Eichmann, Smuggling, Disasters, System 2, Banchan

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

The Arrest Of Eichmann

Max Horkheimer | Verso | 28th September 2017

Essay from 1960 arguing that Israel had nothing to gain from bringing Adolf Eichmann to trial. “Eichmann did not commit his murders in Israel, and Israel cannot want the arrest of criminals inside the sanctuary which they have, rightly or wrongly, obtained, to become the rule. Punishment is the means by which a state forces men to observe the law within its own boundaries; its purpose is deterrence. All other theories of punishment are just bad metaphysics” (1,400 words)

The Farmer Who Smuggles Migrants

Daniel Trilling | New Statesman | 30th September 2017

Cédric Herrou is a farmer in the French Alps who leads migrants from Italy into France. “If they reach Herrou’s farm, he can contact the prefecture and make an appointment, but if they go by themselves, they’ll be arrested and returned to Italy. Residents are allowed to give them food or shelter, but if they drive them anywhere, they risk being charged with facilitating illegal immigration. The result is that while Herrou’s farm is left alone, the surrounding area is heavily policed” (4,200 words)

Almost No Disasters Are Natural

Thomas Wells | Philosopher's Beard | 30th September 2017

A natural disaster is a disaster because it involves a lot of human suffering. What does the word “natural” add? “We use it to demarcate the edges of responsibility. We don’t use it very well. When a fridge catching fire causes an inferno in which 80 people die, we demand answers about how it was allowed to happen – so that it never happens again. We should do the same when government incompetence allows our cities to be flooded or shaken to the ground” (1,600 words)

It Was Called A Perceptron For A Reason

Alex Harrowell | Yorkshire Ranter | 30th September 2017

“If you imagine an intelligent machine, you probably imagine that it would think, but it would be a machine – it would do it fast, and perfectly, within the limits of what it could do. It would be something like the reasoning, deliberative self Daniel Kahneman calls System 1, just without its tiresome flaws. This is exactly not what deep learning systems deliver. Instead, they automate part of System 2’s tireless, swift, intuitive functions. They just don’t do it very well” (1,033 words)

Rice And Banchan – A Love Affair

TK | Ask A Korean | 28th September 2017

On the structure of a Korean meal. There is rice, there is soup, and there is everything else — banchan. “The rice is the center of gravity, to which everything eventually returns. Banchan revolves around rice, as a planet would around a star. This juxtaposition of rice and banchan makes eating Korean food take on a unique rhythm. You alternate bites, between rice and banchan. One spoonful of rice, followed by a piece of kimchi. One spoonful of rice, one bit of braised fish cake” (2,600 words)

Video of the day: Lewis Chessmen

What to expect:

British Museum curator Lewis Finkel talks about the 13C Lewis Chessmen (8’22”)

Thought for the day

A gift for quotation is a serviceable substitute for wit
W. Somerset Maugham

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