War, Keynes, Sailing, McMansions, Europe

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

The Psychology Of War

Eve Gerber | Five Books | 16th June 2017

Interview with Rose McDermott, professor of international relations at Brown University. “A big part of politics is trying to get people to behave the way you want them to behave. There are some basic concepts, not a lot, that you can see play out across human history. Those concepts include resource allocation; issues of sex — who gets control of reproduction; and in-group preservation — how you protect your group from predation and how you keep out others” (3,200 words)

The End Of Economics

Matt Seybold | LARB | 3rd July 2017

John Maynard Keynes was too brilliant and persuasive for his own good, presenting economics as a scientific solution to the problems of the world, and thus raising the status of economics beyond its deserved level. “Keynes offered crucial justifications for elevating and expanding the roles economic experts play in statecraft. In return, he expected them to abandon their most specious claims to positivism and their providential faith in laissez-faire. His successors welched on their end of this bargain, to put it mildly” (4,000 words)

Racing The Storm

Matthew Teague | Smithsonian | 3rd July 2017

Moving account of “one of the worst sailing disasters in modern American history”, when hurricane-force winds hit the 2015 Dauphin Island Regatta in Mobile Bay, Alabama. Ten yachts sank, 40 sailors were rescued, six died. Everybody involved could see that a storm was coming. But a botched message from the organisers said the regatta would go ahead, and the sailors trusted that message more than the evidence of their own eyes, assuming that the organisers had superior information (5,700 words)

The Rise Of The McModern

Kate Wagner | Curbed | 30th June 2017

A short history of the modernist revival in American suburban housing. Blame Mad Men, mainly. The debut of the series in 2007 acquainted a new generation with midcentury modernism, and made it cool. Pastiche modernism and minimalism “quickly became a cult sensation with the largest house-building demographic: white middle-class people”. Previous generations had wanted fake Versailles; the new generation wanted fake Bauhaus. McModern was born (2,100 words)

Gellner, Mair, And Europe

Henry Farrell | Crooked Timber | 3rd July 2017

The effect of Brexit so far has been a strengthening of the European Union. Other countries continue to grumble, but they see now the pain of secession. Even so, the EU should do more to accommodate disagreement. “The official political culture of Europe depicts an artificial unity emerging from an equally artificial and faceless mass of European citizenry. Political systems do not have to be popular to succeed, but that they do have to organise and structure contention” (2,100 words)

Video of the day: The Clock At Schipol Airport

What to expect:

Clock created by designer Maarten Baas uses video of a painter at work to show the time (1’05”)

Thought for the day

Depression is melancholy minus its charms
Susan Sontag

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