Browser Daily Newsletter 1288

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

The Mystery Of The Dots

Macro Man | 14th April 2014

A glorious parody. A new case for Sherlock Holmes: "I received this cable this morning. Observe, Watson, that it has been sent from Washington, DC in America. It was composed therefore in the middle of the night by the sender, this Yellen. Who sends a transatlantic message at that hour? Someone who is agitated in the extreme and cannot sleep, and finally resolves to consult a higher authority" (1,890 words)

The Slaughter Bench Of History

Ian Morris | Atlantic | 11th April 2014

War is terrible when it happens, but in the long run it makes humanity safer and richer. How so? Because war spurs peoples to create larger, more organised societies, ruled by stronger governments; stronger societies are better able to maintain peace, and so create the preconditions for prosperity. War may be the worst imaginable catalyst for this process, but "it is pretty much the only way humans have found" (2,680 words)

The Dickens Of Detroit

Michael Weinreb | Grantland | 15th April 2014

That's Elmore Leonard, and no exaggeration. A tribute to his mighty five early Detroit novels, 52 Pickup, Swag, Unknown Man #8, The Switch, and City Primeval: High Noon in Detroit, which stake out Leonard's lifelong territory of armed robbery, blackmail, kidnapping, alcoholism. "Nobody ever used airport lockers with as much verve and creativity as Elmore Leonard did. The man was the Miles Davis of the airport locker" (4,925 words)

I Was Swallowed By A Hippo

Paul Templer | Guardian | 4th May 2013

From the archives. If you think you are having a rough day, this may help to put things in perspective. "It was as if I had suddenly gone blind and deaf. I seemed to be trapped in something slimy. There was a terrible, sulphurous smell, like rotten eggs, and a tremendous pressure against my chest. My arms were trapped but I managed to free one hand and felt around – my palm passed through the wiry bristles of the hippo's snout" (800 words)

A Radical’s Emancipation Of Color

Richard Cork | Wall Street Journal | 11th April 2014

Appreciation of Henri Matisse's "exuberant painted-paper cutout", The Snail. Matisse began using paper cutouts to test colour combinations when working on murals in the 1930s. He returned to them as his main medium when old age and surgery left him bedridden and scarcely able to paint. "Instead of drawing the outline and putting the colour inside it — the one modifying the other — I draw straight into the colour" (1,020 words)

The Truth About Google X

John Gertner | Fast Company | 15th April 2014

Inside Google's innovation lab, Google X. Not to be confused with Google Research: Research is "mostly bits"; X is "mostly atoms". X is "tasked with making actual objects that interact with the physical world". Main products so far: driverless cars, Google Glass, high-altitude Wi-Fi balloons, and glucose-monitoring contact lenses. "Failure is not precisely the goal at Google X. But in many respects it is the means" (5,530 words)

Video of the day:  Amelymeloptical Illusion

What to expect: Juggling with rings; simple, beautiful, hypnotic

Thought for the day:

"Nobody can make big money on what someone else tells him to do" — Edwin Lefevre

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