Hannah Arendt, Refugees, Castles


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

Embarrassing Bodies: What Did The Victorians Have To Hide?

Kathryn Hughes | Guardian | 28th January 2017

We think of the Victorians as prudish, but they had much to be prudish about. The Victorian body was a mass of “bulges, dips, hollows, oozes and itches”. Darwin grew a beard to hide his eczema, Tennyson to hide his false teeth. “If the Victorians have a reputation for denying or concealing their bodies, it is only because they were obliged to live with them so intensely. That reticence slipped naturally into the way that they wrote, or rather didn’t, about their physical selves” (3,500 words)

Pants For The Cost Of A Postage Stamp

Alice Hines | Vestoj | 30th January 2017

A recycler explains the second-hand clothes trade. “Goodwill and Salvation Army would sell their Number One products in their own stores, then bale all the junk that wasn’t sold and give it to graders, like ourselves. A three-cents-a-pound pack of commingled used clothing, once you separate it out, sells for various prices. Children’s baby rummage at twenty cents. Cotton shirts at twenty-eight cents. We could deliver a pair of pants overseas for the cost of a postage stamp” (1,600 words)

Book Review: Eichmann In Jerusalem

Scott Alexander | Slate Star Codex | 30th January 2017

A psychiatrist reads Hannah Arendt’s classic work. “Arendt recorded a lot of weird, surprising, and disturbing things in her study of Eichmann’s trial. I found five particularly interesting: Eichmann’s psychological profile, the Nazis’ early pre-war plans for the Jews, the ways German-occupied nations did or didn’t resist genocide demands, the politics surrounding claims that Jews didn’t resist the Nazis enough, and the discussion of why more Germans didn’t protest” (8,400 words)

What It’s Like To Be A Refugee

Julia Ioffe | Atlantic | 29th January 2017

Memoir of arriving in the United States as a Jewish refugee from the Soviet Union in 1988: “I think about that room and the refugee cards we filled out and what would have happened if we too had been turned back. We had been stripped of our Soviet citizenship, we had sold everything, and we certainly didn’t have enough money left over for four plane tickets back, back to a country we no longer belonged to and wouldn’t have us. After all that paperwork and waiting, where would we go?” (2,060 words)

How To Build A Medieval Castle

John Goodall | History Extra | 2nd March 2016

First, choose your site. You want “a position of strategic importance” commanding a ford, a bridge or a pass. Your soldiers will have ideas of their own about how a castle should be, but find a master mason to do the architectural drawings — and don’t forget about plumbing. Conscript 2,000 labourers. Dig a canal to bring in the stone. Start by building a perimeter wall: “A work-in-progress in hostile territory is extremely vulnerable to attack from the enemy before it is ready” (2,600 words)

Video of the day: Visualizing Motion And Music

What to expect:

Computer-generated patterns derived from the movements of Simon Rattle conducting Elgar (1’34”)

Thought for the day

Many things are not believed because their current explanation is not believed
Friedrich Nietzsche

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