Browser Newsletter 1130

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

Best of the Moment

Bad Blood: The Life And Death Of Alexander Litvinenko

Will Storr | Matter | 23rd April 2013

First published six months ago behind a pay wall, now ungated, and a good thing too. A gripping account of how Russian secret agents killed Litvinenko, a KGB defector, in London in 2006, using polonium-210, a radioactive poison so esoteric that it took scientists more than a month to work out what it was — by which time Litvinenko was dead. The man who probably led the hit squad has since become a top Russian politician

Isaac Newton: The Divided Self

Jonathan Rée | London Review Of Books | 3rd October 2013

While still a sulky and relatively young Cambridge mathematician, Newton astonished the world with a work of natural science that was soon recognised as one of the greatest books ever written. A few years later he was a sleek London gentleman devoting his intellectual energy and considerable wealth to esoteric studies of the Bible. Was he the first of the world's modern scientists, or the last of its great magicians?

Interview With Bashar Assad

Dieter Bednarz & Klaus Brinkbäumer | Spiegel | 7th October 2013

Interesting throughout. "How can I still stay in power after two and a half years? Because a big part of the Syrian people support me, the government and the state. Whether that figure is greater or less than 50 percent? I am not saying that it is the bigger part of our population. But a big part means that you are legitimate. That is very simple. And where is another another leader who would be similarly legitimate?"

The Andrew Wylie Rules

Laura Bennet | New Republic | 7th October 2013

No-holds-barred interview with top literary agent about the evils of Amazon and the incompetence of traditional publishers. "The industry analyzes its strategies as though it were Procter and Gamble. It’s Hermès. It’s selling to a bunch of effete, educated snobs who read. Not very many people read. Most of them drag their knuckles around and quarrel and make money. We’re selling books. It’s a tiny little business"

Angela Merkel’s Pyrrhic Victory

George Soros | Project Syndicate | 7th October 2013

The euro crisis is not over; it has been institutionalised, at least until Germany reverses itself on two doctrinal points. First, all outstanding eurozone government debt — except that of Greece — should be converted into eurobonds. Second, Greece should be given a debt-servicing holiday, for as long as it sticks to Troika conditions. "Everyone knows that Greece can never pay back its debt"

Five Reasons To Fear The Debt Ceiling

Editorial | Bloomberg View | 6th October 2013

"The global economy is facing a bizarre man-made threat. Radical legislators in the US, issuer of the world’s most trusted currency, think forcing the government to renege on its obligations would be a good way to shock it into recognising the error of its fiscally imprudent ways." If Congress does refuse to pass a new spending law, the outcome could well be a US debt default, leading to a global crash

Video of the day: Palm Springs

Thought for the day:

"Unless you’re a terribly bad writer, you are never going to have too many readers" — Andrew Wylie

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