Scotland, Gambling, Litvinenko, Adam Mars-Jones, Bernard Williams


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

The Tree Farm

Cal Flyn | Granta | 11th January 2016

Gorgeous. A journey northward from Inverness in search of the trees and forests of Scotland — the ancient, the ruined, the lost-for-ever. "They call this the Flow Country, from the Old Norse flóa, meaning flood, the closest thing Britain has to subarctic tundra ... One’s eye may roam for miles all around, unfettered, over empty lands where once there were trees, and then there were people, and now there is nothing" (6,300 words)

Read This Before You Go To The Casino

Ben Schott | Playboy | 30th December 2015

The language, rituals and superstitions of casino gambling explained. "Supervisors perform a range of rituals to cool the action: Shaking salt behind players or under tables, standing on one leg, swapping out winning dice or cards for replacements chilled in a fridge. Pit bosses place seven ashtrays around a craps table, spray paint the number seven on the table, even have 'hot' tables moved an inch or so" (3,460 words)

The Man Who Solved His Own Murder

Luke Harding | Guardian | 19th January 2016

Gripping read. Two Russian hitmen murder an MI6 informant, Alexander Litvinenko, in a London hotel bar, by dropping a slow-acting radioactive poison into his tea. "The order was: three teas, three Gordon’s gin, three tonics, one champagne cocktail, one Romeo y Julieta cigar No 1, one Gordon’s gin. The tea came to £11.25; the total bill £70.60. Lugovoi was a man who murdered with a certain breezy style" (6,700 words)

Chop, Chop, Chop

Adam Mars-Jones | London Review Of Books | 18th January 2016

Nominally a review of Max Porter's "compact and splendid" novel, Grief Is The Thing With Feathers — but really an essay in its own right about the representation of death in literature, with an evisceration of Elizabeth Kübler-Ross and her five stages of grief at its centre, flanked by discursions on Emerson, autism, Keith Vaughan, Emily Dickinson, Dickens, crows, Crow, famous last words and Montaigne (5,800 words)

Add Your Own Egg

Nakul Krishna | The Point | 14th January 2016

There is Oxford philosophy. And there is real life. And spanning the divide is the superb Bernard Williams, who managed visibly to relish both philosophy and life, and to pursue them as a single project, using each to advance the other. "A‌s Williams saw it, we come to ethical reflection from a life we’re living already, with our own ways of thinking and feeling and valuing: this is what it is to have an ethical point of view at all" (5,600 words)

Video of the day: Washing Machine On A Trampoline

What to expect: A washing machine with a brick inside, on a trampoline (0'37")

Thought for the day

One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore
André Gide

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