George Washington, Drones, Hemingway, Utopia, Syria


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

George Washington, Mules, And Donald Trump

Philip Greenspun & Rinker Buck | Philip Greenspun's Weblog | 22nd October 2015

"Historians have long been squeamish about acknowledging that General Washington, like many of the American founders, was a voracious land speculator. Few academics and high school history teachers want to risk their careers by suggesting to their students that the father of their country worked the same day job as Donald Trump. Washington was a land developer, often described as the richest of his generation" (650 words)

A Visual Glossary Of Drones

Josh Begley | Intercept | 15th October 2015

A short, visual guide to drone strikes from the usually wordy Intercept. "Over a five-month period, U.S. forces used drones and other aircraft to kill 155 people in northeastern Afghanistan. They achieved 19 jackpots. Along the way, they killed at least 136 other people." So 90% of kills were not intended targets. "Most drone strikes are aimed at phones... a phone can become a deadly proxy for the individual being hunted" (910 words)

Hemingway’s Literary Escape

Sheila Melvin | China File | 23rd October 2015

In barely a decade, Wu Lao's translation of The Old Man and The Sea has “sold more than a million copies and been reprinted 22 times." President Xi Jinping “has maintained his passion for [the book] on several occasions," as do jailed dissidents. In 1941 Hemingway met both Chiang Kai-shek and Zhou Enlai; his “paean to the individual who refuses to give up” enjoys extraordinary popularity with readers in China (1,660 words)

Utopias, Past And Present

Terry Eagelton | Guardian | 16th October 2015

More’s Utopia will soon be 5 centuries old, but remains “astonishingly radical”. “In some ways a work of early science fiction”, it “gave rise to a whole new genre of writing” —a genre incorporating Robinson Crusoe, the Communist Manifesto, and Fourier’s “future in which the sea would turn into lemonade”. Most visions of utopian societies can be divided into either “carnivalesque” or “austere” projections of the future (1,840 words)

Psych Warfare

Becky Hagan-Egyir | Makeshift | 8th September 2015

A Canadian doctor treats traumatised Syrians over Skype from 5AM each day before starting his day job; he speaks regularly with 300 refugees and internally displaced persons. Unusual challenges include poor connectivity and inability to dispense drugs. 600,000 “suffer severe mental health disorders” and nearly 20% of the population have moderate conditions. There is no longer social stigma to accepting psychiatric help (950 words)

Video of the day: Our Fractal Brains

What to expect: Geometric animation (3'41")

Thought for the day

You have not converted a man because you have silenced him
John Morley

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