Belgium, Cambodia, Nato, Air Force One

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

Best Books About Belgium

Sophie Roell | Five Books | 13th July 2018

Historian Martin Conway recommends books that illuminate Belgium and the Belgians. “Belgium is a country where people talk about recent history — the last 150 years or so — really quite intensively, in a way which is gratifying to historians. People are not trying to stage a civil war by other means, they are trying to talk about the way in which Belgium means something and why it was, for example, that so many Belgians got involved in fighting two World Wars, and not always on the same side” (4,700 words)

Devastation And Denial

Matthew Blackwell | Quillette | 15th July 2018

Remembering the Khmer Rouge’s genocidal takeover of Cambodia in 1975, and the blind stupidity of their defenders in the West. The Khmer Rouge abolished money and marriage, sent the population of Phnom Penh on a forced march into the countryside, ruled by massacre and torture, and within four years had murdered one-quarter of the Cambodian people. “What Pol Pot’s academic apologists had been defending was quite possibly the greatest slaughter in human history in per capita terms” (4,800 words)

Old Age In Ancient Societies

Christine Cave | Aeon | 9th July 2018

Human longevity has remained roughly constant throughout human history. Eighty years has always been a good lifespan, nobody will live beyond 125. The notion that life was shorter in ancient societies is an artefact of archaeology. Child mortality was high before medicine, but those who reached adulthood could live to 70 or 80. The problem is that archaeology tends to label older adult remains as “40+” or “50+”, erasing long lives from the statistics (1,400 words)

Why We Need A New Transatlantic Alliance

Bruno Maçães | National Affairs | 13th July 2018

Donald Trump has a good point, badly expressed. “Germany has direct economic relations with Russia and China, so it makes little sense that it continues to delegate its defense to Washington — defense against the same countries it does business with. Nor can it expect the United States to be more generous than any other bloc on trade, when it is precisely Germany — with a current-account surplus amounting to 8 percent of GDP — that is most in need of an open trade system” (919 words)


Patrick Smith | Ask The Pilot | 16th July 2018

A pilot argues against changing the livery of Air Force One. “Conceived by Raymond Loewy during the JFK administration, it’s a look that has gone mostly unchanged for six decades. And for good reason. If you ask me, Air Force One is easily the most elegant state aircraft in the world. The current version, a modified Boeing 747-200 (there are two of them, actually), carries virtually the same markings as the old 707 it superseded: the sweeping forward crown, the Caslon typeface and simple tail hash” (855 words)

Video of the day Building A Baby

What to expect:

New lab techniques shed light on the first two weeks of a human embryo’s development (5’35”)

Thought for the day

Everything is valuable that is done without thought of profit
Marguerite Yourcenar

Podcast Animal Culture | Studio 360

Kurt Andersen and guests discuss the songs of whales, and other signs that animals think creatively
(16m 15s)

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