Browser Daily Newsletter 1327


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

Lunch With The FT: Guo Jian

Tom Mitchell | Financial Times | 30th May 2014

Gripping read — and a rare example of an FT lunch in which the participants admit to drinking freely: six bottles of beer, from which a fine conversation flows. Guo Jian is celebrated now as an artist: "A few days earlier, he had covered a large diorama of Tiananmen Square with 160kg of minced pork". Once he was soldier. And in between, he survived the Tiananmen massacre (2,360 words)

Translating “Frozen” Into Arabic

Elias Muhanna | New Yorker | 30th May 2014

Disney has opted to translate "Frozen" into Modern Standard Arabic, rather than the more usual Egyptian Arabic. A curious decision. The effect is rather akin to using the English of the King James Bible. The chorus of 'Let It Go' renders roughly as: "Discharge thy secret! I shall not bear the torment! ... I dread not all that shall be said! Discharge the storm clouds! The snow instigateth not lugubriosity within me" (1,370 words)

Boko Haram’s Reign Of Terror

Bartholomäus Grill & Toby Selander | Spiegel | 30th May 2014

However bad you think it is, it's worse. Notes from a search team which found two of the kidnapped girls: "They were lying, half-dead, in the sweltering heat, their hands tied to a tree. One of the militia members cut through the ropes. The villagers were so frightened that they hardly dared leave their mud huts. The terrorists had stayed in the village for three days with their victims and killed four unruly girls" (1,800 words)

The Art Of Setting The Senses On Edge

Anthony Tommasini | New York Times | 30th May 2014

Charming short essay of the uses of dissonance in music and elsewhere, illustrated with embedded videos. Dissonance can obvious and provocative, as in Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring". "But the more intriguing, subtle and, for composers, handy kind of dissonance involves intervals — that is, the combination of notes that create an acoustical, harmonic tension demanding resolution" (Metered paywall) (1,700 words)

We Need Strong Prisons, But Fewer Prisoners

Richard Posner | New Republic | 24th May 2014

Expert review of "Inferno: An Anatomy of American Punishment" by Robert A. Ferguson, law professor at Columbia University. "The solution lies in decriminalization of much conduct that is now criminalized, in fewer and shorter prison sentences, in a more generous social safety net, in greater willingness to learn from foreign penal policies and experience, and in more attention to the mental health needs of inmates" (4,000 words)

A Giant Leap For Reportage

Geoff Dyer | Guardian | 24th May 2014

Norman Mailer's account of the 1968 moon landings, "A Fire on the Moon", written in haste for "Life" magazine, is a "modern classic" and a "stunning achievement". "Imagine Laurence Sterne with a huge subject, a big advance and a looming deadline, and you have some sense of the conflicting pressures at work". Mailer "evokes events from almost 50 years ago in such a way that they unfold again before our eyes" (2,400 words)

Video of the day:  The American Dream

What to expect: The animated equivalent of a film noir. Short, strange, bleak

Thought for the day:

"The first one who uses 'but' has lost the argument" — Nassim Nicholas Taleb

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