Emmett Till, Mars, Steak, Desire, Hans Rosling, Zsa Zsa Gabor

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

The Emmett Till Murder Trial

Dan Wakefield | The Nation | 19th December 2016

How The Nation reported the most infamous lynching trial in post-war American history. “The Crowds are gone and this Delta town is back to its silent, solid life that is based on cotton and the proposition that a whole race of men was created to pick it. Citizens who drink from the Whites Only fountain in the courthouse breathe much easier now that the two fair-skinned half brothers, ages twenty-four and thirty-six, have been acquitted of the murder of a fourteen-year-old Negro boy” (1,900 words)

Make Mars Great Again

Christopher McKay | Nautilus | 15th December 2016

There is life on Mars — in the form of microbes brought from Earth on non-sterile robots. Let evolution commence! “If Mars warmed up and water began to flow again, these microorganisms would revive and reproduce. It is within our power to make that happen. Terraforming — making a barren world suitable for widespread life — is well developed in science fiction. The primary challenge is to warm the planet. And warming planets is a technology that we humans are all too good at” (1,280 words)

Argentina On Two Steaks A Day

Maciej Cegłowski | Idle Words | 13th April 2006

“The classic beginner’s mistake is to neglect the first steak of the day, to peck at it or even skip it altogether, rationalizing that you need to save yourself for the much larger steak later that night. But that first steak has to get you through the afternoon and half the night, until the restaurants begin to open at ten. The midnight second steak might be more the glamorous one, standing as it does a good three inches off the plate, but all it has to do is get you out of the restaurant and into bed” (3,600 words)

Mind Over Matter: Scarcity In Economics

Dan Nixon | Bank Underground | 13th December 2016

Economics text-books conventionally begin by defining economics as the study of how society goes about allocating scarce resources in conditions of potentially unlimited demand. But scarcity is a subjective condition, a product of human psychology. A world of scarcity to one person can be a world of abundance to another, if their desires differ enough. Economists study how to manage supply and demand. Should they also study how to manage desire? (1,500 words)

Three Minutes With Hans Rosling

Amy Maxmen | Nature | 14th December 2016

Hans Rosling’s video lectures on global health and economics have “elevated him to viral celebrity status”. He has the ear of world leaders and billionaires. His view of global poverty as a practical problem susceptible to practical solutions “appeals to those frustrated by the persistence of myths about the world” — particularly Malthusian fears, rekindled by Paul Ehrlich, of overpopulation leading inevitably to starvation. Not so, says Rosling. “As people grow in wealth, they grow in health” (3,500 words)

Farewell, Zsa Zsa Gabor

Rachel Shukert | Tablet | 18th December 2016

“It’s impossible to open an obituary of Zsa Zsa Gabor with the customary chronological accounting of her life, since it’s impossible to know precisely when that life began. The conventional wisdom is that she was probably 99, although some who knew her well believe her to have been much much older, well over a hundred … She is survived by her eighth or ninth or possibly tenth husband, Frederic Prinz von Anhalt, which is a mesmerizing sentence to write” (940 words)

Video of the day: The Future Of Cities

What to expect:

Touring the world’s great cities looking for tips on how to build new great cities in the future (18’12”)

Thought for the day

A plot requires that somebody be impeded from getting something over with
Renata Adler

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