Venezuela, Afghanistan, Communication, iPhone, Julian Assange

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

Everyday Terror In Venezuela

Aglaia Berlutti | Global Voices | 19th June 2017

Diary of another night in Caracas. “I stumble around the dark apartment. Another blast goes off. It’s almost 11pm. I make my way carefully with outstretched hands, listening to the sound of pots banging, the clack of tear gas guns discharging. In Venezuela the days don’t ever seem to come to a complete end. Violence remains, continues, spreads. Normal means a collection of pains and terrors. Of closed doors and a general state of suspicion. We have survived this way for over a decade now” (2,380 words)

In The Light Of Conflict

Jelena Bjelica | Afghan Analysts' Network | 25th June 2017

Photographer Andrew Quilty talks about living and working in Afghanistan. “I do not think of myself as a huge risk taker. A lot of planning goes into travel outside Kabul. We do not just jump in a taxi and head for the hills. I was inexperienced and a bit ignorant in Badakhshan, and probably pushed my luck more than I would these days. Now, working with colleagues, I’m often the one telling journalists to wrap up their interviews because it feels like we have been in one place too long” (4,300 words)

Nil Communication

Joshua Roebke | Scientific American | 27th June 2017

By no means an easy read, but worth persisting, the ideas and implications are extraordinary. Scientists claim to have demonstrated that quantum mechanics allows structured information to be transmitted without any interaction between sender and receiver. “At stake are the foundations of the information technologies of the future. If we can process information without particles, we may be able to communicate with absolute secrecy. There would be nothing to intercept and nothing to hack” (5,400 words)

Americans Lie About Sex

Sean Illing | Vox | 27th June 2017

PG-13, obviously. Interesting throughout. Google and Pornhub data speak volumes about Americans’ inner sex-lives. “Women are eight times more likely to ask Google if their husband is gay than if he is an alcoholic and 10 times more likely to ask Google if their husband is gay than if he is depressed. It is far more likely that a woman is married to a man who is secretly an alcoholic or secretly depressed than secretly gay. About 98 percent of women’s husbands are really straight. Trust me” (1,900 words)

Put Down The iPhone

Tyler Cowen | Bloomberg | 28th June 2017

Lessons learned from ten years with an iPhone. “The day the iPhone came out I boasted to my wife that it would be one of the most important cultural events of our lifetimes, maybe the most important. I compared my purchase of one to going to see a Don Giovanni premiere in 1787. Perhaps I was right in my broader assessment, but I hadn’t realised that so many users would opt for a rather extreme bundle of convenience, sharing abilities and product quality degradations” (1,000 words)

The Nihilism Of Julian Assange

Sue Halpern | New York Review Of Books | 13th June 2017

Laura Poitras set out to lionise Julian Assange in her film, Risk; but soon the doubts set in. “When the film was released this spring, Poitras was loudly criticized by Assange’s supporters for changing it from the hero’s journey she debuted last year at Cannes to something more critical, complicated, and at best ambivalent about the man. Yet ambivalence is the most honest thing about the film. It is the emotion Assange often stirs up in those who support the WikiLeaks mission but are disturbed by its chief missionary” (3,600 words)

Video of the day: New York Supercut

What to expect:

Collage of scenes from more than 70 films set in New York, by Sergio Rojo (3’50”)

Thought for the day

Life is a movie; death is a photograph
Susan Sontag

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