Browser Daily Newsletter 1290T

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

Playing Putin’s Game

Walter Russell Mead | American Interest | 15th April 2014

Superb big think-piece. Europe may be in for a re-run of the 1930s: Russia re-assembles its lost empire in the east while extremist parties gain ground in the west. America's mistake was to encourage a post-Cold-War Europe in which Russia had no place. Now we draw the consequences. "Appeasing Putin won’t work; opposing him is going to be difficult and expensive, but ignoring him will be impossible." (5,000 words)

Coming Soon To Your Spanish Class

Michael Erard | Nautilus | 17th April 2014

Discover whether you have a gift for foreign languages before spending years trying to learn one. The High Level Language Aptitude Battery (Hi-LAB) measures the key skills for language acquisition: Working memory, associative memory and implicit learning. The US military used Hi-LAB to spot soldiers who could be taught Arabic in a hurry after 9/11. Now it's being franchised to IBM for civilian use (2,500 words)

Russian Diplomats Are Eating America’s Lunch

James Bruno | Politico | 16th April 2014

Russia's career diplomats run rings around their American rivals, especially America's political appointees. The US ambassador in Berlin is a business lawyer who speaks no German. "If the White House believes it can achieve its goals by sending TV soap opera producers, hoteliers and other neophytes to face veteran Russian diplomats in key European capitals, it is nothing short of delusional" (1,930 words)

Ten Reasons You Will Read This Medium Post

Ryan Shmeizer | Medium | 16th April 2014

Why we love — or, at least, read — listicles. They pander to our heuristic biases. "Maybe you hated this list. Maybe you disagreed with every proposition and found it painful to continue. You could have walked away at any point between 1 and 10. But you didn’t. As you progressed you became increasingly committed to seeing this through to completion — you succumbed to the sunk cost fallacy" (1,980 words)

Lichtenstein Gets Even Smaller

John Letzing | Wall Street Journal | 16th April 2014

Notes from Lichtenstein, the tiny principality between Switzerland and Austria which just got even smaller thanks to more precise mapping technology which shaved a quarter-acre off the official territory, leaving 62 square miles for 37,000 residents. The Prince invites them all to his medieval castle for a beer once a year, and a "significant portion of the population" shows up. "Key exports include false teeth" (1,020 words)

Why Is It Taking So Long To Find MH370?

Tom Chivers | Telegraph | 16th April 2014

Because the seas are very big, and a plane is very small. You can lose a large ship in plain view on the surface of the ocean; when the object is under 4.500 metres of water, the task becomes almost impossible. In this case searchers caught what seemed to be the dying pings of the black box, narrowing the hunt to a circle of 115km radius. But that area alone could take almost a year to search completely (1,650 words)

Video of the day:  Fall Of Stalingrad

What to expect: Original Pathé News footage from 1943

Thought for the day:

"Ideals tell us what we would like to be, but compromises tell us who we are" — Avishai Margalit

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