Crime Fiction, Art Market, Airport Queues, Smart Babies, Mexico


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

The Detective As Speech

Sara Paretsky | Harrogate Festival | 14th July 2015

Sara Paretsky explains the gestation of V.I. Warshawski, and provides a brilliant critique of crime fiction along the way. "The line between exploitation and exposure is a hard one to walk. While I’m appalled by the widespread abuse of women, I haven’t figured out a way to address this massive violence in my work. Given the number of writers willing to incorporate assault against women into their work, my absence is not noticeable" (2,900 words)

Thirty Days Of Hell In A Gay CrossFit Cult

Chadwick Moore | Out | 9th July 2015

CrossFit "celebrates vomit and blood". It offers the sort of physical and psychological preparation you might want if you are going to war, or into investment banking. "All around us there is a psychotic whir of jump ropes slicing through the air, well-bred young women in yoga pants and ponytails swooping like orang-utans along wooden rings suspended from the ceiling, and scores of people crawling guerrilla-style along the floor" (2,990 words)

Art Is A Bubble That Will Not Burst

J.J. Charlesworth | Artnet | 6th July 2015

Notes on the re-shaping of the global art market. Scarcity is the best predictor of price. Eastern money wants Western art. "Modernism is now completely uncontroversial. The first half of the 20th century is seen as culturally and intellectually serious and lasting in its reputation ... Classic, ultra-rare modernist art is now seen in many ways as the top of a cultural hierarchy, transcending all national cultural boundaries" (1,240 words)

Use Machines To Cut Airport Queues

Michael Skapinker | Financial Times | 15th July 2015 | | Read with 1Pass

The British government calls it "acceptable" for passengers arriving at Heathrow airport to queue 45 minutes for a passport check. Arriving passengers at New York JFK can sometimes wait for two hours. The process is ridiculous — especially for passengers who have already got visas. In effect, the immigration officer looks at the passport and asks: Is this you? Machines could do the job quicker and better (724 words)

Smart Babies Are Inevitable

Eugene Volokh | Washington Post | 14th July 2015

Most Americans say they oppose the use of genetic engineering to produce smarter babies. But most Americans will change their minds once the technology is perfected and widely used on Chinese, or Japanese, or Russian babies. The American rich will lead the way, going abroad if the law blocks them at home, at which point the withholding of higher intelligence from poorer children will become indefensible (1,160 words)

Making The Dogs Dance

Alma Guillermoprieto | New York Review Of Books | 14th July 2015

Notes on the escape of Joaquín Guzmán Loera, head of the Sinaloa drug cartel, from Mexico's highest security prison. His troops dug a tunnel one mile long and wide enough to take a motorcycle, at a depth of 62 feet, from Guzman's cell to a safe house. "El Universal, a Mexico City newspaper, has estimated that 291 trips by a dump truck would have been required to remove the 2,040 cubic meters of dirt and rubble" (2,100 words)

Video of the day: The Wikisinger

What to expect: A lesson in acoustics. The same song sung in 15 different settings (2'40")

Thought for the day

The more obviously one’s work benefits other people, the less one is likely to be paid for it
David Graeber

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