Browser Daily Newsletter 1230


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

What Sets Humanity Apart

Stephen Cave | Financial Times | 7th February 2014

Are human beings irreducibly different from other living things? Henry Gee thinks not: "There is nothing special about being human, any more than there is anything special about being a guinea pig or a geranium”, he writes in his "persuasive" book The Accidental Species. Other thinkers disagree, but with diminishing confidence. "We are not the only species with, for example, language – we just have more of it"

The Lego Movie

Dana Stevens | Slate | 6th February 2014

It surprises on the upside. A lot. "Clever, vividly imagined, consistently funny, eye-poppingly pretty and oddly profound", it pits "the perfection-obsessed, freedom-stifling President Business" on the one hand, against "a sort of Goth biker-chick minifig voiced by Elizabeth Banks" on the other, with "naively psyched" construction worked Emmet Brickowski in the middle. The last 20 minutes contain "a big conceptual twist"

Three Golden Ages Of Journalism

Paul Steiger | ProPublica | 7th February 2014

First "golden era" of American journalism came when McClure's Magazine "dug deep into the secrets of the powerful", including John D. Rockefeller, at the start of 20C. Another from mid-1950s to mid-1970s when the Press pushed forward three main narratives: Civil Rights, Vietnam, and Watergate. Will there be a third? Ask Buzzfeed, says Steiger: "If I were a young journalist, that's the kind of team I'd want to join"

What Planet Are You From?

Sam Markham | Howler | 22nd January 2014

Discussion of arguably the greatest goal in the history of soccer, scored by Diego Maradona for Argentina against England on 22nd June 1986. It was "a goal so unusual, almost romantic, that it might have been scored by some schoolboy hero, or some remote Corinthian, from the days when dribbling was the vogue". For Argentina it offered "a symbolic balancing of accounts" after the Falklands War

Notes On Nursery Rhymes

Sandra Simonds | Boston Review | 28th January 2014

Nursery rhymes seem "spooky" because they make us think of children who have disappeared — into time, into history, into death. "Reading through the Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes I felt the echoing sounds of the children of history singing, half-singing, laughing or crying. I conjured up the image a little English village boy on a cold February morning in 1650, seven years old, throwing seeds to the birds"

Video of the day:  Austin Anijam

Thought for the day:

"The more we know, the less certain we are" — Simon Critchley

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