Kissinger, Genetics, Post-Mortem, The Bronx, India

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

The Lessons Of Henry Kissinger

Jeffrey Goldberg | Atlantic | 11th November 2016

Interview. Main topics include: Prospects for President Trump; American foreign policy under Barack Obama; relations with China; Vietnam revisited. “Cambodia has come to play a symbolic role because it’s the one place in Indochina where liberals didn’t start the war. Cambodia was Nixon’s decision. The Obama administration has systematically conducted comparable bombings for comparable reasons, but with drones, in Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen. I have supported those bombings” (6,600 words)

A Unified Theory Of Evolution

Michael Skinner | Aeon | 9th November 2016

Darwin’s theory of evolution is incomplete. Random genetic mutation happens too slowly to account for some changes observable within species. To fill the gaps in the theory we need Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, who, 50 years before Darwin, argued that environment “can directly alter traits, which are then inherited by generations to come”. Epigenetics reconciles Lamarck with Darwin. Environment does not generally change DNA, but does change the way in which given genes express themselves (3,300 words)

How We Got It So Wrong

Matt Taibbi | Rolling Stone | 10th November 2016

A mea culpa on behalf of the American press. “We journalists made the same mistake the Republicans made, the same mistake the Democrats made. We were too sure of our own influence, too lazy to bother hearing things first-hand, too much in love with ourselves to imagine that so many people could hate and distrust us as much as they apparently do.Just like the politicians, our job was to listen, and we talked instead. Now America will do its own talking for a while” (2,200 words)

Epitaph For A Bronx Accent

Benjamin Balthaser | Tablet | 11th November 2016

“My uncle Robert was one of the last great speakers of Jewish Bronx, a particular nasal intonation of English so acid and sharp that it could kill trees. Perhaps, indeed, it is why there are so few trees in the Bronx. Words came out on rails, they were electrified; if I stood close enough, I could fall under their tracks and never get up. It was an urban accent, an accent of pavement, of piss steaming into your nostrils on a hot day, it was an accent that had to fight for space on subway trains” (2,100 words)

King Ruinous And The City of Darkness

Venkatesh Rao | Ribbonfarm | 10th November 2016

Discursive autobiographical essay about growing up in India, interspersed with digressions about history and myth, politics and culture, caste and wealth. “One does not simply exit the caste system, but one can sure as hell scramble it beyond recognition and render it unusable by having software and urban modernity eat it. This, incidentally, has been the single most positive development I’ve witnessed in my life. If software can eat the Indian caste system, it can eat anything” (14,500 words)

Video of the day: Flying Over Iceland

What to expect:

Drone, HD camera, new-age music, beautiful landscape (4’19”)

Thought for the day

Writers, like teeth, are divided into incisors and grinders
Walter Bagehot

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