Browser Newsletter 1082

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

Best of the Moment

How Laura Poitras Helped Snowden Spill His Secrets

Peter Maass | New York Times | 13th August 2013

Engrossing tale filled with tradecraft worthy of John Le Carré: "They were to wait until they saw a man carrying a Rubik’s Cube, then ask him when the restaurant would open". Guardian Journalist Glenn Greenwald got his NSA scoop thanks in large part to his reporting partner, film-maker Laura Poitras, who built relations of trust with leaker Edward Snowden after Greenwald snubbed a first approach (Metered paywall)

Sanskrit And Historical Sense

Aatish Taseer | Open | 13th August 2013

Indian writer educated in English learns Sanskrit. "In India, where history had heaped confusion upon confusion, where everything was shoddy and haphazard and unplanned, the structure of Sanskrit, with its exquisite planning, was proof that it had not always been that way. It was like a little molecule of the Indian genius, intact, and saved in amber, for a country from which the memory of genius had departed"

Butchery And Other Fine Arts

Mark Hay | Roads & Kingdoms | 13th August 2013

On making authentic Central Asian food abroad. You can find the spices and oils in New York or London. The horses and fatty sheep are more of a problem. "Nor does the modern state smile upon social traditions of Central Asian butchery, like Pamiris hanging slaughtered livestock outdoors for two to three months, or Kazakh steppe nomads ritualistically flagellating sick men with the lungs of a fresh-slaughtered sheep"

Interview: Charles Simic

Rachael Allen | Granta | 7th August 2013

Short, sweet conversation with America's poet laureate. "Poetic movements are great fun for their participants. Like dogs barking in unison at some real or imaginary adversary, after a while they just bark for the pure enjoyment of it." "Of all the things ever said about poetry, the axiom that less is more has made the biggest and the most lasting impression on me. A brief poem requires endless tinkering to get all its parts right"

History And Guilt

Susan Neiman | Aeon | 12th August 2013

Superb essay on guilt and responsibility, culture and memory. Starts with Django and takes flight. Why build a Holocaust Museum in the heart of Washington, when America did so little before and during the Holocaust; recruited Nazis after the war to build rockets; and still hesitates before its own atrocities? "Can you imagine a monument to the genocide of Native Americans or the Middle Passage at the heart of the Washington Mall?"

Video of the day: Sliced

Thought for the day:

"If you have something very important to say, whisper it" — Nassim Taleb

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