Fasting, Poetry, Basquiat, Brady, Finland

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

One Week, No Food

S Abbas Raza | Aeon | 1st May 2013

In which the writer and his wife consume nothing but water for seven days. “The biggest surprise was just how much more time we had on our hands. I was struck by how much of the day I normally spend attending to my digestive needs: thinking about what I would have for lunch or dinner; shopping for groceries (which we do almost daily); cooking, eating, washing dishes, cleaning up, even moving one’s bowels. Eliminating the simple act of eating frees up much more time than you’d think” (2,100 words)

Elisa New On Poetry In America

Tyler Cowen | Mercatus Center | 20th June 2018

Topics include Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, Instagram, puritanism, Willa Cather, Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, Bob Dylan, Shaquille O’Neal. “Whitman was a walker in the city. Whitman came of age in Brooklyn at a moment when the modern urban metropolis that we can still see in the New York cityscape today in all of those 19th century buildings that are still there — when that was happening. Whitman’s consciousness is educated by the vast architectural sprawl of his city” (7,200 words)

The Basquiat Enigma

Stephen Metcalf | Atlantic | 25th June 2018

Paintings by Jean-Michel Basquiat command Picasso-like prices. But if we have theories of most great artists, we are still feeling our way with Basquiat. “Standing before Jeff Koons’s ‘Balloon Dog’, you take a selfie. Before ‘Untitled’, you do what, exactly? A common initial response — that the art is slapdash, tender, true — feels wrong somehow, as if we haven’t gotten it. Unwilling to play the part of the rearguard philistine anymore, we stay quiet, stranded in a vaguely shameful silence” (4,950 words)

Brady’s Bungled Bank Robbery

Thomas Dybdahl | Longreads | 25th June 2018

How a tragically inept attempt to steal a getaway car produced an historic change in the rules of American criminal justice. The “Brady Rule” says that prosecutors may not suppress evidence exonerating the defendant. Which seems fair enough; but it became law only in 1963 when the Supreme Court considered the case of James Leo Brady, on death row for a murder to which his accomplice had already confessed. Prosecutors knew about the confession but withheld it from the defence (4,600 words)

God In The Sauna

Eeva Väänänen Moore | Lapham's Quarterly | 25th June 2018

A short cultural, mythological and political history of Finland. Saunas throughout. “Colonised by Sweden in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, then ceded to Russia in 1809, the land populated by Finns did not achieve independence until 1917. But Finns have always had their own stories, shared in a beast of a language mangled by isolated dialects. While the Swedes had their castles, and the Russians their palaces, the comparatively modest Finns had their saunas” (2,240 words)

Video of the day Synthetic Biology

What to expect:

Visual essay exploring the possibilities of gene-editing for modifying and combining living organisms (2’01”)

Thought for the day

Superior people never make long visits
Marianne Moore

Podcast How To Build A Smart City | Freakonomics Radio

Dan Doctoroff talks to Stephen Dubner about helping run New York, and planning new cities for Google
(39m 03s)

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