Newsletter 972

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

My Name Is Roger, And I’m An Alcoholic

25th August 2009 | Roger Ebert | Roger Ebert's Journal

None of the Roger Ebert obituaries does him justice. Which is to say, none of them is nearly as good as the one he would have written himself, if he'd had notice. So, in lieu of that, here's one of his finest columns, from four years ago: "I haven't taken a drink for 30 years, and this is God's truth: Since the first A.A. meeting I attended, I have never wanted to. Since surgery in July of 2006 I have literally not been able to drink at all. Unless I go insane and start pouring booze into my g-tube, I believe I'm reasonably safe"

Medical Emergencies At 40,000 Feet

4th April 2013 | Celine Gounder | The Atlantic

Airlines are woefully underprepared for onboard medical emergencies, writes a doctor who has had to cope with several of them. "Common in-flight medical events include dizziness, fainting, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, shortness of breath, chest pain, palpitations, and headaches. Sometimes things get more serious: Heart attacks, other cardiovascular problems, seizures, and strokes are the most frequent in-flight medical emergencies requiring diversion of an aircraft. I have attended to two passengers with low blood pressure, a passenger who didn't feel well after taking Valium and drinking alcohol, a passenger who lost consciousness, and a flight attendant with chest pain"

The Locust Economy

3rd April 2013 | Venkatesh Rao | Ribbonfarm

Blog post. "Thinking about locusts and the behavior of customers around services like Groupon, I’ve become convinced that the phrase 'sharing economy' is mostly a case of putting lipstick on a pig. What we have here is a locust economy ... Locust economies are built around three-way markets: an organiser who efficiently disseminates information about transient local resource surpluses; a locust species in dormant grasshopper mode; and a base for predation that exhibits a scarcity-abundance cycle"

The End And Don King

4th April 2013 | Jay Caspian Kang | Grantland

Profile of once-great boxing promoter. Starts slowly, warms up about four paragraphs in. "Don King no longer sits on boxing's throne, but he has nostalgia by the balls ... It's a little sad to sit across from him at the Carnegie Deli and see the tourists line up at our table to take a photo, and to overhear them talk about the man in the past tense as if he were already dead. Not because Don King deserves our sympathy, but because it's always jarring to see a once-robust American institution fall into disrepair and decay"

Behind Closed Doors In Tbilisi

3rd April 2013 | Tara Isabella Burton | Rumpus

Autobiographical essay. A year in Tbilisi, Georgia. Which begins idyllically but ends miserably, thanks to an influx of troublesome neighbours and a hard-pressed landlord. "He owns half the flats on the ezo — the shared courtyard. The other half belongs to relatives from the village. They know him, and soon, he hints, they will know me. As his lodger, I am under his patronage. Shopkeepers will warn me off the expired milk in the refrigerators, and young men will refrain from speaking to me in the street"

Kibbutz Goes Capitalist

4th April 2013 | Rachel Johnson | Spectator

Writer returns to kibbutz where she spent a summer as a young volunteer 30 years before. Finds it much diminished. "It seemed lifeless. The kibbutz was a third of the size it used to be. Everyone stayed home at night, watching TV. The average age of the members was 80 ... My hairy Israeli boyfriends have grown up and gone. Only the yoghurt and hummus and concrete huts are as I remember, and the scent of lemon blossom, heavy on the air of the Jewish spring"

Narratives Of War

3rd April 2013 | Michael Howard | Times Literary Supplement

Book review. War From The Ground Up, by Emile Simpson. "A work of such importance that it should be compulsory reading at every level in the military. ... His style is so muscular and aphoristic that he can concentrate complex arguments into memorable sentences that will have a life of their own. In short (and here I shall really go overboard) War From the Ground Up deserves to be seen as a coda to Clausewitz’s On War. But it has the advantage of being considerably shorter"

Video of the day: Time-Lapse Earth

Thought for the day:

"Reality is a cliché from which we escape by metaphor" — Wallace Stevens

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