Clown, Heels, Hoax, Efd Miliband, Iraq, Internet Security

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

Fears Of A Clown

Benjamin Wallace | New York Magazine | 28th May 2015

Boswick, Funnybone and Sparky lament the lost innocence of their profession. Once clowns were funny and lovable. Now clown makeup maps to a nutcase villain. "Some of the blame went to John Wayne Gacy, the prolific serial killer who moonlighted as a clown named Pogo ... There’s also a cultural wariness, given the past decades’ illumination of pedophilia, of men in masks touching other people’s children" (6,032 words)

When Did Men Stop Wearing High Heels, Anyway?

Jenni Avins | Quartz | 23rd May 2015

Kerfuffle at the Cannes film festival! A security guard stops an actor walking down the red carpet in "inappropriate footwear" — namely, flat shoes. "It seems this happened to a handful of women above the age of 50 and even to one amputee." But if you are going to make high heels mandatory, why single out women? Male cowboys wear high heels of a sort. Greek and Roman actors did too. "The higher the heel, the closer to God” (1,302 words)

The Troll Agency

Adrian Chen | New York Times | 2nd June 2015 | Metered paywall

Russia has "industrialised the art of trolling". There are "scores of operations around the country working for government authorities at every level". They employ "thousands — yes, really, thousands” of commenters working flat-out to praise the Kremlin, insult the West, and spread conspiracy theories on social media. "The paid trolls have made it impossible for the normal Internet user to separate truth from fiction" (8,497 words)

The Undoing of Ed Miliband

Patrick WIntour | Guardian | 3rd June 2015

The defeat of the Labour Party and the narrow victory of the the Conservatives under David Cameron gave Britain its biggest general election upset in more than two decades. Labour leader Ed Miliband assumed that the experience of recession would work in his party's favour. But he misunderstood the British mood, and his team proved poor tacticians - especially when grappling with Scottish nationalism (6,700 words)

Saddam Loyalists Control Islamic State

Malcolm W Nance | The Intercept | 3rd June 2015

Islamic State is run by loyalists from Saddam Hussein's inner circle who went underground and regrouped as terrorists. "Simply put, ISIS today is essentially a Baathist-organized amalgam of virtually every Sunni tribal and jihadist insurgent group the United States has fought since April 2003". The Baathists are "flying the ISIS flag", while "covertly working to undermine ISIS’s caliphate and achieve their own political goals" (1,521 words)

How The Internet Became Vulnerable

Craig Timberg | Washington Post | 30th May 2015

Vint Cerf and other Internet founders discuss how the operational choices they made in the 1960s and 1970s left the network vulnerable to virtual threats with increasingly real implications. They were thinking in terms of designing a classroom, not a bank. “We didn’t focus on how you could wreck this system intentionally. You could argue with hindsight that we should have, but getting this thing to work at all was non-trivial” (5,520 words)

Video of the day: An Emo Nose

What to expect: Gogol updated for the age of animation. A man's nose takes on a life of its own (4'23")

Thought for the day

Rules may obviate faults, but can never confer beauties
Dr Johnson

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