Giraffe Edition 34

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

Gaza And Proportionate War

Jeff McMahan | Prospect | 5th August 2014

A philosopher asks: Has Israel's attack on Gaza been proportionate? Answer: No. Hamas is wicked, but too many Palestinian civilians have been killed relative to the number of Israeli civilians at risk from Hamas. "While it may be permissible for you to kill one innocent bystander as a side effect of saving your life, it is probably not permissible to kill two, and certainly impermissible to kill three" (2,650 words)

Why Pretend To Be Native American?

Russell Cobb | Longreads/This Land | 4th August 2014

Iron Eyes Cody became America's "most recognisable Indian" thanks to film and TV work and a 1982 autobiography. Later it turned out that he was born Espera Oscar de Corti to an Italian immigrant family in Louisiana. Bill Clinton, Johnny Cash, Miley Cyrus and Elizabeth Warren have all claimed Cherokee blood. Why this widespread desire to identify as Native American? Is it guilt, gain, romanticism, or something else? (3,900 words)

China’s One Per Cent

Zhou Dongxu | ChinaFile/Caixin | 5th August 2014

Inequalities of wealth and income have increased sharply in China during the past two decades of economic liberalisation. The Gini coefficient rose from 0.45 in 1995 to 0.73 in 2013. The top one per cent of households are estimated to own one-third of the nation's wealth. A researcher claim that this is acceptable: "The public is still tolerant of growing wealth inequality, as long as wealth is amassed legitimately" (935 words)

Science Is Not About Certainty

Carlo Rovelli | New Republic | 11th July 2014

How can science claim authority, when it changes over time? "On the one hand, we trust our past knowledge, and on the other hand, we are always ready to modify, in depth, part of our conceptual structure of the world. There’s no contradiction between the two. Science is not about certainty. Science is about finding the most reliable way of thinking at the present level of knowledge. Science is extremely reliable; it’s not certain" (4,400 words)

Interview: Werner Herzog

James Rocchi | The Playlist | 31st July 2014

Retrospective discussion pegged to release of boxed DVD set of Herzog's 16 greatest films. On his use of hypnotised actors: "Under hypnosis, you're like in a tunnel — basically aware of the world. I was suspected of doing it to get better control of actors. I don't need that. I control even a wild beast like Klaus Kinski, a borderline mad, wild, paranoid madman — and I can control him and do good stuff with him" (4,000 words)

Video of the day: How Hamas Fires Rockets

What to expect: Documentary footage from Gaza

Thought for the day

"People always say something designed to get what they want"
— David Mamet

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