Wrestling, Portraiture, Counting Birds, Greeks, Inequality

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

Dead Man Wrestling

Thomas Golianopoulos | Ringer | 4th April 2018

How a pretty good wrestler called Mark Calaway assumed a persona and became a star. Rich in wrestling lore and jargon. “The Undertaker gimmick was refined in the months preceding his debut. He wouldn’t sell to his opponents and he would utilize a limited offense — mostly punches, kicks, and chokeholds — and his finisher, the tombstone piledriver. WWF creative services drew up looks, settling on an Old West mortician’s garb of gloves, a trench coat, hat, stirrups, and a tie” (5,300 words)

The Van Dyck Of Palm Beach

Nicole Pasulka | Oxford American | 2nd May 2017

Profile of Ralph Wolfe Cowan, portrait painter to the Trumpian ultra-rich. “In his paintings people are twenty pounds thinner and twenty years younger, often surrounded by heavenly light, riding exotic animals, or framed by mountain ranges. This willingness to flout the laws of space and time allows Cowan to form relationships with the kind of people who will pay for a portrait of themselves with a lion, at the mast of a ship, or gliding through a Venetian dreamscape” (3,800 words)

Bird Counting 101

Ian Davies | eBird | 23rd February 2012

How to count. A primer for bird watchers and others. “There is a huge difference between zero and one; and an almost equally significant difference between one and two. One Painted Bunting could be a vagrant outlier, two would be an event”. Between three and ten means a species is found in relatively low numbers. Between 50 and 100, it is common. Between 1000 and 5000, it is abundant. “By estimating numbers you’re telling us there was one, two, quite a few, a lot, or tons” (2,650 words)

Black Achilles

Tom Whitmarsh | Aeon | 9th May 2018

How the Greeks of Homer’s day perceived skin colour. “The vocabulary of colour was very strange indeed, to modern eyes. The word ‘argos’ is used for things that we would call white, but also for lightning and for fast-moving dogs”. They differentiated themselves from the darker peoples of Africa and India, but also from the paler peoples of the North. “The ancient Greeks, so often thought of in Europe and North America as self-evidently white, would have been staggered at this suggestion” (3,400 words)

World Inequality Report 2018

Lucas Chancel et al | WID | 1st March 2018

Economic inequality is rising everywhere — save in the Middle East where it has long been extreme. Claims that globalisation would reduce inequality, and that income would trickle down from rich to poor, have both proved untrue. The modern era of globalisation, spanning roughly the past thirty years, has been accompanied by enormous transfers of wealth from public to private sector, reducing the capacity of governments everywhere to play much of a useful role in the economy (3,100 words)

Video of the day What Happens When You Reply To Spam

What to expect:

James Veitch replies to an unsolicited email promising him an intriguing business apportunity (9’48”)

Thought for the day

If you try to fail, and succeed, which have you done?
George Carlin

Podcast A Number In Mind | Choiceology

Dan Heath examines common biases in consumer psychology, with help from sports agent Leigh Steinberg
(24m 11s)

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