Browser Newsletter 1076

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

Best of the Moment

Happy Birthday, @Horse_ebooks

Adrienne LaFrance | Medium | 6th August 2013

If you know what @Horse_ebooks is, then read on with delight. If not, you'll probably find the piece somewhere between silly and baffling. As the writer says: "Serious evaluation of a spam robot’s tweets may seem counterintuitive". But, as she goes on to say: "Horse is simultaneously meaningless and meaningful, wildly surreal yet deeply existential". A bot is producing “some of the most moving poetry of our age”

A Nation Unhinged

Tom Gallagher | LA Review Of Books | 5th August 2013

Gripping review of Kill Anything That Moves, Nick Turse's history of the Vietnam war. "This book is almost guaranteed to reveal something that will drop your jaw. For me, it was the number of American military helicopter sorties flown during the Vietnam War: over 36 million. Filled with such shocking details, Kill Anything That Moves will shake you with a deeper understanding of the serial atrocity that was the US war effort in Vietnam"

Larry Summers, Anger Translator

Dan Altman | Foreign Policy | 5th August 2013

Now here's a persuasive argument for having Summers as Fed chairman. Imagine the scene when he testifies to Congress — losing his patience, slapping his forehead, uttering audible groans, saying what he really thinks of the questions he's asked: "I don't mind explaining stuff. I like explaining stuff. That's why I teach. But if I explain stuff three times. And people still don't get it. I start to lose confidence"

In Praise Of Tony Windsor

Don Watson | The Monthly | 5th August 2013

You don't need to know the background detail to enjoy this frank tribute to Windsor, an independent Australian MP who supported Julia Gillard's Labour government, to the outrage of his conservative rural constituents, and is now leaving politics: "A good bloke lost as collateral damage, people are saying. What matters is that you were a good politician: good enough to be the measure of what’s missing in modern politics"

Art Of The Phony

Charles Hope | New York Review Of Books | 5th August 2013

The modern concept of forgery in fine art is a product of the market in fine art. "There is no clear evidence that art forgeries as such existed in the ancient world. There were plenty of collectors, but they seem to have found copies just as desirable as originals". In the early middle ages, the most coveted images were religious icons: "What mattered about objects such as these was whether they worked miracles"

The Hole In Our Collective Memory

Rebecca Rosen | Atlantic | 30th July 2013

I'm late to this, and it's important. Copyright is the enemy of knowledge: books fall out of circulation at the whim of publishers. "Shortly after works are created and proprietized, they tend to disappear from public view only to reappear in significantly increased numbers when they fall into the public domain and lose their owners. There are substantially more new editions available of books from the 1910s than from the 2000s"

Video of the day: Missing U

Thought for the day:

"The critical task is necessarily comparative, and younger people do not truly know what is new" — Pauline Kael

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