Browser Daily Newsletter 1266

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

The Murders At The Lake

Michael Hall | Texas Monthly | 19th March 2014

Gripping true-crime read. First part of a blockbuster series re-investigating the brutal murders of three teenagers in Waco, Texas, during the "violent summer" of 1982. Four men were brought to trial and convicted. But doubts persisted about what really happened on that night of "beer, weed, and bloodshed"; leading to "one of the strangest, most serpentine cases of criminal justice in modern Texas history" (7,800 words)

My Dementia

Gerda Saunders | Slate | 19th March 2014

Teacher describes losing her mind to dementia, as her mother did before her. One small miracle: Her ability to write stays with her. "Persons having spent a lifetime mastering particular knowledge structures may retain access to this expertise even after becoming utterly dependent on others in living their lives". But there is no ducking "the statistically meaningful downward migration of my IQ on the bell curve" (10,600 words)

The Devil And The Art Dealer

Alex Shoumatoff | Vanity Fair | 19th March 2014

How an elderly German called Cornelius Gurlitt came to have paintings worth a billion dollars in his Munich apartment. His father, though partly Jewish, had worked for the Nazis collecting looted masterpieces, selling "degenerate" art abroad, and keeping the best for himself. The art-world theft of the century? Perhaps; except that no crime seems to have been committed by Gurlitt or his father, at least under German law (6,000 words)

The Slow Death Of The Microwave

Roberto Ferdman | Quartz | 19th March 2014

Unit sales of microwave ovens in America have fallen 40% from a market peak in 2004. Saturation may be a factor: 90% of households now have a microwave. But sales of kitchen equipment in general have continued rising; and sales of toaster ovens — "which have similar market penetration and product longevity" — have been booming. More likely there's a cultural shift under way, away from fast and towards fresh (1,540 words)

The Scottish Pound Myth

Izabella Kaminska | Dizzynomics | 16th March 2014

Most Brits believe Scottish pound notes to be legal tender in England. Not so. Scottish banknotes are issued by private banks. English merchants accept them out of trust and habit, not obligation. If Scotland left the UK, its banks could go on issuing Scottish pounds, and even collateralise them with British pounds, though the Bank of England would no longer be lender of last resort to the Scottish issuers (1,220 words)

Obituary: Madeline Gins

Telegraph | 18th March 2014

Believing that comfort killed people, she "set out to achieve everlasting life through architecture", designing buildings that made people "disoriented, dizzy, and slightly bilious". Some of them even got built — with floors that "undulated like sand dunes"; kitchens "positioned at the bottom of steep slopes"; no doors; windows too high or too low; and everything painted in "dozens of clashing colours" (Metered paywall) (1,013 words)

Video of the day:  Morebarn — Silver Screen

What to expect: Music video; light indie rock; painterly animation

Thought for the day:

"Nonbeing must in some sense be, otherwise what is it that there is not?" — Willard Quine

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