Memory, Republicans, Albert Speer, Verdun, Stephen Wolfram

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

When History Does More Harm Than Good

David Rieff | Guardian | 2nd March 2016

"When collective memory condemns communities to feel the pain of their historical wounds and the bitterness of their historical grievances, it is not the duty to remember but a duty to forget that should be honoured. Otherwise the blood never dries, the end of a great love becomes the end of love itself, and, as they used to say in Ireland, long after the quarrel has stopped making any sense, the memory of the grudge endures" (4,680 words)

Republicans And Democrats: Core Differences

Tyler Cowen | Marginal Revolution | 2nd March 2016

"It is easier for intelligent foreigners to buy more heavily into the Democratic stories. They feel more comfortable with the associated status relations, and furthermore foreigners are less likely to be connected to American state and local government, so they don’t have much sense of how the Republicans actually are more sensible in many circumstances. It would be wrong to conclude that the two parties both ought to be despised" (1,500 words)

The Architect Of The Reich

Michael J. Lewis | New Criterion | 1st March 2016

Albert Speer, a "thirty-year-old prodigy with a movie-star face", was the first architect ever to appear on television, when Nazi Germany launched TV broadcasting for the Nuremberg rally in 1935. A decade later in the same city Speer gave the "performance of his life", feigning naivety and escaping the gallows. But in truth he was as bad as the rest of them, and he wasn't even much of an architect. His best ideas he got from Hitler (3,460 words)

Verdun: A Diabolical Inferno

David Hargreaves | Century | 28th February 2016

This week in 1916 France and Germany dug in at Verdun for one of history's bloodiest and most futile battles, firing a million shells during a nine-hour opening bombardment. The Germans deployed tank-sized flame-throwers; the French sent General Pétain to hold Verdun at any cost, once he had been "tracked down by his ADC in an hotel near the Gare du Nord in Paris where he was spending time with his mistress" (2,690 words)

Stephen Wolfram: AI & Civilisation

Stephen Wolfram | Edge | 1st March 2016

Conversation. The convergence of computers and humans will bring about a convergence of language: More people will understand code, code will become more like speech, computers will get better at understanding speech. There is no "bright line" between computation and intelligence. "When we have the box on the desk that thinks as well as any brain does, the thing it doesn't have is the goals and purposes that we have" (13,000 words)

Video of the day: Son Lux: Change Is Everything

What to expect: Stop-motion video using 200 pins and 500 feet of rubberized thread (3'30")

Thought for the day

When in doubt, tell the truth
Mark Twain

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