Sunday, July 23, 2017


United States

Good Fences: The Compassionate Case
for a Hard Line on Immigration
Nonfiction book by Reihan Salam
Publication Date: March 20, 2018

Penguin Random House:
Will the America of the future be peaceful and united, or it will be wracked by intense ethnic and class conflict that will undermine all of our most cherished ideals? In Good Fences, Reihan Salam, one of today's brightest young conservatives, argues that the answer hinges on how we as a society choose to manage immigration. 
Over the coming decades, immigrants and their descendants will account for almost all of the increase in America's population. If we continue on our current course, in which immigration policy is dominated by wealthy insiders who profit from the status quo, the rise of a new ethnic underclass is assured. But if we have the courage to break with the past and to craft an immigration policy that serves our long-term national interests, the future will be brighter for America and the wider world. 
Opponents of open borders are often painted as heartless bigots, hardened to the suffering of the teeming masses yearning to breathe free. The son of immigrants himself, Salam warns that in fact an overly sentimental view of immigration has blinded us to the downsides of a broken system. 
That system serves the rich and immigrants fairly well — but it has in some ways intensified the isolation of the native poor, and it risks ghettoizing the children of poor immigrants. It ignores the challenges posed by the declining demand for less-skilled labor, even as it exacerbates ethnic inequality, worsens the stagnation of social mobility, and deepens our political divides. 
Rejecting both militant multiculturalism and white identity politics, Salam argues that a sane and sober policy that favors skilled immigrants is the best way to combat rising inequality, balance diversity with assimilation, and create a new nationalism that puts the interests of Americans — native-born and foreign-born, of all creeds and colors — first. He paints an optimistic picture of the truly united society America can and must become.

Friday, July 21, 2017


Vanderbilt University:
Imagine slipping into a jacket, shirt or skirt that powers your cell phone, fitness tracker and other personal electronic devices as you walk, wave and even when you are sitting down.
A new, ultrathin energy harvesting system developed at Vanderbilt University' s Nanomaterials and Energy Devices Laboratory has the potential to do just that. Based on battery technology and made from layers of black phosphorus that are only a few atoms thick, the new device generates small amounts of electricity when it is bent or pressed even at the extremely low frequencies characteristic of human motion.

Rush Hour

Duke University: "The first in-car measurements of exposure to pollutants that cause oxidative stress during rush hour commutes has turned up potentially alarming results. The levels of some forms of harmful particulate matter inside car cabins was found to be twice as high as previously believed."


University of Oxford, United Kingdom: "Xanda, Cecil the lion's oldest surviving son, has been shot and killed by hunters in Zimbabwe two years after his father's death shocked the world."

United Kingdom

University of Cambridge, United Kingdom:

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Water Bears

Harvard University: "The world’s most indestructible species — a stout, microscopic animal with four pairs of legs, known as the water bear or tardigrade — will survive until the sun dies, according to new research from Oxford University and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA)."

Northwest Passage

Associated Press (AP):


Troublemakers: Silicon Valley's Coming of Age
Nonfiction book by Leslie Berlin
Shipping Date: November 7, 2017

Simon & Schuster:
The richly told narrative of the Silicon Valley generation that launched five major high-tech industries in seven years, laying the foundation for today's technology-driven world. 
At a time when the five most valuable companies on the planet are high-tech firms and nearly half of Americans say they cannot live without their cell phones, Troublemakers reveals the untold story of how we got here. This is the gripping tale of seven exceptional men and women, pioneers of Silicon Valley in the 1970s and early 1980s. Together, they worked across generations, industries, and companies to bring technology from Pentagon offices and university laboratories to the rest of us. In doing so, they changed the world. 
In Troublemakers, historian Leslie Berlin introduces the people and stories behind the birth of the Internet and the microprocessor, as well as Apple, Atari, Genentech, Xerox PARC, ROLM, ASK, and the iconic venture capital firms Sequoia Capital and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. In the space of only seven years and thirty-five miles, five major industries — personal computing, video games, biotechnology, modern venture capital, and advanced semiconductor logic — were born. 
During these same years, the first ARPANET transmission came into a Stanford lab, the university began licensing faculty innovations to businesses, and the Silicon Valley tech community began mobilizing to develop the lobbying clout and influence that have become critical components of modern American politics. In other words, these were the years when one of the most powerful pillars of our modern innovation and political systems was first erected. 
Featured among well-known Silicon Valley innovators like Steve Jobs, Regis McKenna, Larry Ellison, and Don Valentine are Mike Markkula, the underappreciated chairman of Apple who owned one-third of the company; Bob Taylor, who kick-started the ARPANET and masterminded the personal computer; software entrepreneur Sandra Kurtzig, the first woman to take a technology company public; Bob Swanson, the cofounder of Genentech; Al Alcorn, the Atari engineer behind the first wildly successful video game; Fawn Alvarez, who rose from an assembler on a factory line to the executive suite; and Niels Reimers, the Stanford administrator who changed how university innovations reach the public. Together, these troublemakers rewrote the rules and invented the future.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017


Ministry of Health, Kenya:


University of Queensland, Australia: "Aboriginal people have been in Australia for at least 65,000 years ― much longer than the 47,000 years believed by some archaeologists."


University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB): "More than 8 billion metric tons. That's the amount of plastic humans have created since the large-scale production of synthetic materials began in the early 1950s. It's enough to cover the entire country of Argentina, and most of the material now resides in landfills or in the natural environment."


University of Sussex, United Kingdom: "The hunting to pangolins, the world's most illegally traded mammal, has increased by 150 percent in Central African forests from the 1970s to 2014, according to a new study led by the University of Sussex."


A Dangerous Woman: American Beauty,
Noted Philanthropist, Nazi Collaborator
— the Life of Florence Gould
Nonfiction book by Susan Ronald
Publication Date: February 20, 2018

Macmillan Publishers:
A revealing biography of Florence Gould, fabulously wealthy socialite and patron of the arts, who hid a dark past as a Nazi collaborator in 1940's Paris. 
Born in turn-of-the-century San Francisco to French parents, Florence moved to Paris, aged eleven. Believing that only money brought respectability and happiness, she became the third wife of Frank Jay Gould, son of the railway millionaire Jay Gould. She guided Frank's millions into hotels and casinos, creating a luxury hotel and casino empire. She entertained Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald, Pablo Picasso, Joseph Kennedy, and many Hollywood stars, like Charlie Chaplin, who became her lover. While the party ended for most Americans after the Crash of 1929, Frank and Florence refused to go home. During the Occupation, Florence took several German lovers and hosted a controversial salon. As the Allies closed in, the unscrupulous Florence became embroiled in a notorious money laundering operation for fleeing high-ranking Nazis. 
Yet after the war, not only did she avoid prosecution, but her vast fortune bought her respectability as a significant contributor to the Metropolitan Museum, New York University, and Cornell Medical School, among many others. It also earned her friends like Estée Lauder who obligingly looked the other way. A seductive and utterly amoral woman who loved to say "money doesn’t care who owns it," Florence's life proved a strong argument that perhaps money can buy happiness after all.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017


University of Manchester, United Kingdom: "New research from the University of Manchester says the sheer size and weight of T. rex means it couldn’t move at high speed, as its leg bones would have buckled under its own weight load."


Renoir's Dancer: The Secret Life of Suzanne Valadon
Nonfiction book by Catherine Hewitt
Publication Date: February 27, 2018

Macmillan Publishers:
A richly told biography of Suzanne Valadon, the illegitimate daughter of a provincial linen maid who became famous as a model for the Impressionists and later as a painter in her own right. 
In the 1880s, Suzanne Valadon was considered the Impressionists' most beautiful model. But behind her captivating façade lay a closely guarded secret. 
Suzanne was born into poverty in rural France, before her mother fled the provinces, taking her to Montmartre. There, as a teenager Suzanne began posing for ― and having affairs with ― some of the age's most renowned painters. Then Renoir caught her indulging in a passion she had been trying to conceal: the model was herself a talented artist. 
Some found her vibrant still lifes and frank portraits as shocking as her bohemian lifestyle. At eighteen, she gave birth to an illegitimate child, future painter Maurice Utrillo. But her friends Toulouse-Lautrec and Degas could see her skill. Rebellious and opinionated, she refused to be confined by tradition or gender, and in 1894, her work was accepted to the Salon de la Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts, an extraordinary achievement for a working-class woman with no formal art training. 
Renoir's Dancer tells the remarkable tale of an ambitious, headstrong woman fighting to find a professional voice in a male-dominated world.

Monday, July 17, 2017


Voice of America (VOA):


Patriot Number One: American Dreams
in Chinatown
Nonfiction book by Lauren Hilgers
Publication Date: March 20, 2018

Penguin Random House:
A deeply reported look at the Chinese immigrant community in the United States, casting a new light on what it means to seek the American dream.
Nearly three years ago, journalist Lauren Hilgers received an unexpected call. "Hello, Lauren!" a man shouted in halting English. "We might be seeing you in New York again soon!" The voice belonged to Zhuang Liehong, a Chinese man who had been arrested in his home country for leading a string of protests, and whom Hilgers had met the previous year while reporting a story. Despite zero contacts and a shaky grasp of English, Zhuang explained that he and his wife, Little Yan, had a plan to escape from their American tour group and move to Flushing, Queens, to escape persecution back home. A few weeks later, they arrived on Hilgers's doorstep. 
With a novelistic eye for character and detail, Hilgers weaves their story with a larger investigation of the Chinese community in Flushing, one of the fastest-growing immigrant enclaves in the U.S. There's Tang Yuanjun, a former Tiananmen Square leader who has come to terms with living a shadow life in America as his friends and family continue their own in China. And Karen, one of Little Yan's friends from night school, who was kidnapped by her relatives yet remains hopeful, working part time in a nail salon as she attends vocational school for hotel work. Patriot Number One is Hilgers's nuanced, through-the-looking-glass story of the twenty-first-century American dream. Zhuang and Little Yan's challenges reveal a world hidden in plain sight: the byzantine network of employment agencies and language schools, of underground banks and illegal dormitories that allow immigrants to survive. Amid a raging immigration debate on the national stage, Hilgers's deeply reported and beautifully wrought account paints a revealing portrait of just what it takes to survive.

Sunday, July 16, 2017




Forgotten Under a Tropical Sun: War Stories
by American Veterans in the Philippines,
Nonfiction book by Joseph P. McCallus
Publication Date: October 3, 2017

Kent State University Press:
How veterans remembered America's first war in Asia. 
Memory has not been kind to the Philippine-American War and the even lesser-known Moro rebellion. Today, few Americans know the details of these conflicts. There are almost no memorials, and the wars remain poorly understood and nearly forgotten. 
Forgotten Under a Tropical Sun is the first examination of memoirs and autobiographies from officers and enlisted members of the [U.S.] Army, Navy, and Marines during the Spanish, Filipino, and Moro wars that attempts to understand how these struggles are remembered. It is through these stories that the American enterprise in the Philippines is commemorated. 
Arranged chronologically, beginning with veterans who recall the naval victory over the Spanish at Manila Bay in 1898 and continuing to the conventional and guerrilla wars with the Filipinos, the stories remember the major campaigns of 1899 and 1900, the blockade duties, and life in provincial garrisons. Finally, the lengthy (1899–1913) and often violent military governance in Moroland — the Muslim areas of Mindanao — is considered. Within these historical stages, Forgotten Under a Tropical Sun looks at how the writers address incidents and issues, including accounts of well-known and minor engagements, descriptions of atrocities committed by both sides, and the effect on troop morale of the anti-imperialist movement in the United States. 
Additionally, Forgotten Under a Tropical Sun explores the conflicts through the tradition of war memoirs. Attention is given to the characteristics of the stories, such as the graphic battlefield descriptions, the idea of manliness, the idealized suffering and death of comrades, the differing portrayals of the enemy, and the personal revelations that result from the war experience.


Deutsche Welle (DW): "The centuries-old art of snake charming in India has been on the decline for some time."

Saturday, July 15, 2017


NPR: "There aren't many pharmacies in Haiti. but there are vendors who walk the streets with towers of pills — including some that may be fake or past their expiration date."


The World in Guangzhou: Africans
and Other Foreigners
in South China's Global Marketplace
Nonfiction book by Gordon Mathews
with Linessa Dan Lin and Yang Yang
Shipping Date: November 14, 2017

University of Chicago Press:
Mere decades ago, the population of Guangzhou was almost wholly Chinese. Today, it is a truly global city, a place where people from around the world go to make new lives, find themselves, or further their careers. A large number of those migrants are small-scale traders from Africa who deal in Chinese goods — often knock-offs or copies of high-end branded items — to send back to their home countries. In The World in Guangzhou, Gordon Mathews explores the question of how the city became such a center of "low-end" globalization and shows what we can learn from that experience [and] similar transformations elsewhere in the world. 
Through detailed ethnographic portraits, Mathews reveals a world of globalization based on informality, reputation, and trust rather than on formal contracts. How, he asks, can such informal relationships emerge between two groups — Chinese and Sub-Saharan Africans — that don't share a common language, culture, or religion? And what happens when Africans move beyond their status as temporary residents and begin to put down roots and establish families? 
Full of unforgettable characters, The World in Guangzhou presents a compelling account of globalization at ground level and offers a look into the future of urban life as transnational connections continue to remake cities around the world.

Friday, July 14, 2017


U.S. Justice Department:

Walking Like Ants

Cornell University: "Humans aren't the only actors on the planet. To avoid being eaten, some jumping spiders pretend to be ants, according to Cornell University research published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B."

Pacific Ocean

U.S. National Science Foundation: "Scientists had long believed that the waters of the Central and Northeast Pacific Ocean were inhospitable to certain species of deep-sea corals, but a marine biologist's discovery of an odd chain of reefs suggests there are mysteries about the development and durability of coral colonies yet to be uncovered."


Stanford University: "Deep in landlocked Africa, a miracle is unfolding. Less than a generation after a genocidal civil war left it in ruins, Rwanda is defying poverty traps that ensnare many other natural resource-dependent developing countries."


A Man and His Watch: Iconic Watches and Stories
From the Men Who Wore Them
Nonfiction book by Matt Hranek
Publication Date: October 31, 2017

Workman Publishing:
Paul Newman wore his Rolex Daytona every single day for 35 years until his death in 2008. The iconic timepiece, probably the single most sought-after watch in the world, is now in the possession of his daughter Clea, who wears it every day in his memory. Franklin Roosevelt wore an elegant gold Tiffany watch, gifted to him by a friend on his birthday, to the famous Yalta Conference where he shook the hands of Joseph Stalin and Winston Churchill. JFK's Omega worn to his presidential inauguration, Ralph Lauren's watch purchased from Andy Warhol's personal collection, Sir Edmund Hillary's Rolex worn during the first-ever summit of Mt. Everest . . . these and many more compose the stories of the world's most coveted watches captured in A Man and His Watch. Matthew Hranek, a watch collector and NYC men's style fixture, has traveled the world conducting firsthand interviews and diving into exclusive collections to gather the never-before-told stories of 76 watches, completed with stunning original photography of every single piece. Through these intimate accounts and Hranek's storytelling, the watches become more than just timepieces and status symbols; they represent historical moments, pioneering achievements, heirlooms, family mementos, gifts of affection, and lifelong friendships.

Thursday, July 13, 2017


University of Exeter, United Kingdom:
Squirrels can remember problem-solving techniques for long periods and can apply them to new situations, researchers have discovered. 
University of Exeter scientists found grey squirrels quickly remembered how to solve a problem they had not seen for almost two years. 
The squirrels also quickly worked out how to use those skills in a redesigned version of the test.  
"This might be why grey squirrels can survive very well in towns and cities," said Dr. Pizza Ka Yee Chow, of Exeter's Center for Research in Animal Behavior.  
"For example, they're very good at getting food from bird feeders. 
"People may try different types of bird feeders to keep the squirrels away, but this research shows grey squirrels can not only remember tricks for getting food but can apply those skills in new situations." 
In the study, five squirrels were given a task identical to one they had tried 22 months earlier, in which they had to press levers to get hazelnuts. 
In that first experience, the squirrels improved with practice — taking an average of eight seconds on their first attempt and just two seconds by the final time they tried it. 
Trying again for the first time in 22 months, they took an average of just three seconds to get a hazelnut. 
Grey squirrels are known to have good long-term memory — they are "scatter hoarders," collecting and hiding thousands of nuts every autumn. 
"Previous research at Exeter has shown that their memory for the locations of hidden nuts is excellent," said coauthor Professor Stephen Lea, of the University of Exeter. 
But the new research demonstrates a "very different form of memory," said coauthor Dr. Théo Robert, also of the University of Exeter. 
"This is not just remembering where things have been left, it shows they can recall techniques which they have not used for a long time," he said. 
"It's also different from what we see in the wild because they're remembering things for longer than the few months of memory needed to find hidden food." 
When presented with a version of the task that looked different but required the same technique to get hazelnuts, the squirrels showed a "neophobic" (fear of news things) response — hesitating for more than 20 seconds on average before starting the task. 
But once they started, it took them just two seconds on average to get a hazelnut, showing that they were able to recall and apply the technique they learned in the previous form of the challenge. 
The paper, published in the journal Animal Cognition, is entitled: "How to stay perfect: The role of memory and behavioral traits in an experienced problem and a similar problem."

Wednesday, July 12, 2017


BBC News:
In the 19th century, schooners were a familiar sight along France's northern coast, their majestic sails fluttering in the wind. Nowadays, they have been replaced by boats which are far faster, more efficient — and less romantic. 
But there is still a corner of the world where a new generation of carpenters is keeping old maritime traditions alive by crafting these vessels to original standards.

New York

Associated Press (AP):


Finding My Virginity: The New Autobiography
Nonfiction book by Richard Branson
Available: October 2017

Penguin Random House:
Fifty years ago, Sir Richard Branson started his first business. In his new autobiography, Finding My Virginity, the Virgin founder shares his personal, intimate thoughts on five decades as the world's ultimate entrepreneur. 
In Finding My Virginity, Sir Richard Branson shares the secrets that have seen his family business grow from a student magazine into a global brand, his dreams of private citizens flying to space develop from a childhood fantasy to the brink of reality, and his focus shift from battling bigger rivals to changing business for good. 
Following on from where bestselling Losing My Virginity left off at the dawn of the new millennium, Finding My Virginity takes the reader on a rollercoaster ride with the enigmatic entrepreneur. Learn how Branson created 12 different billion-dollar businesses and hundreds more companies across dozens of sectors, going from a houseboat to his own private island. But this book goes far beyond the numbers — it is a journey into the heart and mind of Britain's best-loved businessman. 
Join Sir Richard as he juggles working life with raising his children Holly and Sam, building a marriage with his wife Joan and creating a unique company culture. Discover how he created a new life on Necker Island, while continuing to grow the Virgin brand into all corners of the world. Get the real story behind adventures and run-ins with everyone from Bill Gates and Kate Moss to Nelson Mandela and Barack Obama. 
Go behind the scenes as Sir Richard Branson creates the world's first commercial spaceline, Virgin Galactic, and handles the biggest crisis he has ever faced. Get under the skin of world record attempts on land, sea and air, and see how the original business hippy adapted to becoming a doting "grand-dude" to his four grandchildren, Eva-Deia, Etta, Artie and Bluey. This is the true account of how the Virgin founder reinvented himself and his brand for the 21st Century, while continuing to push boundaries, break rules and reach for the stars in more ways than one. This is the story of the man behind the beard, the business, the bravado and the brand. Find out how the ultimate entrepreneur did it for the first time — all over again.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017


Duke University:
A sound night's sleep grows more elusive as people get older. But what some call insomnia may actually be an age-old survival mechanism, researchers report. 
A study of modern hunter-gatherers in Tanzania finds that, for people who live in groups, differences in sleep patterns commonly associated with age help ensure that at least one person is awake at all times. 
The research suggests that mismatched sleep schedules and restless nights may be an evolutionary leftover from a time many, many years ago, when a lion lurking in the shadows might try to eat you at 2 a.m.

United Kingdom

University of Glasgow, United Kingdom: "Archaeologists from the University of Glasgow have uncovered conclusive evidence that a wooden hut traditionally associated with Saint Columba at the monastery on the island of Iona does indeed date to his lifetime in the late sixth century AD."

Mediterranean Sea

American Friends of Tel Aviv University: "Half of the ships passing along the Mediterranean coast of Israel carry damaging ascidians, Tel Aviv University researchers say."


Consuming Japan: Popular Culture
and the Globalizing of 1980s America
Nonfiction book by Andrew C. McKevitt
Publication Date: October 9, 2017

University of North Carolina Press:
This insightful book explores the intense and ultimately fleeting moment in 1980s America when the future looked Japanese. Would Japan's remarkable post-World War II economic success enable the East Asian nation to overtake the United States? Or could Japan's globe-trotting corporations serve as a model for battered U.S. industries, pointing the way to a future of globalized commerce and culture? While popular films and literature recycled old anti-Asian imagery and crafted new ways of imagining the "yellow peril," and formal U.S.-Japan relations remained locked in a holding pattern of Cold War complacency, a remarkable shift was happening in countless local places throughout the United States: Japanese goods were remaking American consumer life and injecting contemporary globalization into U.S. commerce and culture. What impact did the flood of billions of Japanese things have on the ways Americans produced, consumed, and thought about their place in the world? 
From autoworkers to anime fans, Consuming Japan introduces new unorthodox actors into foreign-relations history, demonstrating how the flow of all things Japanese contributed to the globalizing of America in the late twentieth century.

Monday, July 10, 2017


Stanford University: "More than 30 percent of all vertebrates have declining populations."

Long, Long Ago

University of Cambridge, United Kingdom:


University of Southern California (USC):
Here's another reason to start the day with a cup of joe: Scientists have found that people who drink coffee appear to live longer. 
Drinking coffee was associated with a lower risk of death due to heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, and respiratory and kidney disease for African-Americans, Japanese-Americans, Latinos and whites. 
People who consumed a cup of coffee a day were 12 percent less likely to die compared to those who didn't drink coffee. This association was even stronger for those who drank two to three cups a day — 18 percent reduced chance of death. 
Lower mortality was present regardless of whether people drank regular or decaffeinated coffee, suggesting the association is not tied to caffeine, said Veronica W. Setiawan, lead author of the study and an associate professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. 
"We cannot say drinking coffee will prolong your life, but we see an association," Setiawan said. "If you like to drink coffee, drink up! If you're not a coffee drinker, then you need to consider if you should start."


Louisiana State University (LSU):


Unshackling America: How the War of 1812
Truly Ended the American Revolution
Nonfiction book by Willard Sterne Randall
Available Now

Macmillan Publishers:
Unshackling America challenges the persistent fallacy that Americans fought two separate wars of independence. Willard Sterne Randall documents an unremitting fifty-year-long struggle for economic independence from Britain overlapping two armed conflicts linked by an unacknowledged global struggle. Throughout this perilous period, the struggle was all about free trade. 
Neither Jefferson nor any other Founding Father could divine that the Revolutionary Period of 1763 to 1783 had concluded only one part, the first phase of their ordeal. The Treaty of Paris of 1783 at the end of the Revolutionary War halted overt combat but had achieved only partial political autonomy from Britain. By not guaranteeing American economic independence and agency, Britain continued to deny American sovereignty. 
Randall details the fifty years and persistent attempts by the British to control American trade waters, but he also shows how, despite the outrageous restrictions, the United States asserted the doctrine of neutral rights and developed the world's second largest merchant fleet as it absorbed the French Caribbean trade. American ships carrying trade increased five-fold between 1790 and 1800, its tonnage nearly doubling again between 1800 and 1812, ultimately making the United States the world's largest independent maritime power.


Deutsche Welle (DW): "A highly intoxicated train driver was discovered at the helm of a regional train in western Germany, after two of the passengers grew suspicious. His blood alcohol content was well over the legal limit, police said."

South Africa

SANParks: "South African National Parks (SANParks) has received information that four male lions, believed to have escaped from the Kruger National Park (KNP) last night, 9 July 2017, were spotted at Matsulu, a village outside the park. SANParks would like to urge the residents to exercise extra caution."