Browser Newsletter 1058

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

Best of the Moment

Afghanistan: What Pakistan Wants

Anatole Lieven | New York Review Of Books | 15th July 2013

It's complicated. "Pakistan and Afghanistan have long blended into each other, via the population of around 35 million Pashtuns that straddles both sides of the border between them (which Afghanistan has never recognized). Pashtuns have always regarded themselves as the core of Afghanistan; yet around two thirds of Pashtuns actually live in Pakistan, where they form the backbone of Islamist revolt against the state"

What Happens When We Actually Catch Edward Snowden?

David Pozen | Lawfare | 15th July 2013

He gets prosecuted. But a jury might acquit him — not on the facts, but out of sympathy. Trial would be a circus; NSA would be in the spotlight for months; programmes and legitimacy would be questioned. Much of world opinion would be on Snowden's side. Any secrets he took with him are a sunk cost: who knows who else has them now? All things considered, America might do better leaving him to languish in exile

An Interview With David Mitchell

Dolan Morgan & Florian Duijsens & Lee Yew Leong | Asymptote | 15th July 2013

Novelist explains why he and his wife have translated from Japanese the memoir of an autistic boy; because they themselves have an autistic son, and this book, The Reason I Jump, does a good job of explaining autism from the inside. "People who don't have autism know so little about life with autism, because this knowledge is so hard to communicate. If it wasn't so hard, it wouldn't be autism"

What Are You Waiting For?

Stephen Grosz | Medium | 15th July 2013

When the fire alarm rings, why don't we just run? "Research has shown that, when a fire alarm rings, people do not act immediately. They talk to each other, and they try to work out what is going on. They stand around." Because, says this psychoanalyst: "Committing ourselves to a small change, even one that is unmistakably in our best interest, is often more frightening than ignoring a dangerous situation"

Children Of The Corn

David Byrne | Journal | 6th July 2013

In praise of Des Moines. "I saw people out and about, and I thought to myself—this is America as it’s supposed to be, or close to it. It’s imperfect, but people here seem to have found a way of living that is not based around either extremes of manic striving or desperation. It may not be cool, but it might be beyond cool. Here among the winding creeks and fields of corn they may have arrived at some kind of secret satisfaction"

Video of the day: DeAnne Smith: Nerdy Love Song

Thought for the day:

"A writer can be bad, but never wrong. A translator can be good, but never right" — David Mitchell

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