Pot, Thomas Telford, Red, Syria, Greece

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

Queens Of The Stoned Age

Suketu Mehta | GQ | 14th February 2017

New York City pot dealer “Honey” tells all, hoping to boost the value of her business ahead of legalisation. Eight years without a single police bust, 150 calls a day, every one a felony. Her secret? She is an ex-model, and she uses models for delivery. “Good-looking girls don’t get searched”. In a good month she takes home about $150,000. “She spends $15,000 on herself. The rest goes into the bank, she says, but of course it doesn’t. It goes into a pile of cash somewhere” (6,080 words)

Man Of Iron

Simon WInchester | New Statesman | 14th February 2017

In praise of the engineer Thomas Telford, who built much of the infrastructure of 19C Britain. “In his 77 years he worked on 93 large bridges and aqueducts, 17 canals and 37 docks and harbours. He constructed 1,200 miles of road and 1,076 bridges to open up the Highlands of Scotland and worked on the best road built anywhere before the coming of the motor car. He was the architect of three churches in Shropshire and 32 in Scotland, as well as of houses, a prison and a courthouse” (1,280 words)

The Red Of Painters

Michel Pastoureau | Paris Review | 14th February 2017

How painters made red pigments in medieval times. “The fires of hell, the face of the Devil were often painted with sandarac, a resin lacquer more commonly called ‘dragon’s blood’. It was believed to come from the blood of a dragon, gored by its mortal enemy, the elephant. According to medieval bestiaries, when the elephant had punctured the dragon’s belly with its tusks, out flowed a thick, foul, red liquid, from which was made a pigment used to paint all the shades of red considered evil” (1,300 words)

Anarchists Against Islamic State

Seth Harp | Rolling Stone | 14th February 2017

At war in Syria against Islamic State with a small brigade of “hardcore leftists, anarchists and communists from Europe and America” trained by the Kurdish YPG. “Foreigners interested in joining the YPG receive instructions by encrypted e-mail to fly to Sulaymaniyah, Iraq. Although volunteers are welcome, it’s not easy to reach the YPG. To the south is ISIS. To the west is the Free Syrian Army, a coalition of warlords and mercenaries dominated by Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front” (6,500 words)

Sacred And Profane

James Reeves | Atlas Minor | 14th February 2017

Notes from an American traveller in Greece. “Politics at the Kafeneion. The table started with three voices and grew to fourteen, a loose confederation of Greek, French, Australian, German, and American. We discussed the world’s backslide into panicky jingoism rather than tackling the lunatic mythology of late-stage capitalism. The party ended when somebody dropped a dog on the table, scattering empty glasses and full ashtrays across the floor” (1,900 words)

Video of the day: Circadian Rhythms

What to expect:

Simple cartoon introduction to the body’s sense of time. How do you know when it’s time to sleep? (2’33”)

Thought for the day

Life is a game with many rules but no referee
Joseph Brodsky

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