Browser Daily Newsletter 1271T

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

The Sexiest Dog In Chicago

Aimee Levitt | Chicago Reader | 26th March 2014

A beautiful piece of writing, with a 160-word first sentence that isn't a letter too long. The dog in question, Paradiso Błekitna Przystan, "known to his loved ones as Ivo", is a 110-pound cane corso, a breed much admired in medieval Italy and reputed to be "capable of killing not only wild boar but also tame human". Ivo, however, is a softy and a gentleman: "If you put a tie on him he could work downtown" (2,318 words)

Dick Cheney: He Remade Our World

Mark Danner | New York Review Of Books | 25th March 2014

He was "the most powerful vice-president in American history". His "singular genius" was to take "an oddly archaic constitutional office" and to energise it "by force of will, quiet audacity, and a peculiar institutional brilliance". Much of this gripping piece turns on a conflict between the White House and the Justice Department over NSA surveillance programmes, later to be the stuff of Edward Snowden's revelations (4,250 words)

Big Brass: Riding The Air Stream

Elizabeth Eshelman | McSweeney's | 25th March 2014

The tuba, along with the flute, is "at the top of the list for instruments that take the most air to play", three times as much as the trumpet or French horn. Players guard against hyperventilation by sucking used air back through the instrument to get more carbon dioxide. Orchestra players co-ordinate breathing: "To avoid any gap in the sound, we write into our music who gets to breathe where" (1,800 words)

Forces Of Divergence

John Cassidy | New Yorker | 24th March 2014

Capital In The Twenty-First Century, a "sweeping account of rising inequality" by French economist Thomas Piketty, is the most talked-about economics book in years. An early reviewer calls it "one of the watershed books in economic thinking”. Picketty argues that "modern capitalism has an internal law of motion" that leads, most of the time, to the rich getting richer, and the rest trailing ever further behind (4,215 words)

The Spirit Of Youth

Morgan Meis | The Smart Set | 26th March 2014

Italian Futurists tried to "break civilization wide open"; to "declare a new age of speed and violence". But no art escapes from tradition. We see now in the Futurists' paintings the strong influence of Cubism and of Cézanne. Futurism was distinguished not by its artistic techniques but by its political sensibilities. It "refused to accept boundaries between art and politics, or between art and life, or art and anything else" (2,240 words)

Hold Or Fold

Leah Price | Times Literary Supplement | 19th March 2014

On Paper, by Nicholas Basbanes, celebrates the 2,000-year history of a medium that has so far outlasted clay, stone, papyrus, parchment, metal, bark, bones, seashells and floppy discs. If the paperless office does arrive, it will do so only after a highly successful rearguard action by paper. Desktop computers (and printers) have only increased consumption of the commodity they were expected to render obsolete (680 words)

Video of the day:  This Is A Generic Brand Video

What to expect: Parody. Short and amusing

Thought for the day:

"A melancholy lesson of advancing years is the realisation that you can't make old friends" — Christopher Hitchens

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