Browser Daily Newsletter 1235


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

Can Beauty Make Us Better?

John Armstrong | Aeon | 14th February 2014

We cannot define beauty. But by thinking about why we find things beautiful, we can learn about, and possibly improve, ourselves. Still the best starting point for reflection is Friedrich Schiller's Aesthetic Education; which argues that we find beauty in those things which satisfy both sides of our human nature: our sensual drive, which seeks immediate gratification, and our formal drive, which seeks coherence over time

There Is No Demand For Higher Education

John Warner | Inside Higher Ed | 10th February 2014

Promoters of massive open online courses (Moocs) argue that there is an huge pent-up demand for affordable higher education which colleges cannot meet but Moocs can. Wrong. Most people don't want higher education for its course content. They want the benefits that come bundled up with it, primarily the social networks acquired in college. The elites understand that. Moocs are for the mugs who don't

Shaken And Stirred

Erica Grieder | Texas Monthly | 12th February 2014

Texans have been "fairly sanguine" about oil and gas companies in the neighbourhood since Spindletop gushed in 1901. But fracking is different. When earthquakes rattle your town on an almost daily basis you start to worry and you start to protest. Even in Texas. "If solidly Republican, small-town Texans are upset about the oil and gas industry, it’s a safe bet that something has actually gone wrong"

The French Way Of Cancer Treatment

Anya Schiffrin | Reuters | 12th February 2014

It's better than the American way. "When my dad began to get worse, the home visits started. Nurses came three times a day to give him insulin and check his blood. The doctor made house calls several times a week. French healthcare was not just first rate — it was humane. We didn’t have to worry about navigating a complicated maze of insurance and co-payments and doing battle with billing departments"

Chopin’s Heart

Alex Ross | New Yorker | 5th February 2014

Chopin's body lies in the Pere-Lachaise cemetery in Paris, where he died in 1849; but his heart is in the Holy Cross Church in Warsaw, thanks to his sister, who had it cut out, pickled it in Cognac, and smuggled it into Poland a year later. During the Warsaw Uprising a German priest gave it to Heinz Reinefarth, "a high-ranking SS officer who professed to be a Chopin admirer", and it spent the rest of WW2 in Nazi headquarters

Video of the day:  Why Fish Are Stupid

Thought for the day:

"If you are not annoying someone, you are not doing anything new" — Penelope Trunk

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