Murder, Gawker, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Native Americans, Drinking, Retouching


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

It’s Your Fault I Killed

Theodore Dalrymple | City Journal | 23rd August 2016

Biographies of “two notorious recent English killers” reviewed: You Are Raoul Moat by Andrew Hankinson, and Jihadi John by Robert Verkaik. “Moat was working as a bouncer when he first met Stobbart. He decided that Stobbart was the love of his life, which is no doubt why he went one day to her grandmother’s home, where she was staying to escape his violence, and threatened her with a gun. He said that if she called the police, he would kill them when they arrived” (3,200 words)

How Things Work

Nick Denton | Gawker | 22nd August 2016

The founder of Gawker bows out, and reflects on lessons learned. “The chief rule of establishment journalism is the one that recommends against pissing off billionaires. Gawker did overextend itself, as an enterprise. We were internet exceptionalists, believing that that from blogs, forums and messaging would emerge a new world of unlimited freedom to associate and to express. As our experience has shown, that freedom was illusory. The system is still there. It pushed back” (4,200 words)

How To Legally Own Another Person

Nassim Nicholas Taleb | Medium | 22nd August 2016

On the balance of power between companies and workers. “Although employees are reliable by design, they cannot be trusted in making decisions that entail serious tradeoffs. Nor can they face emergencies unless they are in the emergency business, say firefighters … Those who use foul language are sending an expensive signal that they are free – and competent. Cursing today is a status symbol, just as oligarchs in Moscow wear blue jeans at special events to signal their power” (5,100 words)

California Slaughter

Alexander Nazaryan | Newsweek | 17th August 2016

The Native American population of California fell from 150,000 to 30,000 in the mid-19C. Soldiers, militia, vigilantes slaughtered Indians in a systematic, government-backed campaign of extermination. In his book An American Genocide, Benjamin Madley catalogues “every single act of deadly violence perpetrated against the Native American people of California during the Gold Rush and its aftermath”. A terrible history hides in plain sight. “I started to wonder, Where are all the Indian people?” (3,200 words)

Why Women Drink

Kristi Coulter | Quartz | 21st August 2016

Perceptive tirade against alcohol from one who has recently renounced it, and now sees social drinking through new eyes. “I realise that everyone around me is tanked. But it also dawns on me that the women are super double tanked. ‘How did you not see this before?’, I ask myself. ‘You were too hammered’, I answer back. That summer I see, though. I see that booze is the oil in our motors, the thing that keeps us purring when we should be making other kinds of noise.” (3,200 words)

Everyone Is Altered

Josh Dickey | Mashable | 1st December 2014

The special effects developed to reverse Brad Pitt’s ageing process in Benjamin Button are now being used to make almost every Hollywood star look younger and sexier on screen. “The most striking visual in David Fincher’s epic wasn’t Button the shriveled, elderly man-child. It came toward the end of the film, when Pitt emerged into the golden light of a dance studio as a naturally radiant, strapping 20-something”. The next day, every other actor wanted the same treatment (2,700 words)

Video of the day: Soft Crash

What to expect:

Dream-like visual essay by Alan Warburton, about finance and power (5’48”)

Thought for the day

An historian is a prophet in reverse
Friedrich Schlegel

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