Angus Deaton, Mole Catching, Milton Friedman, Australia, Syria, Illness

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

Angus Deaton On Poverty In America

Annie Lowrey | Atlantic | 8th March 2017

Q&A with Nobel laureate about poverty, opioid addiction, robots, rent-seeking. “You throw up your hands and you say that poverty is very complicated and you can’t make these international comparisons! But if you had to choose between living in a poor village in India and living in a trailer park in a suburb of Milwaukee, I’m not sure who would have the better life. That’s the point I’ve been pushing. Life expectancy in much of Appalachia is below life expectancy in Bangladesh” (2,500 words)

The Mole Catchers

Brendan Borrell | Guardian | 8th March 2017

Must mole catching be so cruel? The question divides Britain’s practitioners, pitting the Association of Professional Mole Catchers against the Guild of British Mole Catchers. “Unlike mousetraps, mole traps do not kill instantly and do not always kill cleanly. The world of mole catching is bitterly divided between those who believe that traps should be checked every 24 hours – to ensure that any injured moles are dispatched quickly, not left to a slow and agonising death – and those who don’t” (4,600 words)

Milton Friedman’s Misadventures In China

Julian Gewirtz | American Scholar | 5th December 2016

Elegant account of three visits to China by Milton Friedman, who is invited each time to give advice on fighting inflation, but prefers to lecture his hosts on the evils of socialism. A first visit in 1980 leaves Friedman perplexed. On a second visit in 1988 he bonds with China’s reforming premier Zhao Ziyang. He returns in 1993 to find China booming — but not Zhao, who has been deposed and disgraced; denounced, inter alia, for having met the “extreme liberal economist” Milton Friedman (5,400 words)

Australia’s First People

Annalee Newitz | Ars Technica | 8th March 2017

The Australian Aboriginal societies almost destroyed by European colonialism had histories going back ten times as far as Europe’s own. Genetic analysis shows that Australia’s first people arrived about 50,000 years ago in a single group over a land bridge from New Guinea. The group split: half went east, half west, and some descendants met in southern Australia 2,000 years later. Many stopped along the way, founding communities which developed independently for tens of thousands of years (1,500 words)

Assad Loses Syria To The Warlords

Fritz Schaap | Der Spiegel | 8th March 2017

Assad’s army is reconquering Syria thanks to Russia, Iran and lawless local militias. When the fighting subsides, the militias come out on top. They kill, loot, racketeer. “We could control over 60 percent of the country, if we were allowed to”. The Desert Hawks run Latakia, the Tiger Forces run Hama. “The two most important sub-commanders in Hama are Ali Shelly, a well-known criminal, and Talal Dakkak, who enjoys feeding his victims to animals”. Dakkak runs kidnapping, Shelly runs smuggling (2,500 words)

I Don’t Have Cancer (Yet)

Jessica Furseth | Buzzfeed | 7th March 2017

What do you do with the information that you are genetically disposed to get cancer? (PG-13 for language.) “Recently I’ve started to see my diagnosis as a reminder that I have some agency in this: I can improve my odds. I order chicken instead of beef now, and I take an aspirin every morning. I feel an urgency to go and do the things I want to do, to not wait, because I don’t know what’s going to happen. I find myself watching everything a little more intently, paying very close attention” (2,900 words)

Video of the day: Cheese Trouble

What to expect:

Wallace And Grommit meet the Minions in an animated mashup about cheese by Fabrice Mathieu (5’34”)

Thought for the day

I have what passes for an education, but I am not deceived by it
Flannery O'Connor

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