Reading Recommendations January 10, 2020


PG&E: Wired to Fail. The utility has sparked deadly fires and pipeline explosions, left millions of Californians in the dark and gone bankrupt twice in less than 15 years. Here’s what went wrong. By Russell Gold on the Wall Street Journal Website.

Yum Brands to Buy Habit Burger Grill. Taco Bell, KFC parent looks to expand into fast-casual market. By Heather Haddon on the Wall Street Journal. Website.


The medications that change who we are. They’ve been linked to road rage, pathological gambling, and complicated acts of fraud. Some make us less neurotic, and others may even shape our social relationships. It turns out many ordinary medications don’t just affect our bodies – they affect our brains. Why? And should there be warnings on packets? By Zaria Gorvett on the BBC Website.


The Shadow Commander. Qassem Suleimani is the Iranian operative who has been reshaping the Middle East. Now he’s directing Assad’s war in Syria. By Dexter Filkins on The New Yorker Website.

Logging is corrupting these islands. One village fights back—and wins. The Solomon Islands is being stripped bare by foreign logging companies, in some cases acting illegally. A community takes action to preserve its future. By John Beck on the National Geographic Website.

In Carlos Ghosn’s Escape, Plotters Exploited an Airport Security Hole. An operative helping with the plan found security flaw at an Osaka airport that proved crucial. By Nick Kostov, Mark Maremont and Rory Jones on The Wall Street Journal Website.

The NRA’s most powerful weapon is not a gun. By Elizabeth MacBride on the Quartz Website.

7 Americans on the Islamophobia They Faced at Home Because of War Abroad. To better understand how conflict with Iran might lead to a spike in domestic hatred, I asked other young Muslims about their personal experiences of bigotry during wartime. By Reina Sultan on the Vice Website.

‘I Believe in Love’: Elizabeth Wurtzel’s Final Year, In Her Own Words. The difficult final year of a much-loved and legendarily difficult woman. By Elizabeth Wurtzel on the Medium Website.

Science and Technology

Alone in a Crowded Milky Way. Even a galaxy teeming with star-hopping alien civilizations should still harbor isolated, unvisited worlds—and Earth might be among them. By Caleb Scharf on the Scientific American Website.

The 10 best new technologies coming out of CES 2020, including robots and wearable devices. By James Titcomb and Olivia Rudgard on The Telegraph Website.

Six Eclipses, Three Supermoons and A Rare ‘Great Solstice Appulse’: A Skywatcher’s Guide To 2020 by Jamie Carter on the Forbes Website.

A virtual version of da Vinci’s mystery glass orb has helped explain its weirdness. The world’s costliest painting depicts a glass sphere with curious optical properties. Computer scientists figured out what the artist was getting at. On the MIT Technology Review Website.

The Mechanical Muse. Machines are learning to write poetry. How should artificial intelligence alter our appreciation of art? By Dan Rockmore on The New Yorker Website.

What to expect in digital media in 2020. By Eric Peckham on the TechCrunch Website.

The age of cybersecurity is forcing parents to redefine “the talk”. By Neil Feather on the Quartz Website.

This Tennis Ball-Sized Robot Wants to Be Your Housekeeper. By Kelly Corbett on the House Beautiful Website.


All the King’s friends: Chris Paul, Anthony Davis and others celebrate LeBron’s birthday with inside stories on the ESPN Website.

Weighing Tom Brady’s contract options: Will he stay in New England or go? By Mike Reiss on the ESPN Website.

True Crime

The Doctor, the Dentist, and the Killer. By Skip Hollandsworth on the Texas Monthly Website.

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