Adolescence, Gladiators, Body Language, Trump Tower, H.G. Wells, Election Outcomes

Hic sunt camelopardus: this historical edition of The Browser is presented for archaeological purposes; links and formatting may be broken.

The End Of Adolescence

Paula Fass | Aeon | 26th October 2016

America invented adolescence in the late-19C by extending the legal protections of childhood to encompass teenage workers. But the “hopeful elements embedded in adolescence” have collapsed along with the American social contract. “For parents, adolescence is an untrustworthy way to understand how their children mature: they cannot connect the sexual practices of their progeny to stable mating in marriage, nor can they see how schooling will lead to satisfactory adult work” (3,800 words)

Gladiatorial Contests In Ancient Rome

Keith Hopkins | History Today | 6th June 1983

At private dinner-parties, rich Romans regularly presented two or three pairs of gladiators. “When they have finished dining and are filled with drink”, wrote a critic in the time of Augustus, “they call in the gladiators. As soon as one has his throat cut, the diners applaud with delight”. We are dealing here not with individual sadistic psychology, even somehow of its time, but with a deep difference. Roman cruelty presents a cultural gap which it is difficult for the modern person to cross (5,100 words)

Womb Up, America!

Lucy Ellman | Baffler | 24th October 2016

PG-13. Bodily references pervade our metaphorical language, but only selectively. The distinctively female body is seriously under-represented. “We just can’t leave the body alone. We really think of little else. Verbally, we can’t bear to be parted from bodily processes for a second: everything is f***ing this or f***ing that, it’s sh***y, it’s crappy, it’s nail-biting, hysterical, vomitous, nauseating, stomach-churning, piss-taking, back-breaking, nerve-racking, and it gives you goosebumps” (2,270 words)

Inside Trump Tower

Max Abelson et al | Bloomberg Businessweek | 25th October 2016

At Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue the Donald is always commander-in-chief. The skyscraper, 11 times bigger than the White House, jumped in value from $490 million to $600 million this year when Gucci agreed to a rent rise. Johnny Carson lived there; Richard Nixon looked around and decided against; Ivan Boesky was turned away. Inside there is a Trump Grill, a Trump Café and a Trump Bar. The public lobby has “so much peachy-pink Italian marble that a mountain was demolished for it” (2,300 words)

The Genius Of H.G. Wells

Simon John James | The Conversation | 20th September 2016

H.G. Wells was asonishingly prescient about technology. More than a century ago he foresaw a world of aeroplanes, tanks, moon voyages, nuclear weapons, televisions and telecommunications. In his social and political reasoning, however, he was completely wrong — and that may be our greater loss. He predicted the emergence of a World state with a Utopian government which would provide every individual with a complete education, satisfying work, and the freedom to enjoy a private life (900 words)

What You Will Be Reading Next Month

David Wasserman | Five Thirty Eight | 25th October 2016

No need to wait until November 10th to read what happened in the US presidential electon. These five scenarios cover all constitutional outcomes from Clinton landslide to Trump revanche. “High-ranking Democrats, noting that Trump was on track to receive fewer than 45 percent of all votes cast, called for the abolition of the Electoral College. In his victory speech Trump praised the integrity of the vote, congratulating officials on their ‘tremendous’ work to ensure a fraud-free election” (1,600 words)

Video of the day: False Vacuum: How The Universe Could Destroy Itself

What to expect:

Kurtzgesagt explains how the universe could erase itself, making life impossible for ever

Thought for the day

Pray to God, but row away from rocks
Hunter S. Thompson

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