Browser Daily Newsletter 1294

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

The Un-X-able Y-ness Of Z-ing

Sean Cotter | Words Without Borders | 18th April 2014

The English title of Milan Kundera's sixth novel, The Unbearable Lightness Of Being, yielded one of the great memes of the English language; it "dropped into the flow of culture like a spot of dye" when the novel was published in 1984. The original Czech phrase was Kundera's own; the English translation was by Michael Heim. The only competition for phrases of comparable resonance comes from the Bible (4,670 words)

Speech: On The Middle East

Tony Blair | New Statesman | 23rd April 2014

"The region is in turmoil. At the root of the crisis lies a radicalised and politicised view of Islam, an ideology that distorts and warps Islam’s true message. The threat of this radical Islam is not abating. It is growing. It is spreading across the world. It is de-stabilising communities and even nations. And in the face of this threat we seem curiously reluctant to acknowledge it and powerless to counter it effectively" (4,900 words)

Revolt Of The Cities

Harold Meyerson | American Prospect | 22nd April 2014

American cities are "charting a new course for American liberalism" thanks to a new cohort of mayors elected with progressive and populist agendas — typically including universal pre-school, mandatory inner-city hiring for major projects, higher minimum wages, more public transport. Bill de Blasio in New York gets the national headlines, but there are similar stories in Pittsburgh, Seattle, Minneapolis, Boston (4,300 words)

Why Did Russia Give Away Crimea Sixty Years Ago?

Mark Kramer | Wilson Center

Officially, Russia gave Crimea to Ukraine in 1954 to celebrate historic ties between the two countries and because Crimea and Ukraine were becoming increasingly integrated. But Crimea's population was 75% Russian at the time. More probably — and ironically, given recent events — the transfer was meant to further Russify Ukraine by adding 860,000 ethnic Russians to Ukraine's already large Russian minority (2,248 words)

Pre-Code Movies Worth Watching

Mallory Ortberg | The Toast | 17th April 2014

Notes on the golden age of naughty Hollywood — the interlude in the late 1920s and early 1930s after sound and before consistent enforcement of the Hollywood Production Code, which banned profanity, nudity, and sex in general from the screen. Sample pre-code classic: The Public Enemy, 1931. "Jimmy Cagney shoves a grapefruit in Mae Clarke’s face. There is nothing else you need know about this movie" (2,900 words)

Time’s Arrow Traced To Quantum Source

Natalie Wolchover | Quanta | 16th April 2014

Hot things cool, solid things crumble, fragile things break. The universe moves towards equilibrium only. But why? Quantum mechanics may have an answer: Entanglement. "Particles gradually lose their individual autonomy and became pawns of the collective state ... What’s really going on is things are becoming more correlated with each other. The arrow of time is an arrow of increasing correlations” (2,326 words)

Video of the day:  John Lennon & Yoko Ono On Love

What to expect: What the title says. Their voices; cartoon visuals; charming and relatively innocent.

Thought for the day:

"The most terrifying fact about the universe is not that it is hostile, but that it is indifferent" — Stanley Kubrick

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