Pineapples, Circumcision, Media, Ed Miliband, Bigfoot

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

King Pine

Nina-Sophia Miralles | Paris Review | 25th April 2018

The pineapple was brought from the New World by Columbus, adored in Spain, adopted in France as a symbol of kingship, and grown in England as a show of wealth. “Pineries needed round-the-clock care, custom-built hothouses and mountains of coal to keep the temperatures high. The fruit took three to four years to bloom. The cost of rearing each one was equivalent to $8,000 in today’s money. For those who did not grow their own, a bevy of pineapple-rental shops sprang up” (1,700 words)

Should Iceland Ban Circumcision?

Brian D. Earp & Lauren Notini | Practical Ethics | 22nd April 2018

A legal and ethical analysis, with a bit of healthcare thrown in. No firm conclusion, but tending to “Yes”. In brief: The law generally discourages parents from cutting pieces off their children, and it’s hard to see why an exception should be made for circumcision, even in the name of religion. The duty of a court is to place the interests of a child before the wishes of its parents if the two conflict. “A person can always choose to have their genitals cut later on in life, if that is what they want” (2,600 words)

Trump Is Winning, The Press Is Losing

Jay Rosen | New York Review Of Books | 25th April 2018

“When the President rejects the premise of a common world of fact, any practice resting on that premise is in political trouble. This has happened to journalism. No one knows what to do about it. There is a risk that established forms of journalism will be unable to handle the strain that Trump’s behavior places upon them. They want things to be normal. Access to confusion and disinformation serves no editorial goal, but ‘access journalism’ is alive and well in White House reporting.” (1,500 words)

Ed Miliband Is Cheerful

Alastair Campbell | GQ | 24th April 2018

Former Labour Party leader interviewed by former Labour Party spin doctor. A little tense at times. Topics include loss of power, Jeremy Corbyn, Brexit, bacon sandwiches. “When you and I were in the Labour government in the Nineties, we did really good things. The script of where we were going, we had a sense of it: Accept a lot of the economic settlement of the past, [make a] big social push. But the script for the next ten, 15 years is not written. It is so up for grabs” (4,400 words)

Tales Of The Yucca Man

Ken Layne | Longreads | 25th April 2018

The desert has its own Bigfoot; perhaps entire families of them. “The strangest tales come from Edwards Air Force Base. There is significant subterranean infrastructure at Edwards, with security cameras always pointed at sensitive areas. According to persistent stories, those cameras repeatedly captured images of desert sasquatch moving through the tunnels by night. Entire families of the hairy monsters apparently traveled the base’s buildings and corridors, appearing and disappearing at will” (2,900 words)

Video of the day You Cannot Reason With A Tiger

What to expect:

Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill in a fragment from “Darkest Hour”, with screenplay (1’05”)

Thought for the day

Perfection is a stick with which to beat the possible
Rebecca Solnit

Podcast Time’s Arrow | Philosophy For Our Times

Scientists and philosophers discuss the nature of time. Does it exist, and, if so, what is it?
(33m 51s)

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