London, China, Diversity, Jargon, Sweaty January, Plate Tectonics , Animal Thought


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

We All Dream Of Being Jewel Thieves

Geoff Manaugh | Daily Beast | 3rd January 2016

What a jewel robbery tells us about our cities and ourselves. "London hides an intense world of secret architectural connections. Whether it’s abandoned Tube stations and lost rivers or Roman archaeological sites and medieval catacombs, the city seems riddled with shortcuts, promising a link from one building to another behind the next basement door or a forgotten underground world beneath the next manhole" (1,820 words)

One Child: The Story Of China’s Most Radical Experiment

Rana Mitter | Guardian | 4th January 2016

On the origins and consequences of China's one-child policy: "The government decided that demographics was, in fact, rocket science, and set a group of cyberneticists and engineers to ponder the problem. They decided that China’s ideal population size was 700 million and set out a linear model to show how it could be achieved by restricting births. Unfortunately, the rocket scientists failed to consult any social scientists" (950 words)

When You’re Not The Hero Any More

Laurrie Penny | New Statesman | 28th December 2015

Popular culture is evolving. A mainstream book or film can thrive without a straight white male at the centre of it. "The change is creeping slow and political as hell. Just look at the diverse stories we’ve had this year, none of them perfect, all of them groundbreaking. It’s Black Hermione and female Ghostbusters. It’s Orange Is The New Black. It’s Mad Max. It’s Star Wars. Diversity shouldn't be exciting by now, but it is" (1,680 words)

Lucy Kellaway’s Golden Flannel Awards

Lucy Kellaway | Financial Times | 4th January 2016 | | Read with 1Pass

"Last year was a ripping one for flannel. In know I say that every year, but what stood out was the number of entries that offend not only the eye and ear but make the flesh creep too ... There was sweat the footprint, leaving one fearing athlete’s foot. There was a banker who was pregnant with the deal. There was wet bench testing and merchant stickiness. But the soaraway winner was executive brownout" (804 words)

Sweaty January: How Gyms Make Money

Dan Davies | Bull Market | 12th January 2015

"Having seen the books of a gym chain or two, we can tell you that ‘Sweaty January’ is not an urban myth. It's impossible to run a gym without taking it into account. About 75 per cent of all gym memberships are taken out in January. The economics of the industry absolutely depend on the fact that a very great proportion of January joiners will not visit more than three or four times before the end of the year" (1,180 words)

Mapping The Earth A Billion Years Ago

Steve Levine | Quartz | 31st December 2015

Four hundred million years ago the Earth had a single land mass, Pangaea, which broke into pieces that became our continents. What came before Pangaea? Geologists think they have the outlines of a previous supercontinent, Rodinia, and are guessing at another, Nuna, a billion years before Rodinia. Their maps will be studied keenly. If you know where diamonds formed in Rodinia, you can work out where to mine for them now (5,700 words)

Animal Minds

Essay | The Economist | 19th December 2015 | | Read with 1Pass

"Most scientists now feel they can say with confidence that some animals process information and express emotions in ways that are accompanied by conscious mental experience. A few species have attributes once thought to be unique to people; a handful of animals have culture. No animals have all the attributes of human minds; but almost all the attributes of human minds are found in some animal or other" (5,700 words)

Video of the day: Best Books Of 2015

What to expect: Bill Gates leafs through his five favourite non-fiction books of last year (1'16")

Thought for the day

If you are Larkin or Bishop, one book a decade is enough; and, if not, more than enough
James Richardson

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