Recommended reading / viewing / listening

The Amazon before Columbus / Navy’s new spy plane / Interview with Carlos Fuentes / Secrets of ‘Prometheus’ / Fashion in S5 of ‘Mad Men’

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. Before Columbus, humans treaded lightly in the Amazon’s forests
By Alan Boyle | Cosmic Log :: MSNBC | June 15
“The historical portrayal of the Amazon Basin’s residents before 1492 has swung from the stereotype of backward savages to a vision of sophisticated stewards of the land — but a newly reported survey suggests that wide swaths of the Amazon’s forests, particularly in the western and central regions, were relatively untouched by humans.”

2. This Is the New Spy Plane of the US Navy
By Jesus Diaz | Gizmodo | June 15
“The Navy says that their new drone will be used for sea ‘surveillance, collection of enemy order of battle information, battle damage assessment, port surveillance, communication relay, and support of the following missions — maritime interdiction, surface warfare, battlespace management, and targeting for maritime and littoral strike missions.'”

3. In the Facebook Era, Reminders of Loss After Families Fracture
By Catherine Saint Louis | The New York Times | June 14
“Not long ago, estrangements between family members, for all the anguish they can cause, could mean a fairly clean break. People would cut off contact, never to be heard from again unless they reconciled.”

4. What do they call that skyscraper in New York?
By Deepti Hajela | Associated Press | June 15
“More than a decade after 9/11, no one’s quite sure what to call the spot that was once a smoldering graveyard but is now the site of the fast-rising, 1,776-foot skyscraper that will replace the twin towers.”

5. Carlos Fuentes: The Lost Interview
By Lilly Kanso | Guernica | June 15
“A conversation recorded on the road reveals the late author’s take on the role of the writer-as-activist”

6. My relapse years
By Sarah Hepola | Salon | June 13
“After months of trying to quit, I knew I’d be a drunk for life. Then I discovered how useful failing can be.”

7. Q&A: Do-It-Yourself Templates for Microsoft Word
By J.D. Biersdorfer | Gadgetwise :: The New York Times | June 13
“I have designed my own letterhead and invoice documents in Microsoft Word for Windows. How do I turn these into templates?”

8. The Secrets of ‘Prometheus’ Explained by Reddit
By Jeremy Cabalona | Mashable | June 12
“When we want explanations, we turn to the ‘Front Page of the Internet,’ Reddit. We figured it was a great place to get the answers to ‘Prometheus’ we craved — and Redditors did not disappoint.”

9. Mod Men
By Sarah Ball | Vanity Fair | June 11
“In ‘Mad Men’s’ fifth season, the mod side of the 1960s has officially commenced, what with mini-dresses, nude lips, bouffants, and Vivier flats. … Here, some of season five’s most notable looks, with details on the styles and insights from Bryant, thanks to her behind-the-scenes revelations on AMC.”

10. Surgery Restores Sexual Function In Women With Genital Mutilation
By Eliza Barclay | Shots :: NPR | June 13
“French researchers report in a new paper that a reconstructive surgery they used to try to repair the clitorises of 2,938 women in France between 1998 and 2009 has helped many of them experience sexual pleasure.”

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TUNES

My soundtrack for today included:
1. LIGHTERS UP Lil’ Kim
2. NUMB ENCORE Jay-Z & Linkin Park
3. BIG POPPA The Notorious B.I.G.
4. CAN’T NOBODY HOLD ME DOWN Puff Daddy & Mase
5. BALLA BABY Chingy, Lil’ Flip & Boozie
6. REGULATE Warren G
7. STUNT 101 DJ Swindle, 50 Cent & INXS
8. OPP Naughty by Nature
9. PAID IN FULL Eric B. & Rakim
10. MY MIND PLAYIN’ TRICKS ON ME Geto Boys

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Latino voting power / Fish pedicures / Sinan, the starchitect / Richard Nixon’s five wars / The end of ‘Mad Men’

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. Latino Growth Not Fully Felt at Voting Booth
By Adam Nagourney | The New York Times | June 9
“Latinos are not registering or voting in numbers that fully reflect their potential strength, leaving Hispanic leaders frustrated and Democrats worried as they increase efforts to rally Latino support.”

2. Check Out All These Awesome Interpretations of the Old Twitter Logo
By Jesus Diaz | Gizmodo | June 10
“The new Twitter logo is anything you want it to be if you are a genius illustrator like Ape Lad.”

3. Baghdad Spa Offers Fish Pedicures
By Kay Johnson | The Huffington Post | June 10
“Dozens of beauty salons, cosmetic surgery centers and other enterprises have sprung up to cash in on war-weary Iraqis looking for pampering.”

4. Life returning to normal on Giglio Island after Costa Concordia
By Carolyn Lyons | The Los Angeles Times | June 10
“Giglio, a tiny vacation island off the Tuscany coast, is dotted with charming villages, clean beaches, quiet accommodations and waterside trattorias.”

5. Tracking Turkey’s First Starchitect
By Andrew Ferren | The New York Times | June 8
“Sinan (circa 1490-1588) was chief architect and civil engineer of the Ottoman Empire, working when the empire was at its apogee; his employers, Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent and his heirs, were the most powerful men on earth.”

6. 40 years after Watergate, Nixon was far worse than we thought
By Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward | The Washington Post | June 8
“What was Watergate? It was Nixon’s five wars.”

7. As army grows, a unit highlights the challenges
By Kathy Gannon | Associated Press | June 10
“No one denies the Afghan National Army has an equipment problem. President Hamid Karzai says he is disturbed by problems such as the helmet shortage. The U.S. is providing the army with new, lighter helmets, but not all the soldiers have them.”

8. America’s Last Prisoner of War
By Michael Hastings | Rolling Stone | June 7
“Three years ago, a 23-year-old soldier walked off his base in Afghanistan and into the hands of the Taliban. Now he’s a crucial pawn in negotiations to end the war. Will the Pentagon leave a man behind?”

9. ‘Mad Men’ Creator Matthew Weiner Reflects on the Season So Far
By Dave Itzkoff | Arts Beat :: The New York Times | June 10
“What are the long-term marital prospects for Megan and Don Draper? Will we ever see Peggy Olson again? How is everyone at the office coping with the sad fate of Lane Pryce?”

10. 12 Coolest Ridley Scott Moments
By Keith Staskiewicz | Entertainment Weekly | June 8
“Popping an alien through a chest; putting a hammer to Big Brother; revving up the stakes for ‘Thelma and Louise’; and more gems from the ‘Prometheus’ director”

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TUNES

My soundtrack for today included:
1. GIVE A DEMONSTRATION (Grant Phabao remix) Big Daddy Kane, Conne Price and the Keystones
2. BACK TO THE HOTEL N2Deep
3. IT WAS A GOOD DAY Ice Cube
4. SMOOTH Tha Dogg Pound
5. BE FAITHFUL Crooklyn Clan & Fatman Scoop
6. NASTY GIRL Avery Storm, Jagged Edge, Nelly, P. Diddy & The Notorious B.I.G.
7. NAS’ ANGELS Nas & Pharrell Williams
8. MO MONEY MORE PROBLEMS Mase, Puff Daddy & The Notorious B.I.G.
9. HEAD SPRUNG LL Cool J
10. HEY MAMA Black Eyed Peas