Crude Oil, Coywolf, Soldiers, Ancient Rome, Grantland, Apologies

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

That Time I Tried to Buy A Barrel of Crude Oil

Tracy Alloway | Bloomberg | 3rd November 2015

Millions of barrels of crude oil get bought and sold every day. But do you know anybody who owns one? There's a reason for that. "Oil, as I would soon discover, is practically useless in its unrefined form. It is also highly toxic, very difficult to store, and smells bad. It demands constant vigilance and maintenance. If gathered in sufficient quantities, it will probably try to kill you, or at least severely harm your health" (2,060 words)

A New American Animal

Science & Technology | The Economist | 31st October 2015 | | Read with 1Pass

Interbreeding of wolves, coyotes and dogs in North America has created "an extraordinarily fit new animal", called here the coywolf, though it has yet to acquire a scientific name. Coywolves have "twice the heft of purebred coyotes", and jaws large enough to "take down small deer". A pack of them can kill a moose. They don't mind city noise, and they know the Highway Code, "looking both ways before they cross a road" (960 words)

The Cost Of Soldiers’ Time

Carl Forsling | Task And Purpose | 27th October 2015

"Everyone in the military has endured the phenomenon wherein if something actually starts at 0600, each level of supervision pads the time by 10 or 20 minutes. Eventually everyone is standing around doing nothing at 0430. The idea that labor is free means that the balancing act of cost versus benefit never occurs. The leader balances not getting yelled at for having his people late against no downside to him whatsoever" (830 words)

Gangsters Of Rome

New Statesman | 3rd November 2015

New histories of Ancient Rome from Mary Beard and Tom Holland portray a society that was strikingly modern in many of its preoccupations and strikingly brutal in many of its practices. Both take Augustus as their pivotal figure. He was a "small-town gangster" who murdered his way to power, a "frail hypochodriac" with bad teeth and a fear of thunderstorms. And still, in forty years, he changed the world (2,500 words)

The Death Of Evan Murray

Charles Pierce | Grantland | 30th September 2015

"Among the spectacles of our sports-entertainment complex, there are only two in which people are regularly killed — not accidentally, but directly as a result of that sport’s essential identity and, more ghoulishly, of that sport’s essential public appeal. One of them is auto racing. The other is American football. Of the two, there is only one in which children are now regularly killed. That sport is not auto racing" (1,460 words)

How To Apologize

Mallory Ortberg | The Toast | 3rd November 2015

"Instead of taking a clear-eyed view of your recent behavior, base your apology on how angry someone else is. The more upset they are, the more wrong you were. Conversely, if the person you’re trying to apologize to insists that it’s not a big deal, you can’t have done something wrong. Remember, the goal of apologizing is to keep someone from being angry, because you’re responsible for how other people feel about you" (670 words)

Video of the day: Covers

What to expect: Front covers of 55 books from philosophy and the social sciences, animated

Thought for the day

Public markets are nasty, brutish and full of shorts

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