Power, Baroque Music, James Baldwin, Robotics, Wikileaks


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

Women In Power

Mary Beard | London Review Of Books | 7th March 2017

“You can’t easily fit women into a structure already coded as male; you have to change the structure. That means thinking about power differently. It means decoupling it from public prestige. It means thinking collaboratively, about the power of followers, not just of leaders. It means thinking about power as an attribute, even a verb (‘to power’), not a possession: what I have in mind is the ability to make a difference in the world, the right to be taken seriously, together as much as individually” (4,900 words)

The Greatest Baroque Composer Never Known

Jennifer Noonan | Damn Interesting | 7th March 2017

A choirmaster in 19C Vienna sees a greengrocer using pages of yellowed musical manuscript to wrap vegetables. “Thus, by a coincidence of his shopping schedule, Achleitner happened to rescue the Missa Salisburgensis, or Salzburg Mass, known today to be the largest surviving composition from the Baroque era”. The Mass will “cement its composer’s place” in musical history — if only the composer can be identified. The search comes to rest a century later at the Royal Library in Belgium (2,480 words)

Put On My Clothes: The Life Of Guitar Shorty

Sarah Bryan | Oxford American | 7th March 2017

“Guitar Shorty mentored the Beatles and Elvis. He played with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. When he wasn’t working as a musician and farm labourer, he was a policeman, a minister, and an FBI agent. Or so he said. The life story that Guitar Shorty claimed was a mixture of facts, lies, and fantasy. Because he lived so far outside the margins of mainstream society, little formal documentation exists of his comings and goings. After his death in 1976, he left hardly a trace — other than his music”

Under The Spell Of James Baldwin

Darryl Pinkney | New York Review Of Books | 7th March 2017

Raul Peck’s new documentary film, I Am Not Your Negro, continues an “astonishing” revival of interest in the work of James Baldwin, who seemed a “spent force” when he died in 1987 at the age of 63, but whose genius is now being given its due. “Activists today start where he ended up. At the core of his message was always the assertion that there was no Negro problem; there was the problem of white people not being able to see themselves, to take responsibility for their history” (3,200 words)

Chris Anderson On Closing The Loop

Chris Anderson | Edge | 7th March 2017

Lucid discussion of robotics, sensors, drones, automation, and how the Internet of Things will make a better world for humans. With some lovely stories about early DIY robotics in the heyday of the Maker movement. “We were making more drones per month than all of America’s aerospace companies combined, we hadn’t taken a penny of financing, and I was still at my day job at Wired. We went from military industrial complex to the shelves of Walmart in about four years” (4,700 words)

The CIA’s Totally Awful Tuesday

Nicholas Weaver | Lawfare | 7th March 2017

Parsing the latest Wikileaks dump of CIA documents and tools. The horse has bolted — but who opened the stable door? The data was stolen early last year, long after the Snowden fiasco, and after the security reviews that were supposed to prevent such a thing ever happening again. “To my mind, there are pretty limited suspects who would have both the capability of exfiltrating from a Top Secret CIA network and who would want to boast about it and damage the CIA by releasing to Wikileaks” (880 words)

Video of the day: This Land Is Mine (Revised)

What to expect:

Nina Paley’s laugh-and-weep history of the Holy Land revised and updated for greater historical accuracy (3’31”)

Thought for the day

Ignoring isn’t the same as ignorance, you have to work at it
Margaret Atwood

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