Pakistan, Cicada, Terrorist Traits, Groucho Club, SimCity


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

Love In The Time Of Military Courts

Fawzia Naqvi | Kafila | 16th January 2015

Truly magnificent rant, one month after the Peshawar massacre. "Pakistan has become a euphemism for insanity. Doing the same thing over and over again and hoping for a different outcome. There are some incredibly brave and patriotic Pakistani men and women who are determined to chart a different future for the country. But there is a huge obstacle in their way. They are outnumbered by the rest of us" (970 words)

Cicada: Solving The Web’s Deepest Mystery

David Kushner | Rolling Stone | 15th January 2015

Despite the headline, I should point out that this mystery does not, in fact, get solved. Even so, do read on, because this is a fabulous tale about one of the great enigmas of the internet, the appearance in 2012 of a series of astonishingly esoteric cryptographic puzzles which quickly became an obsession for thousands of hackers. A handful solved all of the so-called Cicada puzzles; at which point, for them, the mystery deepened (6,700 words)

Looking For The Roots Of Terrorism

Sarah Reardon | Nature | 15th January 2015

Interview with anthropologist Scott Atran about the traits of French-born jihadists. Prison is the great bonding experience: Muslims make up 7.5% of the French population, but 60–75% of the prison population. To track a terrorist cell, "find out what they’re eating and how they dress. Plots never occur in mosques: you have to be quiet in a mosque. They occur in fast food places, soccer fields, picnics and barbecues" (1,190 words)

Farewell To The Groucho Club’s Bar

John Walsh | Independent | 13th January 2015

Now closed for refurbishment, the Groucho Club bar in Soho has propped up London's well-heeled bohemians for more than 30 years, and seen much eye-popping behaviour along the way. "Damien Hirst was the king of late-night revels. In 1995, after being awarded the Turner Prize, he put his winner's cheque for £20,000 behind the bar, telling staff, 'Let me know when it runs out', and took his friends inside for an all-night carouse" (1,050 words)

Is Homelessness A Bug Or A Feature?

Emanuel Maiberg | Motherboard | 13th January 2015

SimCity allows gamers to construct highly realistic virtual cities. But for some, the realism goes too far: The cities generate homeless people, represented as "yellow, two-dimensional, ungendered figures with bags in tow". They reduce land values. SimCity forums buzz with discussions about how to "eradicate" them. "I read that buses are supposed to take them out of the city but it seems not to be working" (900 words)

Video of the day: The 25 Best Films Of 2014

What to expect: Collage. Featured films include Gone Girl, Nymphomaniac, and The Grand Budapest Hotel (12'55")

Thought for the day

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But in practice, there is
Jan Van De Snepscheut

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