Daily Newsletter (copy 01)

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

E-Cigarettes — The Lingering Questions

Daniel Cressey | Nature | 26th August 2014

Electronic cigarettes are "perhaps the most disruptive devices that public-health researchers working on tobacco control have ever faced". Millions of smokers are defecting to them. Are they a way to stop smoking, or to perpetuate it? Long-term consumption of nicotine divorced from tobacco is thought to be "relatively safe"; much less is known about the effects of inhaling propylene glycol, which provides the vapour (2,500 words)

Walking Wounded

Nicholas Crafts | Vox | 27th August 2014

How World War One gutted the British economy. Direct spending on the war cost 25% of GDP. Ten per cent of domestic assets and 24% of overseas assets were destroyed. National debt rose ten-fold to 130% of GDP. But the greatest damage came from the collapse of world trade, which accounted for 54% of Britain's pre-war GDP; and from restoration of the gold standard in 1919, which choked off recovery (1,700 words)

Young Blood

Jess Zimmerman | Aeon | 27th August 2014

Experiments with mouse blood at Stanford and Harvard "suggest" that something in the blood – "possibly the protein GDF11, which is also present in humans" – has the capability to reverse many of the effects of ageing. Score one to the vampires. Will the news spark a repugnant market in babies' blood? Perhaps, but if the research holds up, mainstream pharma will work with synthetic proteins (2,700 words)

Did Tony Die At The End Of The Sopranos?

Martha Nochimson | Vox | 27th August 2014

David Chase is tired of being asked the question. So he has decided, finally, to answer it. The answer is ... On reflection, I won't spoil it for you; and the revelation forms a very brief part of a long and excellent interview-based profile of Chase, his art, his influences, and his invention of "auteur television". Luis Bunuel features prominently among the influences; as do Carlos Castaneda, Orson Welles, and Edgar Allen Poe (5,021 words)

Iraq And Syria Follow Lebanon’s Precedent

George Friedman | Real Clear World | 26th August 2014

The speed with which the Middle East is unravelling follows from the arbitrary way in which the nation-states there were created by Britain and France a century ago. "It is time to stop thinking about stabilizing Syria and Iraq and start thinking of a new dynamic outside of the artificial states that no longer function". The future may lie with clan-based equilibriums holding power, as in Lebanon (1,930 words)

Video of the day: Drawings

What to expect: Lovely short animation. A sketch book comes to life

Thought for the day

Humour is what happens when we're told the truth quicker and more directly than we're used to
George Saunders (https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/8885.George_Saunders)

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