Motherhood, China, Truckers, Telegraphs, Robert Scott

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

The Mother Of All Questions

Rebecca Solnit | Harper's | 7th October 2015

Superlative meditation on motherhood, the lives of women, happiness, and meaning. Rebecca Solnit was "raised by unhappy, unkind people," and "wanted neither to replicate their form of parenting" nor have children who felt the same. Our society's obsession with happiness ignores other life goals — "honor, meaning, depth, engagement, hope." We receive "one-size-fits-all recipes" which "become prisons and punishments" (2,590 words)

China’s “Universal Credit Score” Also Rates Political Opinions

Rick Falkvinge | Private Internet Access | 3rd October 2015

China's new "Universal Credit Score" will be mandatory by 2020. It will judge credit-worthiness but also what you buy (dishwashers good, video-games bad)... and your political behaviour, such as "posting political opinions without prior permission" or contesting official historical narratives. Oh, and whether your online friends do any of these things either. And the system nudges you to disown friends who lower your score (950 words)

“Truckers Without Borders” Sustain Syria

Mehmet Akif Ersoy & Timur Göksel | Al-Monitor | 4th September 2015

Truck drivers are the only people who pass freely throughout Syria. They are vital in getting food, medicine and other essentials to the population. To survive in the job “they maintain good relations with the entire gamut of factions and religiously keep track of daily clashes and events on the ground.” An interview with a merchant details the regime ‘taxes’, ceasefires, and snipers the truckers face on their dangerous trade (1,230 words)

Telegraphs And Typewriters

Mark Hobbs | Qatar Digital Library | 14th September 2015

Everything you never knew you needed to know about book-keeping and administrative communications in the British Empire (specifically the diplomatic residency in Bushire, now Bushehr, Iran). For example: in the late 1800s, telegraphs to or from London cost £5 for twenty words, were sent in Morse code, and were "re-transmitted a dozen or more times en route – often by operators with no knowledge of English." Confusion ensued (890 words)

Scott And Scurvy

Maciej Cegłowski | Idle Words | 6th March 2010

Robert Scott and others caught scurvy and died on his famous 1911 South Pole expedition. The British Navy had understood that citrus fruits could prevent the disease – until a new theory took over. Thoughtful, empathetic essay about how, without understanding the underlying mechanism (Vitamin C), doctors could misinterpret evidence and knowledge could regress. "It was the rare doctor who acknowledged ignorance" (5,410 words)

Video of the day: Creation

What to expect: The creation story as sketched by a zany cartoonist, by Thomas Meyer-Hermann (6’45”)

Thought for the day

Indeed he knows not how to know who knows not also how to un-know
Richard Francis Burton

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