Drones, Allergies, Andre The Giant, Mass Incarceration, Habermas

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

The Assassination Complex

Jeremy Scahill | Intercept | 15th October 2015

Papers leaked by Edward Snowden give a picture of the White House's drone assassination campaign. The problem is the policy - usually branded "targeted killing" - not the tool. The problems are manifold: an over-reliance on flawed signal intelligence, the loss of potentially invaluable interrogations, and the high toll in collateral damage. The secrecy around the campaign obscures its national security cost. First of a series (3,090 words)

Food Allergy Fakers Need To Stop

Neil Swidey | Boston Globe | 14th October 2015

In-depth look at the history and current state of food allergy awareness. Twenty years ago celiac disease was virtually unknown; now, restaurants regularly receive all types of allergy-related requests - many of which are simply faddish or diet-related. Discusses both the medical and cultural history, including ways for servers to gauge the seriousness of a request, and whether, as some claim, we were never meant to eat gluten (5,830 words)

The Biggest Man: Understanding Andre the Giant

Brian Phillips | Grantland | 16th October 2015

A soulful profile of Andre the (not so gentle) Giant, who struggled with bullies and alcoholism and got rides to school from Samuel Beckett. His acromegaly, more than physical fitness, gave him the edge in the ring - "he's stronger than other strong men the way you’re stronger than your 10-year-old nephew". Rather than play a character, he was simply himself; absurdist yet deadpan - a huge tube of humanity in a leotard (1,690 words)

Who’s To Blame For Mass Incarceration?

Donna Murch | Boston Review | 16th October 2015

A provocative new book claims that it was an African-American "Silent Majority" that encouraged the draconian Rockefeller Drug Laws, which incarcerated millions of black men. On closer inspection, however, it suffers from a paucity of evidence from the voting booth. Although a small minority of wealthy blacks and clergy leaders did demand tough drug laws, this idea never caught on with mainstream black leaders and voters (3,350 words)

Critique And Communication: Philosophy’s Missions

Jürgen Habermas & Michaël Foessel | Eurozine | 16th October 2015

Jürgen Habermas interviewed. Topics include his postwar discovery of Marx and Adorno, the open Nazism of Heidegger and other prominent German academics, as well as his connection to Foucault and Derrida, who he thinks were misled by German conservatives. He also covers the difference between individual and collective values, the current revival of scientism, and the task of Enlightenment philosophy in a globalised world (5,370 words)

Video of the day: Timelapse Hot Air Balloons

What to expect: At Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta (2'42")

Thought for the day

Silence is an argument carried on by other means
Che Guevara

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