Giraffe Edition 18

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

Bertrand Russell’s Lofty Pacificism

Jonathan Rée | New Humanist | 14th July 2014

Rather lovely portrait of Bertrand Russell; his birth into the highest reaches of wealth and privilege; his collisions with Wittgenstein and D.H. Lawrence; his transitions between philosophy and political activism; his not unwelcome stays in jail. In Brixton in 1918 he was allowed to "wear his own clothes, rent a private room equipped with his own books and furniture, eat his own food and employ other prisoners as servants" (3,200 words)

Steven Soderbergh: Why I Quit Movies

Mike Ayers | Esquire | 7th July 2014

Soderbergh explains why he's giving up film directing in favour of television, and starting a liquor business. "There's no Yoko. The reason is: It stopped being fun. That's a big deal to me. The ratio of bullshit to the fun part of doing the work was really starting to get out of whack". Also, he's worried about America: "This country is too f-ing big. This could turn into Mad Max, like tomorrow. The fabric is so thin" (3,580 words)

Meat Without The Murder

Carole Cadwalladr | Observer | 13th July 2014

Interview with Professor Mark Post, whose lab produced the first in vitro hamburger last year with funding from Sergey Brin. Interesting throughout. Commercial production of synthetic beef may come in seven years; cost about £15 per kilo. Could whale meat be made likewise? Yes, but that probably wouldn't stop whaling. And human flesh? Yes, but "are you sure you want to go there? Let's do this one weird step at a time" (1,500 words)

The Lost World Of Stefan Zweig

John Gray | New Statesman | 17th July 2014

Renewed enthusiasm for Zweig's writing, stirred in part by Wes Anderson's Grand Budapest Hotel, is carrying his reputation to greater heights than it reached in his lifetime. He was complacent about Nazism until it was too late, while easily panicked by smaller dangers. Contemporaries found something "contorted and unresolved" in his character. But we can empathise now with his circumstances and his sensibility (2,530 words)

On Joanna Rakoff’s “My Salinger Year”

Michael Bourne | The Millions | 16th July 2014

The "sleeper success" of My Salinger Year, which has gone to a third printing and been sold as a film, probably owes much to a general nostalgia for the vanished world of genteel New York publishing. "When Rakoff arrives at Harold Ober in January 1996, the agency does not own a single computer. Agents still track submissions on little pink file cards and Rakoff spends much of her day behind an IBM Selectric" (2,080 words)

Psychological Therapy Would Cost Nothing

David Clark & Richard Layard | Vox | 17th July 2014

Mental illness, especially depression, is the main sickness of the working age population in Britain. Cognitive-behavioural therapy costs, on average, £650 per person, and has a 50% success rate. The cost to the state of an unemployed person living on benefits is £650 a month. Depressed people also consume physical health-care at twice the average rate. So treating the depressed would probably pay for itself several times over (1,110 words)

Video of the day: Places Where We Lived

What to expect: Surreal meditation on home, growing up, belonging
NSFW: Language; brief cartoon sex

Thought for the day

"I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong"
—  Bertrand Russell

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