Giraffe Edition 49

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

Stop Obsessing About Global Warming

Amartya Sen | New Republic | 22nd August 2014

Not a game-changer, but still a broadside repaying attention. Sen argues that we need to know far more about the externalities — the social costs — of rival energy sources in order to formulate rational policies on climate change. If we did, we'd probably find that we are underestimating the potential for solar power, particularly in poorer countries; and also underestimating the dangers of nuclear power (4,366 words)

New Emperor Of Chinese Gastronomy

Fuchsia Dunlop | FT Magazine | 22nd August 2014

Profile of Chengdu chef Lan Guijun and his restaurant, Yu Zhi Lan, which aims for "luxury, intimacy and culinary perfection", modelled on Thomas Keller's French Laundry. The cuisine is "a virtuoso display of Sichuanese cooking skills with echoes of Japanese aesthetics". Lan's achievement makes Michelin's failure to award stars to restaurants in China, beyond Hong Kong and Macau, look more and more anomalous (2,460 words)

Under The Knife

Christopher Beam | New Yorker | 22nd August 2014

A despairing patient in a Chinese hospital attacks his doctors with a knife, killing one and maiming others, then tries to kill himself. A tragedy, but one of many. "Violence against doctors in China has become a familiar occurrence". China's rudimentary post-communist system of medical insurance pits helpless patients against badly-paid doctors in scarcely-regulated hospitals where bribery is almost mandatory (5,420 words)

A Unified Theory

James Gleick | New York Times | 22nd August 2014

Vikram Chandra, a computer programmer before he was a writer, produces "an unexpected tour de force", Geek Sublime, which "looks deeply, and with great subtlety, into the connections and tensions between the worlds — the cultures — of technology and art". You can write — but can you code? The book may be pigeon-holed as an update of C.P. Snow's Two Cultures, but it is more and better than that (Metered paywall) (1,190 words)

The Pope’s War

Damian Thompson | Spectator | 21st August 2014

Counter-intuitive sketch of Pope Francis's style. He may be easy-going in public, and uncombative on some doctrinal matters, but in private he is waging a "culture war" on the Vatican bureaucracy. "It looks as if the sort of Italian cardinals who brought down Benedict have been chased out." But it's not at all clear that Francis's preferred alternative, a decentralisation of authority, will work much better (Metered paywall) (1,790 words)

Video of the day: Air Traffic 2

What to expect: There is beauty, even in the flight of planes to and from Changi airport

Thought for the day

"There is bad in all good authors: what a pity the converse isn't true"
— Philip Larkin

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