Menswear, Ray Kurzweil, Death in Space, Bowe Bergdahl, Joe DiMaggio

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


David Graeber | Baffler | 9th April 2015

Why do men tend to dress alike, whereas women tend to dress distinctively? And why, having donned a plain dark suit, does a man tie a strip of coloured silk around his neck? "If the message of the suit is that its wearer is a largely invisible, abstract, and generic creature to be defined by his ability to act, then the decorative necktie makes little sense". The rationale advanced here — note the title — is not quite safe for work (2,250 words)

Breakfast With Ray Kurzweil

Caroline Daniel | Financial Times | 9th April 2015 | | Read with 1Pass

His pill consumption is down from 250 to 100 a day, part of his plan to disrupt death by staying alive until mankind develops the technology to reprogram human biology. In 25 years we will know enough to defeat most effects of disease and ageing; Google is working on it. "Sitting with Kurzweil, he doesn't sound crazed". He also wants to build an avatar of his father, who died fifty years ago (2,520 words)

When An Astronaut Dies In Space

Daniel Oberhaus | Slate | 9th April 2015

Ethics in space. If an astronaut suffers a life-threatening injury on a mission to Mars, does the spacecraft turn around and go home, writing off billions of dollars in sunk costs? If he dies, how do you deal with the corpse, given that international law forbids dumping stuff in space? Do you "strap the body to the craft and call it a day"? Or do you bury the body on Mars and contaminate the biology of the planet for ever after? (1,900 words)

Saving Sergeant Bergdahl

Michael Ames | Newsweek | 9th April 2015

He walked away from his post in Afghanistan alone and unarmed; tribesmen seized him and smuggled him into Pakistan, where the Haqqani Taliban network held him for five years; he was released last year in exchange for five Taliban prisoners from Guantanamo Bay. Those are the agreed facts about Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl. But why did he walk off? And is the US Army "trying to rewrite history” now that he is back? (5,100 words)

The Silent Season Of A Hero

Gay Talese | Esquire | 1st July 1966

Profile of Joe DiMaggio in retirement. A classic. "His gray hair was thinning at the crown, but just barely, and his face was lined in the right places, and his expression, once as sad and haunted as a matador's, was more in repose these days, though, as now, tension had returned and he chain-smoked and occasionally paced the floor and looked out the window at the people below. In the crowd was a man he did not wish to see" (8,400 words)

Video of the day: Shakespeare's Third Sonnet

What to expect: Staged reading in Sunny's Bar, Red Hook, Brooklyn (1'50")

Thought for the day

Fiction doesn’t have to solve problems, it just has to formulate them correctly
George Saunders (after Chekhov) (

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