Bob Dylan, Lego, Hinduism, Scrooge, Napoleon Hill, Russia

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

Bob Dylan: Nobel Banquet Speech

Bob Dylan | Nobel Prize | 10th December 2016

“Like Shakespeare, I am often occupied with the pursuit of my creative endeavors and dealing with all aspects of life’s mundane matters: Who are the best musicians for these songs?” Am I recording in the right studio? Is this song in the right key? Some things never change, even in 400 years. Not once have I ever had the time to ask myself: Are my songs literature? So, I do thank the Swedish Academy, both for taking the time to consider that question, and for providing such a wonderful answer” (918 words)

Lego Is The Perfect Toy

Genevieve Smith | Science Of Us | 1st December 2016

A decade ago the company was nearly bankrupt. Now Lego is more popular than ever, bonding parents and children in “a space shared by childhood imagination and parental ambition”. Lego is “the vegetable your kid actually requests and then eats in heaping mounds — a toy that’s also a building block for future creativity, a mechanics lesson that doesn’t feel like schoolwork, a wholesome embodiment of Scandinavian craftsmanship, something tactile in a world that is increasingly pixelated” (4,040 words)

Hindu Rituals And Celebrations

Tom Seymour | New Statesman | 9th December 2016

Conversation with French-Iranian photographer Abbas about Hindu rituals in Asia. “Hinduism may be the least egalitarian of the great religions — but what diversity exists in its expression! Abrahamic religions try to suppress the dark side of mankind by encouraging the struggle towards its annihilation. Hinduism recognises our dark sides, but urges their coexistence with the good and the light, in order to reach a sense of personal harmony. It’s a philosophy, I admit, with which I am more in tune” (950 words)

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Colm Tóibín | Guardian | 10th December 2016

A Christmas Carol takes the form of “a dark journey of the soul from wilfulness, selfishness, and miserliness towards redemption, generosity and happiness. The figure of Scrooge is initially presented as a man locked into unhappy solitude and petty cruelty, someone whose ungiving, unyielding and resolute nature causes him no joy, but rather a grim satisfaction at having power over others, a power which he will wield in the darkest days of winter with particular determination” (1,400 words)

All-American Huckster

Matt Novak | Gizmodo | 6th December 2016

Epic portrait of Napoleon Hill, serial swindler and author of the early self-help blockbuster Think And Grow Rich. “But it’s the untold story of Hill’s fraudulent business practices, tawdry sex life, and membership in a New York cult that makes him so fascinating.” The Royal Fraternity Of Master Metaphysicians, the Hill-venerating cult, hoped to raise an “immortal baby” by means of positive thinking in a mansion on Long Island. It is not known whether they succeeded (19,800 words)

Russia, NATO, And Trump

Robert Cottrell | New York Review of Books | 9th December 2016

Modesty ought to forbid; but the subject is not without interest. “If America’s commitment to NATO is not going to be unconditional under President Trump, then fairly obviously it will not extend to nuclear war. The cat is out of the bag. Seen from Moscow, the West has not been in such inviting disarray since the Suez crisis of 1956. Whatever constraints President Putin may now feel upon his land-grabbing instincts, they must be entirely domestic in nature. NATO is no longer one of them” (4,300 words)

Video of the day: What Is Light?

What to expect:

Kurzgesagt explainer. Light is “the smallest quantity of energy that can be transported” (4’38”)

Thought for the day

The war against intelligence is always waged in the name of common sense
Roland Barthes

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