Giraffe Edition 22


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

Demented Kingdom Of William T. Vollmann

Tom Bissell | The New Republic | 22nd July 2014

Vollmann’s latest book, Last Stories and Other Stories, his twenty-second since 1987, is a "680-page short-story collection about death, putrefaction, ghosts, and cancer". He works 16 hours a day with no internet, and inhabits the persona of Dolores, a transgender woman. He could probably use an editor. At 55 he has "mellowed as a man", but "his subject matter has, if anything, grown even more confrontational" (7,440 words)

Secrets Of The Magus

Mark Singer | New Yorker | 5th April 1993

I'll continue to throw in recommendations for classic New Yorker articles as long as the online archive remains open. This profile of magician Ricky Jay, "the most gifted sleight-of-hand artist alive" is a joy throughout — for the glimpses of his performing skills, the portraits of the great magicians who inspired him, and the excursions into magical history and scholarship which are Jay's ruling passion (14,800 words)

Let’s Fly

Craig Mod | Medium | 23rd July 2014

How to survive air travel. In brief: Get there early, bring a face-mask and ear-plugs. "Authorities recommend arriving two hours before international flights. I say four. Get there four hours before your flight. Your friends laugh at you. Have patience. You are hacking the airport by arriving early, knowing that all the work you could have done at home — the emails or writing or photo editing — can be done at the airport" (1,280 words)

What Is Wrong With The Grand Nation?

Alexander Smoltczyk | Der Spiegel | 23rd July 2014

Spiegel travels the route of the Tour de France, talks to locals, and asks, de haut en bas: Why is France doing so much worse than Germany in every way? Usual answer: It's the foreigners. "We still have values here in the village". "Why don't the football players sing the national anthem?" According to Le Point: "France under François Hollande is like Cuba, only without the sun but with the extreme right."  (4,900 words)

Fasinatng History of Autocorrect

Gideon Lewis-Kraus | Wired | 22nd July 2014

The early Microsoft Word had a feature called 'glossary' which allowed a writer to insert stock phrases using short-cuts. Soon a Microsoft scientist twigged that 'glossary' could also remedy common spelling mistakes, and that the space bar could trigger substitutions automatically. Autocorrect was born. Not everyone was happy: "Goldman Sachs was mad that Word was always turning it into Goddamn Sachs" (3,030 words)

Obsessing About Gaza, Ignoring Syria

Jeffrey Goldberg | Atlantic | 23rd July 2014

Far more people are being killed, day by day, in the Syrian civil war, than in the fighting between Israel and Hamas. Yet the attention of the West is focused massively on Israel and Palestine, at the expense of Syria. "What happens in Syria should be of first-order interest to the US media. But it is clearly not." The answer may be that "Muslim killing Muslim or Arab killing Arab seems more acceptable than Israel killing Arabs” (1,520 words)

Video of the day: Walking City

What to expect: Slow-building animation (stick with it) caricaturing modern architecture

Thought for the day

"Intelligibility or precision. To combine the two is impossible"
—  Bertrand Russell

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