Looks, Focus, Bet, Power, Conflict

The articles in this week's edition are three of the twenty-five that we send to full Browser subscribers, along with videos, podcasts, and crosswords. If you'd like to see the rest, why not join now?

Lying Eyes

Gayan Samarasinghe | New Humanist | 28th July 2021

We no longer believe that physiognomy can reveal innate criminality, as claimed by Lombroso. But how people look in a court of law can still have a big impact on how they are judged. Jurors and judges may be swayed by defendants' and witnesses' posture, clothing, body language and facial expression. Can demeanour provide useful information, or is it always a dangerous distraction? (2,600 words)

The Four Hours Rule

Oliver Burkeman | 29th July 2021

How to manage your time like Darwin or Dickens. Use the control you have over your schedule not to "maximise your time" or "optimise your day" in some vague way but "specifically to ringfence three or four hours of undisturbed focus" each day to do your best work. "Just focus on protecting four hours – and don't worry if the rest of the day is characterised by the usual scattered chaos" (700 words)

The Bet

Anton Chekhov | Berfrois | 15th Jul 2021

A short story, and a chilling one too, reproduced here in Constance Garnett's translation. A Russian dinner-party conversation about the relative merits of life imprisonment and capital punishment gives rise to a bet between the host and a guest. If the guest can voluntarily endure 15 years of solitary confinement, the host will pay him a great fortune. The experiment begins (2,800 words)

Audio of the Week: The Cost Of Power

Think African | Sound Africa | 18th June 2021

Power is a hot topic on the African continent, as this documentary explains. African countries are grappling with the same environmental pressures to reduce emissions as everywhere else, but in many cases without the same resources. Nuclear is a popular choice, although at the moment the continent's only nuclear plant is in South Africa and is now nearly forty years old (19m 27s)

Interview of the Week: Ian Leslie On Creating The Adversary You Want

Browser Interviews | 1st August 2021

Ian Leslie, author of Conflicted and editor of The Ruffian, talks to The Browser's Baiqu Gonkar about the Darwinian nature of disagreements, how to create the adversary you want, and the joy of small gadgets. (23m 16s, transcript here).

"Simplicity is the hallmark of truth, but complexity continues to have a morbid attraction"
E.W. Dijkstra

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