Simon Schama, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, ISIS, Chess, Hypothermia, Journalism

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

ISIS, The Party Of Death

Simon Schama | Financial Times | 15th November 2015 | | Read with 1Pass

If, after the Paris slaughters, there is to be a war, let it first be a war of ideas armed with the only weapons that have not yet been tried: the principles of social decency; the norms on which our daily lives rest, most often untested, unspoken, untried as we go about our daily business of making a living, raising a family, a bit of art here, a bit of sport there, some music, some cooking, some loving" (757 words)

How To Modify Muslims

Max Rodenbeck | New York Review of Books | 15th November 2015

Ayaan Hirsi Ali's latest book, Heretic, shows a softening of her position on Islam. "Before, she had assumed there was no hope of moderating Islam; it was a creed that needed to be crushed. Now, she has come to believe that Islam can and indeed must be reformed". The problem is that she knows too little about the history and theology of Islam to contribute usefully to the reform process which she rightly advocates (4,100 words)

ISIS: The Hour Has Struck

Graham Fuller | 14th November 2015

The Paris attacks argue for the urgent destruction of ISIS, which has become "the single deepest source of immediate Middle East strategic disorder" and an exporter of terrorism. At the same time, it must be remembered that ISIS emerged from America's destruction of the Iraqi state. We must avoid making the same mistake with Syria, which will have to be restored after ISIS goes, even if that means empowering Assad (1,240 words)

An Art Without An Artwork

Tom Russell | Guernica | 2nd November 2015

The chess scene at Bryant Park attracts a "threadbare" clientele — "men in high-belted pants who carry around plastic bags filled with other plastic bags, twitchy eccentrics and brooding loners". But outward appearance is no predictor of skill. "Is the shy twelve-year-old who can barely mumble the words to ask for a game about to brutally reorient my entire self-concept? I know the horror of assuming otherwise" (5,060 words)

Freezing To Death

Peter Stark | Outside | 20th May 2004

"With every one-degree drop in body temperature below 95, your cerebral metabolic rate falls off by 3 to 5 percent. When your core temperature reaches 93, amnesia nibbles at your consciousness. Apathy at 91 degrees. Stupor at 90. By 87 degrees you've lost the ability to recognize a familiar face. At 85 degrees, those freezing to death, in a strange, anguished paroxysm, often rip off their clothes" (4,100 words)

The Foreign Correspondent

Pallavi Aiyar | Granta | 27th January 2015

Indian journalist discusses working as a foreign correspondent in Beijing, and later Brussels. "Western reporters ascribed of all China’s ills to the authoritarian nature of its political system. But I came from a democracy and was uncomfortably aware of how little this achievement had translated into better governance or less corruption. India’s challenges either matched, or were worse than, China’s" (4,100 words)

Video of the day: Zalissa's Story

What to expect: Child marriage. It's bad. But it isn't necessarily cruel (6'44")

Thought for the day

As long as she thinks of a man, nobody objects to a woman thinking
Virginia Woolf

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