Giraffe Edition 25


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

Russia Is Pregnant With Ukraine

Vladimir Sorokin | New York Review Of Books | 24th July 2014

Magnificent satire from Russia's greatest modern novelist. Worthy of Blake or Gogol. "During that hot month, sitting in front of an overheated television set, Russia conceived. A new life stirred in her enormous womb: Free Ukraine. The authorities were horrified, the liberals were jealous, and the nationalists were filled with hatred. Neither the Kremlin nor the people had anticipated such a rapid development of events" (1,120 words)

If A Cat Could Talk

David Wood | Aeon | 24th July 2014

Dogs confirm us, cats confound us. Our relationship with cats is an "eruption of the wild into the domestic". Cats blend in; their lethal instincts align with our interests; but they do not assimilate; they belong to the night. Cats are "vehicles for our projections, misrecognition, and primitive recollection". They are part of our symbolic universe as much as our physical universe. Michel Foucault called his own cat 'Insanity' (2,400 words)

Of Maggots And Brain Scans

Anne Fausto-Sterling | Boston Review | 21st July 2014

Brain scans may seem to explain behaviour in biological terms. But what we see so far is loose correlation, not reproducible causation. There is "serious redundancy". A small group of activated neurons can induce a given behaviour, "but thirty to forty different groups may elicit the same behaviour". Second, "a given set of neurons may not always produce the same kind of behaviour, even in the same brain" (1,300 words)

Wild Speculation On Hamas And Its Rocketry

Alex Harrowell | Yorkshire Ranter | 25th July 2014

Rockets are a very inefficient way of killing people, especially when they don't have effective guidance mechanisms. But rockets can have a powerful disruptive effect: which is why Hamas uses them, and why it has concentrated, at least until now, on range rather than accuracy. "Siege is a fundamentally economic form of warfare; the Israelis are besieging Gaza, and the Gazans are trying to impose a counter-siege" (1,480 words)

The Verbal Dance Around Killing People

Annabelle Lukin | Conversation | 24th July 2014

"If you want others to avert their gaze while you get down to a bit of your own killing, or you want them to defend your right to kill, make sure they believe that you are 'at war'. Your job is done. 'War' makes us see the violence as bipartisan, as a show put up by two equal protagonists. 'War' makes us see violence as purposeful. Naturally, the parties 'at war' are entitled to use force to pursue their goals" (1,000 words)

Video of the day: Iconic Houses

What to expect: Cartoon guide to modern masterpieces by Wright, Le Corbusier etc

Thought for the day

"Mediocre candidates answer the exam paper; brilliant ones question it"
—  Alex Harrowell

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