Museums, Luck, Elon Musk, Snakes, Shenzhen, Word Processors

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

Cryptic Cathedrals Of The Cosmos

Charles Jencks | Art Newspaper | 3rd October 2016

Overview of new museum architecture. “Nature and the universe are never far away from the architect’s mind when designing the most visible or expensive buildings. Megabuildings cannot hide, and must look like something more than a dumb box, so, in a fiercely secular age, the default mode must be nature, sustainability — the most unimpeachable of faiths.” The iconic museums of the 21st century are “Cryptic Cathedrals that diffuse their general spirituality through multiple metaphors” (2,600 words)

A Glossary Of Luck

Leopold Froehlich | Lapham's Quarterly | 2nd August 2016

“aleatory: Dependent on uncertain events or occurrences; haphazard, random. From Latin aleatorius, belonging to or connected with gamblers or games of chance; alea, die, dice. apophenia: The tendency to perceive connections or meaningful patterns in random data; often used in ref. to divination, as in reading of tea leaves, or Roman practice of finding meaning in entrails. auspicious: Of good omen; betokening success. From Latin auspicium, divination by observing flights of birds” (1,200 words)

Elon Musk’s Wild Ride

Ashlee Valance | Bloomberg Businessweek | 12th October 2016

Elon Musk “continues to befuddle planet Earth”. He “lives in a way that few of us would choose and has a tolerance for risk that would drive most of us nuts.” His main companies — Tesla, SpaceX, SolarCity — are all stumbling badly, but setbacks seem only to increase Musk’s addiction to spectacular new business plans — a Space Internet, a Martian colony. “In Silicon Valley, Musk is admired, beloved, and idolized. But people are starting to wonder whether he’s finally taken on too much” (1,700 words)

Safety Guideline For The Snake Department

Tim Carter | Copper Nickel | 12th October 2016

That rarest of things on The Browser: a poem. “Do not make direct eye contact with the snake. Stay at least five feet from the bars of the cage. Approach, if you must approach at all, cautiously, as one does a difficult question. That snakes consist mostly of a single, continuous stomach is a myth; intestines actually make up most of the snake’s innards, which is why snakes are so good at things like digesting large game and literary hermeneutics” (270 words)

The Destruction Of Baishizhou

Eli MacKinnon | China File | 13th September 2016

Scenes from life in a low-rent neighbourhood of Shenzhen. “Start with Cannery Row, then jerry-rig it to accommodate half the population of Iceland, and you’re close to Baishizhou. A tangle of damp alleyways opens at odd intervals on to wider avenues of frenzied commerce — fruit carts, shoe repair, blind massage, hot pot, pig’s feet on rice, coal-roasted sweet potato, smartphone engravers, love hotels, lamb butchers, mahjong rooms — all hustling by under a canopy of braided telephone wires” (2,900 words)

Thoughts On The Processing Of Words

Alan Jacobs | Text Patterns | 11th October 2016

What effect did the advent of word processors have on writers and writing styles? What was the first novel to be written on a word processor? The palm for the latter probably goes to Len Deighton’s Bomber, produced in 1970 on a computerised typewriter from IBM, though it was Deighton’s secretary who did the typing. As for any direct effects of new technology on writing style, they are probably dwarfed by the indirect effects of exposing writers to the stimuli of the Internet in general (2,600 words)

Video of the day: Cinematography Of Shadows

What to expect:

Analysis of the use of light and shade in “The Godfather”. From ScreenPrism (5’25”)

Thought for the day

To write well, one needs a natural facility and an acquired difficulty
Joseph Joubert

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