Giraffe Edition 4

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

World War One: Impossible, Then Inevitable

Anatole Kaletsky | Reuters | 27th June 2014

Nobody expected world war until it happened, from obscure beginnings, in 1914. The situation is similar in 2014: "Two key features of early 20th-century geopolitics created the necessary conditions for the sudden spiral into all-consuming conflict: the rise and fall of great powers, and the over-zealous observance of mutual-defense treaties. These features are now returning to destabilise geopolitics a century later" (1,027 words)

Save The Elephants

Elizabeth Kolbert | New Yorker | 28th June 2014

The rise of terrorism and the weakness of governments in parts of Africa is putting elephants at risk of extinction after a quarter-century of successful conservation. Some 45,000 African elephants — about 10% of the surviving population — have been slaughtered for their tusks in the past three years. Rare breeds of rhinoceros are also being wiped out; rhino horn sells in Vietnam for $25,000 a pound (1,130 words)

Thomas Piketty’s “Capital In The 21st Century”

Cory Doctorow | Boing Boing | 24th June 2014

Another review, but another fine one, and perhaps the interval since peak Piketty last month has restored your appetite. This is a piece by and for the intelligent general reader, summarising Piketty's narrative with generous quotation, and drawing some political and moral inferences. The paragraphs mapping the dynamics of international finance on to World Wars One and Two are particularly recommended (5,126 words)

I Drive A Cryonics Ambulance

Hattie Garlick | FT Magazine | 27th June 2014

Tim Gibson runs a British cryonics emergency team which prepares bodies for long-term storage in America. The body is chilled, the blood replaced with anti-freeze. "As soon as we’re alerted, we start calling the patient’s doctor, coroner, mortuary shipping service, embalmer, airline, US Embassy and Homeland Security to smooth the way. These days, no one blinks an eyelid. Not long ago, they saw us as cranks" (760 words)

“Of Sexual Irregularities”, By Jeremy Bentham

Faramerz Dabhoiwala | Guardian | 26th June 2014

Jeremy Bentham, philosopher of utilitarianism, wrote "voluminous manuscripts" about sexual freedom. He reasoned that nothing could be more conducive to human happiness than "all-comprehensive liberty for all modes of sexual gratification". But for two hundred years his trustees and editors suppressed these papers. A first selection is at last appearing as a volume in Bentham's collected works (1,630 words)

Rational Savagery In Iraq

Gary Brecher | Pando Daily | 23rd June 2014

Kurdish forces and Kurdish hills have contained the Sunni insurgents of Isis on the plains of Central Iraq, among fellow Sunni Arabs, "which has muted their bloodlust somewhat". But if Isis breaks through into the north, where Iraq's Chaldean and other minorities have sought haven, "well, you don’t have to guess about what would happen". The best outcome would be for Isis to attack the Kurds directly: the Kurds would crush them (2,790 words)

Video of the day: Jerry Seinfeld Answers Your Questions About Digital Etiquette

What to expect: Sit-down comedy

Thought for the day

"A working definition of privacy is the ability to choose your audience"
—  Alex Harrowell

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