China, Evolution, Automation, Ross Douthat, Men

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

Ian Johnson On Religion in China

Alec Ash | Five Books | 16th January 2018

Interview. Interesting throughout. “The past century and a half has been so traumatic to Chinese that they don’t know what their country stands for. What is ‘Chinese’? If you look at Chinese clothing, Chinese architecture, city planning, the political system, the economic system, nothing is really Chinese per se. There’s Chinese food and Chinese medicine, and those are perhaps the only two big things left from the old society. So religion is a way to identify as Chinese” (6,300 words)

Evolution Unleashed

Kevin Laland | Aeon | 17th January 2018

Evolution is more complicated than Darwin imagined. Darwinism teaches that the inheritance of acquired characteristics is impossible; a mouse cannot be born with a trait that its parents acquired during their lifetimes. And yet, experiments show that such things do happen. Genomes adapt over hundreds to thousands of generations; epigenetic modifications and inherited cultural factors operate over tens or hundreds of generations; parental effects operate over single generations (3,400 words)

Why Automation Is Different This Time

Ryan B | Less Wrong | 17th January 2018

The argument that machines will reduce jobs for humans goes back centuries and has been consistently wrong. It may yet be right. “The economy has three sectors: agriculture, manufacturing, and services. The first wave was in agriculture, and people could find adjacent work or switch to manufacturing. The second wave was in manufacturing, and people could find adjacent work or switch to services. The current wave is in services, but there is no fourth sector left” (374 words)

A Conversation With Ross Douthat

Tyler Cowen | Mercatus Center | 17th January 2018

Topics include: Heresy, migration, Islam, Europe, Opus Dei, rabbits, cats, Evelyn Waugh, genetics, vaccination, Sopranos, Mormonism, celibacy. “Western civilization is decadent, and decadence has virtues — among them, the absence of the kind of massive bloody civil wars currently roiling the Middle East. But, at the same time, there is a sense in which there are parts of Islam that are closer to asking the most important questions about existence than a lot of people are in the West” (14,200 words)

Maybe Men Will Be Scared For A While

Molly Fischer | The Cut | 17th January 2018

For women to denounce male sexual aggression frightens men, not only because it exposes criminal behaviour, but also because it punctures male pride. “If your sexual conquests do not feel that they succumbed to your charms so much as acquiesced to your badgering, then your conquest is not so impressive. This is the underlying fear men must countenance: perhaps they are not as good at sex as they previously believed, and, in an instant, the whole world could know” (1,865 words)

Video of the day Daniil Trifonov

What to expect:

Tiny Desk concert for NPR. Mostly Chopin, followed by tributes to Chopin from Schumann and Grieg (15’39”)

Thought for the day

The future enters into us long before it happens
Rainer Maria Rilke

Podcast of the day Bundles Of Joy | Slate Star Codex

Children make people happy. The first child makes a huge difference, more children less so

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