Castro & Kennedy, Climate & History, Piano Tuning, James Watson, Bass Fishing

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

I Was With Fidel Castro When JFK Was Assassinated

Jean Daniel | New Republic | 2nd December 2014

President Kennedy asked French journalist Jean Daniel to open a private channel of communications with Fidel Castro after the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban missile crisis. Daniel happened to be with Castro when Kennedy was shot. He reports Castro's reaction: "I’ll tell you one thing: at least Kennedy was an enemy to whom we had become accustomed. This is a serious matter, an extremely serious matter” (2,250 words)

Changing Climates Of History

J. R. McNeill | Public Books | 1st December 2014

The new prominence of climate change in discussions of the future is matched by the new prominence of climate change in discussions of the past. Historians are increasingly invoking environmental factors to explain wealth and poverty, stability and change — a shift away from the discipline's traditional practice of explaining human affairs in terms of human initiatives arranged as social and political forces (4,270 words)

The Saddest Thing I Know About The Integers

Evelyn Lamb | Scientific American | 30th November 2014

No piano is ever perfectly in tune. Because math. "We interpret frequencies that have the ratio 2:1 as octaves. We interpret frequencies that have the ratio 3:2 as perfect fifths. We can never get perfect octaves from a stack of fifths because no power of 3/2 will ever give us a power of 2". The usual compromise is an "equal temperament", which narrows all the fifths very slightly so that the octaves will be perfect (1,440 words)

James Watson Throws A Fit

Laura Helmuth | Slate | 1st December 2014

The case of James Watson shows that you can make a great scientific breakthrough without being a great scientist. "Watson had a major insight 61 years ago about the physical structure of DNA. He is one of the founders of a very important but very specific subset of modern biology. But he knows fuck all about history, human evolution, anthropology, sociology, psychology, or any rigorous study of intelligence or race" (1,350 words)

The Weight Of Guilt

Dan Hill | Grantland | 2nd December 2014

Inside the secretive world of competitive bass-fishing. A top angler in Texas or Florida can make $200,000 a year in prize money. Enough to cheat for, and perhaps even to kill for. "By far, the most common way people cheat is to store a fish basket or pet taxi under a dock, filled with lunkers they’d caught before the event, and then retrieve the fish while they were supposed to be out fishing" (5,800 words)

Video of the day: The Worst Product Ever Made

What to expect: It's a ring. Like Google Glass for your finger. Only worse (4')

Thought for the day

Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible
Frank Zappa (

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