Dinosaurs, Trumpiest, Farm Crime, Trust, Voltaire


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

The Day The Mesozoic Died

Sean Carroll | Nautilus | 21st January 2016

A young geologist called Walter Alvarez finds a thin layer of clay in a rock formation outside Gubbio in Italy. Happily, his father is a nuclear physicist. Together they show that the clay contains metals from Outer Space, and that corresponding layers are found in rocks around the world. In 1980 they publish their conclusion: An asteroid hit Earth 65 million years ago, poisoned the air and wiped out the dinosaurs (5,140 words)

Tales Of Trump At His Trumpiest

Matt Labash | Weekly Standard | 22nd January 2016

"After combing my vast Trump archive, I present herewith nine of Trump's Trumpiest moments. One cannot hope to capture Trump's entirety, since he contains multitudes. For instance, sometimes Trump will say he's 'really rich', while at others, he'll say he's 'very, very rich'. Just when you think he'll zig, he zags. But as with the Republican primary, sometimes choices just need to be made, no matter how imperfect" (5,730 words)

The Big Cow Con

Tessa Stuart | California Sunday Magazine | 21st January 2016

Rocky Pipkin knows farm crime. His Pipkin Detective Agency in California's Central Valley takes down honey embezzlers, almond thieves and fake fertilizer factories. But nothing prepared him for Arno Smit. Cattle-fraud turned out to be Arno's nicer side. Mainly, he romanced and robbed vulnerable women. "And, as bad as the stories that trail Arno are, they are nothing compared to the stories about his brother-in-law, Hugo Ras" (6,060 words)

Ruthless Self-Interest And Business Strategy

Robert Frank | Cliodynamica | 18th January 2016

Behaving well is a good business strategy, because there are gains from the trust and happiness to which it gives rise. "Most people would prefer to leave the office each day being able to say to themselves that they’d done something valuable for society, or at least that they’d caused no harm. Firms that can credibly offer this amenity to their employees enjoy an incredibly powerful recruiting advantage" (650 words)

How Voltaire Made A Fortune Rigging The Lottery

Andy Williamson | Today I Found Out | 16th May 2013

Voltaire became "ridiculously wealthy" in the space of a year by fronting a syndicate which spotted a flaw in the design of the French government lottery. Buyers of French government bonds were entitled to lottery tickets at a steep discount, so the syndicate bought lots of low-value bonds, lots of lottery tickets with them, and routinely won "insane amounts of money" — until Voltaire ruined his own racket by boasting about it (1,350 words)

Video of the day: Branded Dreams

What to expect: How our dreams might look if our brains accepted advertising (2'12")

Thought for the day

Actually being good is an expensive way to seem good
Paul Graham (http://paulgraham.com/ronco.html)

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