Browser Newsletter 1098

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

Best of the Moment

The Eastern German Identity Has Disappeared

Stefan Berg | Spiegel | 30th August 2013

The institutions that oversaw Germany's integration more than 20 years ago are winding down. Memories of the former GDR are fading. There is no political or cultural legacy to speak of. "The end of a country is on the horizon, a country that never formally existed: East Germany. A demographic group that also never formally existed is coming to an end, as well: the East Germans. It's time for an obituary"

Nine Questions About Syria

Max Fisher | Washington Post | 29th August 2013

New readers begin here. If you've been following events, you know it all already. But it's a useful crib-sheet, and the answers aren't encouraging: "The killing will continue, probably for years. There’s no one to sign a peace treaty on the rebel side, even if the regime side were interested, and there’s no foreseeable victory for either. Probably the best model is Lebanon, which fought a brutal civil war that lasted 15 years from 1975 to 1990"

Paper Versus Pixel

Nicholas Carr | Nautilus | 30th August 2013

Reports of the death of print have been greatly exaggerated. Information on paper looks set for a long cohabitation with information on screens; both have their advantages. "We were probably mistaken to think of words on screens as substitutes for words on paper. They seem to be different things, suited to different kinds of reading and providing different sorts of aesthetic and intellectual experiences"

Truffle Hunting Has Gone To The Dogs

Jake Swearingen | Modern Farmer | 30th August 2013

Why dogs are replacing pigs as truffle hunters. Reason one: They are less likely to eat the truffles. "You don’t want to wrestle with a 300-pound hog when it’s interested in chowing down on a truffle." Reason two: They are more discreet. “If you have a pig on a leash, everyone knows what you’re doing.” The main drawback: You have to train the dog. But that's getting easier, thanks to a growing industry of truffle-hunting-dog trainers

Making It New

Seamus Heaney | New York Review Of Books | 25th October 1984

In memory of Seamus Heaney, this noble review, ungated, from the NYRB archives, of James Fenton's Children In Exile. "Fenton can handle the domestic metrical line as naturally and cajolingly as the late John Betjeman but he prefers not to massage the collective emotions as consolingly as the laureate did: far from being bathed in the glow of the good old days, his work is backlit by the fires of contemporary history"

Video of the day: Is Bigger Always Better?

Thought for the day:

""The main advantage to written sex, as opposed to video clips, is that it keeps alive the possibility of humor" — Nicholson Baker

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