Newsletter 1022

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

Best of the Moment

Theoretical Physics: Truth Or Bluff?

Margaret Wertheim | Aeon | 3rd June 2013

Is theoretical physics a science, or "another kind of storytelling"? Physics used to aim at giving us a blueprint of the universe. Now it gives us competing accounts of reality in which the claims of relativity contradict those of quantum physics. Nils Bohr said, in the early days of quantum physics, that we might never know what "reality" is. But if so, how can the "truths" of physics differ from those of literature or myth?

Banksy: Discriminating Philistine

Theodore Dalrymple | City Journal | 3rd June 2013

Street artist Banksy is clever and funny. He's no van Eyck, but he can draw. He makes some good points: about inequality, CCTV, police, consumer culture. But he has chosen they way of the philistine. He celebrates society's vandals, hooligans and hypocrites. There is nothing in his work to inspire or improve us. If that is the burden of his art, then "his talent is not an extenuating but an aggravating circumstance"

A Visit With Patrick Leigh Fermor

Ben Downing | Paris Review | 31st May 2013

Simply wonderful. Assuming, that is, you like gossipy stories involving Somerset Maugham, John Huston, Darryl Zanuck, Errol Flynn, Juliette Greco, Robert Byron, Bruce Chatwin, and the Sitwell family ("I was rather thick with Sachie and Georgia at the time, and they were very kind to me"). Interspersed with tales of wartime derring-do and the golden age of film. If none of that appeals, I really don't know what to advise

How Corporations Hijacked The First Amendment

Timothy Wu | New Republic | 3rd June 2013

A richer and more nuanced piece of writing than the headline suggests. America's court protection of free speech, broadly defined, dates back only half a century. As late as the 1950s local officials were banning distasteful films and locking people up for insulting the sheriff. Business quickly saw the uses of first-amendment protection, and set to work persuading courts that corporations deserved "free speech" too

Occupy Gezi: Police Against Protestors In Istanbul

Elif Batuman | New Yorker | 1st June 2013

Report on increasingly violent protests triggered by Turkish government plans to turn an Istanbul park into a shopping mall. "I tried to strike up conversation with a demonstrator, a young woman in her twenties with a surgical mask around her neck, but I could see I was interrupting her tweeting. In fact, I realized that almost every person there was either typing on a phone or recording the scene on a tablet"

Fat City: What Can Stop Obesity?

Karen Hitchcock | The Monthly | 1st March 2013

Another piece on obesity? Yes, another piece on obesity. But shame on me for missing it when it came out. You start it, you'll finish it, and you may even act on it. By an Australian doctor working in an obesity clinic: "It is the 300 kg–plus people who come to the attention of a hospital, when their bodies start to die around them". Fine mix of expert knowledge, strong writing, common sense, and a repertoire of anecdotes to make you squirm

Video of the day: St Patrick's Bad Analogies

Thought for the day:

"Google never did any advertising. They're like dealers; they sell the stuff, but they know better than to use it themselves"— Paul Graham

Join 150,000+ curious readers who grow with us every day

No spam. No nonsense. Unsubscribe anytime.

Great! Check your inbox and click the link to confirm your subscription
Please enter a valid email address!
You've successfully subscribed to The Browser
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in
Could not sign in! Login link expired. Click here to retry
Cookies must be enabled in your browser to sign in