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

Twain’s lost love / No more experts / Stalled computer / Cheney myth / Bombing of Guernica

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. Iraq: What Remains
Christopher de Bellaigue | NYR Blog :: The New York Review of Books | Dec. 21
“[M]any Americans continue to see in Iraq a reflection of their own country’s ideals and contradictions. They will remember Iraq as an American trauma. But it was, above all, an Iraqi trauma.”

2. Mark Twain in Love
By Ron Powers | Smithsonian | May 2010
“A chance encounter on a New Orleans dock in 1858 haunted the writer for the rest of his life ”

3. The Information
By Adam Gopnik | The New Yorker | Feb. 14
“How the Internet gets inside us”

4. Wikipedia and the Death of the Expert
By Maria Bustillos | The Awl | May 17
“If learners are indeed doers and not recipients, from whom are they learning? From one another, it appears; same as it ever was.”

5. My daughter longs to meet real dad despite his snubs
Troubleshooter :: The Yomiuri Shimbun | Dec. 16
“I’m a woman in my 40s who got divorced when my daughter was 5 years old. I remarried a foreigner and we are currently living overseas. My daughter is now in high school and she misses her biological father.”

6. Q&A: Getting a Response From Stalled Software
By J.D. Biersdorfer | Gadgetwise :: The New York Times | Oct. 13
“Q: What causes a long pause with “Not Responding” indicated at the top of a program’s window?”

7. Drunks on a Plane: The Top 10 Hottest Messes at 35,000FT
The Flying Pinto | November 2011
“In honor of holiday travel: a look at the airline industry’s most infamous inebriates.”

8. Five myths about Dick Cheney
By Stephen F. Hayes | Five Myths :: The Washington Post | Sept. 9
“He’s been called Darth Vader, feared or derided as a trigger-happy, torture-loving puppet master who called the shots over the eight years of the George W. Bush White House. … But what about the former vice president is real, exaggerated, or outright myth?”

9. Civil War women: Fanny Kemble
Civil War Women Blog | Aug. 27
“Fanny Kemble was a famous British actress prior to her marriage to slaveholder Pierce Mease Butler, grandson of Founding Father Pierce Butler. Fanny was an independent and highly intelligent woman who had no idea how much her life would be affected by the institution of slavery in America.”

10. The bombing of Guernica
Witness :: BBC News | April 26
“It was one of the worst atrocities of the Spanish Civil War. German bombers, backing Franco’s fascist forces, virtually destroyed the Basque town.”