Doctors At War, Food, Barack Obama, Robert Gottlieb, Extreme Sailing, Milk

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

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The Deadly Business Of War-Zone Medical Care

Katrin Kuntz | Der Spiegel | 22nd September 2016

At work with Médicins Sans Frontières in two of their most dangerous deployments, the Central African Republic and the Jordanian border with Syria. “Since the war in Syria began five years ago, the regime and its allies have murdered 698 Syrian doctors and nurses. Some 63 hospitals supported by MSF were bombed in 2015 and a further 16 have been attacked by August of this year. When officials planned to rebuild a hospital in southern Syria, the local residents protested — out of fear” (5,400 words)

The Depression Was Great For The American Kitchen

Megan McArdle | Bloomberg View | 23rd September 2016

The 1930s were a terrible time for the American economy in general, but this was “the era that made American food as we know it”. Most households bought a first refrigerator. Frozen food replaced dried and canned food. “A modern American home cook plopped into a farmhouse kitchen of 1918 would be hard pressed to get a meal out of unplucked chickens and unregulated flames. Send us to the kitchen of 20 years later, and most of us could probably turn out a pretty credible meal” (1,400 words)

Barack Obama: The Ultimate Interview

Doris Kearns Goodwin | Vanity Fair | 23rd September 2016

Obama on Obama: “On the spectrum of successful politicians, I’m not introverted the way some have been, but I’m not an F.D.R. or a Bill Clinton, who are just constantly in a crowd and just relishing it. I like my quiet time. There is a writer’s sensibility in me sometimes, where I step back. I am generally optimistic. I see tragedy and comedy and pain and irony and all that stuff. But in the end I think life is fascinating, and I think people are more good than bad” (7,400 words)

The Catching Of Catch-22

Robert Gottlieb | Work In Progress | 23rd September 2016

Robert Gottlieb was a junior editor at Simon and Schuster when a literary agent showed him the manuscript of a novel called Catch-18. He took it. It made his reputation. But just as Joseph Heller’s book was ready for press, Leon Uris published a novel called Mila 18. “They had stolen our number. Obviously, ’18’ had to go. But what could replace it? Lying in bed, I had a revelation. Early the next morning I called Joe and burst out: Joe, I’ve got it! Twenty-two! It’s even funnier than eighteen!” (2,600 words)

The Final Journey Of Anders J. Smedsvik

Anders Fjellberg | Dagbladet | 21st September 2016

Anders Smedsvik set off to circumnavigate the globe in 1972 at the age of 86 in a ship he built himself. “He had been at sea since the late 1800s and was one of few Norwegians on the exclusive list of mariners to have rounded Cape Horn by sailboat. He had been a vagabond in Tasmania, a mutineer in the Atlantic, and a deserter on Mauritius. He had sailed through hurricanes in every ocean in the world, survived shipwrecks and so far avoided losing a vessel”. He was never seen again (7,200 words)

Why Is Milk In The Back Of The Store?

Russ Roberts | Medium | 22nd September 2016

Why do supermarkets usually put milk at the back of the store? Conventional wisdom holds that it must be a sales ploy. You go in to buy milk, you get funnelled past shelves of other items that you can also be lured into buying. But that sounds implausible. Competition will surely force supermarkets to put the milk more or less where the customers want it. If so, the real question is why customers want to go to the back of the store. Do they themselves want to be tempted into other purchases? (1,300 words)

Video of the day: Istanbul Through The Prism

What to expect:

Documentary scenes of Istanbul digitally processed to suggest water-colour paintings (1’05”)

Thought for the day

Those who are fond of setting things to rights have no great objection to seeing them wrong
Wiliam Hazlitt

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