Air War, Bear Attack, Donald Crowhurst, Consumption, Disability

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

Political Airpower

Mike Benitez & Mike Pietrucha | War On The Rocks | 30th November 2016

All aerial warfare aspires towards precision bombing. In World War II “precision” meant dropping a stick of bombs within a quarter-mile of the aim-point; good enough for victory, but still requiring “hundreds of bombers dropping thousands of bombs”. Now the calculus is “one bomb, one target”. Modern warfare has reached “an enviable level of precision”. But beware excessive expectations. In war there is always fog. “The use of these weapons does not ensure than only the target will be hit and nothing else“ (3,100 words)

Ways In Which I’d Like To Get Attacked By A Bear

Steven Church | Literary Hub | 30th November 2016

The bear’s mauling of Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant is obviously “gruesome, savage, and terrifying”, but it also represents a “kind of ecstatic experience” which tempts the savage within us. “It sounds crazy to say this, but not only did I want to watch the attack again and again, but part of me wanted to experience it firsthand. I wanted to jump into the scene. I wanted to feel the bear’s hot breath on my neck. I realize that these do not sound like the thoughts of a rational person” (2,488 words)

They Went To Sea in A Sieve

Shannon Proudfoot | Sports Net | 29th November 2016

Donald Crowhurst claimed to be sailing single-handed round the world. He became a folk hero, briefly. But his position reports were bogus; he never got out of the Atlantic. His boat was found empty and adrift in July 1969. To judge from his journal, he had started to lose his mind after eight months at sea. “His family never saw him again after his boat blinked out of sight, and it would take them years to unravel what happened to him; even now, that’s a jagged-edged question” (3,800 words)

How Humans Became Consumers

Frank Trentmann | Atlantic | 28th November 2016

Before Adam Smith, consumption of goods by the general public was commonly thought to be a bad habit which “used up resources or at best redistributed them”. In the late 18C and early 19C Smith and Frederic Bastiat explained the role of consumption in growth. Consumption achieved final respectability with Jevons’s classic Theory of Political Economy, published in 1871, which declared that “the theory of economics must begin with a correct theory of consumption” (4,040 words)

I’m Glad I Don’t Need Any Shoes

Heike Klovert | Der Spiegel | 30th November 2016

Conversation with Janis McDavid, 25, born without arms or legs. As a small child he wanted to be a motor-cycle cop. At the age of eight he realised that was not going to happen. “He saw himself in a full-length mirror one morning and his dream crumbled. A policeman without arms and legs? It was a shock.” Now he is studying for a degree in economics, travelling the world, and making a living as a motivational speaker. “My parents have helped me enormously by not helping me” (1,600 words)

Video of the day: Poligrafo Bakarra

What to expect:

Music video by Berri Txarrak mixing hints of Dali, De Chirico, Terry Gilliam and film noir (4’20”)

Thought for the day

People ask you for criticism, but they only want praise
W. Somerset Maugham

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