Newsletter 945

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

How To Do Empire Right?

Manan Ahmed Asif | Caravan | 1 March 2013

Review of William Dalrymple's Return of a King: The Battle for Afghanistan (1839-42). "An action spectacular with beheadings, boilings, de-boning and skewering aplenty." But Dalrymple over-reaches in putting forward the British 19C war as a template for understanding the current American adventure. Too much has changed

My Father, The Smoker

John Jeremiah Sullivan | Guardian | 2 March 2013

"In addition to the chain-smoking, he drank a lot, rarely ordering beer except by the pitcher and keeping an oft-replaced bottle of whiskey on top of the fridge. He ate badly, and was heavy, at times very heavy. He was one of those people who are not meant to be fat, and I think it took him by surprise when his body at last began to give up"

Was Wittgenstein Right?

Paul Horwich | New York Times | 3 March 2013

Useful primer for those (like me) who enjoy paddling in the shallows of Wittgenstein's thought, but fear to go deeper. "A decent approach to philosophy must avoid theory-construction, and instead be confined to exposing the irrational assumptions on which theory-oriented investigations are based and the irrational conclusions to which they lead"

After Fatal Ferrari Crash, Careers Are Stalled

Kenji Minemura et al | Asahi Shimbun | 5 March 2013

Colourful and persuasive insider account of factional power struggles within Chinese Communist Party, pegged to the car crash last year that killed the son of Ling Jihua, top aide to party boss Hu Jintao. Shot through with corruption, personal ambition, old scores to settle. The more we learn of Chinese politics, the more interesting it gets

The Google Glass Feature That Nobody Is Talking About

Mark Hurst | Creative Good | 28 February 2013

All those Google Glasses will be reporting back to Google servers. The more popular Glasses become, the closer we get to a surveillance society in which we are all recording one another privately and secretly, with no control over what happens to the data. "The experience of being a citizen, in public, is about to change"

Video of the day: Things You Never Knew Had Names

Thought for the day:

"We have discovered that nerve fibers transmit electricity. We have not, in the same way, discovered that they transmit information" — Colin McGinn

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