Menopause, Theranos, Cuckoos, Dinosaurs, LSD

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

Menopause, Depression, And Me

Rose George | New York Review Of Books | 8th August 2018

Diary of a menopause. “Then I became what I am. A menopausal woman. In the eyes of evolution, that makes me a pointless person. I can no longer reproduce, if I ever could. The grandmother theory of menopause — that women live beyond their reproductive utility in order to care for grandchildren — doesn’t persuade me. Also, I have no grandchildren. I cannot account for how awful menopause can be, unless I think that we were not meant to survive it. A useless evolutionary blip” (5,200 words)

Bad Blood

Andrew Gelman | Statistical Modeling | 9th August 2018

A statistician reads John Carreyrou’s “Bad Blood”, about a Silicon Valley company which claimed to have invented a revolutionary blood-test, raised $1 billion, then collapsed. “Before reading Carreyrou’s book, I had the vague idea that Theranos had some high-tech ideas that didn’t work out, and that they’d covered up their failures in a fraudulent way. It seems that they didn’t have any high-tech ideas at all. There was nothing but a black box with a robot arm squeezing pipettes of diluted blood” (4,100 words)

Stranger Places

Adam Petry | Nautilus | 9th August 2018

In search of a yellow-billed cuckoo. “I’m going over lookalikes and soundalikes, other birds that might, for a freak instant, steal my attention, dupe me into believing. Ash-throated flycatcher: similar shape, coloration; gray flanks, white breast; the crown, however, too pointed, bill too straight. Yellow-breasted chat: the rattle call loops into a circus-track of whistles, cackles, squawks. Great-blue heron nestling: deceptive clattering. Eurasian collared-dove, northern flicker, greater roadrunner” (5,100 words)

The Re-Origin Of Species

Steven Poole | Guardian | 28th July 2018

Why re-create extinct species from DNA? “Part of the motivation is simply aesthetic, and part derives from a kind of species guilt. Scientists disagree over whether it was in fact humans, rather than early climate change, that killed off mammoths, giant sloths and other megafauna, but reviving them, to some minds, would be a kind of symbolic expiation for all our other environmental depredations, returning us to a prelapsarian innocence in our relationships with other animals” (1,300 words)

Brimming With X

Galen Strawson | TLS | 8th August 2018

“What is it like to take a psychedelic drug? There is an extraordinary degree of agreement, on the part of those who have successful ‘trips’, that the fundamental principle of reality is love …. There seems to be a deeper psychological formation underneath the experience of love. The best name for it, perhaps, is Acceptance: Profound, anxiety-dissolving acquiescence in how things are, acceptance of life, acceptance of death. Acceptance, when attained, involves experience of great joy” (3,100 words)

Video of the day Mafia Boss

What to expect:

Los Angeles mobster Jimmy Fratianno explains how to become a “made man” in the Cosa Nostra (2’36”)

Thought for the day

How do we know that it refers to the past? That is the real problem of memory
Maurice Merleau-Ponty

Podcast X&Y | Radiolab

Molly Webster investigates the genetic underpinnings of gender, which prove remarkably slight
(41m 02)

Join 150,000+ curious readers who grow with us every day

No spam. No nonsense. Unsubscribe anytime.

Great! Check your inbox and click the link to confirm your subscription
Please enter a valid email address!
You've successfully subscribed to The Browser
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in
Could not sign in! Login link expired. Click here to retry
Cookies must be enabled in your browser to sign in