Robert Reichs, King James Bible, Timbre, Octopus, Hilary Mantel


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

A Congress Of Robert Reichs

Rob Reich | 17th April 2016

Robert Reich, professor of political science at Stanford, on the pleasures and pitfalls of sharing a name with Robert Reich, Labor Secretary in Bill Clinton’s White House and now professor of public policy at Berkeley. “Over the past decade I’ve been invited to give a few dozen keynote addresses on books he’s written … Not a month goes by where I show up to give a lecture without people in the audience frowning slightly” (1,700 words)

The King James Bible

It came to pass; salt of the earth; grapes of wrath; how are the mighty fallen; thorn in the flesh; at death’s door; the way of all flesh; a law unto himself; scum of the earth; the haves and have-nots; bite the dust; my brother’s keeper; the skin of one’s teeth; as old as the hills; casting pearls before swine. These and many more phrases we owe to the King James Bible, “the most perfectly formed work of English prose ever written” (1,110 words)

Everything We Can’t Describe In Music

Tim Falconer | Hazlitt | 15th April 2016

Music is pitch first, and timbre second. Pitch is easy to define; you can do it mathematically. Timbre is both more complicated and more elusive. The dictionaries define timbre as “the tone colour of an instrument”, but that is just a starting-point. Timbre is “everything that distinguishes two sounds that are the same in pitch and loudness and spatial position and duration”; it is everything we hear that we cannot readily describe (3,100 words)

Deep Intellect

Sy Montgomery | Orion | 25th October 2011

Getting to know an octopus. “As we gazed into each other’s eyes, Athena encircled my arms with hers, latching on with first dozens, then hundreds of her sensitive, dexterous suckers. Although an octopus can taste with all of its skin, in the suckers both taste and touch are exquisitely developed. Athena was tasting me and feeling me at once, knowing my skin, and possibly the blood and bone beneath, in a way I could never fathom” (4,800 words)

My Writing Day

Hilary Mantel | Guardian | 16th April 2016

Journalism is a job. Writing novels is a state of mind. “Random noise, voices in other rooms, get me off to a savage, disorderly start, but if I am left in peace to reach for a pen, I feel through my fingertips what sort of day it is. Days of easy flow generate thousands of words across half a dozen projects – and perhaps new projects. Flow is like a mad party – it goes on till all hours and somebody must clear up afterwards” (675 words)

Video of the day: Something For Nothing

What to expect:

Neat and clever cartoon about the history of zero, voiced by Hannah Fry for the Royal Institution (3’50”)

Thought for the day

War hath no fury like a non-combatant
C.E. Montague

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