Browser Daily Newsletter 1277


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

The Dead Zoo Gang

Charles Homans | Atavist | 31st March 2014

Big, gripping read. The global black market in Rhinoceros horn is controlled largely by Irish Traveller families from the village of Rathkeale, near Limerick. They buy and steal the horns from museums, zoos and private collections across Europe and America; ship them to China and Vietnam, where prices have soared in the past decade. "A remarkable case study in entrepreneurship, legal or otherwise" (19,000 words)

The Man Who Went Looking For Freedom

Carmen Bugan | BBC | 2nd April 2014

Romanian emigré tells of the heroism of her father, who denounced Ceausescu and suffered horribly for it. The story is pieced together mainly from the thousands of files that the Romanian secret police compiled on the family. "The transcriber knew us so well, he or she was able to read and duly note our moods. Some even took sides in family arguments, noting on the margins of the transcripts who they thought was right" (3,300 words)

Putin’s World

Ivan Krastev | Project Syndicate | 1st April 2014

Krastev is the best analyst of modern Russia bar none. Here's his key point: "The West has no idea what Russia is willing to do, but Russia knows exactly what the West will – and, more important, will not – do. This has created a dangerous asymmetry." Russia's project for Ukraine is to make it like Bosnia: Technically a single country, but radically federalised, with one part owing primary allegiance to the country next door (840 words)

The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Of The Future

Steven Hyden | Grantland | 1st April 2014

The induction of Pearl Jam is almost a foregone conclusion: They were "the last archetypal rock band that was insanely popular". Radiohead is the next sure bet, as "the last archetypal rock band that was insanely popular and then consciously decided to become less popular". Eminem? Probably. Beyoncé too. But Coldplay isn't quite cold yet. LCD Soundsystem is a "long shot". And The Strokes have pretty much lost it (3,050 words)

The Culture Wars Are Over

Noah Smith | Atlantic | 1st April 2014

Legalization and broad acceptance of gay marriage means that the "last great bastion of government-supported traditionalism in Western society has been swept away". Religion is declining, marijuana is rising, gender roles are equalising. The Culture Wars are over, the liberals have won. In victory they should reach out to conservatives and build a new consensus around families, employment, and religious tolerance (1,130 words)

It’s A Living

Jerry Stahl | Bookforum | 1st April 2014

Nikil Saval's Cubed, a "lush, funny, unexpectedly fascinating" history of office work, tells "how authority maintains authority, and how the subjugated stay subjugated". It captures "the mood of barely controlled panic" that "suffuses most American offices" and animates "every element of overmanaged, time-sucking, keystroke-counting" office routine. This is a "masterpiece", packed with "weirdly riveting vignettes" (1,845 words)

Video of the day:  How Cooking Can Change Your Life

What to expect: Short talk (2'30") on healthy eating; animation with voiceover

Thought for the day:

"In politics, the angry person is generally understood to be the loser" — Peggy Noonan

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