Build, Think, Walk, Travel, Write

The Godfather

Martin Filler | New York Review Of Books | 4th April 2019

Mark Lamster’s “searing yet judicious” biography of Philip Johnson, The Man In The Glass House, tells how Johnson defanged his critics and dominated America’s architectural establishment despite having spent his youth as an “unpaid spy for the Nazi regime” and his later years churning out quirky but cost-efficient office blocks for faceless corporations. A very few great buildings aside, Johnson was an “aesthetic vampire” who “drained meaning from architecture by reducing it to a consumable style” (4,007 words)

Minding Your Brain

Tyler Cowen | Mercatus Center | 10th April 2019

Jaw-dropping conversation with neuroscientist Ed Boyden about scientific efforts to model and emulate the workings of the human brain. Topics include: treating dementia with implants and flashing lights; using ketamine as a fast-acting cure for depression; meditation as placebo medicine; how microbes in the gut affect social behaviour; whether the brain stores memories physically, in proteins; the shareability of mental states; and whether a person with a split brain counts as one person or two people (13,400 words)

Could A Woman Walk Around The World?

Camille Bromley | National Geographic | 5th April 2019

Five years ago National Geographic commissioned Paul Salopek to walk around the world and report on his travels. He is now half-way through that trek. Did it have to be a man? Could a woman walk around the world with the same facility? Physically, yes. Culturally, there would be more variables. “Women can’t move freely without being subject to stares, comments, questions, catcalls, solicitations, threats. Everywhere, they are seen. The male body, on the other hand, is simply neutral — an assumed state of being” (3,300 words)

The Dementia Side Of Birmingham

Wendy Mitchell | Which Me | 6th December 2016

Writer with early-onset Alzheimer’s explains how she copes with a train journey to Birmingham. “I have to have a taxi. If the time approaches and there’s no sign, I ring them. They know I’ll ring them and they don’t get annoyed as they know I have dementia. The train arrives and there’s someone in my seat, they’re nice on this occasion and move. I set an alarm to remind me where to get off. I set another to remember my suitcase, because by the time I get to Birmingham I’ll have forgotten I have one with me” (1,200 words)

The Art Of Poetry: T.S. Eliot

Donald Hall | Paris Review | 10th April 1959

A treasure from the archives. Eliot talks about his writing, and about poetics more generally. “After a period of getting away from the traditional forms comes a period of curiosity in making new experiments with traditional forms. This can produce very good work if what has happened in between has made a difference; when it’s not merely going back, but taking up an old form, which has been out of use for a time, and making something new with it. That is not counterrevolution nor mere regression” (6,820 words)

Video: Meyer Lansky. Interview with probably the greatest mind in twentieth-century organised crime, conducted in Israel in 1971 when Lansky was briefly fleeing US prosecutors (4m 58s)

Audio: Public Enemy Number One | TBD With Tina Brown. American financier Bill Browder talks about his decade-long crusade to hold Russian president Vladimir Putin accountable for murder (38m 18s)

“In politics, obedience and support are the same.”
― Hannah Arendt

A note to subscribers in London: If you would like to join The Browser’s audio editor, Caroline Crampton, for a very informal discussion of podcasting and its possibilities, at 6.30pm on Wednesday April 17th in London N1, please email to reserve a place — Uri Bram, publisher

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