Leonard Woolf, Sticks, Hungary, Radio, IKEA

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

Death Of A Civil Servant

Lev Grossman | Believer | 1st May 2010

Long before he met and married Virginia Stephen, Leonard Woolf was a civil servant in Ceylon, where he shared a bungalow with the local magistrate, B.J. Dutton. “We know a lot about Woolf. His destiny lay with the ruling literary caste of the twentieth century. But who was B.J. Dutton? There was no word for him in 1905, but we have one now: he was a nerd. And he was a harbinger, in his tiny, ineffectual way, of another of the twentieth century’s dominant literary traditions: fantasy” (6,400 words)

The Stick As Unsung Hero

Alexander Langlands | Nautilus | 11th January 2018

Sticks should take precedence over stones in the tale of humanity’s rise to world domination. They are “probably where the story of craft begins — the point at which our very distant ancestors progressed from animalistic existences to lives materially enhanced by the objects around them”. Why, then, do we have a Stone Age, but not a Stick Age? The evidence is lost. “Sticks, unless suspended in the extreme environmental conditions of desiccation or saturation, decompose and turn to dust” (3,730 words)

Viktor Orbán’s Reckless Football Obsession

Daniel Nolan & David Goldblatt | Guardian | 11th January 2018

Viktor Orban runs Hungary. But what makes Orban run? In his youth it was football — and when he went into politics, his football obsession scarcely slackened. The sleepy village in which he lives has acquired a world-class football ground built with government money. “The most powerful Fidesz leaders who currently occupy Hungary’s three most powerful posts – Orbán, President János Áder, and László Kövér, the speaker of the national assembly – all played together on the same five-a-side team” (4,900 words)

Legends Of The Ancient Web

Maciej Cegłowski | Idle Words | 11th January 2018

The arrival of radio at the end of the 19C ago was as transformative as the arrival of the internet a century later, and followed much the same trajectory. Early enthusiasts claimed radio as a public space, a commons; but the spectrum was quickly acquired by corporations and regulated by governments. “Every business is told that radio will transform their lives. Jewelers will no longer have to lease a dedicated telegraph line to get an exact time signal for their high-end watches” (3,670 words)

Thanks For Finding My Son

Michael McWatters | Medium | 10th January 2018

Open letter from the father of an autistic boy to a shopfloor worker in Ikea who saw the boy bolt and sensed the need to act. “You did a remarkable thing. You saw an impish kid running away from his dad and understood there was something more at play. Most people wouldn’t have given the situation a second thought — and I don’t begrudge them, as outward appearances are deceptive — but you did, and you took action. You spared us both from excruciating anxiety — or worse” (940 words)

Video of the day Swinging Britain

What to expect:

Pathé News video of 1960s youth culture in London and other British cities (8’29”)

Thought for the day

I can normally tell how intelligent a man is by how stupid he thinks I am
Cormac McCarthy

Podcast of the day Shot In The Throat | Battle Scars

British army sniper describes taking a bullet to the neck during a firefight in Afghanistan

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