India, Mahler, Pentagon, Crony Capitalism, Benjamin Franklin

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

Trials And Errors

Shivani Radhakrishnan | n+1 | 28th October 2015

The award-winning Indian film Court shows how "the most destructive forces operating in contemporary India" are "melded together: caste concerns, class tensions, and labor issues." The Indian state increasingly uses vague, expansive laws around sedition – now defined as any speech or action "critical of politicians, elected representatives belonging to the government" in a surely "explicit attempt at silencing dissenters" (2,150 words)

She Gives Me Partridges

Bee Wilson | London Review Of Books | 5th November 2015

Alma Mahler snared various artistic geniuses romantically - Klimt, Gropius, Mahler among them - and many others as friends, despite her bullying and antisemitism (and several of them being Jewish). "She saw it as her mission to draw talented men from many worlds into her orbit and to render them ‘brighter.’" What did men see in her? Said Thomas Mann, "she gives me partridges to eat, and I like them" (4,270 words)

The Pentagon’s Missionary Spies

Matthew Cole | Intercept | 26th October 2015

"As the evangelical Christian Hiramine crossed the stage to shake hands with President Bush and receive his award, he was hiding a key fact from those in attendance: He was a Pentagon spy whose NGO was funded through a highly classified Defense Department program" to get ground information in North Korea, and possibly elsewhere. Using humanitarian work as a cover for spying is broadly considered a bad idea (3,940 words)

Economic Growth

John Cochrane | The Grumpy Economist | 26th October 2015

Against crony capitalism. "Everybody has to give up their little deal, protection, tax break and subsidy... Politically, rather than fall back on “I’ll support your little deal, you support mine,” everyone has to become part of the coalition that supports reform — “no, I’m not getting mine, so I’m not going to support you getting yours."" Plus finance, health, immigration and more. Long but thought-provoking and surprising (10,750 words)

Benjamin Franklin’s Guide To Food And Sex

Scott Larson | Notches | 22nd October 2015

Vegetarian Ben Franklin gives in to temptation. "I balanc’d some time between Principle & Inclination: till I recollected, that when the Fish were opened, I saw smaller Fish taken out of their Stomachs: Then thought I, if you eat one another, I don’t see why we mayn’t eat you... So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable Creature, since it enables one to find or make a Reason for every thing one has a mind to do" (1,400 words)

Video of the day: When natural phenomenon meets man-made systems:

What to expect: Programming living organisms (4'46")

Thought for the day

I don't necessarily agree with everything I say
Marshall McLuhan

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