Recommended reading / viewing / listening

The supervolcano / Romney’s plan for August / Overthrowing Mossadegh / Background on Sikh religion / Plan out your next 200 years

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. ‘Super volcano’, global danger, lurks near Pompeii
By Antonio Denti | Reuters | Aug. 3
“Across the bay of Naples from Pompeii, where thousands were incinerated by Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD, lies a hidden ‘super volcano’ that could kill millions in a catastrophe many times worse, scientists say.”

2. The longevity of US presidents’ mothers
By Richard Knight | BBC News Magazine | Aug. 3
“The mothers of US presidents and presidential candidates live far longer than the mothers of British prime ministers and opposition leaders. Is that just a statistical quirk?”

3. Romney’s August to-do list
By Maggie Haberman | The Arena :: Politico | Aug. 5
“The fear for Democrats is how much of a cash advantage Romney will have over them when his campaign begins its own serious spending.”

4. A Crass and Consequential Error
By Roger Cohen | The New York Review of Books | Aug. 16
“Muhammad Mossadegh, the Iranian prime minister overthrown by US and British agents in 1953, was a man who declined a salary, returned gifts, and collected tax arrears from his beloved mother.”

5. David Axelrod: Barack Obama’s street fighter
By Paul Harris | The Observer :: The Guardian | Aug. 5
“For the second time, the ultimate campaign manager is determined to get his man into the White House. And now the gloves are off as he masterminds a brutal ad campaign against Mitt Romney”

6. 5 Things To Know About The Sikh Religion
The Huffington Post | Aug. 5
“Sikhism is the fifth largest religion in the world with a population of upwards of 30 million worldwide. There are an estimated 250,000 Sikhs in the United States having first arrived in the late 19th century.”

7. Raghava KK: What’s your 200-year plan?
TED | April 2012
“Artist Raghava KK …. shows how it helps guide today’s choices and tomorrow’s goals — and encourages you to make your own 200-year plan too.”

8. Where Daisy Buchanan Lived
By Jason Diamond | The Paris Review | July 23
“Founded in 1861, Lake Forest, Illinois, was originally built as a college town by Presbyterians.”

9. Before the Storm
By Ronald S. Coddington | Disunion :: The New York Times | May 7
“James E. McBeth was a modest young man of few words who in 1862 left his job as a law clerk on Wall Street and enlisted in the Union Army. Later, in a series of wartime letters to a friend, he detailed the experiences that sparked his transformation into a military zealot advocating total war.”

10. Decoding the Science of Sleep
By David K. Randall | The Wall Street Journal | Aug. 3
“In today’s always-on economy, we’re tired like never before. Caffeine and sleeping pills only do so much. How did we get this far away from our most basic, ancient habits? And how can we get back on track?”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

The ‘napalm girl’ photo / Exercise and get smarter / A looming galactic collision / Texas traffic / Living to 100

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. Cheever’s Art of the Devastating Phrase
By Brad Leithauser | Page-Turner :: The New Yorker | May 31
“The more you read Cheever, the more you feel his best work is often less about plot than about language — about poetry in the broadest sense.”

2. AP ‘napalm girl’ photo from Vietnam War turns 40
By Margie Mason | Associated Press | May 31
“‘I really wanted to escape from that little girl,’ says Kim Phuc, now 49. ‘But it seems to me that the picture didn’t let me go.’ ”

3. Exercise Makes You Smarter, Thanks To A Common Gene
The Huffington Post | May 31
“It turns out that exercise does a lot more than get the blood pumping: in about 60 percent of the population, it may be responsible for the expression of a gene that floods your cells with … a protein that is thought to help with mental acuity, learning and memory.”

4. Mexico’s Drug Corruption Arrests: Why Soldiers Make Bad Narco Agents
By Tim Padgett | Global Spin :: Time | May 31
“While putting soldiers on the streets might have provided some short-term relief, the fact remains that in the long run soldiers make lousy anti-drug agents … and the longer they’re kept in that role, the more problems you’re going to have.”

5. NASA Predicts Our Galaxy Will Collide With Another In 4 Billion Years
By Carl Franzen | Talking Points Memo | May 31
“Andromeda, which is located 2.5 million light-years away, is moving rapidly towards the Milky Way at a rate of 250,000 milers-per-hour, a clip that will only increase as the galaxies approach.”

6. Are you feeling sleepy? Here’s why …
By William Leith | The Daily Telegraph | May 31
“The pace of modern life forces us to ignore one of the most powerful parts of our brain — the body clock. But at what cost?”

7. Yes, Texas Traffic Really is That Bad
By Jason Cohen | Texas Monthly | May 31
“INRIX, which released its numbers last week, also found that Austin was the eighth most congested city in America.”

8. Is the vice presidency worth having?
By Chris Cillizza | The Fix :: The Washington Post | May 31
“[Here] are our most up-to-date rankings of the vice presidential field … . This month we decided to cut to the chase and give a single line about the good and the bad of each potential pick.”

9. The secret to living over 100 is optimism, genetic background
GlobalPost | May 30
“A new study on aging studied participants over 95 of Ashkenazi Jewish descent.”

10. The 1 Percent’s Problem
By Joseph E. Stiglitz | Vanity Fair | May 31
“Why won’t America’s 1 percent — such as the six Walmart heirs, whose wealth equals that of the entire bottom 30 percent — be a bit more … selfish? As the widening financial divide cripples the U.S. economy, even those at the top will pay a steep price.”

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

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. Blake Havard — Love
2. Mark Guitar Miller — Tired
3. Rob Mcmahan — Trouble
4. Summer and the Sinners — Breakin’ Up
5. Kid Rock — Country Boy Can Survive
6. The Midnight Flyers — Down Low
7. Tommy Z — Can’t Hide My Feelings
8. Los Lonely Boys — Man to Beat
9. Bleu Edmondson — Dallas
10. Dana Fuchs — Lonely for a Life Time
11. Chris Aaron Band — Grain Of Salt
12. Voodoo Blu — Blues is my Business

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Guide to pliars / True sexuality in film / Dems fundraising / Zuckerberg still the boss / A Watergate reunion

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. The Skin Storm: Sex In Great & Meager Film
By David D. Robbins Jr. | The Fade Out | Feb. 2
“Is there a film that encompasses the erotic, the rich tapestry of thought, the complexity and introspective nature of it all?”

2. Pliers: A Modern Man’s Guide to Tools
By Jesse Stern | Primer | February 2012
“While man was blessed with nimbler, stronger gripping hands than most animals, they’re not quite small, or strong, enough for many jobs around the house. Enter: pliers.”

3. Dems outraised GOP majority in 2011
By Alex Isenstadt | Politico | Feb. 2
“Republicans aren’t panicking yet. Independent analysts estimate that if the election were held today, Democrats would be far short of winning the 25 seats they need to retake the House.”

4. Zuckerberg Remains the Undisputed Boss at Facebook
By Somini Sengupta | The New York Times | Feb. 2
“Zuckerberg’s success is an object lesson in what works in crowded, competitive Silicon Valley: Remain in charge, stave off potential predators and expand the company so quickly that no one can challenge the boss.”

5. The Storytellers of Empire
By Kamila Shamsie | Guernica | February 2012
“Captivated by an image of an atom bomb falling on Japan, Pakistani novelist Kamila Shamsie asks American writers why, ‘Your soldiers will come to our lands, but your novelists won’t.’ ”

6. John Dean has unexpected Watergate reunion at Nixon Library
The Reliable Source :: The Washington Post | Feb. 1
“John Dean was in Southern California for a legal symposium when he and a friend decided to check out the library’s exhibits. ”

7. A Symbol of Democracy Is Criticized as Undemocratic
By A.G. Sulzberger | The New York Times | Feb. 2
“Those in favor of the caucus format, in which party members typically attend meetings at a set time to vote, are worried that additional problems will further undermine a traditional system that has been in declining use, as more states move to the comparative convenience and reliability of a primary.”

8. The 9/11 decade
Al Jazeera World | October 2011
“A special three-part series taking an in-depth look at the post 9/11 ‘war on terror’ ”

9. This much I know: America Ferrera
By Megan Conner | The Observer | November 2011
“Actress America Ferrera on the origins of her name and what follows Ugly Betty

10. The Big Sleep
By C. Claiborne Ray | Q&A :: The New York Times | December 2011
“Ever since childhood, I have needed more sleep than most. Why do some people need so much more sleep than others?”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Racism and IQ / Strokes and apnea / Facebook’s stock listing / Celebrating Dundee / Wisdom from Christopher Plummer

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. Latino congressional candidate fundraising figures
By Sara Ines Calderon | NewsTaco | Feb. 2
“We compiled a list of fundraising for Latino congressional candidates using the Federal Election Commission’s 2012 House and Senate Campaign Finance database.”

2. Intelligence Study Links Low I.Q. To Prejudice, Racism, Conservatism
By Rebecca Searles | The Huffington Post | Feb. 2
“Are racists dumb? Do conservatives tend to be less intelligent than liberals? A provocative new study from Brock University in Ontario suggests the answer to both questions may be a qualified yes.”

3. For Facebook, exchange choice is a matter of image
By Matthew Craft | Associated Press | Feb. 2
“When Facebook goes public in a few months, will its stock appear on the New York Stock Exchange or the Nasdaq? Depends what its billionaire founder prefers for a backdrop – a trading floor on Wall Street or towering video screens in Times Square.”

4. Dundee was an ambassador for boxing
By Tim Dahlberg | Associated Press | Feb. 2
“He saved a young Cassius Clay when he was in trouble in England, convinced Sugar Ray Leonard that he could somehow overcome the fearsome Tommy Hearns. Angelo Dundee worked thousands of corners, and had just as many stories about fighters and the games they played in the ring.”

5. Sleep apnea may make people more prone to silent strokes
By Jeannine Stein | Booster Shots :: The Los Angeles Times | Feb. 1
“Silent strokes show no obvious symptoms, despite causing damage to the brain. White matter lesions, small patches of dead cells, can affect cognitive function.”

6. Federal Government Opens More Ocean to Wind Projects
By Diane Cardwell | Green :: The New York Times | Feb. 2
“Enthusiasm for offshore wind projects may have cooled among developers in the United States these days, but the Obama administration is still trying to make a ribbon of wind farms off the Atlantic Coast a reality.”

7. What’s a man?
The Economist | Feb. 4
“Studies of brain genetics are starting to reveal what makes humans human”

8. English ‘Til I Die
Al Jazeera World | October 2011
“Al Jazeera investigates the rise of the English Defence League.”

9. This much I know: Christopher Plummer
By Paul Harris | The Observer | May 2011
“The actor, 81, on having to leave Canada, picking his nose, and thinking he’d been sired by a dog”

10. Frequent Fliers
By C. Claiborne Ray | Q&A :: The New York Times | October 2011
“I know fruit doesn’t actually generate fruit flies, but how do they find out about a piece of fruit on the counter so quickly?”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

How should we sleep? / Are cruise ships stable? / Obama’s long-term strategy / Dating Latinos only / Huntsman campaign, RIP

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. Obama Faces Challenging Re-Election Climate
By Lydia Saad | Gallup | Jan. 16
“January indicators mostly align with losing incumbents, but there is still time for improvement”

2. Huntsman quits GOP race
By Kasie Hunt and Philip Elliott | Associated Press | Jan. 16
“Huntsman’s resume had suggested he could be a major contender for the Republican presidential nomination: businessman, diplomat, governor, veteran of four presidential administrations, an expert on China and foreign trade.”

3. The Embarrassment of Riches
By Pamela Haag | The American Scholar | Summer 2006
“Do not pity me for having more money than anyone I know. Still, wealth does have its mild difficulties”

4. He Told the Truth About China’s Tyranny
By Simon Leys | The New York Review of Books | Feb. 9
“The Communist authorities unwittingly vouched for the uncompromising accuracy of his comments. They kept arresting him for his views — four times since the Tiananmen massacre in June 1989.”

5. Am I a racist because I want to date Latino guys?
By Sara Ines Calderon | Pocho | Jan. 15
“Part of this is totally my fault and the result of my whining and chiflazón. There’s a misunderstanding about what motivates me and other people like me, who are interested primarily in dating other Latinos.”

6. How Obama’s Long Game Will Outsmart His Critics
By Andrew Sullivan | Newsweek | Jan. 16
“The right calls him a socialist, the left says he sucks up to Wall Street, and independents think he’s a wimp.”

7. Cocaine: The New Front Lines
By John Lyons | The Saturday Essay :: The Wall Street Journal | Jan. 14
“Colombia’s success in curbing the drug trade has created more opportunities for countries hostile to the United States. What happens when coca farmers and their allies are in charge?”

8. How stable are cruise ships like the Costa Concordia?
By Paul Marks | New Scientist | Jan. 16
“Why was this massive ship so close to shallow rock outcrops? Why might the Costa Concordia’s depth-sounding sonar have been ignored? Why was the evacuation, so close to land, seemingly so chaotic?”

9. This much I know: David Remnick
By William Skidelsky | The Observer | July 2010
“The author and editor of the New Yorker, 51, on his memories of the Kennedy assassination, meeting Bob Dylan, and the last time he cried”

10. Of Heart and Guts
By C. Claiborne Ray | Q&A :: The New York Times | February 2011
“Is it better for digestion to sleep on the left side and better for the heart to sleep on the right?”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Grinding teeth / Anglicans in Catholic Church / Islamic life in France / Spanking kids

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. Bloomberg Kissed Lady Gaga and the World Didn’t End
By Connor Simpson | The Atlantic Wire | Jan. 1
“New Year’s Eve is usually celebrated with drinks, Chinese food, noise makers and confetti and sealed with a kiss at midnight, but some celebrate differently, like by kissing Lady Gaga, clashing with the cops, burning cars in Hollywood and stripping on CNN. Welcome to 2012.”

2. Some Anglicans apply to join the Catholic Church
By Michelle Boostein | The Washington Post | December 2011
“The Vatican [was] set to launch a structure … that will allow Anglican parishes in the United States — and their married priests — to join the Catholic Church in a small but symbolically potent effort to reunite Protestants and Catholics, who split almost 500 years ago.”

3. Emily Dickinson
Civil War Women Blog | December 2011
“She was a deeply sensitive woman who explored her own spirituality, in poignant, deeply personal poetry, revealing her keen insight into the human condition.”

4. Muslims of France: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3
Al Jazeera World | December 2011
“Many Muslims would die for France during the First and Second World Wars, but did France recognise their sacrifices? How a generation of Muslims abandoned their parents’ dreams of returning home and began building their lives in France. What challenges face the young Muslims who grew up in France and entered adulthood at a time of economic crisis?”

5. Metaperceptions: How Do You See Yourself?
By Carlin Fiora | Psychology Today | December 2011
“To navigate the social universe, you need to know what others think of you — although the clearest view depends on how you see yourself.”

6. Will We One Day Stop Evolving?
By Michio Kaku | Big Think | October 2011
“Can evolution go on forever, or will we one day stop evolving?”

7. Beware of presidential nostalgia
By Fareed Zakaria | Global Public Square :: CNN | December 2011
“[W]e cannot really tell the quality of a leader judged from the noise of the present. We need time and perspective.”

8. Pro/Con: Spanking
By Jessica Pauline Ogilvie | Los Angeles Times | December 2011
“Pro: Studies show that spanking, properly utilized, can lead to well-adjusted children. Con: Spanking is harmful and can hinder kids later in life.”

9. The Nightly Grind
By C. Claiborne Ray | Q&A :: The New York Times | June 2009
“Why do some people grind their teeth at night?”

10. Can an Airline Pilot Really ‘Make Up’ Time During a Flight?
By J. Bryan Lowder | Explainer :: Slate | November 2011
“Is it just a way of calming passengers?”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Snowflake secrets / Shirttail tips / Touch your true self / Viagra in a condom / 1998 embassy bombings

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. An expert’s take on snowflakes
By Amina Khan | Los Angles Times | Dec. 23
“Each one is different, but Caltech physicist Kenneth Libbrecht explains why there’s even more variety than we might imagine.”

2. Style Q&A: How Long Should the Front be of an Untucked Button Up Shirt?
By Grant Harris | The Primer | December 2011
“The most versatile button up shirt can be worn both tucked in and untucked. But with different lengths and cuts, it can be hard to tell if a shirt fits untucked.”

3. The Four I’s
By Jeremy Sherman | Psychology Today | September 2010
“The idea of getting in touch with one’s true self has become a joke, mostly because people who pledged to do so back in the 1980s were too earnest, and, well, out of touch.”

4. Ranked: Every Saturday Night Live Cast Member Ever, From Worst to Best
By Phil Nugent | Nerve | Dec. 19
“A highly scientific survey that will surely lead to no disagreements.”

5. Durex’s new ‘Viagra in a condom’ helps put lead in your pencil
By Jeff Mills | Nerve | Dec. 8
“The gel, or ‘erectogenic compound,’ from U.K. drugmaker Futura, is based on the chemical nitroglycerin, and boosts blood flow in the penis (and hopefully bedroom spirits).”

6. Will China Dominate Solar Power Forever?
Big Think | Dec. 21
“China’s ability to scale solar power production, thanks to enormous factories and a streamlined process of approving their construction, has made it the world’s leading producer.”

7. A Charley Horse in Bed
By C. Claiborne Ray | Q&A :: The New York Times | June 2009
“Why does one get muscle cramps while sleeping or resting?”

8. Can You Get a Good Night’s Rest in Your Airplane Seat?
By Forrest Wickman | Explainer :: Slate | Nov. 23
“The science of sit-sleep”

9. The Polyamorous Transman Getting It On to the Glee Soundtrack
Daily Intel :: New York Magazine | March 14
“Once a week, Daily Intel takes a peek behind doors left slightly ajar. This week, the Polyamorous Transman Getting It On to the Glee Soundtrack: transman, 26, performance poet, Prospect Heights, in a polyamorous relationship with a primary partner.”

10. Al-Qaeda 1998 Embassy Bombings in Africa
Witness :: BBC News | May 3
“We remember the day in 1998 when al-Qaeda bombed America’s embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, and hear the harrowing testimony of a man who was blinded for life in one of the blasts.”

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

TUNES

My soundtrack for today included:
1. PROTECTION Massive Attack
2. SLIP INTO SOMETHING MORE COMFORTABLE Kinobe
3. THE SWEETEST TABOO Sade
4. GOOD ENOUGH (The Freedom Sessions) Sarah McLachlan
5. CLIMBING UP THE WALLS Radiohead
6. ELSEWHERE Sarah McLachlan
7. ONLY LOVE Chris Coco
8. FEVER Peggy Lee
9. THE LOOK OF LOVE Susanna Hoffs
10. LOVER (Darkhorse remix) Sr Mandril