Burma, China, Allergies, Francois Hollande, Darts, Peter Thiel

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

Burma’s Bizarre Capital

Claire Provost & Matt Kennard | Pulitzer Center | 7th April 2015

Naypyidaw, the purpose-built capital of Burma, is "a super-sized slice of post-apocalypse suburbia" six times the size of New York City with twenty-lane highways stretching "as far as the eye can see". It boasts a safari park, a zoo with an air-conditioned penguin house, and at least four golf courses. But where are the people? Naypyidaw is silent. No cars, no shoppers. The only visible pedestrians are street-cleaners (2,400 words)

China Will Struggle

Martin Wolf | Financial Times | 7th April 2015 | | Read with 1Pass

China's economy is highly unbalanced, and slowing an unbalanced economy is particularly hard; there is danger ahead. The big worry is that a collapse in domestic investment, coupled with a permanently high savings rate, could ramp up China's trade surplus, exacerbating the global savings glut. "The world must pray the Chinese authorities manage this transition successfully. The alternative is not to be contemplated" (918 words)

Why Do We Have Allergies?

Carl Zimmer | Mosaic Science | 7th April 2015

Allergies evolved as an alarm signal. "Toxic chemicals, whether from venomous animals or plants, have long threatened human health. Allergies would have protected our ancestors by flushing out these chemicals. And the discomfort our ancestors felt when exposed to these allergens might have led them to move to safer parts of their environment". Reasonable enough. But why, if so, do we react to harmless things? (4,340 words)

The Mystery President

Charles Bremner | New Statesman | 7th April 2015

French president François Hollande has finally grown into his job, after bumbling hopelessly through the first three years of his five-year term. The Charlie Hebdo massacre has shocked him into raising his game and behaving more like a leader. "This new, assertive Hollande has gone down well. The president has repeatedly turned to the theme of solid nerves, talking publicly of how the job has hardened him" (2,700 words)

The Greatest Darts Player Of All Time

Ed Caesar | Guardian | 7th April 2015

Profile of Phil Taylor, darts player who has "utterly dominated the sport" for 25 years, winning 16 world championships. "Darts is a repetitive sport. Like taking penalties in football, it is what sports scientists call 'a closed skill'. So much of its drama is related to expectation. Truly great darts matches are contests of self-control. Can one player react to brilliant darts thrown by the other?" (6,000 words)

Peter Thiel On Innovation

Tyler Cowen | Mercatus Centre | 6th April 2015

Transcript of Tyler Cowen's conversation with tech entrepreneur Peter Thiel: "Always having a counterfactual sense of mission is important. If we weren’t doing this, nobody else in the world would be doing this. To the extent that’s not true, you want to make that more true". Cowen's interest in why Thiel thinks the way he does leads the conversation into the foothills of religion, upbringing, psychology, ethics (12,000 words)

What to expect: A digital rendering of Philip Seymour Hoffman over a collage of film clips (1'43")

Thought for the day

A writer can be bad, but never wrong. A translator can be good, but never right
David Mitchell (http://asymptotejournal.com/article.php?cat=Interview&id=21&curr_index=33&curPage=)

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