Browser Daily Newsletter 1275T

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


Ilan Stavans | Lingua Franca | 31st March 2014

An agreed order for the letters of the alphabet was essential in the days of printed books: How else would you find your way around a dictionary? But in digital texts alphabetical order ceases to matter. The search engine finds what you want. You need to know what letters are available, but BAC will do as well as ABC. Hard for older readers to grasp, but the alphabet is becoming "simultaneous and not sequential" (685 words)

Japan’s Russian Dilemma

Yuriko Koike | Project Syndicate | 31st March 2014

Important and interesting. Former defence minister gives Japanese perspective on Russia's annexation of Crimea. Pre-Crimea, Japan had been hoping to charm Russia into discussing the Kuril Islands, occupied by Russia and claimed by Japan. Post-Crimea, Japan is one of Russia's fiercest critics. It wants Russia out of Crimea, for fear that successful Russian expansionism will set a precedent for China (930 words)

Noah Is A Hot, Wet, Cinematic Mess

J. Hoberman | Tablet | 31st March 2014

Russell Crowe plays Noah as "a sort of two-fisted Buddhist for whom all life is sacred". He is "recognisably Hollywood" but also "scarily Old Testament." Aronofsky's "entertainingly lurid" film is "the most eccentric Old Testament adaptation to come out Hollywood since John Huston’s The Bible". And, with all due respect to The Ten Commandments, it is "the most Jewish biblical blockbuster ever made" (1,580 words)

Baseball: Best Of All Games

John Rawls | Boston Review | 1st March 2008

From the archives. The philosopher John Rawls explains why baseball is the greatest of sports. "The physical layout of the game is perfectly adjusted to the human skills it is meant to display and to call into graceful exercise". Baseball engages the whole body, and favours no particular physique. Time is not limited; however badly the losing side may be lagging, there is always the possibility of a comeback (1,086 words)

Richard Strauss: Boorish, Venal, Brillliant

Norman Lebrecht | Standpoint | 28th March 2014

His life was "a string of platitudes": Born into a prosperous musical family, rapid recognition as a composer, early flirtation with the avant-garde, life-long relapse into "lush harmonies" and establishment jobs, disgraceful old age as Nazi fellow-traveller. "How the universal sound worlds of Salome and the Four Last Songs can have arisen from so dreary a human source is an unfathomable mystery of creation" (1,030 words)

Everyone Got The Top 1% Wrong

Atlantic | 30th March 2014

To focus on the 1% at the top of the income scale is to miss a much more dramatic fact about American inequality. Most of the gains have gone to the very richest people within that group — the bankers and CEOs, the top 0.01%. "While nine-tenths of the top percentile hasn't seen much change at all since 1960, the 0.01 percent has essentially quadrupled its share of the country's wealth in half a century" (400 words)

Video of the day:  Battle Of The Jazz Guitarist

What to expect: Charming 7' documentary. A son tells his father's story — from guitar hero in Fiji to janitor in America

Thought for the day:

"Email is frozen conversation" — Virginia Postrel

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