Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: The Chinese naval legend / Defeat in Afghanistan / Barbecue’s plan for war in Haiti / Romance and single motherhood / Icebergs that trigger tsunamis

This week: The Chinese naval legend / Defeat in Afghanistan / Barbecue’s plan for war in Haiti / Romance and single motherhood / Icebergs that trigger tsunamis

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 legendary Chinese seafarer the West overlooks
By Alissa Greenberg | NOVA | August 2021
“In the 1400s, Zheng He sailed thousands of miles around Asia and Africa in ships the size of soccer fields, spreading Chinese innovations like compasses and gunpowder in the process.”

2. The Incoherence of American History
By Osita Nwanevu | The New Republic | August 2021
“We ascribe too much meaning to the early years of the republic.”

3. Why it takes months to subdue some wildfires
By Keith Ridler | Associated Press | August 2021
Why so long? Have wildfires changed? Is wildfire suppression in the past playing a role now?

4. The U.S. reckons with defeat in Afghanistan
By Ishaan Tharoor | The Washington Post | August 2021
Many of the same doyens of the Washington establishment who are now outraged that the Taliban is back in power have been less vocal about the failures and shortcomings of the two decades spent keeping the militants at bay ”

5. Why You Need to Protect Your Sense of Wonder — Especially Now
By David P. Fessell and Karen Reivich | Harvard Business Review | August 2021
“As the pandemic era goes on, more than ever we need ways to refresh our energies, calm our anxieties, and nurse our well-being. The cultivation of experiences of awe can bring these benefits and has been attracting increased attention due to more rigorous research.”

6. His Name Is Barbecue — and He’s Ready to Plunge Haiti Into War
By Jonathan Alpeyrie | The Daily Beast | August 2021
“Already devastated by an earthquake and rampant corruption, the people of Haiti have another problem to worry about: the rise of powerful gang bosses like Barbecue.”

7. Swiping right in the fertility doctor’s office: On pursuing romance and single motherhood at once
By Sophie Sills | Salon | August 2021
“Why do unmarried women have to choose between motherhood and a love life? Can’t we try for both at the same time?”

8. Wandering icebergs could trigger tsunamis
By Robby Berman | Big Think | August 2021
“Icebergs aren’t just a threat to unsinkable ships. Their ability to cause underwater landslides poses a danger to coastal cities.”

9. Hurricanes may not be becoming more frequent, but they’re still more dangerous
By Carolyn Gramling | Science News | July 2021
“There aren’t more of the storms now than there were roughly 150 years ago, a study suggests”

10. Moonstruck: Life in the In-Between
By Emily VanDerWerff | The Criterion Collection | November 2020
“Life is made up of binaries, sure, but it is also made up of all the spaces in between their oppositions.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: The antibody test / The real Danny Trejo / The tsunami that changed history / The joy of cleaning / The sexual power of colonization

This week: The antibody test / The real Danny Trejo / The tsunami that changed history / The joy of cleaning / The sexual power of colonization

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 CHOICE 2020: Trump vs. Biden
Frontline :: PBS | September 2020
“Michael Kirk and his team, hear from friends, family, colleagues and adversaries about the challenges that shaped Trump and Biden’s lives and could inform how they confront the crises facing the nation at this pivotal juncture.”

2. A ‘Great Gatsby’ Quote Takes On New Resonance
By Ian Prasad Philbrick | The New York Times | October 2020
“People critical of the president’s and other Republicans’ behavior have been sharing a line from the Fitzgerald novel about the wealthy characters whose “carelessness” harms everyone around them.”

3. How Danny Trejo Built a Decades-Long Film Career After Prison
By Cat Cardenas | Texas Monthly | September 2020
“After years of playing ex-cons and bodyguards, the prolific actor became an iconic leading man in Robert Rodriguez’s Machete series.”

4. How to Tell Gunfire From Fireworks
By Malia Wollan | Tip :: The New York Times Magazine | August 2019
“Pay attention to the intensity of each pulse.”

5. How a ‘forgotten’ 600-year-old tsunami changed history
By Megan Gannon | National Geographic | May 2019
“New evidence shows a disaster similar to the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami battered the same region centuries ago and may have given rise to a powerful Islamic kingdom.”

6. Empire and Degradation
By Rafia Zakaria | The Baffler | September 2020
“On the links between colonialism and sexual control”

7. The great experiment
By Emily Anthes | The Washington Post | September 2020
“The pandemic is tragic. It’s also an incredible chance to study human behavior.”

8. Lather me than you: the joy of soap
By Catherine Nixey | 1843 :: The Economist | September 2020
“Cleaning has long been the preserve of women. It’s time to burst some bubbles”

9. The spy who couldn’t spell: how the biggest heist in the history of US espionage was foiled
By Yudhijit Bhattacharjee | The Guardian | October 2016
“Ever since childhood, Brian Regan had been made to feel stupid because of his severe dyslexia. So he thought no one would suspect him of stealing secrets”

10. What can a COVID-19 antibody test tell me?
Viral Questions :: Associated Press | May 2020
“An antibody test might show if you had COVID-19 in the recent past, which most experts think gives people some protection from the virus. The tests are different from the nasal swab tests that determine if you’re currently sick.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: The French Revolution and the Terror / Cuba after Castro / The older genius / A new planet’s secrets / How Cheney remade the world

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This week: The French Revolution and the Terror / Cuba after Castro / The older genius / A new planet’s secrets / How Cheney remade the world

Most of these great items come from my social media networks. Follow me on Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn, MySpace, and Facebook for more fascinating videos, photos, articles, essays, and criticism.

1. The French Revolution’s reign of terror
By Melvyn Bragg | In Our Time :: BBC Radio 4 | May 2005
“How did the French Revolution descend into such extremes of violence? Who or what drove The Terror? And was it really an aberration of the revolutionary cause or the moment when it truly expressed itself?”

2. Why should female characters have to ‘behave’?
By Barbara Ellen | SheSaid :: The Guardian | March 27
“Did people demand that Travis Bickle shut up and get back in his cab in ‘Taxi Driver’? Did anyone tell Jack Nicholson that Jack Torrance made all men look bad in ‘The Shining’?”

3. The Dangers of a Cuban Collapse
By Daniel Serwer | Politico Magazine | March 26
“It could happen sooner than we think. Is Obama ready?”

4. Late Bloomers
By Malcolm Gladwell | The New Yorker | 2008
“Why do we equate genius with precocity?”

5. Mammy Revealed, and Not Just Her Red Petticoat
By Julie Bosman | The New York Times | March 26
“‘Gone With the Wind’ Prequel Coming in October”

6. Dwarf planet discovery hints at a hidden Super Earth in solar system
By Ian Sample | The Guardian | March 26
“Though exciting in its own right, the discovery raises a more tantalising prospect for many astronomers: that a ‘Super Earth’ up to 10 times the mass of our planet orbits the sun at such a great distance that it has never been seen.”

7. He Remade Our World
By Mark Danner | The New York Review of Books | April 3
“Cheney believed in a ‘unitary executive,’ believed quite literally that ‘the executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America.’ ”

8. Could a tsunami such as the one that affected the Indian Ocean [in 2004] happen in the United States?
Can It Happen Here? :: U.S. Geological Survey | 2014
“We outline the sources of data that can help answer the question, and then indicate when and how large tsunamis have been for specific regions of the U.S.”

9. Unraveling the mystery of Vivian Maier, one of America’s great street photographers
By Kristin Hohenadel | The Eye :: Slate | March 24
“Maier was intensely private, socially awkward, estranged from family, a loner; even those who shared the same roof with her seemed merely to observe the eccentric woman who insisted on locking her bedroom door and fiercely guarding her boxes of worldly possessions, without ever knowing exactly who she was.”

10. Ankara: ‘Israel to compensate Turkey’ over flotilla raid
Al-Arabiya | March 25
“The May 2010 Israeli assault on the Turkish ship the Mavi Marmara while it was in international waters on its way to Gaza triggered a severe diplomatic crisis between the two countries.”

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

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. Band Of Heathens — Jenny Was A Keeper
2. Dr.Wu — Nothing Like Texas
3. The Arc Angles — Good Time
4. Albert Collins — Iceman
5. Rory Gallagher — Loanshark Blues
6. Red Hot Blues Sisters — Ocean Beach
7. The Fabulous Thunderbirds — Got To Get Out
8. Mick Hayes Band — Maria
9. Robin Trower — 21st Century Blues
10. Cross Canadian Ragweed — Boys From Oklahoma
11. Jimmy Thackery — Empty Arms Motel
12. The Blue Dogs — Make My Way
13. Devon Allman — Midnight Rider

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Films on the environment / The perfect paper clip / Summer books for politicos / The Lucretius effect / The end of men?

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. The Environment video collection
PBS :: American Experience | May 2012
“Ever wonder what would happen if Antarctica’s ice melted? Or whether you live near a nuclear power plant? Or what kind of rare and intriguing indigenous animals live on Cuba’s undeveloped islands? Find the best green indie films, and learn more about what you can do to help the Earth.”

2. The Perfection of the Paper Clip
By Sara Goldsmith | Slate | May 22
“It was invented in 1899. It hasn’t been improved upon since.”

3. A better border is possible
By Katie Ryder | Salon | May 26
“A more enlightened boundary could make us richer, save lives and even help rescue the Rust Belt.”

4. Summer 2012 Reading List
By Gwen Ifill | Washington Week | May 26
“Looking for some good summer reading? Check out the books Gwen and the Washington Week panelists recommend for the beach, the car, the plane or the pool. From fiction to politics, history to biography, there is something for everybody. The smartest reporters in Washington, D.C. bring you their suggestions for the summer’s best reads.”

5. ‘The Swerve’: When an Ancient Text Reaches Out and Touches Us
By Jeffrey Brown | PBS NewsHour | May 25
“In his new book, ‘The Swerve: How the World Became Modern,’ author Stephen Greenblatt unearths the tale of a book collector whose discovery of poet Lucretius’ ‘On the Nature of Things’ helped change the direction of human thought.”

6. Infertility Genes Could Lead to Male Contraception
By Jennifer Welsh | LiveScience | May 24
“Infertility remains a sensitive topic, and about 25 percent of cases remain unexplained.”

7. The Demise of Guys
By Philip G. Zimbardo and Nikita Duncan | Hero :: Psychology Today | May 23
“In record numbers, guys are flaming out academically, wiping out socially with girls, and failing sexually with women.”

8. Japan Tsunami Debris: Bones Expected To Wash Ashore, Oceanographer Says
Associated Press | May 23
“Anyone who discovers such remains should call 911 and wait for police. DNA may identify people missing since the March 2011 tsunami hit Japan.”

9. Feeding a hungry world — or meddling with laws of nature?
By Michael McCarthy | The Independent | May 25
“As scientists at Rothamsted’s GM trials plead with activists not to sabotage their work, Michael McCarthy visits the battle field”

10. Making iTunes Ignore the Gap
By J.D. Biersdorfer | Gadgetwise :: The New York Times | May 21
“I enjoy listening to opera on my iPhone, but the Music app treats the parts of an opera recording as if they were ‘songs.’ Because of this, there is always a gap between the tracks of an opera CD. Is there a way to defeat this feature so that an entire act of an opera is played back seamlessly?”

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

TUNES

My soundtrack for today included:
1. 24 DEEP Brotha Lynch Hung
2. BLING BLING B.G.
3. MS. FAT BOOTY Mos Def
4. ELECTRIC RELAXATION A Tribe Called Quest
5. HEY MAMA Black Eyed Peas
6. NO FEAR Originoo Gunn Clappaz
7. HEART OF THE CITY Jay-Z
8. TOO CLOSE Next
9. COLD ROCK A PARTY MC Lyte
10. PICTURE ME ROLLIN’ 2Pac

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Popcorn is healthy / The end of the Gingrich campaign / Tsunami ghost ship / A day for a sniffing dog / Venice sinking faster

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. Scientific Proof That Popcorn Is Healthier Than Fruit and Vegetables
By Jamie Condliffe | Gizmodo | March 26
“Next time you’re stuffing your face with popcorn, don’t feel guilty; a new scientific study shows that, far from being junk food, popcorn packs a better nutritional punch than fruit or vegetables. Kind of.”

2. In Her Fashion
By Eli Diner | Los Angeles Review of Books | March 26
“Unparalleled in stature by any of her contemporaries similarly working toward bold sartorial simplification — Jeanne Lanvin, Madeleine Vionnet, Jean Patou or Madeleine Chéruit — she is the enduring icon of a historical moment and, as her fans would have it, transhistorical style. ”

3. The Sad End of the Gingrich Campaign
By Walter Shapiro | The New Republic | March 24
“Despite Newt Gingrich’s best efforts, it looks like the world is going to have to save itself. ”

4. Tsunami ‘ghost ship’ haunts Canada coast
By Ian O’Neill | Discovery News | March 24
“In the aftermath of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan on March 11, 2011, up to eight million tons of wreckage was washed out to sea — 2 million of which is thought to still be floating on the surface.”

5. What It’s Like To Soar Into Space, Then Crash To Earth
By Robert Krulwich | Krulwich Wonders :: NPR | March 24
“Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be hurled into the sky, straight up, past the clouds, into starry space, the Earth all blue and turning spherical below, everything silent, tomblike, and then, just like that — you slip and start to fall? What would it sound like? Look like?”

6. Airport Dog Sniffs Out Contraband Hidden Food
Associated Press | March 26
“At New York’s Kennedy Airport, a little beagle named Izzy circles the international baggage carousels, searching for illegal food. She’s the first line of defense for federal officials who are trying to protect American agriculture.”

7. Scientists: Venice sinking five times faster than thought
By Claudio Lavanga | NBC News | March 26
“It’s quite obvious to the naked eye (or rather, to the naked ankle when it floods) that parts of Venice are flooding more and more often. To tourists, walking in a flooded St. Mark’s Square might be a unique photo opportunity, but to Venetians it’s a sign of things to come.”

8. Proving you’re gay to the Turkish army
By Emre Azizlerli | BBC News Magazine | March 25
“Military service is mandatory for all Turkish men — they can only escape it if they are ill, disabled or homosexual. But proving homosexuality is a humiliating ordeal.”

9. Question over theory of lunar formation
By Ron Cowen | Nature | March 25
“Titanium signature poses puzzle for popular theory of Moon’s origin.”

10. Ron Paul’s Flinty Worldview Was Forged in Early Family Life
By David M. Halbfinger | The Long Run :: The New York Times | Feb. 5
“His parents married two days before the crash of 1929. He was reared on nightmarish stories of currency that proved worthless, told by relatives whose patriarch had fled Germany in the dark of night when his debts were about to ruin him. ”