Kaiser Wilhelm, Lou Reed, Turkey, Ghana, Titanic, Sopranos

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

How Powerful Was The Kaiser?

Christopher Clark | London Review Of Books | 15th April 2015

Review of John Röhl's "immense" biography of Wilhelm II. "The Kaiser’s voice is the thread that holds the text together. On page after page he cajoles, whines, demands, vociferates and babbles, bombarding his interlocutors with fantastical geopolitical speculations, crackpot plans, sarcastic asides and off-colour jokes. Reading Wilhelm II on every conceivable subject is like listening for days on end to a dog barking inside a locked car" (3,450 words)

Lou Reed’s Sister Sets The Record Straight

Merrill Reed Weiner | Cuepoint | 13th April 2015

Electroshock therapy shattered Lou Reed's adolescence, gutted his memory and cast a long shadow over the rest of his life. "My parents were like lambs being led to the slaughter — confused, terrified, and conditioned to follow the advice of doctors. They never even got a second opinion. Told by doctors that they were to blame and that their son suffered from severe mental illness, they thought they had no choice" (2,450 words)

Turkey Goes Astray

David Gardner | Financial Times | 15th April 2015 | | Read with 1Pass

In the space of four years Turkey has betrayed the hopes of the West, fallen out with its regional neighbours, and drifted towards authoritarian rule. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is out of his depth, misled by his anachronistic vision of Turkey as "the vanguard of a pan-Islamic civilisation, with the vocation to lead the old Ottoman hinterland of the Middle East, the Balkans and the Caucasus" (727 words)

The Cost Of Pure Water

Shaun Raviv | Mosaic | 13th April 2015

Government failure in Ghana. "Access to piped water has massively decreased over the past decade". Electricity goes down for days at a time — even though there is a giant hydroelectric dam 100km from Accra, and the world's largest reservoir behind it. Private companies sell drinking water in plastic sachets, which alleviates the water problem, but creates a garbage problem, since nobody collects the garbage (5,100 words)

Getting Off The Titanic

Jack Thayer | Lapham's Quarterly | 14th April 2015

"Probably a minute passed with almost dead silence and quiet. Then an individual call for help, from here, from there; gradually swelling into a composite volume of one long continuous wailing chant. It sounded like locusts on a midsummer night, in the woods in Pennsylvania. This terrible continuing cry lasted for twenty or thirty minutes, gradually dying away, as one after another could no longer withstand the cold and exposure" (1,460 words)

This Magic Moment

James Greenberg | DGA Quarterly | 14th April 2015

David Chase analyses the closing moments of The Sopranos, shot by shot: "I would say that Tony checked the guy out at some level. I mean any middle-aged male that would get that close to him, I'm sure he would do some summary surveillance of. It may be very quick; his instincts are very sharp. He doesn't feel threatened by him but I'm sure he clocks that that guy's in the bathroom, and that that guy should come out" (2,410 words)

Video of the day: Death Of Socrates

What to expect: Commentary by Evan Puschak on the painting by Jacques-Louis David (7'31")

Thought for the day

The mystery which surrounds a thinking machine already surrounds a thinking man
B.F. Skinner (http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/B._F._Skinner)

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