Frogs, Parasitosis, Garry Kasparov, Russian Revolution, Victor Hugo

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

Hunting For Frogs In The Western Ghats

The Economist | Medium | 21st March 2017

A leech-laden yomp through the rainforest with Sathyabhama Biju Das, amphibian researcher at Delhi University, discoverer of one family, seven genera and 57 species of frog. “Mr Biju’s most fertile hunting-ground is the Western Ghats, a mountain range that runs parallel to India’s western coast from Gujarat to Kerala. The southern end, covered in primary rainforest, is frog heaven. There are 181 known species of amphibian in the Western Ghats, 159 of them endemic (that is, found nowhere else)” (2,900 words)

Insect Detective

Eric Boodman | Stat | 22nd March 2017

Absorbing profile of a Connecticut entomologist whose working day is increasingly taken up by walk-in visitors claiming that their bodies are infested with insects and parasites, a condition known as delusional parasitosis. Other entomologists in universities, government offices, even natural history museums, report the same trend. “The patients believe that the proper medication is not an antipsychotic but an antiparasitic, and that the correct expert is not a psychiatrist but an insect specialist” (4,800 words)

Garry Kasparov On Propaganda And Press Freedom

Michael Judge | Columbia Journalism Review | 22nd March 2017

Interesting throughout. “My focus is less on Trump himself and more on strengthening the democratic institutions he attacks, that will be needed even more against the next Trump. This is what we failed to do in Russia. We allowed Yeltsin to weaken the institutions because we were so worried about the Communists getting back in power. Then, when the ruthless and capable Putin came in, with none of Yeltsin’s democratic instincts, the system was far too weak to resist” (3,320 words)

What’s Left?

Sheila Fitzpatrick | London Review Of Books | 23rd March 2017

While the Soviet Union survived, historians could rank the 1917 Russian Revolution among the greatest events of the century. But after the implosion of Soviet Union, is the Revolution even worth studying? A flurry of new history books marking the centenary cannot insist on the Revolution’s enduring global importance. They focus more on internal questions: Was the Revolution inevitable or accidental? In any case, the torch has passed. The great revolution of the twentieth century was China’s (3,700 words)

Hugo, Inc

Nina Martyris | Paris Review | 23rd March 2017

A Belgian entrepreneur called Albert Lacroix invented the blockbuster book deal in 1861 by paying Victor Hugo the equivalent of $3.8 million for an eight-year licence to Les Misérables, sight unseen. Lacroix borrowed the money, then reduced his debt by selling foreign and translation rights, a book-world first. He stoked anticipation by withholding advance copies, the first embargo. Flaubert called Les Misérables “a book written for sh–heads”. Parisians bought copies by the cartload (1,550 words)

Video of the day: China Road

What to expect:

Diary of a bus and train journey from Hong Kong to Guizhou and Guangxi provinces (4’06”)

Thought for the day

If we were all on trial for our thoughts, we would all be hanged
Margaret Atwood

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