Wagner, Belgium, Colours, America, Wikipedia

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

Michael Tanner On Wagner

Charles Styles | Five Books | 20th November 2017

Discussion of books about Wagner by Thomas Mann and others. “Everyone talks about his megalomania, but is a person a megalomaniac if they have vast ambitions all of which are completely fulfilled? One reason that Wagner is so controversial is that people are annoyed that he had these world-conquering ambitions which he managed to fulfil completely. He surpassed anything anyone could imagine. There’s still no musical or dramatic achievement to compare with the Ring“ (7,700 words)

Travels In Belgium

Matthew Engel | New Statesman | 20th November 2017

A Brit visits Belgium and finds a collection of rivalrous communities bound together as a country only by their interest in exploiting one another. “Never was there a country so pointlessly annoying. I remember driving north through Wallonia heading towards a city called Anvers, obviously a place of some importance. Then it vanished, obliterated from the map, and Antwerp appeared in its place. The signs were not there to help: they were there to make a political point” (2,400 words)

How Many Colours Were There In The Medieval Rainbow?

Kate Thomas | For The Wynn | 20th November 2017

Scribes of the 11th and 12th centuries recorded three colours in the rainbow — or four if you included white. Isaac Newton fixed the number at seven, believing that colours in the rainbow should be equal in number to notes in the musical scale. His count survives into modern times because nobody wants to contradict Newton. But the rainbow is a continuous spectrum. It contains as many colours as you care to see there — a million, if your eyes are good enough (1,070 words)

The Show So Far

Tyler Cowen | Marginal Revolution | 20th November 2017

Concise and relatively upbeat assessment of the Trump presidency to date. “The administration has encouraged a much more explicit semi-military alliance between America and India. China-India relations could be the world’s number one issue moving forward. The apparent green light from the Trump administration probably raised the likelihood and extremity of the Saudi coup. I give this a 20% chance of working out well, though with a big upside if it does” (720 words)

Wikipedia And The Flat Earth

Lucky Louie | Wikipedia | 14th November 2017

Guidance note to Wikipedia editors on dealing with cranks, incorporating a critique of Wikipedia’s own methods. “At the present time, Wikipedia does not have an effective means to address superficially polite but tendentious, long-term, fringe advocacy. Some contend that this is a main flaw of Wikipedia; that unlike conventional encyclopedias, fanatics (no matter how amateur or idiotic) can always get their way if they stay around long enough and make enough edits and reversions” (6,100 words)

Video of the day Sounds And Visions Of Silence

What to expect:

NASA footage shot from the International Space Station in low-earth orbit from August to October 2017 (4’43”)

Thought for the day

The moral world consists largely of envy
JW Goethe

Podcast of the day David Papineau | The Browser

Robert Cottrell talks to philosopher David Papineau about the difference between writing for general and specialist audiences, about political correctness, and about the place of philosophy in sport

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