Nile, Data, Food, Ulysses Grant, Waste

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

Losing The Nile

Alain Gresh | Orient XXI | 15th February 2018

Symbolically at least, a pivotal moment in human history: Egypt can no longer rely upon the waters of the Nile for irrigation. Ethiopia has almost completed a dam upstream on the Blue Nile, which contributes 90% of the Nile’s flow; the rest comes from the White Nile, which rises in Burundi and joins the Blue Nile at Khartoum in Sudan. Not long ago Egypt might have gone to war to protect its water; but Ethiopia is now more populous than Egypt, and Sudan is Ethiopia’s ally (2,300 words)

I Am A Data Factory

Nicholas Carr | Rough Type | 7th May 2018

“Am I a data mine, or am I a data factory? Is data extracted from me, or is data produced by me? Both metaphors are ugly, but the distinction between them is crucial. If I am a data mine, then I am essentially a chunk of real estate, and control over my data becomes a matter of ownership. The factory metaphor makes clear what the mining metaphor obscures: We work for the Facebooks and Googles of the world, and the work we do is increasingly indistinguishable from the lives we lead” (2,200 words)

Designing A Chain Restaurant Menu

India Mandelkern | Munchies | 2nd May 2018

Diary of a restaurant consultant. “The language of restaurant consulting is a cold, dry, semi-clinical thing. We talk about the menu as an ‘offering’, eating periods are divided into ‘dayparts’, chicken and steak are lumped together as ‘proteins’, rye bread and lettuce cups are ‘carriers’. ‘Fresh finishes’ and ‘textural value-adds’ make a dish camera ready. The highest compliment you can ever pay a chain is to call its food ‘craveable’. Craveability inheres in crispy bacon, the ether of truffle oil” (5,300 words)

The Silent Type

David Blight | New York Review Of Books | 7th May 2018

Review of Ron Chernow’s biography of Ulysses C. Grant. “Chernow is one of Grant’s affectionate biographers: it is hard not to love a soldier on the right side of a just war who drinks too much, smells perpetually of cigars, rarely wears uniforms of his rank, is expressionless and tough, and who, as Lincoln put it about his military leadership, ‘makes things git!’ Chernow gives us a troubled, humble warrior, a man lost and yet found through amazing feats if not grace” (3,700 words)

Waste Management

Frederick Kaufman | Lapham's Quarterly | 6th May 2018

Report from Manhattan’s North River Wastewater Treatment Plant, an “extraordinary concrete cesspit” covering twenty-eight acres on concrete stilts between the West Side Highway and the Hudson River. “Aside from the daily take of leaves, sticks, cans, and paper, the great rake had brought up quite a few vials of cocaine. When cops bang on the door, the toilet is a drug dealer’s best friend. Twenty years ago a dog showed up, a living dog that became the mascot of a Brooklyn plant” (1,510 words)

Video of the day Bicycle Anecdotes From Amsterdam

What to expect:

How the Dutch almost lost their city streets to cars — and won them back for bicycles (10’20”)

Thought for the day

I can tell how intelligent a man is by how stupid he thinks I am
Cormac McCarthy

Podcast The Carroll A. Deering | Futility Closet

A ship runs aground off North Carolina. Rescuers find signs of a strange drama — and no trace of the crew
(34m 00s)

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