Bride Fraud, Hedgehogs, El Chapo, Physics, Dentistry

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

The Mystery Of China’s Missing Brides

Charles Clover | Financial Times | 18th December 2015 | | Read with 1Pass

The bride-price in rural China is going through the roof as young women flee to Beijing while young men are stuck on the farm. The matchmaker promises cheaper brides from Vietnam. The women arrive, remit their bride-prices to their families — then disappear en masse. "She was not cheap, and they had promised us a refund if this happened, which we never got. That's not including all the furniture and the smart TV" (3,200 words)

The History Of The Hedgehog

Rory Stewart | House Of Commons | 10th November 2015

Speech by Rory Stewart, environment minister, in a parliamentary debate about hedgehogs. "The legislation introduced in this House, to my great despair, in 1566, which led to the bounty of a tuppence on a hedgehog, was based on a misunderstanding: the idea that the hedgehog fed on the teats of a recumbent cow in order to feed itself on milk. This led to the death of between half a million and two million hedgehogs" (1,600 words)

Devils, Deals, And The DEA

David Epstein | Pro Publica | 17th December 2015

Amazing tales from the real war on drugs — the American Drug Enforcement Agency's fight against the Mexican cartels. The DEA spent ten years bringing down the biggest and most violent cartel, the Tijuana-based AFO, only to find that they had cleared the way for the rival Sinaloa cartel to expand into the AFO territory and become, in effect, unstoppable. “There are more drugs coming across the border than ever” (10,300 words)

A Fight For The Soul Of Science

Natalie Wolchover | Quanta | 18th December 2015

Have we reached the limits of physics as a science? The big ideas of today — string theory, multiverses, foundational particles — are "wildly speculative" conjectures which physicists have no expectation of testing in any practical sense, whereas scientific method requires theories that are verifiable or at least falsifiable. Physics is merging back into philosophy, the discipline from which it sprang, as natural science, 400 years ago (3,300 words)

Britain’s Teeth Aren’t That Bad

Lindey Fitzharris | Guardian | 18th December 2015

Dentistry for the rich in 18C Britain: The patient "would have his or her rotten tooth removed before a selection of donors, who would then have their own teeth extracted until one was found that was deemed acceptable in appearance". A cheaper variant was to buy teeth from the corpse-robbers who haunted battlefields and stripped fallen soldiers — a legal but grubby trade which continued well into the 19C (975 words)

Video of the day: Stay Safe

What to expect: Public service announcement from the UK Police Service. What to do in case of an armed attack (3'47")

Thought for the day

What is not heartrending is superfluous, at least in music
Emil Cioran

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