Lithuania, Fortnite, Kidnap, Proust, US-China

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

My Grandfather Was A Collaborator

Silvia Foti | Salon | 14th July 2018

An American writer starts to research the life of her grandfather, a hero in Lithuania, who organised resistance to the Soviet occupation and was executed in 1947 by the KGB. The project changes course when she finds that her grandfather also helped with the Holocaust as a local official during the Nazi occupation of Lithuania. “I came to believe that my grandfather must have sanctioned the murders of 2,000 Jews in Plungė, 5,500 Jews in Šiauliai and 7,000 in Telšiai” (2,300 words)

Fortnite: The Instagram Of Gaming

Brian Feldman | New York | 12th July 2018

All about Fortnite, for those who have yet to become acquainted with what seems to be the most addictive video game ever. It’s free to play, but 125 million fans spend $300 million a month buying on-line accessories. “On a colorful island peppered with abandoned houses, towns, soccer fields, food trucks, and missile silos, players don colorful costumes, drop out of a floating school bus, and begin constructing ramshackle forts, before blowing each other to smithereens” (5,100 words)

The Mystery Of Marjorie West

Caren Lissner | Atavist | 8th May 2018

Cold case from Western Pennsylvania in 1938 when kidnapping children for ransom or illicit adoption was “a popular, low-tech way to make a buck”. Four-year-old Marjorie West “vanished while at a Mother’s Day picnic in the forest with her family”. Thousands of volunteers searched the woods for weeks, finding nothing save for a bunch of flowers she had carried. She would be 85 now. One man claims to know what happened to her, and that she lived to a happy old age, but refuses to say where (3,600 words)

Chère Madame

Lydia Davis | Granta | 3rd August 2017

Marcel Proust asks his upstairs neighbour to keep quiet. “Madame, I have had a great deal of noise these past few days and as I am not well, I am more sensitive to it. I have learned that the Doctor is leaving Paris, and can imagine all that this implies concerning the ‘nailing’ of crates. Would it be possible either to nail the crates this evening, or else not to nail them tomorrow until 4 or 5 o’clock in the afternoon (if my attack finishes earlier I would hasten to let you know)?” (1,030 words)

The Future Of US-China Relations

Richard Bush | Brookings | 25th June 2018

Illuminating comparison of Donald Trump’s America and Xi Jinping’s China. “Xi basically accepts China’s political institutions. He believes they work and that they can be improved. He is confident about his ability to work within China’s institutional structure. Donald Trump rejects the role of institutions and the limits they place on himself. He regularly criticizes America’s governing institutions and works to undermine them. In this sense, he is something of a Maoist” (7,350 words)

Video of the day The Average Foot

What to expect:

Physicist R.V. Jones explains in a 1981 Royal Society lecture how length was measured in bygone centuries (4’32”)

Thought for the day

History is made only by those who oppose history
Gilles Deleuze

Podcast Richard Thaler | Freakonomics Radio

Richard Thaler talks with Stephen Dubner about behavioural economics and winning a Nobel Prize
(57m 00s)

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