Newsletter 1052

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

Best of the Moment

New Balls

Mark Steyn | Steyn Online | 7th July 2013

Classic piece on Wimbledon 1999 republished with new introduction. "It's the only international competition from which you won't be expelled if traces of grass are found in your urine, though you might well be if traces of your urine are found in the grass. Wimbledon is now the last oasis of green in the blaring orange clay of the Grand Slam: Britain's chaps aren't very good on clay, except when it comes to having feet of them"

Why Did You Shoot Me — I Was Reading A Book?”

Radley Balko | Salon | 7th July 2013

On the militarisation of America's police forces, and the routine use of SWAT teams against petty crime suspects. Public opinion only gets roused when police shoot pets — as they often do. "I guess somewhere along the line a cop shot a dog under questionable circumstances and got away with it. Word got out, and now it seems like some cops are just looking for reasons to take a shot at a dog. We can get away with it, therefore we do it”


Marco Arment | 3rd July 2013

Thoughts provoked by the shuttering of Google Reader. It's part of a much bigger problem. All of the big five — Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft - are turning against interoperability. "They want to lock you in, shut out competitors, and make a service so proprietary that even if you could get your data out, it would be either useless (no alternatives to import into) or cripplingly lonely (empty social networks)"

A Billion Stories

Even Osnos | New Yorker | 5th July 2013

The New Yorker's always-excellent Beijing correspondent signs off after eight years in China with a reflection on the stories and characters encountered there. And he saves one of the best for last: Qi Xiangfu, whom Osnos found working as the neighbourhood street sweeper, but who leads a parallel life as a poet, student of classical Chinese literature, and moderator of an online modern-poetry forum

The Joy Of Old Age (No Kidding)

Oliver Sacks | New York Times | 6th July 2013

On turning 80. "One can take a long view and have a vivid, lived sense of history. I can imagine, feel in my bones, what a century is like. I do not think of old age as an ever grimmer time that one must somehow endure and make the best of, but as a time of leisure and freedom, freed from the factitious urgencies of earlier days, free to explore whatever I wish, and to bind the thoughts and feelings of a lifetime together"

‘Professor, You’re Dividing My Nation’

Sophie Hardach | Chronicle Review | 23rd June 2013

"At the heart of this battle is the question of what the official language of Iraqi Kurdistan should be. Central Kurdish, also known as Sorani? Or both Central Kurdish and Northern Kurdish, also known as Kurmanji? To outsiders, this may look like an easily resolved local dispute. But in a region shattered by tribal clashes and separatist strife, the answer could make the difference between a thriving society and civil conflict"

Video of the day: Synesthesia And Playing Cards

Thought for the day:

"Wars don't just go away, they are only postponed to someone else's advantage" — Niccolo Machiavelli

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