Ternary, Iraq, North Korea, Philip Roth, Road Movies

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

The Land Before Binary

Marianne Bellotti | Medium | 10th June 2018

“Computers did not always operate on just an on/off value. There were other things that were tried and eventually abandoned, some of them predating the advent of electronics itself. What if you are not using voltage? What if there was a third state: 0 for off, 1 for on, 2 for … really really on? This is technically possible but difficult to implement, unless you use a medium in which the distinction between states is strictly drawn — for example, if you build your logic gates out of wooden rods” (2,250 words)

A New Ark

Nicolas Pelham | Lapham's Quarterly | 12th June 2018

Iraq’s marshlands return from the dead. “Only the prowling lions are missing. Chibayish has as many inhabitants as it did before Saddam Hussein drained the marshes. On the artificial islands of reeds that poke from the water, families have rebuilt their mudhifs, or guesthouses. Dried reeds bound together rise twenty feet high, and are fitted inside with cushions. Now, as five millennia ago, homes take three days to build and are assembled without nails, wood, or windows” (3,440 words)

To Raze A Test Stand

Scott LaFoy | Arms Control Wonk | 12th June 2018

Getting seriously into the detail of North Korean nuclear disarmament. It’s all very well to talk about “nuclear sites”, but what exactly goes on in each place? “The DPRK has four main sites that would be very easily classified as engine testing sites, and two canister-ejection test sites that have been occasionally misclassified as engine test sites. There are six total main candidate sites. There is always a chance that there is an unknown site that has not been identified yet” (1,850 words)

Philip Roth: The Art Of Fiction.

Hermione Lee | Paris Review | 1st August 1984

Interview. Ungated, though perhaps not for long. Roth shows himself a master of the writing method. “Beginning a book is unpleasant. I’m entirely uncertain about the character and the predicament, and a character in his predicament is what I have to begin with. Worse than not knowing your subject is not knowing how to treat it, because that’s finally everything. I type out beginnings and they’re awful, more of an unconscious parody of my previous book than the breakaway from it that I want” (10,300 words)

On The Road

Chuck Klosterman | Believer | 1st March 2008

On the difference between road movies and movies that happen to have roads in them. Road movies “feel obligated to reference the idea of moving west across the country” — although Easy Rider, counter-cultural to the last, moved east. “Road movies often focus on amoral humans in cars, racing against the structure of society and the limitations of the natural world, filtered through the perception of the characters’ life experience. For some reason, this seemed especially common in 1971” (2,900 words)

Video of the day Mauritania Railway

What to expect:

Documentary tracing the route of the Mauritania Railway across the Sahara Desert (12’21”)

Thought for the day

Keep company with those who seek the truth, and run from those who have found it
Václav Havel

Podcast One Dollar Is The Price Point | Masters Of Business

Cal Turner talks to Barry Ritholz about Dollar General and the psychology of deep-discount retailing
(1h 09m)

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