Food, Matchmaking, Desert, Lindbergh, Speculation

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

Rachel Laudan On The History Of Food And Cuisine

Rachel Laudan & Russ Roberts | Econtalk | 17th August 2015

Fascinating, expansive interview (also available as a podcast). Endlessly quotable: "Did humans start agriculture in order to have beer?" "When you cook, what you are essentially doing is outsourcing digesting." "Until the invention of frozen French fries in the 1960s and 1970s, French fries were for the elite." "Probably the only things that we regularly eat but taste as they would have done hundreds of years ago are fish." And many more (8,410 words)

The ‘Shidduch Crisis’ Has Led To An Orthodox Obsession With Female Beauty

Avital Chizhik-Goldschmidt | Forward | 1st September 2015

Orthodox Jewish girls are taught that their beauty ought to remain "hidden, like jewels" – that modesty will protect them from objectification. Yet when they enter the high-stress world of Orthodox dating they face a contradictory reality: they must maintain a perfect appearance – "plastic surgery, hair blown out, manicures, expensive dresses, high heels" – so that their matchmakers can recommend them to men with increasingly demanding standards of beauty (2,000 words)

Wild Wild East

Amira Jarmakani | New Inquiry | 9th September 2015

"Immersing myself in the world of desert romances for the past seven years ... I came to understand that the way authors craft sheikhs as believably romantic heroes tells us a great deal about the kinds of fantasies that fuel the war on terror." Claims that sheikh-heroes in desert romances are "cowboy[s] in robes"; they share a "facility with horses," are full of "rugged individualism," and can "tame or conquer wild terrain" (1,810 words)

To Save His Dying Sister-In-Law, Charles Lindbergh Invented a Medical Device

Emily Redman | Smithsonian | 9th September 2015

Charles Lindbergh is now remembered mainly for his aviation, but he also performed "pioneering work in biomechanics": he designed "the perfusion pump – a handblown, 18-inch-high, clear Pyrex glass configuration that was used to keep organs functioning outside of the body." Lindbergh had a complex relationship with his own fame: it gained him access to his Nobel laureate collaborator, but hounded him while he worked (2,130 words)

Why Speculate?

Michael Crichton | Larvatus | 1st July 2005

Michael Crichton on speculation in the media, demonstrating by doing. "Media carries with it a credibility that is totally undeserved. You have all experienced this, in what I call the Murray Gell-Mann Amnesia effect. (I refer to it by this name because I once discussed it with Murray Gell-Mann, and by dropping a famous name I imply greater importance to myself, and to the effect, than it would otherwise have.)" (4,590 words)

Video of the day: Stephen Fry – Language

What to expect: Kinetic typography of Stephen Fry speech about language (6'33")

Thought for the day

Nobody ever forgets where he buried the hatchet
Kin Hubbard

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