Railways, Claude Lanzmann, Talking Machines, Jonathan Richman , Oliver Sacks

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

The Influence Of Railways On Military Operations

H.G.W Davie | History Of Military Logistics | 1st July 2018

Enthralling stuff if you have the slightest interest in war or logistics. Hitler’s armies lost to Stalin’s armies in part because both sides relied so heavily on railway networks to move soldiers and supplies, and the Soviet railways were run far better than the German railways, at least in wartime. Control of the Soviet railways was left in the hands of railwaymen who knew what they were doing, whereas the German railways were commandeered by generals who did not (12,400 words)

Claude Lanzmann: The Man Who Did Everything

Adam Shatz | LRB | 5th April 2012

Remembering Claude Lanzmann, director of “Shoah”, who died this month. He joined the French Resistance as a teenager, became Jean-Paul Sartre’s protégé and Simone de Beauvoir’s lover in the 1950s, “moonlighted in Beijing” as an unofficial conduit between Mao and de Gaulle, and fell under the spell of Frantz Fanon in Tunis. He interviewed Bardot, Moreau, Deneuve, Belmondo and Gainsbourg for the French glossies. All that, even before he he turned to film-making (7,400 words)

The New Talking Machines

Philip Hubert | Atlantic | 1st February 1889

A defence of Thomas Edison’s struggling phonograph against another and seemingly more successful new technology, the telephone. “As compared with the field of the telephone, that of the phonograph is limitless. The telephone must always remain somewhat of an expensive luxury, owing to the cost of maintaining wires, connecting stations, etc. The whole expense of the phonograph will be the first cost. Imagine what the phonograph will do for the man on the borders of civilization!” (3,030 words)

No Going Back

Daniel Felsenthal | Point | 4th July 2018

Catching up with Jonathan Richman, forty years after the demise of the Modern Lovers. “Among the topics Richman covers in his early work: a love for the 1950s; a conviction that women, if only they were sensible, would want to sleep with him rather than with their hippie boyfriends; a belief in the unhealthiness of drugs and the healthiness of health food; a closeness with his parents. Richman’s perspective sounds both naïve and fully formed, middle-class and deranged” (3,600 words)

The Bull on The Mountain

Oliver Sacks | New York Review Of Books | 28th June 1984

In which the neurologist climbs a mountain in Norway, runs from a bull, breaks a leg, improvises a splint, and is rescued by reindeer hunters at nightfall. “A complete rupture of the quadriceps tendon. Muscle paralyzed and atonic — probably nerve injury. Unstable knee joint—seems to dislocate backward. Probably ripped out the cruciate ligaments. Can’t really tell about bone injury — but there could easily be one or more fractures. Tearing of blood vessels can’t be excluded” (6,500 words)

Video of the day South Tyrol — Alto Adige

What to expect:

Time-lapse reverie. Clouds swirl over the Dolomites on Italy’s northern border (1’19”)

Thought for the day

It is rare that the very same man thinks and puts his thought into action
Simone Weil

Podcast The Next Pandemic | Radio Atlantic

A century after the flu pandemic which killed 5% of humanity, Ed Yong asks if we are now better prepared
(56m 23s)

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