Browser Daily Newsletter 1317

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

Nato: Unprotected In The East

Spiegel | 19th May 2014

What happens if Russia attempts to destabilise the Baltic states and/or violates Estonian or Latvian borders? The Balts can invoke Article 5 of the Nato treaty; but don't expect Nato to do much in response. There is no emergency plan, and Germany doesn't want to make one. It fears reaction at home and from Russia. "We wouldn't even show up in time for the Russians' victory celebration" (2,125 words)

One Uighur Man’s Journey In Two Cultures

Zhang Chi | China File | 19th May 2014

Interview with Kurbanjan Samat, a member of China's Turkic-speaking, mostly Muslim, Uighur minority, from Xinjiang province in western China. Kurbanjan says Uighurs used to take secular Turkish culture as their model; but now they have become "narrower and more hostile"; religious extremism is on the rise; "people have turned towards a darker side"; some want to make Xinjiang "another Afghanistan" (3,700 words)

Big Pharma

Karen Hitchcock | The Monthly | 20th May 2014

Doctor's notebook: The drug marketing industry. "The reps all look the same: very pretty women wearing suits, great-looking guys who belong to weekend triathlon clubs, twinkling their ten-years-younger-than-me eyes. It’s a seduction. One by one they try to touch us with their food and their flattery and the name of their drug till it’s as familiar as family, till we trust it and them, till we choose X over Y" (Metered paywall) (1,200 words)

Competitiveness And Virtue

Will Davies | LSE | 19th May 2014

Inequality has been rising in Britain for decades; but has been seen as a serious social problem only since the crash of 2008, amid fears that the very rich — the 1% — have captured political power. How did we get to this? By accepting that "competition" was always virtuous — not only in business, but in all social relations. We demanded "winners". But winners, once they have won, want to close down the game (1,500 words)

Forget The Dos Equis Guy

Tyler Lopez | Slate | 19th May 2014

An American life. Profile of Judge William Sheffield, who worked with Steven Spielberg on a film project; sued Pope Paul VI over a St. Bernard puppy that was never delivered to him from a monastery in Switzerland; and served as legal counsel for embattled Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. "But none of this would compare to an invention he created in hopes of truly changing the world: the banana slicer" (1,260 words)

The Los Angeles Review Of Cups

Maria Bustillos | LA Review Of Books | 19th May 2014

Review of the short stories printed on Chipotle cups and bags following an intervention by Jonathan Safran Foer, who thought customers would enjoy something interesting to read. The best: "Two-Minute Note To The Future", by George Saunders — "A ravishingly beautiful miniature speculative fiction short story. It is 388 perfect words long and pretty much makes me want to throw in the towel on this whole writing thing" (1,660 words)

Video of the day:  Air Review — Young

What to expect: Music video. Indie-rock music; collage video

Thought for the day:

"Studying neurobiology to understand humans is like studying ink to understand literature" — Nassim Nicholas Taleb

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