Architecture, Horses, Calendars, Consciousness, Insects, James Comey


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

Louis Kahn’s Mystical Communion

Thomas De Monchaux | n+1 | 10th May 2017

Brief cultural history of architecture, crafted into a review of Wendy Lesser’s “monumental” biography of Louis Kahn. “All architects are older than you think. Or than they want you to think. Unlike the closely adjacent fields of music and mathematics, architecture has no prodigies. Design and construction take time. At 40, an architect is just starting out. Dying at 72 in architecture is like dying at 27 in rock and roll. This is why the life story of Kahn is, among other things, a tragedy” (4,500 words)

Hanging Up Our Spurs

Susanna Forrest | Literary Review | 8th May 2017

Action-packed review of Farewell To The Horse by Ulrich Raulff. “This unusual book is a series of airy, winging essays that alight briefly on world history, art, literary criticism and historiography before leaping on to make new, often surprising connections. Raulff’s animal is the source of every great idea that fuelled the nineteenth century. This is not the Pony Club Manual; it’s Kafka, Aby Warburg, Tolstoy, psychoanalytic theory, Nietzsche and bleak monochrome photos in the style of Sebald” (1,170 words)

Labour Days

Tony Wood | Cabinet | 10th May 2017

The Bolsheviks’ most famous calendar reform eliminated 13 days of February in 1918. More consequential for Russians was the reform of 1929 called the nepreryvka, or “continuous working week”, which abolished Sunday as a day of rest, to raise production and frustrate churchgoing. “Calendars laying out the five-day schema continued to refer to individual days by their traditional names, but now the work-week would begin on different days depending on one’s number or colour” (2,900 words)

The Body And Us

Riccardo Manzotti & Tim Parks | New York Review Of Books | 11th May 2017

Conversation between writer and philosopher about mind and consciousness. “One part of the body perceives another part, but not itself. We never feel the brain, because there is nothing beyond it in the nervous system that might allow the brain to become manifest to us as an object. No anaesthesia is required for the brain itself when a surgeon operates on it, because the brain doesn’t feel pain. It allows other objects to exist and become part of our world, but isn’t experienced itself” (2,700 words)

Where Have All The Insects Gone?

Gretchen Vogel | Science | 10th May 2017

Remember how insects used to splatter against your car windscreen at night? Ever wondered why they don’t do that any more? It’s because they aren’t there any more. Major population declines are well documented among honey bees, monarch butterflies, and lightning bugs; “non-charismatic” species such as moths, flies, and common beetles are less studied, but in parts of Britain their numbers appear to have declined by 80 percent in the past 25 years, due mainly to to changes in land-use (2,600 words)

Is This A Constitutional Crisis?

Cass Sunstein et al | Politico | 9th May 2017

Interesting for the wide divergence of academic and professional opinion on the legitimacy of President Trump’s firing of his FBI director. “If the president continues to act in this way, we shall rapidly descend into a terrifying state of social dissolution”, says Robert Post of Yale Law School. “President Trump made the only legally correct call, to fire the director”, says Elizabeth Price Foley of Florida International University. “We should reserve judgment”, says Jamal Greene of Columbia Law School (3,300 words)

Video of the day: Eagle Eye Australia

What to expect:

Journey across Australia, shot from a drone seeking to mimic an eagle (3’29”)

Thought for the day

It’s not where you take things from — it’s where you take them to
Jean-Luc Godard

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