Looking Back: Shadows of war

Today in 1925, Andrew Aguirre was born in Vinton, Texas. The Marine served during World War II and the Korean War, facing challenges he never imagined.

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Today in 1925, Andrew Aguirre was born in Vinton, Texas. The Marine served during World War II and the Korean War, facing challenges he never imagined.

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The Looking Back series
During my time as a contributing editor to the magnificent Voces Oral History Project at the University of Texas at Austin, I came across some amazing stories. The project, which I celebrated in 2011, collects the stories of Latino veterans and civilians who saw and felt the effects of war, from World War II to Vietnam. This occasional series will highlight a few of these fascinating lives.

Andrew Aguirre, born on Jan. 4, 1925, joined the Marine Corps in 1944, delivered supplies to Marine units on Pacific islands, and helped move out the dead. He joined U.S. forces in China in November 1945, and was discharged in 1946.

Military life, he recalled, gave him a new lease on life and professional ambition.

But by 1950, he was back in uniform, this time in Korea. As he faced down battle-hardened North Korean soldiers, Aguirre had no idea what he was about to experience. Read his dramatic profile here.

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Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Allende’s suicide / Babymaking time / Cartels’ radio systems / Lazy in-laws / Fall of Berlin

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. Chile closes Allende case after confirming suicide
Associated Press | Dec. 29
“An international panel of experts convened by Judge Mario Carroza determined that Allende took his own life with an AK-47 while defending the presidential palace in Chile’s 1973 coup.”

2. It’s High Time for Conception: Studies Show Peak Times, Weather for Sex
By Anneli Rufus | The Daily Beast | Dec. 27
“Studies show the holiday season is prime time for baby making. Anneli Rufus reports on which day, at what time, and in what weather you stand the best chance of having sex.”

3. How to function after a sleepless night
By Ed Vanstone | Men’s Health | December 2011
“No sleep? No problem — if you follow our advice”

4. Gentleman’s Goal: Get Outside Your Comfort Zone
By Patrick Wittwer | The Primer | September 2011
“After graduating college it’s easy to get caught in a rut. If you don’t make an active attempt at getting out of your comfort zone you’re going to miss out on a lot of opportunities.”

5. Mexico’s cartels build own national radio system
By Michael Weissenstein | Associated Press | Dec. 26
“The Mexican army and marines have begun attacking the system, seizing hundreds of pieces of communications equipment in at least three operations since September that offer a firsthand look at a surprisingly far-ranging and sophisticated infrastructure.”

6. Volcanic Cooling
By C. Claiborne Ray | Q&A :: The New York Times | July 2009
“Could an increase in volcanic eruptions counter global warming with the resulting dust, smoke and debris?”

7. Revolutionary Daughters
By Kate Taunton | Activate :: Al Jazeera | October 2011
“How two activists are challenging Indian society and transforming trafficked girls into the leaders of tomorrow.”

8. This Drone Will Self-Destruct in Five Seconds
By Brian Palmer | Explainer :: Slate | Dec. 7
“Can unmanned spy planes be destroyed from afar?”

9. At the end of my tether with lazy, selfish, controlling in-laws
Troubleshooter :: The Yomiuri Shimbun | Dec. 16
“I get frustrated with both of them, but can’t live independently from my father-in-law for financial reasons. I wish I could give them a piece of my mind and make them shut up once and for all.”

10. The fall of Berlin
Witness :: BBC News | May 16
“The Red Army took control of the German capital Berlin, in May 1945. The Soviet soldiers had a terrifying reputation and civilians in their path feared looting and violence.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Abolition in D.C. … Muslims and evolution … Pets celebrating Christmas … GOP candidates on the issues … Sex talk vocabulary.

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. Doolittle’s raid recalled almost 70 years later
By Mary Foster | Associated Press | Dec. 5
“Coming just four months after the Imperial Japanese Navy savaged the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, and with U.S. defense of the Philippines crumbling, the April 18, 1942, raid on Japan’s home islands electrified a world at war.”

2. Earth’s wild ride: Our voyage through the Milky Way
By Stephen Battersby | New Scientist | Dec. 5
“Weaving our way through the disc of the Milky Way, we have drifted through brilliant spiral arms, braved the Stygian darkness of dense nebulae, and witnessed the spectacular death of giant stars.”

3. Panama’s jailed former ruler Noriega to be sent home
BBC News | Dec. 7
“Noriega, aged 77, is also wanted in Panama for other crimes allegedly committed during his 1983-89 rule.”

4. Riding in PopPop’s Vulva
By Joanna Schroeder | The Good Men Project | Dec. 7
“While I agree that children should learn the proper names for their body parts, I don’t believe there is any magic to vagina, vulva, penis, clitoris or testicles aside from their accuracy”

5. Positions of the Republican candidates, in brief
By Calvin Woodward | Associated Press | Dec. 6
“A look at where the 2012 Republican presidential candidates stand on a selection of issues.”

6. Q&A: Creating a Queue of YouTube Clips
By J.D. Biersdorfer | Gadgetwise :: The New York Times | Sept. 5
“Q: When I’m on the computer, how can I watch a bunch of YouTube videos all at once without having to select the next one each time?”

7. For pet-owners, holiday plans revolve around pets
By Sue Manning | Associated Press | Dec. 6
“Dexter’s social calendar this holiday season is chock-full of travel plans, party invites, new clothes, special meals and trips to see Santa Claus.”

8. Securing US border impossible
By Will Wissert | Associated Press | Dec. 6
“The U.S. Border Patrol says 873 miles of the border, about 44 percent, have been brought under operational control. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has said that ‘the border is better now than it ever has been.’ Still, that means full control isn’t even half met.”

9. Are evolution and religion compatible?
The Stream :: Al Jazeera | Dec. 7
“A growing number of Muslim biology students are walking out of lectures on evolution, according to a genetics professor in the United Kingdom. The students claim the course material is incompatible with their religious beliefs in creationism.”

10. Washington’s Black Codes
By Kate Masur | Disunion :: The New York Times | Dec. 7
“The messages at the heart of the abolitionist indictment of the Washington jail were threefold: Slavery was morally wrong, all free people had a right to equal treatment before the law, and the government should stand for freedom and equality, not slavery and oppression.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Healthy eating myths … Poison and Jane Austen … NASA’s Dawn spacecraft … Clinton’s new advisers … Pearl Harbor myths

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. Five myths about Pearl Harbor
By Craig Shirley | Five Myths :: The Washington Post | Dec. 2
“President Franklin D. Roosevelt called Dec. 7, 1941, ‘a date which will live in infamy.’ And that day, when the Japanese launched a surprise attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, has lived in infamy for 70 years. Yet even as the memory of the attack has lasted, so have the misperceptions surrounding it.”

2. Pearl Harbor survivors share stories of attack
By Audrey McAvoy | Associated Press | Dec. 5
“The College of the Ozarks program aims to preserve the stories of veterans – something that’s becoming increasingly urgent for Pearl Harbor survivors as the youngest are in their late 80s.”

3. Smallest habitable world around sun-like star found
By Melissae Fellet | New Scientist | Dec. 5
“The new planet was found with the KeplerMovie Camera telescope, which searches for signs that a star’s light has dimmed because a planet has passed between it and the telescope — an event called a transit.”

4. Who will be whispering in Hillary Clinton’s ear now?
By Howard LaFranchi | Christian Science Monitor | Dec. 6
“Secretary Hillary Clinton, eager for the State Department to have its own advisory panel of big thinkers, is convening the new, 25-member Foreign Affairs Policy Board this month.”

5. NASA: Massive Asteroid Vesta ‘Unlike Any Other’
By Alicia Chang | Associated Press | Dec. 5
“Since slipping into orbit around Vesta in July, NASA’s Dawn spacecraft has beamed back stunning images of the second largest object residing in the asteroid belt.”

6. Q&A: Lending Out an Electronic Book
By J.D. Biersdorfer | Gadgetwise :: The New York Times | Aug. 10
“Q: Can you lend a Kindle e-book out to someone who doesn’t have a Kindle e-reader?”

7. Michele Bachmann Loves Vaccines After All
By Benjy Sarlin | Talking Points Memo | Dec. 7
“Michele Bachman, who was condemned as an anti-vaccination conspiracy theorist after suggesting that Gardasil causes ‘mental retardation,’ said Wednesday that she was in fact a big supporter of vaccines. Not only that, she thinks there are too many regulations on them.”

8. Was Jane Austen Poisoned by Arsenic? Science May Soon Find Out
By Ferris Jabr | Scientific American | Dec. 5
“Modern techniques could reveal whether the celebrated English novelist’s surviving hair contains unusually high levels of arsenic”

9. Five myths about healthy eating
By Katherine Mangu-Ward | Five Myths :: The Washington Post | Oct. 14
Myth 1: “People in poor neighborhoods lack access to fresh fruits and vegetables.”

10. Civil War women: Elizabeth Townsend Meagher
Civil War Women blog | Sept. 19
“Elizabeth Meagher was 36 years of age when she arrived on the Montana frontier. She had married the brilliant, but unpredictable, Irish exile in New York and often served as his secretary and nurse. She first arrived at Fort Benton June 5, 1866, aboard the sternwheeler Ontario in the company of her husband who had gone downriver from Benton to meet her.”