Apple, Pipe Organs, Don Quixote, Hair, Terrorism

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

Employee #1: Apple

Craig Cannon | The Macro | 26th July 2016

Conversation with Bill Fernandez, who introduced Steve Jobs to electronics, and then to Steve Wozniak. “Jobs had bicycled over to my house and we were going to hang out and I needed to go to Mr. Taylor’s house to get some parts, so we walked across the street. Woz was out washing his car and I thought, ‘Well you know, here are two electronics buddies. They might be interested in meeting each other and doing electronics stuff.’ So we walked over to the car and I introduced them” (6,500 words)

In Praise Of The Pipe Organ

Dunstan Hadley | 24th July 2016

Pipe organs were “the most complex machines ever created by humans until the invention of the telephone exchange”; they are still the most complex instrument to play; it takes years of practice to train your feet and hands to operate independently; and every organ is different. Alone among classical musicians, organists need improvisation as a primary skill: “Even in small parish churches the local organist is expected to fill gaps in the service with short improvisations” (1,500 words)

The Man Who Invented Fiction

Daniel Hahn | Guardian | 23rd July 2016

Fiction requires “characters whose perspectives we can inhabit as we read, while at the same time being aware that we are colluding in a deception”. This use of perspective is central to theatre, where “actors know they are not the characters they are playing, yet our experience depends on our agreeing that they are”. Miguel de Cervantes was writing for the stage, when he saw that the theatrical model could be used for prose narrative. He put this insight to work in Don Quixote — and invented the novel (950 words)


Scott Lowe | Literary Hub | 28th July 2016

Spiritual and magical properties have been imputed to human hair since ancient times. Buddhist monks in 18C China were accused of stealing human souls trapped in pigtails. “They started the process by blowing a stupefying powder into a victim’s face. Next the thief snipped off the end of the victim’s queue and recited magical incantations over it, transferring the victim’s soul to the hair. The hair would be tied to a paper doll that, animated by the stolen soul, went out to do the sorcerer’s evil will” (2,300 words)

Why Terrorists Do It

John Gray | New Statesman | 28th July 2016

A new study of terrorism argues that terrorists are no “more irrational than the rest of us”. There is no “terrorist mind”. Terrorism functions most often as “an effective way of waging war”. But such analysis describes past terrorism by militarised groups in pursuit of political causes. The new terrorism of ISIS is different and more insidious. It is about “bestowing identity and significance on dislocated individuals and enabling them to discharge their resentment against a hated way of life” (2,230 words)

Video of the day: To Die By Your Side

What to expect:

At night, the books inside Shakespeare & Co come to life. Stop-motion by Spike Jonze (6’07”)

Thought for the day

Failure of second-order thinking: he tells you a secret and somehow expects you to keep it
Nassim Nicholas Taleb

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