Benjamin Franklin, Communist architecture, Social Science, Guess Culture, Marathon Bombing

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

I’m A Ben Franklin Impersonator And The Ladies Love Me

Alison Nastasi & Anonymous | Hopes and Fears | 19th July 2015

"I’ve finally found a career in which being fat and bald helps, whereas the rest of Americans dye their hair and diet to stay thin so they can “look their best” on the job. Ten years ago, I was raising three teenagers alone. We were at the Thanksgiving table with my mother, and I must have looked pretty disheveled. She said, “Get a haircut, you look like Ben Franklin.” At age 50, I couldn’t exactly keep listening to my mother" (2,680 words)

Landscapes Of Communism Counters Myths, But Omits Some Essential Truths

Tom Dyckhoff | New Statesman | 20th August 2015

“We all have our stereotypes of communism, beaten into us from decades of cold war propaganda and inextricably linked to its architecture.” In “the classic Levi’s advert from 1984, about a young renegade smuggling in a pair of jeans” the mood is set by “a menacing block of flats.” The buildings filmed were actually British, yet “[nothing] is seen to discredit the entire project of building a non-capitalist collective society more than those featureless monoliths” (1,390 words)

Let’s Abolish Social Science

Michael Lind | The Smart Set | 25th August 2015

"Social science was — it is best to speak in the past tense — a mistake," and academia would be improved if it acknowledged only natural sciences and the humanities (and separated them with a moat). Social science is built on unproductive "physics envy," forgetting that human beings have agency and can choose their responses to stimuli, while "asteroids and atoms" just "go where they have to go" (1,840 words)

Ask Culture vs Guess Culture

tangerine | Metafilter | 16th January 2007

When visiting a new city, is it acceptable to contact an acquaintance and ask explicitly to stay at their home? A user called "tangerine" explains a common source of exasperation: the difference between Ask Culture, where "it's OK to ask for anything at all, but you gotta realize you might get no for an answer," and Guess Culture, where "you avoid putting a request into words unless you're pretty sure the answer will be yes" (310 words)


Gary Indiana | London Review Of Books | 10th September 2015

Review of Masha Gessen's book on the Boston Marathon bombers. "Bad timing, bad luck and defective reality-testing all feature prominently" in the Tsarnaev family's saga. But the larger questions are about law and the state. "The ‘war on terror’ has degenerated since its ugly inception in Afghanistan and Iraq into a two-pronged war against the US domestic population’s civil rights and the infrastructures of Muslim nations" (4,110 words)

Video of the day: The Guardian

What to expect: Free interpretation of Kafka's Parable "Before the Law"

Thought for the day

There is nothing particularly truthful about a report simply because it is a secret one
Lord Hurd (

Join 150,000+ curious readers who grow with us every day

No spam. No nonsense. Unsubscribe anytime.

Great! Check your inbox and click the link to confirm your subscription
Please enter a valid email address!
You've successfully subscribed to The Browser
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in
Could not sign in! Login link expired. Click here to retry
Cookies must be enabled in your browser to sign in