Lolita, Animals, (Im)purity, Nixon, Mass surveillance

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

It’s Time To Free Lolita, A Captive Killer Whale

Christopher Frizzelle | The Stranger | 30th September 2015

Heartbreaking story of the orca who's been kept in captivity at Miami Seaquarium for 45 years. A campaign to "retire" her to her natural habitat has been running for 20+ years. In nature, orcas can swim "to depths of 200 meters," while Lolita's tank is "20 feet deep at its deepest." Orcas are highly social creatures, but Lolita is all alone. Ex-trainers describe the orca-training community as "isolated" and "cultlike" (10,130 words)

The Amazing Inner Lives Of Animals

Tim Flannery | New York Review of Books | 8th October 2015

“Killer whales are strongly xenophobic”, while some female elephants will fake estrus in order to attract sexual attention… The more research is conducted into the “inner lives” of animals, the clearer it becomes that there are “nonhuman societies composed of highly intelligent, social, empathetic individuals possessing sophisticated communication systems." What implications does this have for our worldview? (3,202 words)

Stop Sending Me Jonathan Franzen Novels

Barrett Brown | Intercept | 6th October 2015

With apologies, another review of Jonathan Franzen's Purity. The reviewer, Barrett Brown, is currently in prison for his "fairly peripheral involvement" in the 2011 hack and leak of "corporate espionage" firm Stratfor. "We live in a sort of silly cultural hell where the columns are composed by Thomas Friedman, the novels are written by Jonathan Franzen, the debate is framed by CNN, and the fact-checking is done by no one" (2,580 words)

The Confessions Of @dick_nixon

Justin Sherin | Vox | 8th October 2015

The creator of @dick_nixon on Twitter, a Yale-trained dramatist, says he was inspired by the disgraced ex-president's real life “twisted, muscular syntax” to imagine his thoughts on current affairs. He calls it portrayal, not parody; a portrait of a complex realist, "the coldest man in the room", and it helped him overcome writer's block and the death of his father. And as actors say, "you need sympathy for the devil" (3,140 words)

If You’re Not Paranoid, You’re Crazy

Walter Kirn | Atlantic | 1st November 2015

Trying to maintain sanity in the age of constant digital mass surveillance by tech companies and the government. "Paranoia, we scorned you, and we’re sorry. We feared you were crazy, but now we’re crazy too, meaning we’re ready to listen, so, please, let’s talk. It’s time. It’s past time. Let’s get to know each other. Quietly, with the shades drawn, in the dark, in the space that is left to us, so small, now nearly gone" (5,020 words)

Video of the day: 3+1

What to expect: Strange french short (6'41")

Thought for the day

A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops
Henry Adams

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