Intelligence, Hybrids, Bohumil Hrabal, Othello, War Crimes


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

How Animals Think

Alison Gopnik | Atlantic | 19th April 2016

Every trait supposed unique to humans is found in some other animal when we look hard enough for it. How about high intelligence? We allow that animals can think, but we assume their intelligence to be a failed or very limited version of our own. “A better way to think about other creatures would be to ask ourselves how different species have developed different kinds of minds to solve different adaptive problems” (2,100 words)

Studies In Hybrid Morphology

MH | Full Stop | 20th April 2016

This new collection of short stories about xenotransplantation counts as fiction now — but the reality will follow soon. “Andrew describes his vision being ‘clearer, though still somewhat milky’ and his other senses as ‘increasingly acute’. His nerve function overall has continued to improve. He now moves proficiently around his tank and even occasionally, with the help of the marine center, makes forays to the nearby ocean” (1,300 words)

Stalin’s Finger

Jacob Mikanowski | The Point | 18th April 2016

In praise of Bohumil Hrabal, a “connoisseur of joy” even when writing about Czech steel factories under Stalin. “His novels teem with strange, blissful monomaniacs, isolated simpletons, tavern philosophers and characters that seem to have arrived as shipwrecks from some prior, surreal adventures … They find beauty in bales of pulped novels, at the mouth of blast furnaces, in the act of pissing on one’s own shoes” (2,030 words)

Emilia, A Rebuke To Female Silence

Caitlin Keefe Moran | The Toast | 13th April 2016

At the end of Othello Emilia exposes her villanous husband Iago, redeems the reputation of her murdered friend Desdemona — and dies. “Emilia and Desdemona weren’t killed for being unfaithful or foolish or too trusting or too weak—they were killed because they hung around too many damn men”. Othello is not primarily a play about sexual jealousy; it is about “control, and what happens to women who resist or subvert that control” (1,250 words)

Menachem Rosensaft | Tablet | 18th April 2016

We forget how revolutionary the idea of “crimes against humanity” was in 1945. Prior to Nuremberg, “little, if anything” in jurisprudence suggested any participant in the Holocaust would “ever be held accountable for their actions anywhere, let alone in a court of law”. The American legal view of the Armenian genocide, for example, was that “the treatment of Turkish subjects by the Turkish Government was purely a domestic affair” (2,400 words)

Video of the day: Pilgrimage To Paradise

What to expect:

Cartoon. And what if animals also commuted to work? (1’00”)

Thought for the day

Heredity is nothing but stored environment
Luther Burbank

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