Giraffe Edition 11

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

Gay, Jewish, Mentally Ill, Sponsor Of Gypsies

Andrew Solomon | New Yorker | 8th July 2014

The author returns to Romania, whence his grandparents fled pogroms and poverty. "I looked at the local peasants and thought that, if their forefathers had not burned down the houses of mine, mine wouldn’t have left. And I looked at what had happened to us in two generations, and looked at what hadn’t happened to them in two or three, and instead of feeling outraged by their history of aggression I felt privileged by it" (2,370 words)

World Cup Boom And Bust

Chris Feliciano Arnold | Harper's | 8th July 2014

Notes from Manaus, Brazil, where one-quarter of houses have no running water and nine-tenths have no mains sewerage. When the river floods, residents "find alligators or snakes swimming in their living rooms". The 19C opera house, product of a short-lived rubber boom, inspired a Herzog film; but it pales as a folly beside the $350 million, 40,000-seat football stadium built for the World Cup (1,350 words)

Are The Authoritarians Winning?

Michael Ignatieff | New York Review Of Books | 8th July 2014

Authoritarian regimes, led by China and Russia, are "aglow with arrogant confidence". Democracies are wracked by "envy and despondency". But the authoritarian vision of prosperity without freedom is unsustainable. "The saving grace of democracy is its adaptability. It depends for its vitality on discontent. Discontent leads to peaceful regime change, and as regimes change, free societies can discard failed alternatives" (3,730 words)

The Science Of Stress

Alix Spiegel | NPR | 7th July 2014

The notion of stress as a danger to health was invented in 1936 by a Canadian scientist with funding from the cigarette industry. Tobacco makers also funded research into the "Type A personality" — the person "so full of stress and pressure" as to be at high risk of a heart attack. The industry's aim was to advance stress as the cause of cancer and heart attacks, with smoking as the antidote (1,300 words)

Fireside Chat: Larry Page & Sergey Brin

Vinod Khosla | Khosla Ventures | 3rd July 2014

Interesting throughout. Larry Page: "We feel like right now, computers are still pretty bad. You're just messing around. You're scrolling on your touchscreen phone, and trying to find stuff. The actual amount of knowledge you get out of your computer versus the amount of time you spend with it is still pretty bad. So I think our job is to solve that, and most of the things we're doing make sense in that context" (6,100 words)

Video of the day: Barcelona Go!

What to expect: Gorgeous flow-motion city portrait

Thought for the day

"The more precise you are, in general the more likely you are to be wrong"
—  J.L. Austin

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