Fishing, Alaska, Jesus, Batten Disease, Missing

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

A Water-Based Religion

Nicholas Shakespeare | New Statesman | 7th January 2018

An angler’s elegy to fishing. Every cast is a prayer, every fish is a mystery. “What I love almost best about fishing is another property it shares with reading and writing: it concentrates the mind, while at the same time liberating it. It is much less about catching a fish than releasing the fisherman. This ecstatic dreamtime lies within the reach of anyone able to bait a hook and is what many of us, really, are angling for – a settled but excited state of mind in a place of outstanding beauty” (1,330 words)

How To Turn A Red State Purple

Mark Oppenheimer | Politico | 12th January 2018

“On a busy day in Alaska, you’ll meet an old hippie who arrived in the 1970s, a Native whose family has been here for millennia, an Army veteran proud to live out of mobile-phone range, and a Greenpeace activist who visited one summer, stayed for the outdoorsy lifestyle, and has the bumper stickers. To varying degrees, all of them depend on oil money. Alaska is something like Times Square in the 1970s: gorgeous and libertine and free, but built on a foundation of grimy capitalism” (6,200 words)

The Post-Truth Gospel

Marcel Theroux | TLS | 9th January 2018

On the improbable life of Nicolas Notovitch, a late-19C Russian émigré who claimed to have discovered, while convalescing in a Himalayan monastery, a manuscript telling how the young Jesus had traveled to India and studied Hinduism and Buddhism before returning to Palestine. Notovitch’s translation, ‘The Unknown Life of Jesus Christ’, enjoyed a moment of global fame before the doubts set in. Had Notovitch been fooled by the monks — or had he concocted the forgery himself? (3,700 words)

Losing Conner’s Mind

Amitha Kalaichandran | Atavist | 11th January 2018

Dementia afflicts children too, though the condition is rare. Three in every 100,000 are born with Batten disease, caused by lack of an enzyme needed by brain cells to dispose of their waste. The waste clogs the brain. Affected children gradually lose speech and mobility. Then they die, usually between the ages of eight and twelve. A new gene therapy can arrest the disease, even reverse the symptoms. But is it a cure? The parents of a five-year-old boy in Maryland will soon find out (9,600 words)

Encyclopedia Of The Missing

Jeremy Lybarger | Longreads | 11th January 2018

Two thousand people go missing every day in America. Meaghan Good does her best to keep track of them, adding 5-20 stories each day to her database. “Her descriptions have a literary tone, but remain neutral and objective, as if a short story writer tried her hand at police reports instead. It’s impossible not to feel spooked by this vision of America as a vast black hole. It’s impossible not to wonder what kind of person would choose to spend her life immersed in other people’s tragedies” (4,160 words)

Video of the day Why Globalisation Went Wrong

What to expect:

Adrian Wooldridge of The Economist compares the world today with the world a century ago (12’10”)

Thought for the day

The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things
Rainer Maria Rilke

Podcast of the day Farmer Hoggett | Here’s The Thing

Alec Baldwin talks to James Cromwell about acting and political activism

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