International Law, Minecraft, Navalny On Nemtsov, East India Company, Syrian Rebels

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

The Silence Of The Law

Eric Posner | New Rambler | 4th March 2015

Review of A Scrap Of Paper, by Isabel Hull, about the role of international law in the Great War. Then, as now, countries violated international law when it suited them, but they spent a lot of time debating it and justifying their actions by reference to it. Why? Because it mattered "at the margins". Also recommended: everything on this excellent new site, including reviews by Martha Nussbaum and Cass Sunstein (3,035 words)

Billionaire Gamer God

Ryan Mac | Forbes | 3rd March 2015

Somebody get this man a therapist. Markus Persson invented Minecraft, watched while it conquered the world, then sold it five years later to Microsoft in a fit of emotion for $2.5bn. What next? Nothing good, apparently. "Insanely rich and prematurely washed up", Persson has "regressed toward adolescence". He drinks heavily, talks of starting a new business, but "right now he can’t focus much", so he spends time on Twitter (3,520 words)

Catherine Fitzpatrick | Interpreter | 3rd March 2015

Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny says out loud what everybody quietly thinks about the murder of Boris Nemtsov: "I believe that Nemtsov was killed by members of a government (intelligence) or pro-government organization on orders from the political leadership of the country. Enough repeating the nonsense about how 'Boris was killed by an atmosphere of hatred'. We’ve had the atmosphere of hatred since 2007" (1,900 words)

The East India Company

William Dalrymple | Guardian | 4th March 2015

A short history of the original corporate raiders. "We still talk about the British conquering India, but that phrase disguises a more sinister reality. It was not the British government that seized India at the end of the 18th century, but a dangerously unregulated private company headquartered in one small office, five windows wide, in London, and managed in India by an unstable sociopath – Robert Clive" (5,850 words)

Rebels Without A Cause

Erika Solomon | Financial Times | 4th March 2015

Syria’s civil war has collapsed into mayhem; the fight of rebel militias against the Assad government has been supplanted by a regional proxy war fought among the rebels themselves. The four-year conflict has killed 200,000 people and split Syria into four parts. The prospects for peace retreat still further as the West shifts its priorities away from conflict resolution towards a new fight against Islamic State (2,300 words)

Video of the day: Danny And The Wild Bunch

What to expect: Writer of children's stories terrorised by the characters she creates. Starts sweet, ends nasty. PG-15 (5'25")

Thought for the day

Despair is often just low blood sugar
Alain de Botton

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