Giraffe Edition 37


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

Withdrawing With Style From The Chaos

Kenneth Tynan | New Yorker | 19th December 1977

And, while the archive remains open, another classic from the New Yorker. Kenneth Tynan delivers a sparkling profile of the still-quite-young Tom Stoppard, "one of the two or three most prosperous and ubiquitously adulated playwrights at present bearing a British passport". With a guest appearance by Harold Pinter. Stoppard is brilliant throughout: “What I like to do is take a stereotype and betray it” (26,000 words)

The Mask Is Off

Charles Gati | American Interest | 7th August 2014

Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban declares his preference for an “illiberal state”. He holds up China and Russia as models. He dog-whistles support for the restoration of "Greater Hungary", including territories lost after the First World War, to excite nationalists. He treats the European Union as an opponent. The EU should certainly respond; but doing so may boost Orban's popularity still further (2,750 words)

Diary: Building A Nuclear Bomb

Mike Kirby | London Review Of Books | 31st July 2014

Notes on working at a nuclear weapons depot in Nevada. "Some time in the spring a new warhead for the Polaris arrived. I went through the manual and found a number of things that disturbed me. This warhead was designed for use against cities. It was very compact, a weapon with a small bang and a small cross-section, but its ablative shield was an alloy of uranium, and it produced very heavy alpha fallout downwind" (4,000 words)

Looting Ukraine

Oliver Bullough | Legatum Institute | 15th July 2014

Thorough — and thoroughly depressing — account of corruption in Ukraine. Bad under Yushchenko, worse under Yanukovich. The gas industry is one big racket. If you try to do business legally you get shut down. Two-thirds of the economy is outside the tax system. Of the taxes that government does collect, at least one-third are embezzled. Proceeds are laundered offshore by British banks and lawyers (PDF) (11,600 words)

Inside The Mortuary

Alice Fishburn | FT Magazine | 8th August 2014

Snapshot of Professor Sue Black, who transformed an "old and dilapidated" mortuary at Dundee University into Britain's most advance centre of forensic anatomy. Her team is almost all women. “Whether it’s because it’s a new science and doesn’t have the ceilings that other sciences have, or maybe it’s more poorly paid, or maybe it’s sexier. But, for whatever reason, it ticks the boxes for women’s brains” (2,016 words)

Academic Horror, Ivy League Edition

Alexander Nazaryan | Newsweek | 8th August 2014

Discussion of recent books decrying Ivy League education as "a moribund institution, a triumph of marketing". In Excellent Sheep, William Deresiewicz despairs that the main concern of students is less to get a general education and more to get a job in investment banking. But is it all the students' fault? "If the Ivy League is turning out imperfect citizens, then its imperfect teachers are to blame" (3,700 words)

Video of the day: Enter Pyongyang

What to expect: Promotional time-lapse video produced by Beijing travel company

Thought for the day

"Respect movements, flee schools"
— Jean Cocteau

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