Islamic State, Morality, Everest, Yakuza, Snitching

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

Q & A with the “Mosul Eye” Historian

Gilgamesh Nabeel | Al-Fanar Media | 9th October 2015

An interview with the anonymous author of 'Mosul Eye', one of the few chroniclers of life under Islamic State. An insight into a segregated city seeing "a wave of radicalization among young children.” Although many Mosul residents “admired” IS combatants at first, IS is now seen “as a cruel, terrifying entity imposing harsh rules, but it provides services that people need. They try to reconcile these two things” (1,650 words)


Jonah Galeota-Sprung | The Point | 1st October 2015

Two bright, left-leaning millenials, torn between tech jobs and more idealistic goals, briefly flirt with Effective Altruism, Peter Singer's controversial idea that follows utilitarian bright lines to surprising conclusions: take the high-paying job and give money to charity, rather than trying to do it yourself. Ultimately they reject it. In place of moral determinism they seek a more individualistic, Jamesian ambiguity (2,110 words)

The Problem With Everest’s 200+ Bodies

Rachel Nuwer | BBC | 9th October 2015

Everest has now been climbed by over 4000 people, leaving “ a trail of garbage, human waste and bodies in their wake”. When “Climbing something like Everest is boring, toilsome… about as far from an adrenaline rush as you can get”, why are climbers still drawn to the mountain? Mountaineers tend to “crave a feeling of control over their lives” — the desire to “conquer” Everest is presented as a kind of existential crisis (5,260 words)

A Yakuza War Is Brewing in Japan

Jake Adelstein | Vice News | 23rd September 2015

Japan’s largest organised crime group, the Yamaguchi-Gumi, has split. The police have tried to destroy their ruling faction for years and may now have the chance to charge them with tax evasion. If the police fail the rival groups may choose “a gang war with drones available to drop bombs into the offices of rivals." Or 3D printed weapons. "Those new guns will be hard to trace... Escalation could be very fast and very bloody" (1,730 words)

“I Killed Him Because He Was Snitching”

Albert Samaha | Buzzfeed | 1st October 2015

Police unit Metro Narcotics in Oxford, Mississippi recruit informants, often young people on first-time marijuana offences, “threatening them with hard time or the shame and lifelong burden of a drug record.” A well-paced enquiry into the use of informants, including an interview with a drug dealer who murdered an 18 year-old he suspected was a ‘snitch’, raises questions about the policy which has caused such “paranoia” (2,930 words)

Video of the day: RUG

What to expect: Percussive stop-motion of a Persian rug (1'05")

Thought for the day

In the fields of observation chance favors only the prepared mind
Louis Pasteur

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