Parisiennes, Chinese Factories, Collectibles, Turkey, Evliya Celebi, Bridges


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

Women Of Paris In The 1940s

Sarah Helm | Guardian | 31st July 2016

Review of Les Parisiennes, by Anne Sebba, about France under German occupation. “Why did some Parisians collaborate during the war, and why did some resist? How did they make their choice?The debate over the extent of collaboration versus the extent of resistance during the Nazi occupation is not new, but Sebba has found an enthralling way of looking at the story by focusing on how the choice was made by French women, and, in particular, by the women of Paris” (1,090 words)

Factory Stories

Hao Ren et al | Chuang | 1st August 2016

Workers talk about life in Chinese factories. “Today’s factories are more humane than before. The first reason is that the government changed a bit. Second, there’s been some changes in publicizing legal knowledge. Third, workers are starting to wake up. In the past there were bosses who would beat workers, you would see this quite often, but in the end they learned that it would only come back to them: when they came out of the factory, they would be attacked by gangsters” (5,400 words)

Patterns In The Evolution Of Collectibles

Nick Szabo | Unenumerated | 31st July 2016

Why have humans prized ornaments and jewellery from earliest times? What evolutionary purpose does this instinct serve? “Collectibles have an ancient heritage that must have put them under prolonged evolutionary selection. A gratuitous practice of such substantial cost would have soon died out, but collectibles have been a nearly ubiquitous and important part of human cultures for many tens of millennia and in all parts of the planet to which humans have spread” (6,400 words)

Turkey Chooses Erdogan

Christopher de Bellaigue | New York Review of Books | 6th August 2016

The failed coup makes President Erdogan a great hero to his people. “The combination of nationalism and religiosity is like nothing I have seen in twenty years of following Turkish politics. Even as he has reacted with sweeping purges of the military and civil service and the closure of dozens of Turkish media outlets, the president has become the personification of Turkish affront, his heroism uncontested, his unsmiling features impressed on the national psyche as never before” (1,640 words)

Boon Companion

Edward White | Paris Review | 5th August 2016

Colourful portrait of the 17C Turkish world-traveller Evliya Çelebi. “His path crossed Buddhists and crusading warriors, the Bedouin and Venetian sailors, ambassadors, monks, sorcerers, and snake charmers. Along the way he wrote the Seyahatname (“Book of Travels”), a magnificent ten-volume sprawl of fantasy, biography, and reportage that is utterly unique in the canon of travel literature, and which confirms Evliya as one of the great storytellers of the seventeenth century” (2,070 words)

The Bridges Of Königsberg

Marianne Freiberger | Plus Magazine | 5th August 2016

Euler’s problem solved and explained. Eighteenth-century Königsberg was divided by a river called the Pregel, which contained two islands. Seven bridges linked the banks and islands. Was there a walk through the city that crossed every bridge exactly once? Euler saw that this was a question of topology. The lay-out of the city didn’t matter; what mattered was the connections. “Euler’s thoughts marked the beginning of graph theory, which you might also call network theory” (645 words)

Video of the day: Our Wonderful Nature – The Common Chameleon

What to expect:

Spoof nature video. Brilliant, funny, icky. Avoid if the thought of squashed insects makes you squeamish (3’33”)

Thought for the day

If you can describe clearly without a diagram the proper way of making this or that knot, then you are a master of the English language
G.K. Chesterton

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