Mexican Drug Wars, Jews In Poland, Measuring Governments, Eric Holder, Jonestown, Bob Dylan

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

Blood On The Corn

Charles Bowden & Molly Molloy | Medium | 17th November 2014

Monumental three-part investigation into the torture and murder of an American DEA agent in Mexico in 1985. Slightly confusing start, and a tendency to overdo the hard-boiled prose style throughout, but never a dull moment. Sample dialogue: “Look at my eyes — do they look like the eyes of a man who shoots someone in the back of the head? No, no, I only shoot in the front, not in the back” (4,000 words)

Polin: A Wish To Be Remembered

Zofia Stemplowska | Times Literary Supplement | 19th November 2014

Appreciation of the Museum Of The History Of Polish Jews, in Warsaw. "One of the main challenges in creating a museum of Jewish life in Poland is to judge how much to say about non-Jewish citizens of Poland and about anti-Semitism throughout Poland’s history. Poland has made enormous progress in acknowledging the devastating presence of anti-Semitism on its land, but there is still a long way to go" (1,855 words)

The Skeptic’s Guide To Institutions

Dietz Vollrath | Growth Economics | 18th November 2014

Political institutions may well have a significant impact on wealth and growth. But economists who claim they can quantify this effect are blowing hot air. We don’t have a good definition of what constitutes an "institution", let alone the capacity to measure and rank institutions objectively. At best we have survey data showing how outsiders perceive government behaviour across a small sample of countries (1,380 words)

Eric Holder Q & A

Bill Keller & Tim Golden | Marshall Project | 17th November 2014

Interview with America's outgoing US attorney-general, who says the war on drugs will have to wind down because the social costs are too great: "We have 5 percent of the world’s population, 25 percent of the people in incarceration. That’s not something that we can sustain ... We have not considered all the collateral impacts of the war on drugs, and I think people are now prepared to do that" (3,350 words)

Escape From Jonestown

Julia Scheeres | Longreads | 12th November 2014

Horrifying, enthralling account of life and death in Pastor James Jones's cult settlement in the Guyana jungle. "He started keeping lists of residents who didn’t raise their hands when he held votes for revolutionary suicide. He directed Jonestown’s medical team to research ways to kill everyone and to be creative about it. There wasn’t enough ammunition to shoot the thousand people who now populated Jonestown" (6,700 words)

Greil Marcus And Don DeLillo Discuss Bob Dylan

Greil Marcus | 17th October 2014

Just what the headline says. Transcript of a discussion at the Telluride Film Festival in 2005 after a showing of Martin Scorsese's No Direction Home. "The genius of rock music is that it matched the cultural hysteria around it, as if to present a counterpart to what was happening in the streets, in the riots, in the assassinations, in the war in Vietnam, in the civil rights struggle. Rock was the art form that could match that" (7,100 words)

Video of the day: 24 Hours In UK Airspace

What to expect: Dazzling visualisation of all flights through British airspace in a single day (2'30")

Thought for the day

Growing old is like being increasingly penalized for a crime you haven't committed
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (

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