DNA, Robbery, TrumpScript, Ted Hughes, Davos

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

The DIY Scientist, The Olympian, And The Mutated Gene

David Epstein | Pro Publica | 15th January 2016

An "Iowa housewife" says she has identified the gene mutation responsible for her abnormal muscle development. Which would be an incredible feat — equivalent to finding a single-letter error hidden somewhere inside 13 complete sets of Encyclopaedia Britannica. And yet, with the help of Google Images, an Olympic athlete, public libraries, and her own family's medical histories, Jill Viles has indeed found the typo (7,400 words)

Is It Still Possible To Get Away With A Heist?

Laurence Dodds | Telegraph | 15th January 2016

Yes, but life has got much harder for the men in balaclavas, at least in Britain, owing mainly to CCTV cameras. The Hatton Garden Safe Deposit robbers were traced after their car was caught on film. And even if your gang does get clean away with sacks of cash, your problems are still just beginning. Since the 2002 Proceeds of Crime Act, you need the skill-set of an international banker to do any serious money laundering (5,370 words)


Chris Brown | DevPost | 20th January 2016

"Our language includes several convenient features for an aspiring Presidential candidate. No floating point numbers, only integers; America never does anything halfway. All numbers must be strictly greater than 1 million; the small stuff is inconsequential. Instead of 'True' and 'False', we have 'fact' and 'lie'. Error messages are mostly quotes taken from Trump himself. The language is completely case insensitive" (590 words)

A Very Sadistic Man

Janet Malcolm | New York Review of Books | 21st January 2016

An early entry for the hatchet-job of the year award. Janet Malcolm dismembers Jonathan Bate's biography of Ted Hughes, citing Bate's "cluelessness about what you can and cannot do if you want to be regarded as an honest and serious writer". The book's "squalid findings and priggish theories" are drawn largely from hearsay and newspaper clippings. "Bate’s malice is the glue that holds his incoherent book together" (2,500 words)

Pope Does Davos

Hugh Pope | Dining With Al-Qaeda | 19th January 2016

Davos notebook. "Turkey's prime minister, Ahmet Davutoğlu, was going to address investors. No badge was needed. I turned up at the appointed 7am. Twenty tables were set. Two or three were half-filled. I introduced myself at one and sat down. Finally, an hour and a half after the scheduled starting time, Davutoğlu appeared. By that time, the audience of interested outsiders was, as far as I could see, basically just me" (2,630 words)

Video of the day: The Saint Of Dry Creek

What to expect: Story Corps. Patrick Haggerty tells of growing up gay in Washington state (3'30")

Thought for the day

We are stuck with technology when what we really want is just stuff that works
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