Contraception, Prison, Steamships, Leaf Blowers, Rickshaws

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

How Humanae Vitae Changed The Church

Stephen Bullivant | Catholic Herald | 19th July 2018

Pope Paul’s 1968 encyclical forbidding contraception, Humanae Vitae, started a culture war inside the Catholic Church. Paul was upholding the line set by Pius XI, but his words had much more impact because so many Catholics were expecting change. “Humanae Vitae led to surprise, followed by disappointment, frustration, disillusionment and even defiance. This was the moment at which divisions between ‘progressive’ and ‘traditional’ Catholics began to carry serious meaning” (1,980 words)

Work And Caste In An Indian Prison

Ramchandra Singh | Open | 22nd July 2018

Extract from the prison diary of Naxalite revolutionary held for 13 years in the jails of Uttar Pradesh. “The prisoners who kneaded flour for bread were beaten with a leather belt or broom to make them work harder. Kneading such large amounts often broke their fingers. Inmates who made rotis over the huge furnaces became dark in complexion because of constant exposure to heat. In this atmosphere of terror all prisoners had to cooperate in stealing rations from the kitchen” (1,070 words)

The Inflection Point In Transport And Trade

Bradford DeLong | Grasping Reality | 20th July 2018

Global trade began with the launch of the first iron-hulled ocean-going coal-fired steamship in 1870. “Every commodity that was neither exceptionally fragile nor spoilable could be carried from port to port across oceans for less than it cost to move it within any country. Every place in the world was, as long as there were docks and railroads, cheek-by-jowl to every other place. Everyone’s opportunities and constraints depended on what was going on in every other piece of the world economy” (1,100 words)

Leaf Blower Legislation

Phil Mendelson et al | Quiet Clean DC | 20th July 2018

City council committee in Washington, DC, discusses banning gas-powered leaf blowers, with testimony from environmentalists, residents, lobbyists. Interesting in itself, and a model of civil discussion. “Unhealthy noise from a single gas blower can intrude into an area encompassing more than 90 homes, and any playgrounds, parks, and schools in the neighborhood. The distress caused by gas blower noise has prompted 170 communities across the country to enact legislation to ban or restrict their use” (19,500 words)

Rickshaw Diary

Annie Ali Khan | Chapati Mystery | 31st March 2016

Charming account of getting around town by rickshaw in Pakistan. “The rickshaw wallah’s age, the upkeep of the rickshaw, the time, the location, and my knowledge of the city are all considerations that determine the charge. The economy of the rickshaw runs in small change. A rickshaw wallah asked me for 150 rupees to get to sea view. I said 120 rupees and no more. He argued as he drove, but I saw him grinning in the mirror: I had learnt how to save in tens and twenties from every ride” (2,700 words)

Video of the day Sleep Or Die

What to expect:

Matthew Walker warns that people who don’t get enough sleep lead shorter and unhappier lives (1’48”)

Thought for the day

When a thing is funny, search it carefully for a hidden truth
George Bernard Shaw

Podcast The Fractured Mind | Philosophy For Our Times

It is better to resist temptation, or to avoid temptation entirely? Which takes more willpower?
(23m 01s)

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