Browser Daily Newsletter 1306

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


Teju Cole | New Yorker | 6th May 2014

Scarcely bearable. Read and weep. What life must be like just now for 230 Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped for sale as slaves. "They are not thinking of Twitter, where the captivity is the cause of the day, nor of the campaigns on the streets of Lagos, nor of the rallies in front of Nigeria’s embassies. They are perhaps thinking only that night is falling again, and that the men will come to each of them again, an unending horror" (600 words)

Objects Of Desire

Philip Ball | Homunculus | 5th May 2014

Why were old scientific instruments so beautiful, when modern ones are merely functional? Partly it's a selection effect: the most beautiful old instruments are the ones that get saved. They were built by general craftsmen, who brought their own aesthetic to bear. And they were used for demonstrations to noble patrons. They had to look the part. "Elegance was a key attribute of the courtly natural philosopher" (1,116 words)

Have I Ever Left It?

Mark O'Connell | Slate | 4th May 2014

Exploring the Dublin of James Joyce. First stop: 15 Usher's Island, home of Stephen Dedalus’s aunts in Ulysses and setting for The Dead, greatest of Joyce's short stories. "In order for him to write about Dublin, he needed to stay well away from it, but he understood the paradoxical nature of that distance and that need. The relationship between this city and its most famously wayward son was one of frustrated love" (6,300 words)

Odd Job Man

Sam Leith | Guardian | 7th May 2014

Portrait of "the world's foremost slang lexicographer", Jonathon Green, who has spent 30 years compiling dictionaries of slang. "When he finds an instance of the word 'fuckadoodle' somewhere predating the Oxford English Dictionary's, one imagines him doing a little air-punch in his lonely room". His achievement is "incoherent but also magnificent: a cathedral of bin lids built on foundations of quicksand" (1,500 words)

Interview: Philippe De Montebello

David Carrier & Joachim Pissarro | Brooklyn Rail | 6th May 2014

Discussion of the work of museums, with the former director of the New York Metropolitan Museum: "You teach by the way in which works of art are installed. If I place this cup in proximity to that cup, I have created a narrative, I have invited a comparison. The curator, the moment he or she hangs a painting, or pinions a sculpture on a pedestal, next to something else or in a group, is teaching you something" (11,490 words)

Arms Of Individuals In Same-Sex Marriages

Thomas Woodcock et al | College Of Arms | 29th March 2014

A ruling from the English, Welsh, Northern Irish and Commonwealth College Of Arms: "A man who contracts a same-sex marriage may impale the arms of his husband with his own on a shield or banner but should bear his own crest rather than the crests of both parties. A woman who contracts a same-sex marriage may bear arms on a shield or banner, impaling the arms of her wife with her own" (332 words)

Video of the day:  The Illusion Of Life

What to expect: Schematised tutorial of Disney's 12 lessons for lifelike animation

Thought for the day:

"There is no reasoning someone out of a position he has not reasoned himself into" — Clive James

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