Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Deciding what milk to drink / Voyager 2 is in trouble / Smarter conversations about feminism in politics / Sex and early menopause / When ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ was terrible

This week: Deciding what milk to drink / Voyager 2 is in trouble / Smarter conversations about feminism in politics / Sex and early menopause / When ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ was terrible

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. Almonds are out. Dairy is a disaster. So what milk should we drink?
By Annette McGivney | The Guardian | January 2020
“A glass of dairy milk produces almost three times more greenhouse gas than any plant-based milk. But vegan options have drawbacks of their own”

2. NASA reports Voyager 2 is experiencing technical difficulties
New Atlas | January 2020
“Voyager 2 has been going strong for over 40 years, but it’s beginning to show signs of its age. NASA is reporting that a fault has caused the spacecraft to lock itself down in safe mode, as engineers work to get it back up and running again.”

3. The Apple iPad turns 10 (and we’re still arguing about whether to call it a computer)
By Dan Ackerman | CNET | Janaury 2020
“Asking if an iPad is a computer is like asking if a hot dog is a sandwich.”

4. We Need a Smarter Conversation About Feminism in Politics
By Sarah Jones | Intelligencer :: New York Magazine | January 2020
“Misogyny, in other words, doesn’t look like a primary challenge from the left. It has nothing in common with proposals to create universal health care or make childcare affordable for all. Misogyny keeps women poor and it keeps them quiet. It is a tangible threat, a baseball bat, a gun.”

5. When ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ Was Bad, It Was Truly Horrendous
By Rob Bricken | Gizmodo | January 2020
“Everyone has their pick, but ‘Up the Long Ladder’ is my dark horse contender for the title, because it manages to be racist, sexist, and terrible sci-fi, all at once.”

6. The Cost of an Incoherent Foreign Policy
By Brett McGurk | Foreign Affairs | January 2020
“Trump’s Iran Imbroglio Undermines U.S. Priorities Everywhere Else”

7. I’m Six Weeks Pregnant, and I’m Telling the World
By Betsy Cooper | The New York Times | January 2020
“Against the mandatory secret first trimester.”

8. Having more sex makes early menopause less likely, research finds
By Hannah Devlin | The Guardian | January 2020
“Study of nearly 3,000 women suggests body may ‘choose’ not to invest in ovulation”

9. This Is How We Live Now
By Emily Raboteau | The Cut :: New York Magazine | January 2020
“A year’s diary of reckoning with climate anxiety, conversation by conversation”

10. Who Should Be on the Next Mount Rushmore?
Politico Magazine | July 2019
“We asked historians to imagine a new national monument for 21st-century America.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Final looks at the midterms and the Great War anniversary / Celebrating Wu-Tang Clan / Divided Sexual America / High blood pressure and dementia

This week: Final looks at the midterms and the Great War anniversary / Celebrating Wu-Tang Clan / Divided Sexual America / High blood pressure and dementia

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.

1. Why electing two Native American women to Congress is about more than making history
By Sarah Sunshine Manning | The Lily | November 2018
“It’s about asserting indigenous women’s ancestral right to leadership”
Also see, from Texas Monthly: ‘Underdog: Beto vs. Cruz’ on 36 Hours in El Paso
Also see, from Texas Monthly: Beto O’Rourke Lost the Battle But Won the War
Also see, from The New York Times: Down With the Year of the Woman

2. Can Europe’s Liberal Order Survive as the Memory of War Fades?
By Katin Bennhold | The New York Times | November 2018
“The anniversary comes amid a feeling of gloom and insecurity as the old demons of chauvinism and ethnic division are again spreading across the Continent. And as memory turns into history, one question looms large: Can we learn from history without having lived it ourselves?”
Also see, from The New York Review of Books: World War I Relived Day by Day
Also see, from Library of America: Harry S. Truman: Waiting for the Armistice
Also see, from The Washington Post: On this World War I anniversary, let’s not celebrate Woodrow Wilson

3. In revealing new memoir, Michelle Obama candidly shares her story
By Krissah Thompson | The Washington Post | November 2018
“In the 426-page book, Obama lays out her complicated relationship with the political world that made her famous. But her memoir is not a Washington read full of gossip and political score-settling — though she does lay bare her deep, quaking disdain for Trump, who she believes put her family’s safety at risk with his vehement promotion of the false birther conspiracy theory.”

4. The New York Times is digitizing more than 5 million photos dating back to the 1800s
By Laura Hazard Owen | Nieman Lab | November 2018
“The photos will be used in a series called Past Tense.”

5. Why Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nuthing ta F*ck Wit
By Stereo Williams | The Daily Beast | November 2018
“Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the greatest rap group of all time’s seminal debut, ‘Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers).’ ”

6. Peace Regimes
By Jesse Kindig | Boston Review | November 2018
“A regime is imposed from without, which begs the questions: whose peace, in this peace regime, is being insured, and who is subject to its imposition? To insist that such a regime is a kind of peace is to willfully forget the violence you are, in fact, wreaking.”

7. Republicans and Democrats Don’t Just Disagree About Politics. They Have Different Sexual Fantasies
By Justin Lehmiller | Politico Magazine | October 2018
“Republicans were more likely than Democrats to fantasize about a range of activities that involve sex outside of marriage.”

8. Pregnancy high blood pressure linked to dementia decades later
By Cheryl Platzman Weinstock | Reuters | November 2018
“Pregnant women who develop pre-eclampsia, a condition involving dangerously high blood pressure, have more than three times higher risk of dementia later in life than women who don’t have this pregnancy complication, researchers say.”

9. The Suffocation of Democracy
By Christopher R. Browning | The New York Review of Books | October 2018
“As a historian specializing in the Holocaust, Nazi Germany, and Europe in the era of the world wars, I have been repeatedly asked about the degree to which the current situation in the United States resembles the interwar period and the rise of fascism in Europe. I would note several troubling similarities and one important but equally troubling difference.”

10. Franco’s family demands dictator be buried with military honors
By Natalia Junquera | El Pais | October 2018
“His seven grandchildren want him to be interred in La Almudena cathedral, in the heart of Madrid”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Dealing when a friend has a baby / America beyond Trump / Powerless Puerto Rico / Dancing with Madonna / Loving your library

This week: Dealing when a friend has a baby / America beyond Trump / Powerless Puerto Rico / Dancing with Madonna / Loving your library

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.

1. A Friend’s Pregnancy
By Julia Wertz | The New Yorker | October 2016
“I was happy for her, but I was afraid it would have a negative impact on our relationship. It was certainly not what I wanted, but I knew such an epic life event would change our relationship irrevocably, and I was scared.”

2. War Without End
By C.J. Chivers | The New York Times Magazine | August 2018
“The Pentagon’s failed campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan left a generation of soldiers with little to fight for but one another.”

3. Planning for the Post-Trump Wreckage
By Stephen M. Walt | Foreign Policy | August 2018
“When the president eventually exits the White House, the rest of us will quickly have to make sense of the world he’s left behind.”

4. What Happened in the Dark: Puerto Rico’s Year of Fighting for Power
By Daniel Alarcon | Wired | August 2018
“More Americans rely on Puerto Rico’s grid than on any other public electric utility. How one renegade plant worker led them through the shadows.”

5. Nuance: A Love Story
By Meghan Daum | Medium | August 2018
“My affair with the intellectual dark web”

6. 2001 Is Still Teaching Us How to Pay Attention to Movies
By Colin Fleming | Slate | August 2018
“Your mind need not be going.”

7. Step one for befriending a goat: Smile
By Karin Brulliard | Animalia :: The Washington Post | August 2018
“Goat subjects … had already shown themselves to be adept at reading subtle human body language. Now, the researchers have found, goats are also able to distinguish happy people faces from sad ones — and they prefer happy.”

8. Dancing with Madonna Kept Me Alive
By Salim Gauwloos | Outlook :: BBC World Service | July 2018
“Salim Gauwloos became famous dancing with Madonna on her iconic Blond Ambition tour. Madonna used the tour to promote freedom of sexuality and sexual health. All of this made a young Salim feel extremely uncomfortable. The reason he was so anxious was that he was harbouring a secret.”

9. The Dos and Don’ts of Supporting Your Local Library
By Kristin Arnett | LitHub | August 2018
“For God’s sake, do not recatalog a book with Sharpie”

10. My son, Osama: the al-Qaida leader’s mother speaks for the first time
By Martin Chulov | The Guardian | August 2018
“Nearly 17 years since 9/11, Osama bin Laden’s family remains an influential part of Saudi society – as well as a reminder of the darkest moment in the kingdom’s history. Can they escape his legacy”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Impeachment right out of the gate / Saving Houston from hurricanes / Turkey won’t spark WWIII / The Twitter essay / Pregnancy changes the brain

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This week: Impeachment right out of the gate / Saving Houston from hurricanes / Turkey won’t spark WWIII / The Twitter essay / Pregnancy changes the brain

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.

1. The Case for Donald Trump’s Impeachability
By Jesse Singal | Daily Intelligencer :: New York Magazine | Dec. 20
“Republicans control Congress now. … But [should] Trump’s popularity slip low enough, or should some new scandal engulf him, maybe the political calculus will change, too.”

2. Hell and High Water
By Neena Satija, Kiah Collier, Al Shaw, and Jeff Larson | The Texas Tribune, Reveal, and ProPublica | March 2016
“Houston is the fourth-largest city in the country. It’s home to the nation’s largest refining and petrochemical complex, where billions of gallons of oil and dangerous chemicals are stored. And it’s a sitting duck for the next big hurricane. Learn why Texas isn’t ready.”
December 2016 update: Obama signs bill that may boost Texas hurricane protection study

3. This Isn’t 1914, and the Russian Ambassador to Turkey Isn’t Franz Ferdinand
By Joshua Keating | Slate | Dec. 19
“What appears to be an attack by an extremist against a Russian diplomat on Turkish soil will provide a pretext for closer cooperation rather than conflict.”

4. In Defense of the Twitter Essay
By Jeet Heer | New Republic | Dec. 19
“Some find it obnoxious, but threading tweets is a unique writing form that creates vibrant, democratic conversations.”

5. Sigourney Weaver: ‘I’m asked to play awful people all the time’
By Emma Brockes | The Guardian | Dec. 17
“Her parents thought she was an unlikely star, but decades after Alien, Sigourney Weaver is still in the spotlight, with more monster-wrestling on the way”

6. Pregnancy Causes Lasting Changes in a Woman’s Brain
By Catherine Caruso | Scientific American | Dec. 19
“New mothers showed evidence of neural remodeling up to two years after giving birth”

7. Scanning reveals what pregnancy does to a mother’s brain
The Economist | Dec. 19
“New mothers experience reduction in the volume of grey matter in their brains”

8. The Man Behind the Most Important Chart of 2016
By James Watkins | Ozy.com | Dec. 19
“Because he can explain the appeal of Trump, Bernie, Brexit and all the rest of it in one chart.”

9. A perfect storm: Margaret Atwood on rewriting Shakespeare’s Tempest
By Margaret Atwood | The Guardian | September 2016
“How do you update a play about a castaway sorcerer, a malevolent creature and an air spirit?”

10. Locations of Presidential TV Speeches Can Give Signals
By Michael Beschloss | HistorySource :: The New York Times | September 2014
“Truman began a tradition in which presidents have been inclined to deliver some of their most important addresses into the TV camera from [the Oval Office] — most memorably, John Kennedy on Oct. 22, 1962, revealing that there were Soviet missiles in Cuba and describing his response, and Richard Nixon on Aug. 8, 1974, resigning the presidency.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: FIFA president re-elected / Pregnancy and depression / Orson Welles memoir discovered / Uber in Mexico / Hastert scandal

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This week: FIFA president re-elected / Pregnancy and depression / Orson Welles memoir discovered / Uber in Mexico / Hastert scandal

Most of these great items come from my social media networks. Follow me on Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn, MySpace, and Facebook for more fascinating videos, photos, articles, essays, and criticism.

1. Blatter Control: FIFA Head Wins New Term Despite Corruption Probe
By David Francis | Passport :: Foreign Policy | May 29
“The Justice Department appears to be building a mob-style case against him, flipping low-level officials in hopes of then using their testimony to snag higher-ups. Whether they’ll ever get to Blatter remains to be seen.”

2. CBS’ Bob Schieffer Retires Sunday As Last Of The Old-School TV Anchors
By Eric Deggans | The Two-Way :: NPR News | May 29
“Schieffer leaves CBS with impressive stats. He’s one of the few reporters to have covered the White House, Congress, the State Department and the Pentagon. He’s interviewed every president since Richard Nixon and moderated three presidential debates.”

3. The characters in the new ‘Star Wars’ movie have pretty weird names
By Reed Tucker | New York Post | May 29
“From Sio Bibble to Grand Moff Muzzer, names in the world of Star Wars have always had their own special charm.”

4. Shields and Brooks on Dennis Hastert charges, Ashton Carter Iraq comments
Shields & Brooks :: PBS Newshour | May 29
“[T]he indictment and allegations of misconduct against former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter’s comments about the Iraqi army’s defeat at Ramadi, 2016 campaign announcements from Rick Santorum and George Pataki.”

5. Mexico taxi drivers threaten to ‘hunt down’ Uber cars
By Camilo Smith | La Voz de Houston :: Houston Chronicle| May 29
“Earlier this week taxi drivers blocked traffic to protest the arrival of the ride share service and according to reports the head of a taxi organization told the press the hunt is on for Uber drivers.”

6. Fact-Checking San Andreas With a Seismologist
By Alissa Walker | Gizmodo | May 29
“Among the many luminaries invited to preview the film was Dr. Lucy Jones, the USGS seismologist who recently took me on a walk along the Hollywood Fault, which runs just a block from the theater where San Andreas premiered.”

7. How Do You Define a Gang Member?
By Daniel Alarcon | The New York Times Magazine | May 27
“Laws acros the country are being used to target young men who fit the description for gang affiliation. But what if they aren’t what they seem?”

8. Hastert hometown rocked by scandal
By Jake Sherman and Hillary Flynn | Politico | May 29
“In Yorkville, Ill., shock and disbelief over allegations against a beloved teacher and coach.”

9. Archivists Uncover an Unfinished Memoir By Orson Welles
By Erin Blakemore | Smithsonian.com | May 29
“Fragments of ‘Confessions of a One-Man Band’ discovered in a newly-acquired trove of documents”

10. The Secret Sadness of Pregnancy With Depression
By Andrew Solomon | The New York Times Magazine | May 28
“Pregnant women often fear taking the antidepressants they rely on. But not treating their mental illness can be just as dangerous.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

February’s celestial delights / Civil War telegrams / Girlfriend wants a baby / Romney’s Secret Service protection / U.S. citizenship

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. 7 amazing sights to see in the February night sky
By Adam Holisky | USA Today | Feb. 3
“There are several planets visible, and the Orion constellation is guarding the evening heavens. Canis Major and the brightest star in our night sky are also perfectly visible this month for all stargazers to enjoy.”

2. How to automatically enlarge thumbnails online
By Rob Lightner | CNET | Feb. 3
“If you’ve ever found yourself giving up while clicking through an online photo gallery or grinding your teeth in frustration at an online vendor’s tiny thumbnails, help is on the way.”

3. Analysis: When is getting better good enough?
By Ben Feller | Associated Press | Feb. 3
“The stronger the economy gets, the more the presidential race comes down to what voters believe: Are things actually getting better? Or is it all still a mess?”

4. Huntington acquires trove of Lincoln, Civil War telegrams, codes
By Mike Boehm | The Los Angeles Times | January 2012
“The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens purchases a collection of telegrams from Abraham Lincoln and Union generals, plus code books.”

5. Please Advise: I think my girlfriend is trying to get pregnant
Nerve | Feb. 2
“She thinks a child will force me to commit.”

6. Where Romney goes, the Secret Service now follow
By Aine Kerr | Storyful | Feb. 3
“GOP presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney is now being trailed by men in black suits with dark glasses on the campaign trail in Nevada.”

7. ‘A Clockwork Orange’ Strikes 40
By Adam Chandler | The Atlantic | Feb. 2
“Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation remains influential — but not for all the reasons we expect”

8. Images of Revolution
Al Jazeera World | October 2011
“The stories behind the iconic images of the Arab uprisings as told by those who filmed them.”

9. Should All Americans Have to Earn Their Citizenship?
By Eric Liu | The Atlantic | Feb. 2
“With an eye toward the children of illegal immigrants, some politicians are trying to end birthright citizenship. Imagine what that might mean for the rest of us.”

10. Lost in Space
By C. Claiborne Ray | Q&A :: The New York Times | October 2011
“Science-fiction films often depict people being killed by going out an airlock into space. What would that be like?”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Brains of abused kids … Are you pregnant? … TX lege maps blocked … More water clues on Mars … Helpful rats.

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. Abused children’s brains work like soldiers’ do
By Andy Coghlan | New Scientist | Dec. 6
“When they saw angry faces, the maltreated children showed extra activity in the amygdala and the anterior insula, known to be involved in threat detection and anticipation of pain. Combat soldiers show similar heightened activity.”

2. Supreme Court blocks Texas’ electoral maps
By Sara Ines Calderon | La Politica :: NewTaco | Dec. 9
“The Supreme Court has blocked maps drawn by a panel of three federal judges after the state was sued because the original maps drawn by the legislature disenfranchised Latino and other minority voters”

3. The Supreme Court order staying new Texas legislative maps
By Sara Ines Calderon | La Politica :: NewTaco | Dec. 9
Read the court order here.

4. Analysis says no mental health risk with abortion
Associated Press | Dec. 8
“Among women with unwanted pregnancies, those who had abortions were no more likely to suffer from problems including anxiety or depression than women who gave birth, the analysis by the U.K.’s National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health found.”

5. Opportunity Rover Finds Gypsum, ‘Slam-Dunk’ Evidence That Water Flowed On Red Planet
By Timothy Stenovec | The Huffington Post | Dec. 8
“This isn’t the first mineral evidence that water may have flowed on Mars, but … this gypsum deposit may indicate a less-acidic water supportive of microbial life.”

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. ‘Scary’ Volcano Erupts in Ecuador
National Geographic | Dec. 8
“During the past few days, Tungurahua has been unleashing booming explosions, hurling columns of ash some 9,800 to 16,000 feet above its peak, and issuing flows of lava.”

8. How Can You Be Pregnant (For Months) And Not Know It?
By Jena Pincott | The Huffington Post | Dec. 8
“Among pregnant women, 1 in 450 doesn’t know her status until week 20 or later (more than halfway through the pregnancy), and 1 in 2,500 is oblivious until she actually goes into labor.”

9. Rats’ bad rap: Study shows them nice, not naughty
By Seth Borenstein | Associated Press | Dec. 8
“Rats don’t always act like, well, rats. New experiments show rats demonstrating compassion and helping other rodents. It’s a trait some scientists thought was reserved only for humans and higher primates.”

10. 2012 race emerges as novel campaign
By Edward-Isaac Dovere | Politico | Dec. 9
“In a culture where politics has become a springboard to celebrity, the integration of the book tours into the presidential campaign is a natural progression. …”

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

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. Los Lonely Boys — Road House Blues
2. Los Lonely Boys — She’ll Be My Everything for Christmas
3. Van Wilks — Cold Slide of Cool
4. Scotty Meyer Band — A Piece of My Mind
5. Michelle Malone — Soul Chicken
6. Mojo Saints — Gnawin’ Bone
7. Barry McCabe — Kissin’ In Your Sleep
8. Paul Thorn — Viagra
9. Demian Bell — Dynamite
10. Chris Juergensen — Love Dog
11. Marc Broussard — On Santa’s Way Home
12. Blackfoot — Sunshine Again
13. Dr. Wu — Storm Watch Warning