Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Call death what it is / The arc of Afghanistan / O. Henry’s house / Finding new life in alien oceans / The real Julius Caesar

This week: Call death what it is / The arc of Afghanistan / O. Henry’s house / Finding new life in alien oceans / The real Julius Caesar

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. This Report Could Make or Break the Next 30 Years of U.S. Astronomy
By Lee Billings | Scientific American | August 2021
“A battle for the future of American stargazing is about to begin — and the stakes are sky high”

2. A Better Place
By David Sedaris | The New Yorker | August 2021
“Why the euphemisms? My father did not ‘pass.’ Neither did he ‘depart.’ He died.”

3. Afghanistan’s arc from 9/11 to today: Once hopeful, now sad
By Kathy Gannon | Associated Press | August 2021
“From hundreds of years ago right up to the jumbled chaos of recent days as the United States pulled out of its air base and then the capital, the word ‘foreigner’ has meant many things in the Afghan context, from invaders to would-be colonizers. But in November 2001, in a mostly ruined Afghan capital where rutted roads were filled with bicycles and beat-up yellow taxis, it meant hope.”

4. Twenty Years After 9/11, Are We Any Smarter?
By Jordan Michael Smith | The New Republic | August 2021
“Our foreign policy wise people responded to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks by embracing belligerence. What, if anything, have they learned?”

5. Most Arab countries now focus on domestic concerns, not unity
The Economist | August 2021
“But the presence of foreign powers is still dearly felt”

6. In the House of O. Henry
By David Maraniss | The Washington Post | December 1985
“He wrote about the downtrodden, the depressed, the out-of-luck, and yet usually, somewhere in his characters’ souls, he found that clean, clear whistle of hope, even romance.”

7. New Approach Could Boost the Search for Life in Otherworldly Oceans
By By Natalie Elliot | Scientific American | July 2021
“‘Ecological biosignatures’ hold promise for revealing alien organisms that may dwell within icy moons such as Jupiter’s Europa and Saturn’s Enceladus”

9. ‘Welcome 2 America’: The Oral History of Prince’s Lost Album
By David Browne | Rolling Stone | July 2021
“A previously unreleased 2010 Prince record arrives this month. His collaborators look back on the sessions and offer a glimpse into the icon’s private world”

9. Roma, or the Art of Making Ruins
By Valeria Luiselli | The Criterion Collection | February 2020
“It’s very much a mirror of the city it portrays: an emotional earthquake, a world about to shatter, something about to end—but that doesn’t, because it’s all held together by the equilibrium, tenderness, and strength of a woman who can stand on one leg with her eyes closed.”
Also see: The Layers of Roma

10. Is Shakespeare History? The Plantagenets
By Melvyn Bragg | In Our Time :: BBC 4 | 2014-2018
Also see: Thucydides | The Trinity | Julius Caesar | Truth

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Nature’s false beauty / Lupita: The Mayan voice / Reading Thucydides in 2021 / When happy hour changed forever / How teeth evolved

This week: Nature’s false beauty / Lupita: The Mayan voice / Reading Thucydides in 2021 / When happy hour changed forever / How teeth evolved

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 Nature You See in Documentaries Is Beautiful and False
By Emma Marris | The Atlantic | April 2021
“Nature documentaries mislead viewers into thinking that there are lots of untouched landscapes left. There aren’t.”

2. In Appreciation of Rihanna Smoking Weed, and Looking Hot While Doing It
By Ernesto Macias | Interview | April 2021
“Being a bad girl isn’t easy, and Rihanna knows it”

3. Lupita
By Monica Wise | The Guardian | January 2021
“Twenty years after Lupita lost her family in the Acteal massacre in southern Mexico, she has become a spokesperson for her people and for a new generation of Mayan activists.”

4. America ruined my name for me
By Beth Nguyen | The New Yorker | April 2021
“I cannot detach the name Bich from people laughing at me, calling me a bitch, letting me know that I’m the punch line of my own joke.”

5. A Chinese ‘Auntie’ Went on a Solo Road Trip. Now, She’s a Feminist Icon
By Joy Dong and Vivian Wang | The New York Times | April 2021
“Her main appeal is not the scenic vistas she captures, though those are plentiful. It is the intimate revelations she mixes in with them, about her abusive marriage, dissatisfaction with domestic life and newfound freedom.”

6. What It’s Like to Read Thucydides in 2021
LitHub | April 2021
“How did literature develop? What forms has it taken? And what can we learn from engaging with these works today?”

7. Vesuvius eruption baked some people to death — and turned one brain to glass
By Robin George Andrews | National Geographic | January 2020
“A pair of studies reveals more details about what happened to the victims of the infamous event in A.D. 79.”

8. The 40 Acres During World War I
By Christopher Rose, Joan Neuberger and Henry Wiencek | 15 Minute History :: UT Department of History | 2014-2020
Also see: The Bolshevik Revolution at 100 | The History of Sexual Orientation Conversion Therapy in the U.S. | Beatlemania and the 55th Anniversary of the First Beatles Tour to the US | The Legacy of World War I in Germany and Russia

9. Fifty Years Ago a Texan Changed Happy Hour Forever
By Patricia Sharpe | Texas Monthly | May 2021
“Here’s to Mariano Martinez, the inventor of the world’s first frozen margarita machine.”

10. The Evolution of Teeth
By Melvyn Bragg | In Our Time :: BBC 4 | 2009-2019
Also see: Calculus | Sunni and Shia Islam | The Augustan Age | The Whale