Karachi, Hydrofluoric Acid, Slavery, Presidents

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

These Studies Led To Further Studies

Ivan Sigal | Places Journal | 1st May 2018

Failed modernity. In the 1960s Karachi built huge suburban neighborhoods connected by the new Karachi Circular Railway. Trains ran every half-hour and tickets were cheap. By the late 1970s the railway was in decline for want of investment and maintenance. In the 1980s trains slowed to walking pace. At the end of the 1990s the line shut down entirely. Now “settlers live on the station platforms, in structures made of canvas, tarp, and stacked wood”. The suburbs fend for themselves (1,630 words)

Rural Kansas Is Dying

Corie Brown | The New Food Economy | 26th April 2018

Rural Kansas has been losing population for the past 50 years. Now small towns are disappearing entirely as the farms which cover 90 per cent of the state get even bigger and even more automated. “No one lives there, not anymore. The small towns that epitomize America’s heartland are cut off from the rest of the world by miles and miles of grain, casualties of a vast commodity agriculture system that has less and less use for living, breathing farmers” (5,600 words)

Invisible Fire

Jeremy Brown | Discover | 1st April 1996

Why you should never, ever, get hydrofluoric acid on your skin. “The electron-hungry fluoride ion breaks free of the hydrogen ion and binds to calcium or magnesium. Without enough free calcium and magnesium, nerves fail and cell membranes collapse. The degree of damage depends on just how low the levels fall. A mild decline can cause numbness, cramps, or horrendous pain. A more severe decline can cause extreme muscle spasms, convulsions, an irregular heartbeat, and even death” (1,600 words)

The Last Slave

Zora Neale Hurston | Vulture | 29th April 2018

Cudjo Lewis was last survivor of the Middle Passage — the shipping of slaves from Africa to America. He was captured in Benin in 1860, put to work on the docks of the Alabama River, and freed in 1865. He lived another 70 years. Zora Neale Hurston wrote his story. Publishers rejected it. This year it is finally being published. “When we ready to leave and go in de ship, dey snatch our country cloth off us. We come in de ’Merica soil naked and de people say we naked savage” (5,100 words)

The Hardest Job In The World

John Dickerson | Atlantic | 1st May 2018

The American presidency has become too big a job for any one person, whatever their experience and capabilities. The president is expected to micromanage the country, if not the world. “To repair the modern presidency, politicians, the public, and the press need to change their expectations about the office and focus on what is realistic. The president is not a superhero. He is human, fallible, capable of only so much. So what do we want him to do — and how can we help him do it?” (13,400 words)

Video of the day Seder-Masochism Trailer

What to expect:

Nina Paley previews her forthcoming feature film based on the Book of Exodus (1’00”)

Thought for the day

The future enters into us long before it happens
Rainer Maria Rilke

Podcast Adam Kirsch | Writers We Admire

Robert Cottrell talks to essayist and poet Adam Kirsch about the Talmud, literature, and the life of the mind
(20m 13s)

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