Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: A message from our neighboring star? / The history of Wikipedia / No corset craze / Too much sperm / Causes of the U.S. Civil War

This week: A message from our neighboring star? / The history of Wikipedia / No corset craze / Too much sperm / Causes of the U.S. Civil War

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. A post-America world: Biden’s challenges begin at home
The World :: PRI | January 2021
“A majority of Europeans think the United States’ political system is broken beyond repair — and that President Joe Biden will be unable to halt the country’s decline on the world stage as China fills the power void.”

2. Did We Receive a Message from a Planet Orbiting the Nearest Star?
By Avi Loeb | Scientific American | January 2021
“A radio blip, seemingly from Proxima Centauri, where an Earth-size planet world orbits in the habitable zone, is tantalizing—but it’s probably not a signal from aliens”

3. An Oral History of Wikipedia, the Web’s Encyclopedia
By Tom Roston | OneZero :: Medium | January 2021
“It’s hard to imagine the internet without Wikipedia. Just like the air we breathe, the definitive digital encyclopedia is the default resource for everything and everyone — from Google’s search bar to undergrad students embarking on research papers.”

4. Why ‘Bridgerton’ won’t start a craze for corsets
By Luke Leitch | 1843 :: The Economist | January 2021
“Netflix hits are praised for their styling. But the screen no longer dictates how we dress”

5. Disused airport runway takes flight as public park
By Adam Williams | New Atlas | January 2021
“Sasaki has transformed a dilapidated airport runway in Shanghai, China, into a large public park. The project retains elements of the original airport, while integrating sustainable design like recycled materials and a rainwater collection system.”

6. The Sperm Kings Have a Problem: Too Much Demand
By Nellie Bowles | The New York Times Magazine | January 2021
“Many people want a pandemic baby, but some sperm banks are running low. So women are joining unregulated Facebook groups to find willing donors, no middleman required.”

7. Will children be able to get COVID-19 vaccines?
Associated Press | December 2020
“Not until there’s enough data from studies in different age groups, which will stretch well into [2021].”

8. Inside the Indian Independence Movement
By Christopher Rose, Joan Neuberger and Henry Wiencek | 15 Minute History :: UT Department of History | 2013-2020
Also see: Mexican Migration to the U.S. | Causes of the U.S. Civil War (Part 1) | Causes of the U.S. Civil War (Part 2) | Reconstruction

9. How to Find a Lost Hamster
By Malia Wollan | Tip :: The New York Times Magazine | November 2020
“Check small, dark spaces, like under the fridge, beneath a dresser, between couch cushions, even inside a box of tissues.”

10. Solar Wind
By Melvyn Bragg | In Our Time :: BBC 4 | 2013-2020
Also see: Water | Alfred Russel Wallace | Chekhov | Absolute Zero

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Prudish Southwest Airlines / Wars over Nixon may be over / Voyager I leaving solar system / Is Garcia Marquez finished? / Stopping sperm

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. Cover Your Cleavage for Takeoff: Southwest Airlines Screws Up Again
By Katie J.M. Baker | Jezebel | June 14
“On June 5th, Avital* was boarding a 6 AM flight from Las Vegas to New York in a comfy cotton dress, a loose open flannel shirt and a colorful scarf when she was told that her cleavage was ‘inappropriate.'”

2. Richard Nixed
By David Greenberg | The New Republic | June 8
“The extirpation of the old Nixonian propaganda came about because of an irony of history.”

3. Voyager I Is *This Close* to Leaving Our Solar System
By Rebecca J. Rosen | The Atlantic | June 13
“We’re on the cusp of one of the greatest scientific accomplishments of all time, but we may not know when the moment strikes. Or, rather, there may be no moment.”

4. Human Microbiome Project reveals largest microbial map
By Smitha Mundasad | BBC News | June 13
“[R]esearchers were able to find over 10,000 different types of organisms as part of the healthy human microbiome.”

5. Garcia Marquez: Will he ever write again?
By Laura Steiner | The Huffington Post | June 14
“Plinio Apuleyo Mendoza, a fellow novelist and journalist, and a close friend of Gabo — as Garcia Marquez is fondly called — describes how the 85 year-old author and master of magical realism has trouble recognizing his closest friends.”

6. Stalin & Hitler: Mass Murder by Starvation
By Timothy Snyder | The New York Review of Books | June 21
“In the decade between 1932 and 1942 some eleven million people in the Soviet Union starved to death, first as a result of Soviet policy, then as a result of German policy.”

7. Stop our sperm, please
By Irin Carmon | Salon | June 14
“Meet the men who want better male birth control — and want it badly.”

8. Q&A: Filtering Friends on Facebook
By J.D. Biersdorfer | Gadgetwise :: The New York Times | June 14
“One of my colleagues places way too many updates on Facebook about his church fund-raisers, his kids’ play dates, his wife’s book. … How do I block the alerts, but not defriend him?”

9. 11 Wars That Lasted Way Longer Than They Should Have
By Kathy Benjamin | Mental Floss | June 11
“Thanks to lost paperwork, diplomatic technicalities, or just plain forgetting they had declared war in the first place, many countries remained in a state of war long after the actual fighting had stopped.”

10. Cassini Sees Tropical Lakes on Saturn Moon
Jet Propulsion Laboratory | June 13
“NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has spied long-standing methane lakes, or puddles, in the ‘tropics’ of Saturn’s moon Titan. One of the tropical lakes appears to be about half the size of Utah’s Great Salt Lake, with a depth of at least 3 feet.”

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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. Darren J. — Panhandle Blues
2. Preacher Stone — Not Today
3. Austin Cunningham — Guns & Religion
4. Jeff Dale & the South Woodlawners — Third Rail
5. Pride & Joy Band — Evil Thoughts
6. Driving Wheel — Ain’t Guilty
7. Anna Popovic — Get Back Home to You
8. Anna Popovic — Putting Out the APB
9. Greg Danton — Twister Town
10. The Vaughan Brothers — Good Texan
11. Rico Enriquez — Red House
12. Paul Thorn — That’s All I Know Right Now
13. The Smokin’ Mojo Kings — Blues Gutter
14. Austin Cunningham — Last Great D.J.