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

Bin Laden’s private life / The ‘sea monster’ / ‘Star Wars’ dead / A billion stars photographed / Thin women

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. Osama bin Laden lived in 5 safe houses, fathered 4 children
Associated Press | March 30
“The details of bin Laden’s life as a fugitive in Pakistan are contained in the interrogation report of Amal Ahmed Abdel-Fatah al-Sada, bin Laden’s 30-year-old Yemeni widow.”

2. Unemployment rates fall in 29 US states
By Christopher S. Rugaber | Associated Press | March 30
“Ohio, Texas and New York reported the biggest job gains.”

3. Towns People Realize ‘Sea Monster’ Is Actually a Big, Rotten Fish
By Maureen O’Connor | Gawker | March 30
It was just a sturgeon.

4. George Lucas: ‘Star Wars’ is dead
TMZ | March 29
“The Jedi Master’s master was leaving Toast in L.A. yesterday when we asked when he was finally going to release the long-awaited 7th, 8th and 9th installments of the greatest space saga of all time.”

5. Spotify Decides to Let Us Freely Stream Whatever We Want for a While Longer
By Adrian Covert | Gizmodo | March 29
“The company decided to extend free and unlimited streaming for everyone. How long the company won’t say, but if you’ve been holding off on paying for the service, you can breathe easy for a bit.”

6. The Pill Makes Women Richer
By Kate Sheppard | Mother Jones | March 28
“Widespread availability of oral contraception … has played a major role in closing the gender wage gap since the 1980s, according to a new working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research.”

7. This Undulating US Wind Map Is Utterly Hypnotic
By Andrew Tarantola | Gizmodo | March 29
“Appropriately dubbed “Wind Map,” it graphically displays barometric data — specifically surface wind speeds — collected from the from the National Digital Forecast Database.”

8. Mob trial gets reel with stunt out of ‘The Godfather: Part II’
By Mitchel Maddux and Dan Mangan | The New York Post | March 29
“In a scene straight out of “The Godfather: Part II,” a Mafia rat on the witness stand yesterday watched his brother walk into a Brooklyn courtroom — and sit with the family of the mobster he was testifying against.”

9. Picture captures a billion stars
By Jonathan Amos | BBC News | March 29
“Scientists have produced a colossal picture of our Milky Way Galaxy, to reveal the detail of a billion stars.”

10. Are thin women the enemy?
By Kate Dailey | BBC News Magazine | March 22
“From super-skinny celebrities to models with low BMI, people are speaking out about women they perceive to be too thin. But some experts worry this behaviour makes things worse.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

February’s celestial delights / Civil War telegrams / Girlfriend wants a baby / Romney’s Secret Service protection / U.S. citizenship

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. 7 amazing sights to see in the February night sky
By Adam Holisky | USA Today | Feb. 3
“There are several planets visible, and the Orion constellation is guarding the evening heavens. Canis Major and the brightest star in our night sky are also perfectly visible this month for all stargazers to enjoy.”

2. How to automatically enlarge thumbnails online
By Rob Lightner | CNET | Feb. 3
“If you’ve ever found yourself giving up while clicking through an online photo gallery or grinding your teeth in frustration at an online vendor’s tiny thumbnails, help is on the way.”

3. Analysis: When is getting better good enough?
By Ben Feller | Associated Press | Feb. 3
“The stronger the economy gets, the more the presidential race comes down to what voters believe: Are things actually getting better? Or is it all still a mess?”

4. Huntington acquires trove of Lincoln, Civil War telegrams, codes
By Mike Boehm | The Los Angeles Times | January 2012
“The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens purchases a collection of telegrams from Abraham Lincoln and Union generals, plus code books.”

5. Please Advise: I think my girlfriend is trying to get pregnant
Nerve | Feb. 2
“She thinks a child will force me to commit.”

6. Where Romney goes, the Secret Service now follow
By Aine Kerr | Storyful | Feb. 3
“GOP presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney is now being trailed by men in black suits with dark glasses on the campaign trail in Nevada.”

7. ‘A Clockwork Orange’ Strikes 40
By Adam Chandler | The Atlantic | Feb. 2
“Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation remains influential — but not for all the reasons we expect”

8. Images of Revolution
Al Jazeera World | October 2011
“The stories behind the iconic images of the Arab uprisings as told by those who filmed them.”

9. Should All Americans Have to Earn Their Citizenship?
By Eric Liu | The Atlantic | Feb. 2
“With an eye toward the children of illegal immigrants, some politicians are trying to end birthright citizenship. Imagine what that might mean for the rest of us.”

10. Lost in Space
By C. Claiborne Ray | Q&A :: The New York Times | October 2011
“Science-fiction films often depict people being killed by going out an airlock into space. What would that be like?”