Weekly newsletter 100

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

The Great Hog-Eating Contest

Christine Baumgarthuber | New Inquiry | 19 March 2013

Diet of 19C America South was simple and robust: pork, corn, whisky. “You see bacon upon a Southern table three times a day either boiled or fried.” No milk or eggs. Rickets, blindness, toothlessness common among rural families. "Farmers devoted precious acreage to tobacco and, later, cotton. Economic necessity trumped biological"

What Foster Parents Wish Other People Knew

Sharon Astyk | Casaubon's Book | 12 March 2013

"Kids in foster care have endured a lot of trauma. Sometimes that does come with behavioural challenges. But many of the brightest, best behaved, kindest, most loving children I’ve met are foster kids. They aren’t second-best kids, they aren’t homicidal maniacs, and because while they are here they are mine, they are the best kids in the world"

Looking Back On Iraq

Rory Stewart | Rory Stewart | 2 March 2013

"We have helped to create a place, which sometimes looks like a corrupt and fragile democracy, and sometimes like a Shia rogue state – somewhere on a scale between Iran and Pakistan. The question for Britain is what aspect of our culture, our government, and our national psychology, allowed us to get mired in such catastrophe?"

Talk Of The Irish

Daniel Menaker | New Yorker | 16 March 2013

"Having recently written a book about conversation, and having survived, at least for the time being, a serious illness that involved a huge number of grave discussions, and having lived seventy years’ worth of a life of words, I found myself at the end of last summer yearning to go back to Ireland, especially to the West, to hear the Irish talk"

Why I Have Quit Catholicism

Emma Keller | Guardian | 15 March 2013

"It is extraordinarily hard to bring your children up in a community with an entrenched tradition of pedophilia. It is almost impossible, as a mother, to stay connected to a church where thousands of children were abused, and the response of the men in charge, those you have trusted all your life, has been to cover the crimes up"

Afghanistan Withdrawal: What The Soviets Did Right

Sherard Cowper-Coles | Spectator | 15 March 2013

Before they left in 1989, the Russians installed a credible Pashtun strongman as leader, and told him to abandon socialism and embrace Islam. They asked neighbouring countries for help. The result was a regime that not only survived, but fought off the US-backed insurgency, until the Soviet Union itself collapsed. Can the West do as well?

Paul Krugman Is Brilliant, But Is He Meta-Rational?

Eli Dourado | Umlaut | 13 March 2013

Given that Paul Krugman has a Nobel prize in economics, should those of us who know far less about economics simply agree with whatever he says? Probably not. But it's a fair question. How can we evaluate the claims of people who are much smarter than we are? One way is to look at their conversational style. Pragmatists are wiser than dogmatists

The One-Legged Wrestler Who Conquered His Sport

David Merrill | Deadspin | 18 March 2013

Anthony Robles was born poor and one-legged in Mesa, Arizona. Bullied at school, chose wrestling to toughen up. Lost every match at first. Then he found the key: "Instead of balancing on one leg, he dropped to the mat, on two hands and a knee". Opponents were baffled. Four years later he was a national champion. Now he's quitting

Video of the week: The Maghreb

Thought for the week:

"Banks are not special, except for what they are allowed to get away with" — Martin Wolf

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