Feminism, Cormac McCarthy, Mayonnaise, Leo Szilard, Trauma

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

Feminism Has Made Me A Better Scientist

Andrew Gelman | Statistical Modeling | 13th August 2018

“Feminism is about a willingness to question the dominant, tacitly accepted ideology. This is essential for science … It is not that feminism is some sort of superpower that allows one to consider alternatives to the existing defaults, it’s more that these alternatives are obvious and can only not be seen if you don’t allow yourself to look. Feminism is, for this purpose, a simple removal of blinders. But uncovering blind spots isn’t that simple, and can be quite powerful” (2,200 words)

Cormac McCarthy’s Existential Westerns

Rachel Kushner | New Statesman | 25th July 2018

On re-reading Cormac McCarthy’s bleak and brilliant Border Trilogy. “Even when lost, McCarthy’s cowboys don’t doubt, or hope, or suspect, or wonder. Instead they are defined by know-how, as Heidegger might put it. They roll their own and strike anywhere, but mostly off a thumbnail. They rope and break wild horses. And the reader too acquires skills, such as reading beautifully worked prose that has no commas. They go without beds. We go without commas, and feel liberated” (1,600 words)

How Millennials Killed Mayonnaise

Sandy Hingston | Philadelphia | 11th August 2018

Yet another reproach for older Americans to levy against their young: The young spurn mayonnaise. Whereas the old embraced Hellman’s mayonnaise because it symbolised the “homogeneity of that old, dead American dream”, the young reject it for exactly that reason. They want identity condiments, sauces that say: “I’m not part of the elderly mayo masses; I’m turkey and Swiss on ciabatta with tzatziki, chipotle spread and a little basil pesto. That’s who I am, dammit. My sandwich, my self” (2,300 words)

The Nuclear Fail

Emily Harnett | Hazlitt | 30th July 2018

Remembering Leo Szilard, the Hungarian-born physicist who co-signed, with Albert Einstein, the letter that launched the Manhattan Project. “It was in London, on a street corner, that Leo had an epiphany, motivated by irritation. He had just read an editorial by Ernest Rutherford declaring the dream of atomic power a theoretical impossibility. It occurred to Leo that a nuclear chain reaction could be precipitated by the neutrons in a critical mass of uranium. Leo filed his first patent” (3,400 words)

What Trauma Docs Know

Kim Bellware | Chicago Magazine | 3rd August 2018

Notes from conversations with trauma doctors at Chicago hospitals, where gunshot and knife wounds make up almost one-third of Level 1 admissions. “Younger patients are ridiculously resilient. They can be shot 20 times, you give them 50 units of blood, and they walk out of the hospital”. “We don’t take the bullets out. If we find them, great. But they’re like splinters, they work their way out eventually”. “Nobody gets shot just once anymore. Everybody is shot four or five times” (2,300 words)

Video of the day What Makes A Western?

What to expect:

Dave Kehr discusses the necessary ingredients of a classic Western movie (13m 24s)

Thought for the day

Whatever doesn’t kill you sometimes makes you wish it had been more effective
Mark Schulte

Podcast Valuing Life | Freakonomics Radio

Conversation with Kenneth Feinberg, the lawyer charged with assessing compensation to victims after 9/11
(39m 17s)

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