Djibouti, Mafias, MeToo, Space, Skillets

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

The Coming Wars

Bruno Maçães | Politico | 15th January 2018

The front lines of the future all run through Djibouti, which has more foreign military bases than anywhere else on Earth. France has four bases but is running them down; America has just opened its second base; China, Japan and Italy have one each; Saudi Arabia has one under construction; Turkey, Russia and India are negotiating. Soon, “every major global power will have a Djibouti footprint and the country will resemble a live model of state conflict in the 21st century” (1,030 words)

In The Name Of The Godfather

Misha Glenny | TLS | 9th January 2018

America’s “war on drugs”, coupled with the liberalisation of global capital movements and the collapse of communism in Europe, injected “immense vigour into the business of organized crime”. The emergent Mafias of the 1980s and 1990s became major actors in Western economies; they remain so; but outside Italy they are rarely acknowledged, still less studied, by economists. “They are not just romanticized gangsters. They compete seriously with the state’s claim to a monopoly on violence” (1,200 words)

The Excesses Of #MeToo

Andrew Sullivan | New York | 12th January 2018

Sexual abuse is “real and evil”. Victims are brave to speak out. Crimes must be punished. But denunciation is not due process. “I’ll tell you what’s also brave at the moment: to resist this McCarthyism, to admit complexity, to make distinctions between offenses, to mark a clear boundary between people’s sexual conduct in a workplace and outside of it, to defend due process, to defend sex itself, and privacy, and to rely on careful reporting to expose professional malfeasance” (1,870 words)

Radical Dimensions

Margaret Wertheim | Aeon | 10th January 2018

Einstein showed that space contained four dimensions, though for most of history three had seemed enough. String theory argues for ten dimensions, or possibly 26. But what if there are no dimensions at all? “A view is emerging among some theoretical physicists that space might in fact be an emergent phenomenon created by something more fundamental, in much the same way that temperature emerges as a macroscopic property resulting from the motion of molecules” (4,600 words)

The Skillet

Susannah Nesmith | Bitter Southerner | 19th October 2017

How do we measure up against our forebears? “Evacuating from a hurricane requires a conversation about what matters. I had meant to grab the skillet. It belonged to my great-great-grandmother, the cook on a wagon train from Georgia to Florida in the late-19C. She had packed up everything she could including the skillet, an even more massive Dutch oven, and a one-gallon soup pot, all of them iron. She had also bundled up a tiny baby, a girl, her first, her only. My great-grandmother” (2,400 words)

Video of the day Amélia & Duarte

What to expect:

Spellbinding tale of a love affair gone wrong, somewhat after Wes Anderson. By Studio Bilder (8’09”)

Thought for the day

I am not able to begin. I simply skip what should be the beginning
Rainer Maria Rilke

Podcast of the day Secrets Of Sourdough | Gastropod

Nicola Twilley and Cynthia Graber explain the origins of sourdough bread, with help from fifteen Belgian bakers

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