Browser Daily Newsletter 1239


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

Food And Loathing In Charleston

Nathan Thornburgh | Roads & Kingdoms | 18th February 2014

Action-packed report, with terrific pictures, from the Cook It Raw festival in Charleston — "the ancestral home of the chicken bog and frogmore stew, where loaf sugar sweetens and wormwood brightens, where corn dodgers fry in benne seed oil and rice-fed canvasback ducks roast alongside moon fish and croakers, and the whole thing is washed down with plantation-brewed persimmon beer"

The Case For Blunder

Freeman Dyson | New York Review Of Books | 18th February 2014

Review of Brilliant Blunders, by Mario Livio, telling how five great scientists — Darwin, Kelvin, Pauling, Hoyle, Einstein — proposed five wrong theories. "The inventor of a brilliant idea cannot tell whether it is right or wrong. Humans need beliefs in order to live, and great scientists are no exception. Great scientists produce right theories and wrong theories, and believe in them with equal conviction"

Interview: Adam Minter On Trash

Alec Ash | Five Books | 10th February 2014

Highly enjoyable and informative conversation with the author of Junkyard Planet about China, scrap, recycling, and the best books written about the trash trade. First up: Susan Strasser's Waste And Want, the story of "how we got hooked on goods, and started filling up our landfills. It was a slow process, but you really started to see the beginnings of it in the 1920s, with companies building for obsolescence"

America’s Downton Abbey Economy

Lawrence Summers | 16th February 2014

Ungated posting of Larry Summers's much-discussed FT column on the dangers of greater inequality in America. "It is ironic that those who profess the most enthusiasm for market forces are least enthusiastic about curbing tax benefits for the wealthy. Sooner or later inequality will have to be addressed. Much better that it be done by letting free markets operate and then working to improve the result"

Why On Earth Won’t They Let Us Play?

Philip Pilkington | Fixing The Economists | 18th February 2014

Discussion of David Graeber's recent article about play, "What’s the Point If We Can’t Have Fun? (http://thebaffler.com/past/whats_the_point_if_we_cant_have_fun) " It is tempting to blame the influence of modern economics for the reluctance of social scientists in general to accept play as a valuable adult activity: Our role is to work. But the bias probably goes back to the rise of dissection in the 13C, which encouraged scientists and philosophers to see the body as a machine

Jurisdiction: The Anna Nicole Smith Biopic

Sasha Volokh | Volokh Conspiracy | 17th February 2014

A legal classic. Worthy of A.P. Herbert. A history of lawsuits concerning Anna Nicole Smith and her alleged inheritance, in conflicting jurisdictions, elucidated for the lay reader. When the contest reached the Supreme Court, Chief Justice John Roberts compared it to Bleak House — "So complicated that no two lawyers can talk about it for five minutes without coming to a total disagreement as to all the premises"

Video of the day:  Ukraine

Thought for the day:

"We can’t live in a state of perpetual doubt, so we make up the best story possible and we live as if the story were true" — Daniel Kahneman

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