Dan Winters (Aug/Sept 2010)
Garden & Gun magazine recently published an article on Americana musician James McMurtry. I'd never read the magazine before, but the article sucked me in. I first heard McMurtry's music on a Pandora Radio station that I'd created. I can't recall whether it was the lyrics he was intoning or the earthy twang of his Telecaster that caught my attention (perhaps both did). Whatever it was, I abruptly stopped what I was doing to see who was singing.

I've since listened to a lot of his music. His commentary resonates with me, somehow transcending place and scale while still remaining heavily rooted in working-class America.

Sangilo Sanctuary, Malawi - October 2007
Kate and I watched another installment of Long Way Down tonight. They were in our old stomping grounds of western Tanzania and northern Malawi--it was really crazy and fun to see places that we've visited, including the infamous Tunduma-Sumbawanga road, Sangilo Sanctuary on Lake Malawi, and the kitchen of friends of ours in Mumba, Tanzania!

After an absence of nearly a year, I reactivated my Facebook account today for no one particular reason. The process was remarkably anticlimactic; however I was rewarded by a number of old articles and photos that I'd posted and since forgotten about. Here's a particularly interesting article that ran in the Washington Monthly last summer examining an example of how cartography is an intrinsically political and often contentious exercise:
The Agnostic Cartographer 
How Google's open-ended maps are embroiling the company in some of the world's touchiest geopolitical disputes.
Here's a recommendation--check out the Sudan Tribune. I've not read the site exhaustively, but what I have seen is refreshingly complex and often doesn't distill news to 'good guys' and 'bad guys.' The site is based in France and thus at least avoids Sudanese governmental censorship. Anyway, check it out and let me know what you think.

 I have a number of friends who have lived  in Sudan over the years and I am often frustrated by the media's short attention span for African news in general and Sudan in particular (don't even get me started on its indifference to the DRC). While the BBC or Al Jazeera will periodically run a story, I've found that the Sudan Tribune has some articles and analyses that have been really helpful as I try to better understand a country with no shortage of complexity.

Francisco Negroni/AP - Lightning strikes in the ash cloud above Puyehue volcano in Chile this week.