved: A 50-year mystery about Jupiter
By Scotty Hendricks | Big Think | August 2021
“Jupiter’s atmosphere is hotter than it should be, and now we know why”

5. A partial skeleton reveals the world’s oldest known shark attack
By Bruce Bower | Science News | July 2021
“A man encountered the animal 3,000 years ago off the coast of Japan”

6. On the Link Between Great Thinking and Obsessive Walking
By Jeremy DeSilva | LitHub | April 2021
“From Charles Darwin to Toni Morrison, Jeremy DeSilva Looks at Our Need to Move”

7. 50-year war on drugs imprisoned millions of Black Americans
By Aaron Morrison | Associated Press | July 2021
“Fifty years ago this summer, President Richard Nixon declared a war on drugs. Today, with the U.S. mired in a deadly opioid epidemic that did not abate during the coronavirus pandemic’s worst days, it is questionable whether anyone won the war.”

8. The Old Cliché About Afghanistan That Won’t Die
By Kevin Baker | Politico Magazine | August 2021
“‘Graveyard of Empires’ is an old epitaph that doesn’t reflect historical reality — or the real victims of foreign invasions over the centuries.”

9. The Irishman: The Wages of Loyalty
By Geoffrey O’Brien | The Criterion Collection | November 2020
“The core of The Irishman is a series of intimate exchanges, one-on-one encounters, small transactions, soundings out — a constant redefining and reassertion of permissions and limits.”

10. Hope
By Melvyn Bragg | In Our Time :: BBC 4 | 2014-2018
Also see: Catastrophism | Plato’s Symposium | Pliny the Younger | The Tempest

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Madonna’s masterpiece / Sex worker hate / Kremlin’s plan for Trump / The intellectual Athens / Vacuum of space

This week: Madonna’s masterpiece / Sex worker hate / Kremlin’s plan for Trump / The intellectual Athens / Vacuum of space

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. The Oral History of Madonna’s Truth or Dare
By Matthew Jacobs | Vulture :: New York Magazine | May 2021
“The groundbreaking pop documentary’s participants look back, 30 years later.”

2. Ancient Rome Will Never Get Old. Take It From Mary Beard.
By David Marchese | Talk :: The New York Times Magazine | May 2021
“The success with which the Cambridge classics professor, best-selling author, television documentary series host and feisty Twitter star has done so has elevated her to something akin to icon status — though, like the subjects she studies, that status is not free of complications, which she welcomes.”

3. ‘Get a Real Job, Whore’: The Dark Reality of Sex Worker Hate
By Siri Dahl | The Daily Beast | April 2021
“Consider the ways sex workers impact their communities and the economy, on scales both large and small. Last year, for the first time in my life, I was able to donate significantly to causes I care about, such as racial justice, trans rights, sex worker rights, LGBTQIA+ youth programs, and my local stray cat rescue (cat lady here, at your service). I know countless other sex workers who did the same.”

4. The Black Panther Party Has Never Been More Popular. But Actual Black Panthers Have Been Forgotten.
By Santi Elijah Holley | Critical Mass :: The New Republic | April 2021
“While the Panthers have become a staple of pop culture, veteran members of the group remain invisible.”

5. The letter ‘Ñ,’ the identity of Spanish the world over
By Alberto Lopez | El Pais | April 2021
“The character has its origins in the Middle Ages, and is the only one to have been created in Spain. Despite this, it was omitted from the Spanish Royal Academy dictionary until 1803”

6. Kremlin papers appear to show Putin’s plot to put Trump in White House
By Luke Harding, Julian Borger and Dan Sabbagh | The Guardian | July 2021
“Putin has repeatedly denied accusations of interfering in western democracy. The documents seem to contradict this claim. They suggest the president, his spy officers and senior ministers were all intimately involved in one of the most important and audacious espionage operations of the 21st century: a plot to help put the ‘mentally unstable’ Trump in the White House.”

7. Return the National Parks to the Tribes
By David Treuer | The Atlantic | May 2021
“The jewels of America’s landscape should belong to America’s original peoples.”

8. The ‘Spanish’ Influenza of 1918-1920
By Christopher Rose, Joan Neuberger and Henry Wiencek | 15 Minute History :: UT Department of History | 2014-2020
Also see: Foreign Fighters in the Spanish Civil War | French Child Ambassadors in the East | The Zionist Movement in Czechoslovakia | The Impossible Presidency

9. Hawaiian shirts are returning – but ‘people want to think twice’, says expert
By Priya Elan | The Guardian | April 2021
“Celebrities have been spotted wearing the shirts, but they could be seen as ‘embodiments of the history of American colonization’”

10. Authenticity
By Melvyn Bragg | In Our Time :: BBC 4 | 2009-2019
Also see: The Siege of Vienna | The Vacuum of Space | Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World | The School of Athens

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Thoughts from the Second Gentleman / The history of land borders / Caligula’s gardens / Cleavage and modern culture / Demonic possession

This week: Thoughts from the Second Gentleman / The history of land borders / Caligula’s gardens / Cleavage and modern culture / Demonic possession

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 Has the Pandemic Done to Our Eyes?
By Eve Peyser | Intelligencer :: New York Magazine | January 2021
“Take a minute every hour to look away and close your eyes. Somehow in the darkness, with your eyeballs moist and safe, everything feels just a little bit better.”

2. I Might Be the First Second Gentleman, But I Don’t Want to Be the Last
By Douglas Emhoff | GQ | January 2021
“Douglas Emhoff reflects on his unique place in history at the side of his wife Kamala Harris.”

3. The Oldest, The Longest, The Weirdest: A Brief History of Land Borders
By Simon Winchester | Harper :: LitHub | January 2021
“The great majority of the world’s land borders were fashioned in the late 19th and early 20th centuries: a fierce acceleration of nation building got under way in 1850, became territorial mayhem between 1875 and 1899 … and reached its climacteric in the first two decades of the 20th century. …”

4. Trump revived Andrew Jackson’s spoils system, which would undo America’s 138-year-old professional civil service
By Barry M. Mitnick | The Conversation | January 2021
“Less than two weeks before Election Day, Donald Trump signed an executive order that threatens to return the U.S. to a spoils system in which a large share of the federal government’s workforce could be fired for little or no reason. … While President Joe Biden appears likely to reverse the order, its effects may not be so easily undone. And he may have his own reasons for keeping it temporarily in place.”

5. Busted! What The Great and Bridgerton reveal about cleavage
By Morwenna Ferrier | The Guardian | January 2021
“Corset sales are up, even in lockdown, as the nation binge-watches glossy costume dramas. But even in the 18th century, the cantilevered look could be fraught”

6. Caligula’s Garden of Delights, Unearthed and Restored
By Franz Lidz | The New York Times | January 2021
“Relics from the favorite hideaway of ancient Rome’s most infamous tyrant have been recovered and put on display by archaeologists.”

7. Which winter sports are safest to play during COVID-19?
Associated Press | December 2020
“The best physical activities for limiting the risk of coronavirus infections are the ones you do alone or with members of your household”

8. ‘Demonic Possession’ in Early Modern Europe
By Christopher Rose, Joan Neuberger and Henry Wiencek | 15 Minute History :: UT Department of History | 2014-2020
Also see: History of the Ottoman Empire, Part 1 | History of the Ottoman Empire, Part 2 | European Imperialism in the Middle East, Part 1 | European Imperialism in the Middle East, Part 2

9. How to Scatter Cremated Remains
By Malia Wollan | Tip :: The New York Times Magazine | October 2020
“Note the location with GPS coordinates. At sea, human remains, including ashes, must be thrown at least three nautical miles from land.”

10. Coffee
By Melvyn Bragg | In Our Time :: BBC 4 | 2013-2020
Also see: The Valladolid Debate | The Amazons | Japan’s Sakoku Period | Ice Ages

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Pandemic and protest slang / Ripples in spacetime / Worries about racist Capitol police / Detecting cancer earlier / Mandatory vaccinations

This week: Pandemic and protest slang / Ripples in spacetime / Worries about racist Capitol police / Detecting cancer earlier / Mandatory vaccinations

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. Shot in the arm: how the pandemic transformed protest slang
1843 :: The Economist | January 2021
“If you’re taking to the streets, you’d better speak the slanguage”

2. Astronomers may have detected background ripples in spacetime itself
By Michael Irving | New Atlas | January 2021
“The gravitational waves we’ve detected so far have been like tsunamis in the spacetime sea, but it’s believed that gentle ripples should also pervade the universe. Now, a 13-year survey of light from pulsars scattered across the galaxy may have revealed the first hints of these background signals.”

3. Black Cops Warned About Racist Capitol Police Officers for Years
By Joshua Kaplan and Joaquin Sapien | ProPublica | January 2021
“Allegations of racism against the Capitol Police are nothing new: Over 250 Black cops have sued the department since 2001. Some of those former officers now say it’s no surprise white nationalists were able to storm the building.”

4. Bali’s thieving monkeys can spot high-value items to ransom
By Rebecca Ratcliffe | The Guardian | January 2021
“Study finds macaques go for tourists’ electronics and wallets over empty bags and then maximise their profit”

5. We Must Find Ways to Detect Cancer Much Earlier
Scientific American | January 2021
“The job of the oncologist of the future will be to prevent and treat the emergence of disease”

6. The Last Two Northern White Rhinos On Earth
By Sam Anderson | The New York Times Magazine | January 2021
“What will we lose when Najin and Fatu die?”

7. Can employers make COVID-19 vaccination mandatory
Associated Press | December 2020
“Yes, with some exceptions.”

8. Early Drafts of the Declaration of Independence
By Christopher Rose, Joan Neuberger and Henry Wiencek | 15 Minute History :: UT Department of History | 2014-2020
Also see: Eugenics | The Buddha and His Time | The First Illegal Aliens? | The ‘Era Between The Empires’ of Ancient India

9. How to Get in Sync With Someone
By Malia Wollan | Tip :: The New York Times Magazine | November 2020
“Walking is an easy way to get in sync, but researchers have shown that it also works with other rhythmic activities, including finger-tapping, dancing, marching and drumming.”

10. Catullus
By Melvyn Bragg | In Our Time :: BBC 4 | 2012-2020
Also see: Bertrand Russell | Shahnameh of Ferdowsi | The Borgias | The Upanishads

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: How to hold it all together / Celebrating Spanish women writers / Improving one’s life during the pandemic / Einstein proven right again / The return of art deco

This week: How to hold it all together / Celebrating Spanish women writers / Improving one’s life during the pandemic / Einstein proven right again / The return of art deco

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. Holding it Together, Falling Apart
By Matthew Salesses | LitHub | September 2020
“Holding it together (as apt a phrase as any for this moment of self-isolation, anxiety, and political failure) implies that there is something coming apart. But what?”

2. Remembering the Forgotten Women Writers of 17th-Century Spain
By Theresa Machemer | SmartNews :: Smithsonian Magazine | September 2020
“A show in Madrid highlights female authors who penned histories, biographies, poetry, novels, scripts and more”

3. The Age of Innocence is a masterclass in sexual tension
By Sam Jordison | Reading Group :: The Guardian | September 2020
“In Edith Wharton’s wonderful novel about New York high society, a simple tap of a fan or glance across a crowded room can feel intensely charged”

4. 11 Ways Smart People Are Using This Crisis to Improve Their Lives
By Andrew Snavely | Primer | September 2020
“In this strange, unprecedented time, we have been given a unique opportunity with social distancing: More space and more time.”

5. Is it safe to open mail and packages during the pandemic?
Viral Questions :: Associated Press | April 2020
“There is no evidence that COVID-19 is spreading through mail or parcels, according to the World Health Organization and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

6. A star orbiting the Milky Way’s giant black hole confirms Einstein was right
By Emily Conover | Science News | April 2020
“Decades of observations revealed the rotation of the star’s elliptical orbit”

7. A century after art deco’s birth, designers say we’re due for a revival
By Michelle Brunner | The Washington Post | April 2020
“A hundred years after the 1920s came roaring in, the era’s signature aesthetic continues to inspire design snobs and regular folks alike. Art deco — that familiar style of art, architecture and design with a sometimes-wacky blend of historic and futuristic influences — is still beloved. And if trend forecasters are to be believed, we are ripe for a full-scale art deco revival.”

8. I Dream of COVID
By Grace Gravley | Spring 2020
“I was curious to know how the anxieties of the moment would translate to our dreams.”

9. Can You Tell If Someone Is Smiling Just by Their Eyes?
By Katie Heaney | The Cut :: New York Magazine | April 2020
“Though Tyra Banks taught us to smize, I personally have gotten the sense that people I’ve smiled at from behind my mask haven’t really understood that I’m smiling at them.”

10. The charm of elderberries
By Niki Segnit | 1843 :: The Economist | December / January 2020
“A cooked elderberry tastes somewhere between a ripe red plum and a prune. Just don’t eat them raw”