Insects, Television, Hammacher Schlemmer, Houellebecq, Bees

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

The Horrible Kingdom

Craig Childs | Last Word On Nothing | 25th July 2018

Against insects. “They wear their skeletons on the outside and inside are nothing but goop. They bite each other’s heads off and inject digestive juices reducing that goop to liquid that they drink through their horrible mouth parts. They rule the planet. Human biomass worldwide is around 287 million metric tons. Just those insects eaten annually by spiders comes to 400 million tons. Insects, I am amazed at your existence, but even the most exquisite of you is disgusting” (1,110 words)

The Queer Art Of Failing Better

Laurie Penny | Baffler | 24th July 2018

“Queer Eye is wonderful and terrible and probably the last significant statement to be made in reality television. It has rapidly become essential to the well-being of a great many human beings who had otherwise stopped turning on the television. It manages to exceed the sum of its parts by not actually being about what we’re told it’s about. It’s not about queerness at all. It’s actually about the disaster of heterosexuality — and what, if anything, can be salvaged from its ruins” (4,950 words)

The World’s Most Peculiar Company

Nick Greene | Chicago Magazine | 1st August 2018

Hammacher Schlemmer has been selling “bizarre gadgets and peculiar wellness treatments” for almost 140 years. Isaac Singer bought the parts for his first sewing machine at the company’s New York store. Tsar Nicholas II was a mail-order customer, as were the Bolsheviks. “Open the 2018 spring catalog supplement and you’ll find the Genuine Handmade Irish Shillelagh, the 911 Instant Speakerphone, the Clarity Enhancing Sunglasses, and the Closet Organizing Trouser Rack all on one page” (4,100 words)

Waiting For The Bad Thing

Sam Lipsyte | Believer | 1st October 2006

A week in California with Michel Houellebecq. From the archives of The Believer, recently and generously ungated. “Houellebecq may be an artist for our age, but he’s got none of the media-ready gabbiness or false compassion that goes with it. Even his narcissism doesn’t seem to stem from the usual brew of selfishness and insecurity. It’s a cold, glittering thing. Life is painful and disappointing. And then you die. He may be a major writer, but you wouldn’t want him, say, running a country” (5,600 words)

Best Books On Honeybees

Caspar Henderson | Five Books | 30th July 2018

Beekeeper Helen Jukes talks about bees in literature. “Many Classical thinkers wrote about bees. You can almost feel Pliny filling the gaps in his knowledge with flights of fancy as he writes that honey falls to earth from a great height, sliding over foliage and becoming tainted by the juice of flowers, thereby explaining its different colours, scents and consistencies. Aristotle wrote that bees are deaf; it was found, thousands of years later, that they lack an auditory system” (2,700 words)

Video of the day About 2

What to expect:

A mathematician looks at the deceptive ways in which information is presented on the labels of soup cans (10’04”)

Thought for the day

I knew I could write. I just had to figure out how to eat while doing this
Cormac McCarthy

Podcast Ancient DNA | a16z

David Reich of Harvard University explains what we learn about prehistoric life from ancient DNA
(31m 38s)

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