Browser Newsletter 1132


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

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Best of the Moment

Death Of A Salesman

Sam Sweet | Paris Review | 9th October 2013

On the life of car dealer Cal Worthington, whose TV advertisements beguiled insomniacs for sixty years. "The slender cowboy always preceded his hyperactive sales pitch with a gambol through the lot of his dealership accompanied by an escalating succession of exotic animals. Originally it was an ape, then a tiger, an elephant, a black bear, and, finally, Shamu, the killer whale from SeaWorld"

Nine Kinds Of Physics Seminar

Matthew Rave | Many Worlds Theory | 3rd October 2013

"The Typical starts innocently enough: there are a few slides introducing the topic, and the speaker will talk clearly and generally about a field of physics you’re not really familiar with. Somewhere around the 15 minute mark the wheels will come off the bus. The speaker will have crossed an invisible threshold and you will lose the thread entirely. Your understanding by the end of the talk will rarely recover past 10%"

Doctors Should Tell People They Are Fat

Max Pemberton | Spectator | 10th October 2013

"For too long, my fellow doctors have pussyfooted around their obese patients, too scared to confront the, er, elephant in the room. They don’t want to cause offence. But nice euphemisms mean that people don’t confront reality. I’m not going to stop diagnosing cancer just because people don’t like hearing the dreaded word. So why should it be different when informing people that they are obese?"

Obituary: Mark ‘Chopper’ Read

Garth Cartwright | Guardian | 9th October 2013

Most popular Australian gangster since Ned Kelly. Also writer and comedian. Killed at least 19, maimed many more, mostly drug dealers. Specialist in extreme violence. "Read was stabbed repeatedly by members of his own gang, who wanted to kill him because they feared his thirst for a prison gang war was becoming uncontrollable. Read survived, but lost several feet of bowel and intestine in the attack"

When Renovation Means Erasing The Past

Harry Mount | New York Times | 7th October 2013

The super-rich want big, white, minimalist apartments and new glass-box houses wherever they live — whether in Greenwich Village, Mayfair or Tuscany. Historic houses are being gutted and demolished to create huge new spaces far in excess of what any person might reasonably use. "Like Hamlet, the rich yearn for infinite space. In the end, even infinite space isn’t enough. It must be the kind of new space that eats away at the old" (Metered paywall)

How Was Hangul Invented?

S.C.S. | The Economist | 8th October 2013

Until 1446, Koreans had no writing system of their own. The educated elite wrote in hanja, classical Chinese characters, to record the meaning — but not the sound — of Korean speech. Then King Sejong introduced Hangul, a newly invented alphabet of 28 characters, saying: "a wise man can acquaint himself with them before the morning is over; a stupid man can learn them in the space of ten days” (Metered paywall)

Video of the day: Progress Bar

Thought for the day:

"You're only given one little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it"— Robin Williams

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