Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: George Michael dies / 2016’s best science stories / Texas and Planned Parenthood / What men should know by 22 / Plantations and public history

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This week: George Michael dies / 2016’s best science stories / Texas and Planned Parenthood / What men should know by 22 / Plantations and public history

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. Ex-Wham singer George Michael dies
BBC News | Dec. 25
“The star … is said to have ‘passed away peacefully at home.’ … Police say there were no suspicious circumstances.”

2. Ordered Deported, Berlin Suspect Slipped Through Germany’s Fingers
By Alison Smale, Carlotta Gall, and Gaia Pianigiani | The New York Times | Dec. 22
“Amri’s life and odyssey underscore a vexing problem, common in Europe: how to handle hundreds of thousands of virtually stateless wanderers who are either unwilling or unable to return home.”

3. ‘Life disappeared before my eyes’: photographer describes killing of Russian ambassador
By Burhan Ozbilici | The Guardian | Dec. 19
“Associated Press photographer Burhan Ozbilici went to view an exhibition in Ankara but instead witnessed the assassination of Andrei Karlov”
Also, from the Associated Press: A look at the most significant attacks in Turkey in 2016

4. The Most Popular Science Stories of 2016
By Andrea Gawrylewski | Scientific American | Dec. 19
“The presidential election took center stage, but our readers were also fascinated by everything from particle physics and rage disorder to autism in girls and the polar vortex”

5. The Best TV Performances of 2016
By Tim Goodman and Daniel Fienberg | The Hollywood Reporter | Dec. 20
Sadness, fear, strength, vulnerability — 2016 had an incredible array of acting achievements.

6. Texas officially kicking Planned Parenthood out of Medicaid
By Alexa Ura | The Texas Tribune | Dec. 20
“Planned Parenthood had previously received $3.1 million in Medicaid funding, but those dollars will be nixed in 30 days …”

7. 22 Things Men Should Know By Age 22
By Todd Brison | Medium | Dec. 15
“Most of the people in your life now will not be there in 5 years. Tell them how much they matter to you today.”

8. The Plantation Tour Disaster: Teaching Slavery, Memory, and Public History
By Niels Eichhorn | Muster :: Journal of the Civil War Era | Dec. 5
“Regardless whether a plantation does or does not cover slavery, they provide an interesting mechanism to teach about the institutions of the Old South, collective memory, and public history.”

9. Mexico: The Cauldron of Modernism
By J. Hoberman | NYR Daily :: The New York Review of Books | Dec. 12
“To a degree, ‘Paint the Revolution’ is the story of the three star muralists, Diego Rivera, David Siqueiros, and José Clemente Orozco, who along with the posthumously canonized Frida Kahlo, defined the new Mexican art.”

10. From White Knight to Thief
By Michael Beschloss | HistorySource :: The New York Times | September 2014
“At the start of the terrifying market plunge of October 1929, he had bravely helped shore up the market by parading around the exchange floor, placing bids for shares of U.S. Steel, as well as other blue-chip holdings.”

Podcast recommendations

A close friend recently asked to me to recommend some interesting podcasts. For regular readers of this blog, nothing on this list will surprise you.

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A close friend recently asked to me to recommend some interesting podcasts. Here is my list. It’s not comprehensive, and the categories are quite general. For regular readers of this blog, nothing on this list will surprise you.

Thankfully, most podcasts cover several subjects, and so they’re hard to classify as one thing. Generally, I like news programs, lectures to intelligent crowds (but not recorded classroom lectures), or one-on-one conversations. I mostly avoid call-in shows — I like to keep the public out of the equation whenever possible — but I make exceptions for exceptional programs.

As of Friday, Feb. 7, 2014, the iTunes library tells me I have 2,311 podcast episodes. It calculates that it will take me 66 days, nine hours, 23 minutes, and 46 seconds to listen to all of them.

NEWS
DocArchive — BBC World Service
Global News — BBC World Service
Newshour — BBC World Service
Best of Today — BBC Radio 4
Podcast of Week — CSPAN
New Yorker: Out Loud — The New Yorker
New Yorker: Comment — The New Yorker
Story of the Day — NPR
World Story of the Day — NPR
Hourly News Summary (central to my hourly existence in this life) — NPR
The World — PRI
The Takeaway — PRI and WNYC
TribCast — The Texas Tribune
Washington Week — PBS
PBS News Hour — PBS

NEWS :: DOCUMENTARIES
Documentary of the Week — BBC Radio 4
Outlook — BBC World Service
American RadioWorks — American Public Media
Longform Podcast
ProPublica Podcasts
DecodeDC
Radio 3 Essay — BBC Radio 3
The National Press Club podcast
Weekends on All Things Considered — NPR

NEWS :: FOREIGN AFFAIRS
The Economist podcast
Inside CFR Events — Council on Foreign Relations
Brookings Event podcast — The Brookings Institute
Prime Minister’s Questions — The Guardian
The Stream — Al Jazeera English
Worldview — WBEZ

NEWS :: SCIENCE / TECHNOLOGY
Marketplace Tech Report — American Public Media
New Tech City — WNYC
Quirks and Quarks — CBC
Science Weekly — The Guardian
Stardate podcasts — McDonald Observatory
Science Times — The New York Times
Environment podcast — NPR
Nature podcast — Nature

FILM / TV
Front Row Daily — BBC Radio 4
The Treatment with Elvis Mitchell — KCRW
Kevin Pollack’s Chat Show
The Q&A with Jeff Goldsmith — CBC

MUSIC
Legacy Podcasts: Rock — Legacy Recordings
Legacy Podcasts: Sarah McLachlan — Legacy Recordings
Other Directions — Steven Lee Moya
Soundcheck — WYNC
The Blues File — WXPN
Classical Performance — WGBH
25 Years of Chill Out Music — Roebeck
50 Great Voices — NPR
From the Top — NPR
Jazz Profiles — NPR
Chillsky
Properly Chilled
Escuela de Rumberos Salsa podcast

BOOKS
Book Review Podcast — The New York Times
Q and A — CSPAN
After Words — CSPAN
The Guardian Books Podcast
Writers and Company — CBC
Bookworm — KCRW
The New York Review of Books podcast
Between the Lines — WABE
Unfictional — KCRW
New Yorker: Fiction — The New Yorker
Selected Shorts — PRI
World Book Club — BBC World Service

GENERAL ARTS / LIFE
The Brian Lehrer Show — WNYC
The Leonard Lopate Show — WNYC
TED Talks — TED
The Best of YouTube
Arts and Ideas — BBC Radio 4
Radio Open Source with Christopher Lydon podcasts
Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin — WNYC
The Current — CBC Radio
Ideas — CBC Radio
The Forum — KQED
Fresh Air (as long as Terry Gross isn’t on) — NPR
RadioWest — PRI
Studio 360 — PRI and WYNC
To the Best of Our Knowledge — PRI
WGBH Forum
Radio Times — WHYY

HISTORY
Conversations with History — UC Berkeley
Free Library podcast — Free Library of Philadelphia
American History TV — CSPAN
Great Lives — BBC Radio 4
15 Minute History — University of Texas at Austin
BackStory — University of Virginia
The History of Byzantium — Robin Pierson
Walter Cronkite’s History Lessons — NPR
History: Days of Infamy, Daily Life
The Journal of American History Podcast
Lectures in History — CSPAN
Lincoln and the Civil War
Witness — BBC World Service
Los Angeles Public Library Podcast
Miller Center Forums — The University of Virginia Miller Center
New Books in History
Pritzker Military Library Podcasts
Virginia Historical Society Podcasts
We the People Stories — National Constitution Center

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Postal cuts … Huge black holes … The classic Marine Corps … Dems and religious voters … Secrets of Roman buildings.

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. Web an increasing tool to link campaigns, voters
By Beth Fouhy | Associated Press | Dec. 3
“Online advertising, once used primarily as a way to reach young and heavily wired consumers, has emerged as an essential communications tool in the 2012 presidential contest.”

2. Postal cuts to slow delivery of first-class mail
By Hope Yen | Associated Press | Dec. 4
“The changes … could slow everything from check payments to Netflix’s DVDs-by-mail, add costs to mail-order prescription drugs, and threaten the existence of newspapers and time-sensitive magazines delivered by postal carrier to far-flung suburban and rural communities.”

3. Study: Lawn care industry large source of income for Latinos
By Renee Saldana | NewsTaco | Dec. 5
“The authors do point out that the percentage of Latino-owned landscaping and lawn care industry is double the national average. …”

4. Literature of moment not a signal of decline
By T.R. Fehrenbach | San Antonio Express-News | Dec. 5
“From ‘Iliad’ to today’s vampires, they brighten our lives.”

5. Scientists find monster black holes, biggest yet
By Marcia Dunn | Associated Press | Dec. 5
“A team led by astronomers at the University of California, Berkeley, discovered the two gigantic black holes in clusters of elliptical galaxies more than 300 million light years away. That’s relatively close on the galactic scale.”

6. Q&A: Radio Over Wi-Fi Airwaves
By J.D. Biersdorfer | Gadgetwise :: The New York Times | June 28
“Q: I want a small device that will allow me to listen to the BBC Radio 4’s live stream. … I could use my laptop but then I’d have to keep plugging and unplugging it into the peripherals. … Is there another way?”

7. Postwar Marines: smaller, less focused on land war
By Robert Burns | Associated Press | Dec. 4
“This moment of change happens to coincide with a reorienting of American security priorities to the Asia-Pacific region, where China has been building military muscle during a decade of U.S. preoccupation in the greater Middle East. That suits the Marines, who see the Pacific as a home away from home.”

8. Democrats see opening among religious voters in 2012 election
By Josh Lederman | The Hill | Dec. 4
“Democrats are setting out to court faith-based voters by connecting their policies on economic issues to the values of equality, tolerance and humanitarianism.”

9. The Secrets of Ancient Rome’s Buildings
By Erin Wayman | Smithsonian | Nov. 16
“What is it about Roman concrete that keeps the Pantheon and the Colosseum still standing?”

10. The fresh ideas that can help save our world
By Yvonne Roberts | The Guardian | Dec. 3
“Climate change, ageing, joblessness, a healthcare crisis: tomorrow is a tangle of problems. The solution may lie not in politics, but in a ‘social innovation’ movement that is generating groundbreaking ideas”

1-2-5

Eclipsed by all my gleeful excitement over marking Civil War events from 150 years ago is another seminal event from only 50 years ago: Yuri Gagarin becomes the first human in space.

Eclipsed by all my gleeful excitement over marking Civil War events from 150 years ago is another seminal event from only 50 years ago: Yuri Gagarin becomes the first human in space.

The Associated Press recently moved a wonderful story about the man, the mission, and the race to the moon his achievement provoked (beautifully explored by one of my favorite miniseries). “Gagarin’s flight on the Vostok was entirely automated,” reporter Vladimir Isachenkov writes, “yet simply by having the courage to face the unknown, he taught his fellow humans a vital lesson: that they had a future in space.”

Keep an eye out for more stellar (pun intended) Gagarin coverage this week. As always, BBC News is a great place to start. (Photo: Associated Press file)

TUNES

My soundtrack for today included:
1. CAN’T YOU HEAR ME KNOCKING The Rolling Stones
2. DEEP DARK TRUTHFUL MIRROR (Unplugged) Elvis Costello
3. A STROKE OF LUCK Garbage
4. GIMME SHELTER The Rolling Stones
5. FIRST CUT IS THE DEEPEST Rod Stewart
6. HARD TO MAKE A STAND Sheryl Crow
7. MUSIC Madonna
8. AND I LOVE HER The Beatles
9. SHE’S WAITING Eric Clapton
10. HEY JOE Jimi Hendrix

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