Weekly newsletter 99


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

The Lost Tribes Of The Amazon

Joshua Hammer | Smithsonian | 14 March 2013

In search of tribes that are not exactly lost, but are still resisting integration with the modern world. Big travel piece, lots of atmospherics: "The longhouse is deserted except for two napping children and a pair of scrawny dogs. We head back to the main road, trying to beat the advancing night, as vampire bats circle above our heads"

A Fork Of One's Own

Jane Kramer | New Yorker | 11 March 2013

Social history of cooking and eating, as told through kitchen and table utensils. Includes the argument that the European adoption of knives and forks led within a few generations to a change in the jaw. Starting with the 18C gentry, humans developed an overbite, well suited to chewing small portions, instead of an ape-like "guillotine" bite

Why The Pope Wears Red Shoes

Massimo Gatto | New York Review Of Books | 12 March 2013

Notes on the history and iconography of the Papal costume. "When red shoes were the height of fashion in Etruscan Rome, that is, five hundred years before the birth of Jesus, they designated the wearer as an aristocrat, someone who could afford leather that had been colored with the most expensive dye in the Mediterranean"

Obituary: Harry Stamps

Anonymous | Bradford O'Keefe Funeral Home | 11 March 2013

"He had a life-long love affair with deviled eggs, Lane cakes, boiled peanuts, Vienna sausages on saltines, homemade canned fig preserves, pork chops, turnip greens, and buttermilk served in martini glasses garnished with cornbread. He excelled at growing camellias, rebuilding houses after hurricanes, rocking and composting pine needles"

The Professor, The Bikini Model And The Suitcase Full Of Trouble

Maxinne Swann | New York Times | 8 March 2013

Fabulous tale. You'll read it to the end in any case; but be sure to do so, just to appreciate how well the telling of it has been crafted. Starring role goes to a not-quite-believable physics professor who chases a model over the internet, and then down to South America, where he is asked to do one small favour for her. Deliver a package

Fly The Friendly Skies — And Feel Free To Bring A Knife

Tabatha Southey | Globe and Mail | 9 March 2013

"Were the TSA to have banned a few new things—wristwatches, clutch purses or the wearing of vertical stripes—there would have been grumbling. But this free-association unbanning, the sudden announcement that you had previously overestimated the danger of sharp pointy objects, may cause people to question the rest of their doctrines"

Don't Talk To A Newspaper

Marina Hyde | Guardian | 8 March 2013

A journalist explains. "I have used those ghastly, mendacious, yet deliciously tempting words. I have said: 'It would be great to hear your side of the story.' What is meant by these words, and what anyone who says them means, is that it would be great for other people to hear your side of the story. But it will not be great for you. Oh no"

Guinea-Bissau, A Drug Trafficker's Dream

Alexander Smoltczyk | Spiegel | 8 March 2013

"To run their trans-Atlantic trafficking, the cocaine barons of Latin America need countries under the radar of international interest and characterized by the highest possible corruption index. Guinea-Bissau comes close to fulfilling this ideal. The country has porous borders, inconspicuous airfields and a virtually powerless civilian government"

Video of the week: Jazz That Nobody Asked For

Thought for the week:

"Anyone can do any amount of work, provided it isn’t the work he is supposed to be doing at that moment" — Robert Benchley

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