Soccer, D-Day, Eureka, Baseball, Milk

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

Soccer For Intellectuals

Bécquer Seguín | Public Books | 2nd June 2017

Why is there so little great writing about soccer? It is not for want of talent: Rafael Alberti, Günter Grass, Charles Simic and Ted Hughes have all tried their hands. Perhaps it is the nature of the game: “Any baseball or boxing narrative can be easily embodied in the momentary struggle between two individuals. Soccer, on the other hand, isn’t wedded to the fate of individuals. Its beauty is most often in the battle between two ideas, two philosophies, two tactical approaches” (3,000 words)

How The D-Day Invasion Was Planned

From the August 1944 issue of Popular Mechanics, a behind-the-scenes account of the colossal planning effort preceding the Anglo-American D-Day invasion of Nazi-occupied France. “Every one of the thousands of men landed in France required about 10 ship tons of overall equipment, and an additional ship ton every 30 days. The number of separate items needed was about a million. Some of these million items had to be accumulated in millions, resulting in astronomical totals” (2,200 words)

Eureka Moments

Cathy Newman | National Geographic | 23rd May 2017

Conversation with historian of science Anna Marie Roos about “eureka” moments in science — the apple falling on Newton’s head, Archimedes’ leaping out of his bath. These are best thought of as idealised moments, “scientific haikus”, even though the story of the apple comes from Newton himself. “I don’t think Newton is lying. I think he really did have an insight. I think you could look at it as a core of truth. But I do not think the apple went plonk on his head. It would have concussed him” (1,070 words)

The Horrors Of Getting Hit By A Pitch

Tim Kurkjian | ESPN | 3rd August 2012

“When that baseball is flying directly at a hitter at 95 mph, and that batter can hear the ball spinning, like the sound of a giant bee attacking, and then it hits that batter and those red seams bore into the skin like the teeth of a buzz saw, well, the elegance and romance of that pearl is replaced by piercing, pulsating, primal pain. It is pain that can last for weeks, it can leave a hideous mark that can last for months and it can instill a fear that can last forever” (6,100 words)

Journeys Of Lactic Abstraction

Esther Leslie & Melanie Jackson | Cabinet | 1st June 2017

Extended meditation on milk and all things milky. Heavy-handed in its academic jargon, but full of good points nonetheless. In ancient times milk was “life-giving and productive”. The happiest of lands was the “land of milk and honey”. But in modern times, milk is on the defensive. “Idiomatic speech is replete with spilt milk, milksops, milch cows, cash cows, sacred cows, the milk-hearted, the milk-livered, milk for free, milking it; all expressions of negativity, weakening, and exploitation” (5,200 words)

Video of the day: Mr Blue Footed Booby

What to expect:

As if Dali and Ensor had collaborated on an weirder version of “Goodnight Moon” (2’19”)

Thought for the day

My job is making windows where there were once walls
Michel Foucault

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