Browser Daily Newsletter 1337

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

Scout’s Honour

Rosencrans Baldwin | Oxford American | 11th June 2014

An Eagle Scout returns in adulthood to a Boy Scout Jamboree in West Virginia, and comes away with divided feelings. "The children in scouting are wonderful children. The culture is inspiring and compelling. But what repels me is the harm and disgrace repeatedly committed by the elders who remain in charge. If the Boy Scouts don’t outgrow their governors, they may not grow at all" (9,824 words)

Life, After

Miles O'Brien | New York | 12th June 2014

How life changes when you lose an arm. "Your center of gravity changes dramatically when you are suddenly eight pounds lighter on one side of your body. And while my arm may be missing physically, it is there in my mind’s eye. When I tripped, I reached reflexively to break my very real fall with my completely imaginary left hand. My fall was instead broken by my nose, and my nose was broken by my fall" (2,600 words)

How A Funny-Looking Man Conquered Hollywood

Sophie Gilbert | Atlantic | 12th June 2014

Benedict Cumberbatch may be the biggest star in the world just now. Which is a good thing: It means that "our culture is maturing, and no longer considers classical good looks to be paramount. Immanuel Kant drew distinctions between things that are evidently beautiful because we can see they're beautiful, and things that are sublime because they demand an intellectual response. The sublime is finally triumphant" (1,130 words)

The Battle Against High-Frequency Traders

Andrew Smith | The Guardian | 7th June 2014

Gripping story; deep dive into high-frequency stock-market trading; its protagonist is called Michael Lewis. But not the Michael Lewis who wrote "Flash Boys". This is Michael Lewis the lawyer from Mississippi who sued Big Tobacco on behalf of 39 American states in the 1990s and won damages of $368bn. Now he's planning a class-action suit against high-frequency traders, and here's the guts of it (6,100 words)

The Art Of The Epigraph

Jonathan Russell Clark | The Millions | 11th June 2014

"Epigraphs are more than mere pontification. Writers don’t use them to boast. They are like the first lesson in a long class. Writers must teach a reader how to read their book. They must instruct the tone, the pace, the ostensible project of a given work. An epigraph is an opportunity to situate a novel, a story, or an essay, and, more importantly, to orient the reader to the book’s intentions" (3,170 words)

What We Left Behind

Dexter Filkins | New Yorker | 28th April 2014

Prescient portrait of Iraq's prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, shortly before the election that returned him to power. The threat of Sunni insurgence could be said then to work in Maliki's favour, at least in the sectarian calculus of Iraqi politics; his fellow-Shiites rallied round to vote for him. But with the election past, the insurgents have grown stronger still, taking Mosul. Maliki and his country are in danger (11,200 words)

Video of the day:  Modern Love

What to expect: Amination. Joys and problems of love across a large-ish age divide. PG rated

Thought for the day:

"The purpose of studying economics is to learn how to avoid being deceived by economists" — Joan Robinson

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