Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: The secrets of Afghanistan / The female gaze on film / 2019’s best books / Loving and hating the New York subway / Boris Johnson and the future

This week: The secrets of Afghanistan / The female gaze on film / 2019’s best books / Loving and hating the New York subway / Boris Johnson and the future

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 Afghanistan Papers: A secret history of the war
By Craig Whitlock, Leslie Shapiro and Armand Emamdjomeh | The Washington Post | December 2019
“In a cache of previously unpublished interviews and memos, key insiders reveal what went wrong during the longest armed conflict in U.S. history.”

2. ‘Hustler’s’ Greatest Trick Is Its Take on the Female Gaze
By Alison Willmore | Vulture :: New York Magazine | October 2019
“The intention is not to evoke the lust of the money-hurling mass of customers but to show us Ramona the way Destiny sees her, as this powerful, enviable whole.”

3. How photos taken from the sky are helping farmers
By Andie Corban and Kai Ryssdal | Marketplace | October 2019
“Technology is changing the way most of us work these days, and farming is no exception. There are several new ag-tech companies dedicated solely to making agriculture more efficient.”

4. Our 50 Favorite Books of the Year
LitHub | December 2019
“Highlights From a Year in Reading by the Literary Hub Staff”

5. I Still Kind of Love the New York Subway
By Maeve Higgins | The New York Times | December 2019
“Sometimes I wonder if I can stand many more years of unreliable service. Then something happens that gets me all mushy again.”

6. Could Boris Johnson Be the Last Prime Minister of the U.K. As We Know It?
By Jonah Shepp | Intelligencer :: New York Magazine | December 2019
“British — or rather, English — politicians a generation from now could find themselves in a downsized House of Commons, debating whether breaking up with the European Union was worth breaking up their own union as well.”

7. The worst takes of the 2010s
The Outline | December 2019
“The past decade had a lot of pieces that should have been left unpublished.”

8. How Fiction Can Defeat Fake News
By Amitava Kumar | Columbia Journalism Review | Fall 2019
“There is fiction and then there is fiction — falsities that lead to lynchings and riots. Both rely on storytelling, but that’s like saying soil is used both in gardens and in graves. The way language is used in each case is entirely different, if not opposed.”

9. A Tiny Leak Led to a Massive, Unexpected Collapse at Kilauea Volcano
By Stephanie Pappas | Scientific American | December 2019
“Its caldera’s dramatic, surprisingly slow collapse could point to other risks worldwide.”

10. The War That Continues to Shape Russia, 25 Years Later
By Andrew Higgins | The New York Times | December 2019
“Haunting images show how the first Chechen war humiliated post-Soviet Russia, exposed its weakness, strengthened hard-liners and enabled the rise of Vladimir V. Putin.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Adam Driver on acting / 2017’s best books / Lessons from 2017 film disasters / A new vision for UTSA DTC / Putin’s real desire

This week: Adam Driver on acting / 2017’s best books / Lessons from 2017 film disasters / A new vision for UTSA DTC / Putin’s real desire

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. Adam Driver: ‘Compared with the military, acting isn’t that difficult’
By Emma Brockes | The Guardian | December 2017
“The Star Wars actor on leaving the Marines, filming nude scenes with Lena Dunham and getting in touch with his dark side”

2. The year in journalism: The big players, best feuds, and more
By Peter Vernon | Columbia Journalism Review | December 2017
“A guide to what happened in the mediaverse in 2017”

3. Past Debates Echo in Split Between Cornel West and Ta-Nehisi Coates
By John Eligon | The New York Times | December 2017
“Malcolm X was more open to using violence as a form of self-defense than Dr. King, even though their beliefs were more nuanced and overlapping than the popular perception. Whereas Du Bois pushed for an expansion of civil rights, Washington was more compromising, urging black people to look within … in order to minimize the terror they faced.”

4. 100 Notable Books of 2017
The New York Times Book Review | November 2017
The year’s best fiction, poetry, and non-fiction works.
From the Guardian: Best books of 2017
From Lit Hub: The 64 Best Book Covers of 2017 and The Best Reviewed Books of 2017 — History & Politics

5. 2017: the sequel … seven lessons for Hollywood after summer’s disasters
By Mark Sweney | The Guardian | December 2017
“Traditional box-office wisdom has been overturned — but new audiences are starting to emerge”

6. Three Months In, New UTSA President Lays Out Vision For Downtown Campus
By Camille Phillips | Texas Public Radio | December 2017
“The idea is to make the downtown a destination, while increasing enrollment on the downtown campus. UTSA’s current enrollment on the downtown campus is about 4,000 out of a total enrollment of about 30,000.”

7. What Putin Really Wants
By Julia Ioffe | The Atlantic | January/February 2018
“Russia’s strongman president has many Americans convinced of his manipulative genius. He’s really just a gambler who won big.”

8. The secret backstory of how Obama let Hezbollah off the hook
By Josh Meyer | Politico | December 2017
“An ambitious U.S. task force targeting Hezbollah’s billion-dollar criminal enterprise ran headlong into the White House’s desire for a nuclear deal with Iran.”

9. American Sounds
By Heather Radke | The Paris Review | July 2017
“On the old, weird days of National Public Radio”

10. How to Be a Writer on Social Media
LitHub | July 2017
“[W]e asked the opinions of four authors whose social media prowess we admire: Roxane Gay, Celeste Ng, Adam Grant and Alexander Chee.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Trump and Putin / Da Vinci’s genius / Sexism and Clinton’s culpability / Tracing your Texas ancestry / A trans woman’s journey as Beyonce

This week: Trump and Putin / Da Vinci’s genius / Sexism and Clinton’s culpability / Tracing your Texas ancestry / A trans woman’s journey as Beyonce

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 Putin Keeps Outsmarting Trump
By John McLaughlin | Politico Magazine | Nov. 17
“The Kremlin leader is trained to lie. Trust me, I ran the CIA: Believing anything he says is folly.”
Also, from The Economist: America’s foreign policy: embrace thugs, dictators and strongmen

2. Puerto Rico’s DIY Disaster Relief
By Molly Crabapple | NYT Daily :: The New York Review of Books | Nov. 17
“Two weeks after Hurricane Maria hit, aid remained a bureaucratic quagmire, mismanaged by FEMA, the FBI, the US military, the laughably corrupt local government. The island looked like it was stuck somewhere between the nineteenth century and the apocalypse. But leftists, nationalists, socialists … were stepping up to rebuild their communities.”

3. Trump era sparks new debate about nuclear war authority
By Robert Burns | Associated Press | Nov. 19
“[W]hat would happen if an American president ordered a nuclear strike, for whatever reason, and the four-star general at Strategic Command balked or refused, believing it to be illegal?”

4. Latino vote
By Bill Lambrecht | San Antonio Express-News | Nov. 19
“Latino success in Virginia and across the country in recent elections continued a run of historic victories in 2017 and left leaders confident of their strategy heading into mid-term elections next year.”

5. What Made Leonardo da Vinci a Genius?
By Simon Worrall | National Geographic | Nov. 4
“Hint: The great Italian artist was interested in everything.”

6. Sexism on America’s Front Lines
By Susan B. Glasser | Politico Magazine | Nov. 6
“Six top national security pros sound off about an adversary closer to home: piggish men.”
Also, from The Atlantic: What Hillary Knew: Hillary Clinton once tweeted that ‘every survivor of sexual assault deserves to be heard, believed, and supported.’ What about Juanita Broaddrick?
Also, from the Guardian: I saw how we failed Bill Clinton’s accusers. We can’t do that again
Also, from the New York Post: Let’s just cancel the Oscars

7. ‘Everybody’s Cousins’: Tracing San Antonio Ancestry To 1718 And Beyond
By Norma Martinez | Texas Public Radio | Nov. 17
“A lot of South Texans can trace their ancestry back to 1718 and beyond. For those who can’t, a nonprofit is making it easier to follow their family tree.”

8. Becoming Beyoncé On Stage Helped One Trans Woman Come Into Her Own
By Danny Nett | Fandoms :: NPR | Nov. 19
“At first, she didn’t even have a strong, personal connection to Beyoncé the way people might expect, she says. That came later.”

9. Get lost in this visualization of interconnected global issues
By Robbie Gonzalez | Wired | Nov. 13
“[T]here’s more to Knowledge Maps than pretty diagrams. In fact, the tool’s utility becomes clear when you explore its less-mesmerizing features: a series of summaries and content feeds curated partly by humans and partly by machines.”

10. The Making of an American Nazi
By Luke O’Brien | The Atlantic | December 2017
“How did Andrew Anglin go from being an antiracist vegan to the alt-right’s most vicious troll and propagandist—and how might he be stopped?”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Hayes v. Tilden: Real dirty politics / E.O. Wilson on life / The best documentary on the Vietnam War / A review of the Democratic convention

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. Why do we procrastinate so much?
By Rowan Pelling | BBC News Magazine | Aug. 27
“As autumn approaches people finish off vital DIY, get ready to start a new job or prepare for school. At least, they would do if they weren’t in the grip of procrastination. …”

2. Is it a bird, a plane? No, it’s Putin, human crane
By Gabriela Baczynska | Reuters | Sept. 5
“Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has tracked a Siberian tiger and posed with a polar bear, on Wednesday took his love of wildlife to new heights by flying with cranes — to lead them on a migration route.”

3. Have Americans turned inward?
By Bruce Stokes | Global Public Square :: CNN | Sept. 7
“Foreign policy is the forgotten stepchild of the 2012 U.S. presidential election.”

4. Reviewing the political theater of the party’s convention
By Peter Marks | The Washington Post | Sept. 6
“Despite its agonizing interminability and waning relevance, a national convention still can be a star-maker. …”

5. Living in the Era of Megaterror
By Graham Allison | The New York Times | Sept. 7
“Today, how many people can a small group of terrorists kill in a single blow?”

6. Vietnam: A Television History
American Experience :: PBS
“From the first hour through the last, the series provides a detailed visual and oral account of the war that changed a generation and continues to color American thinking on many military and foreign policy issues.”

7. E.O. Wilson on saving life on Earth
TED | April 2007
“As E.O. Wilson accepts his 2007 TED Prize, he makes a plea on behalf of all creatures that we learn more about our biosphere — and build a networked encyclopedia of all the world’s knowledge about life.”

8. Hayes vs. Tilden: The Ugliest, Most Contentious Presidential Election Ever
Past Imperfect :: Smithsonian.com | Sept. 7
“For Rutherford B. Hayes, election evening of November 7, 1876, was shaping up to be any presidential candidate’s nightmare. Even though the first returns were just coming in by telegraph, newspapers were announcing that his opponent, the Democrat Samuel J. Tilden, had won.”

9. General Hancock’s Hour
By Glenn David Brasher | Disunion :: The New York Times | May 8
“Thanks to the information gleaned from runaway slaves, Winfield Scott Hancock’s chance to prove his merit came on May 5, with the Battle of Williamsburg.”

10. Trouble on the Triple Frontier
By Christine Folch | Foreign Affairs | Sept. 6
“The Lawless Border Where Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay Meet”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Unfit college students / Putin’s dreams / Wisdom from Tony Bennett and Eddie Izzard / Nutritious acorns

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. Fitness often not a priority for college students
By Dorene Internicola | Reuters | Jan. 2
“Along with mother’s cooking and the family dog, regular exercise is too often among the childish things young adults leave behind when they make the move from home to college.”

2. Russia’s Putin dreams of sweeping Eurasian Union
By Peter Leonard | Associated Press | Jan. 3
“Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has a vision for a Soviet Union-lite he hopes will become a new Moscow-led global powerhouse. But, his planned Eurasian Union won’t be grounded in ideology: This time it’s about trade.”

3. This much I know
By Michael Odell | The Guardian | November 2008
“Tony Bennett, singer, 82, London”

4. This much I know
By Tom Templeton | The Guardian | January 2009
“Niall Ferguson, historian, 44, London”

5. Is the World Really Safer Without the Soviet Union?
By Mikhail Gorbachev | The Nation | Jan. 9
“What happened after the Soviet Union ended in 1991? Why were the opportunities to build what Pope John Paul II called a more stable, more just and more humane world order not realized?”

6. This much I know: Eddie Izzard
By Megan Conner | The Observer | December 2011
“The comedian, 49, on the Iron Man triathlon, spiders and doing stand-up in French”

7. A Call Against Arms
Activate :: Al Jazeera | November 2011
“Activist Sung Hee Choi is the leader of the resistance and, despite periods spent in detention and police brutality, she is determined to stop the project.”

8. Truth, Lies and Self-Deception
By Stephen A. Diamond | Psychology Today | November 2008
“None of us are beyond deceiving ourselves.”

9. Mighty Acorns
By C. Claiborne Ray | Q&A :: The New York Times | October 2009
“Can people eat acorns the way squirrels do?”

10. How Can You Increase Your IQ?
By Brian Palmer | Explainer :: Slate | October 2011
“Stay in school (or just play some memory games)”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Fight over Amazon / Appreciating gravity / Obama’s 2012 issues / The pizza-sized burger / Embracing sex

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. Saving the Amazon, from forest floor up
By Bradley Brooks | Associated Press | Dec. 11
“Just three years ago, the manmade fires here were so fierce smoke would blot out the Amazon sky, turning the days dark. Towering rainforest trees exploded in flames, their canopies cleared to let pasture grow for cattle.”

2. Gravity: You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone
LiveScience | May 2011
“Here on Earth, we take gravity so for granted that it took an apple falling from a tree to trigger Isaac Newton’s theory of gravitation. But gravity, which draws objects together in proportion to their mass, is about much more than fallen fruit.”

3. Obama decides high-profile issues ahead of 2012
By Erica Werner | Associated Press | Dec. 10
“On issues from air pollution to contraception, President Barack Obama has broken sharply with liberal activists and come down on the side of business interests and social conservatives as he moves more to the political middle for his re-election campaign.”

4. The First Taste Test: Burger King’s Pizza-Sized Burger
By Patrick St. Michel | Esquire | Dec. 9
“Half of the hulking sandwich gets done up like a regular Whopper; for the other half, customers can select a ‘fresh avocado’ or ‘cheese nacho’ variation.”

5. Why Russia’s Post-Putin Future May Not Be Democratic
By Paul Starobin | The New Republic | Dec. 12
“Vladimir Putin, rather suddenly, is shifting from Good Czar to Bad Czar in the minds of the Russian people.”

6. Q&A: Taking Action on Google+
By J.D. Biersdorfer | Gadgetwise :: The New York Times | Aug. 22
“Q: If I block someone on Google+, can that person still see the things I post?”

7. Flaws and All, Gingrich Says Life Is an Open Book
By Trip Gabriel | The New York Times | Dec. 11
“Gingrich’s skill in facing criticisms head-on — sometimes fiercely rebutting them, sometimes apologizing for past errors in judgment — has only swelled his support.”

8. Saudi Arabia: Woman Convicted Of ‘Sorcery’ Executed
Associated Press | Dec. 12
“Saudi authorities have executed a woman convicted of practicing magic and sorcery.”

9. Stop Making Sex Taboo
By Hugo Martins | The Good Men Project | Dec. 9
“Make it clear. Make it simple. Make it right.”

10. Joe Sabia: The technology of storytelling
TED Talks | May 2011
“iPad storyteller Joe Sabia introduces us to Lothar Meggendorfer, who created a bold technology for storytelling: the pop-up book.”