Friday, August 29, 2014

Quickly, Quicky: My reads from Edgar Allan Poe facts to airplane fights

As numerous headlines zip across my screen daily, I end up hitting the "favorite" or "like" buttons often, not because I've read whatever it is, but because I want to read it. Here are a couple of articles I skimmed today that I hope to return to and some that I've read.

And speaking of what I want to read, I am seriously thinking about blogging my bookshelf because I've collected a number of books that were either assigned but remain barely read or I purchased that I have had not yet read. File that under self-accountability.

7 Things You Probably Didn't Know about Edgar Allan Poe
Rhyming headline aside, if you're a Poe fan, this article at Huffington Post should intrigue you. I didn't know that he went by "Eddy" to some people, nor did I know that he used multiple secret identities or sobriquets.

50 Essays to Make You A Better Person
Found via BookRiot, this list at Flavorwire comes at just the right time as I pledge to read more creative nonfiction. It includes works by James Baldwin, Joan Didion, Philip Lopate, Jamaica Kincaid, Adriene Rich and more.

Book Covers: DIY Advice (for self-publishing authors)
The title is self-explanatory. I post it here as another way of bookmarking it.

Electricity on the Brain: Can Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Boost Memory?
I'm doing everything I can to hold on to my memory (eating fish, berries, nuts, playing brain games, getting in some cardio each day). My mother developed Alzheimer's in her 70s. It's debilitating to sufferers and terrifying to those who love them. So, I read a lot about the brain.  From this Newsweek article:
According to a study in the August 29 issue of Science, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)—put simply, using a powerful electromagnet to shoot electricity into a person’s head—can stimulate the parts of the brain associated with memory, such that the neurons in that brain region work better together.
The article leads with a brief history of how electricity has been used to heal the brain over the centuries, including ancients putting electric eels on their heads.

And here's something else on the brain, "The Lowdown on Longhand: How writing by hand benefits the brain" (Edutopia).

Air Marshals Forced to Subdue Passenger Fighting Over Reclined Seat
Okay, this is just silly, but I did learn there are flights from Miami to Paris (Gawker).

The Expanding World of Poverty Capitalism 
In 2011, I wrote a post about the dangers of shifting traditionally government services to private companies. Thomas B. Edsall's has similar concerns in his op-ed at the New York Times. He says that increasingly governments are outsourcing offender services to private companies, which make their money by charging parolees for necessary services. He continues with other examples of how private companies, due to government outsourcing, now make money off the poor providing services that were once free. In some instances, poor people are being imprisoned for failure to pay for company services. So, we're back in Dickens era now with debtors prisons? Ugh.

If They Gunned Me Down
I watched at Mark Anthony Neal's blog this spoken word poet's video of Daniel J. Watts's new poem "If The Gunned Me Down." I assume the poem was in inspired not only by the recent examination of how mainstream media portrays Black youth who are gunned down by police or vigilantes versus how it treats White youth who've been proven to have committed crimes but also the Twitter meme #IfTheyGunnedMeDown. It's a good poem despite overuse of alliteration in beginning.

Black Voters, Candidates Absent from Political Process in Ferguson
Given that I recently wrote on the topic of voter suppression in the St. Louis metropolitan area, I had to skim this article that discusses possible causes for Ferguson's lopsided political power structure.

Bullets and Ballots
Jelani Cobb's article that will appear in the September issue of The New Yorker about his time in Ferguson during the recent protests and the failure of the system to work for African-Americans. He asserts that Ferguson may be viewed "as a microcosm, or even a precursor, than as an outlier," when it comes to Black representation in government offices, considering the Supreme Court's gutting of the Voting Rights Act last year.

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