Vietnam, Matthew Crawford, Lucy Kellaway, Detroit, Ghana

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

Witnessing The End Of The Vietnam War

Martin Woollacott | Guardian | 21st April 2015

Outstanding essay on the fall of Saigon forty years ago, and the effect of defeat on America. "Everything the US has done in the world since then has been conditioned by its fear of the consequences of trying to reassert itself militarily – and by its compulsion to do so. The fear is of another Vietnam, another quagmire. The compulsion seeks out other places where something like Vietnam can be taken on again, but this time won" (5,400 words)

Distraction Is Obesity Of The Mind

Ed Cumming | Observer | 12th April 2015

Conversation with Matthew Crawford about his book, The World Beyond Your Head, "a philosophical treatise on modernity", in which Crawford says that technology empowers obsessive individualism with perverse results: "Individual choice has been fetishised to the point where we have thrown away many of the structures – family, church, community – that helped us to make good decisions, and handed power to corporations" (2,150 words)

Lucy Kellaway’s Thirtieth Anniversary

Lucy Kellaway | Financial Times | 20th April 2015 | | Read with 1Pass

To spend thirty years with the same employer is a rare and admirable thing; like a thirty-year marriage, it shows that both sides chose wisely, and made the relationship work. Once upon a time lifelong employment might have implied that the employee was too dull-witted to find a better job; but nowadays most workplaces act fast to get rid of their dullards. If you hold your job, it means you are good at it (868 words)

Tough, Cheap And Real: Detroit

Susan Ager | National Geographic | 13th April 2015

"The new Detroit shines downtown. Nearby areas like Corktown and Midtown radiate energy. But around this incandescence skulks the old Detroit, acres of decay and ruin, prairies where the remaining houses stand aloof from each other. Glass is gone from a million windows, like eyes absent from faces. The Detroiters I met have faith in even an uncertain future. It’s what defines them. Those who couldn’t summon hope left long ago" (4,275 words)

Ghanaian Hustle

Yepoka Yeebo | Roads & Kingdoms | 17th April 2015

A visit to Suame Magazine, the Shenzhen of Ghana's informal economy — "a 20-mile stretch of wooden sheds, half-finished concrete factories, open-air workshops, foundries that turn scrap metal into grinding plates for flour mills and ore crushers for gold miners. There are five-foot heaps of rusting excavator parts, hundreds of stores piled high with spare parts. Every so often there’s a three-storey heap of carefully piled truck cabs" (1,500 words)

Video of the day: A Very Short Film

What to expect: If Magritte and De Chirico collaborated on a music video, this might be the outcome (1'34")

Thought for the day

Great propaganda fools the people who make it
Dan Neil (

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