New York Times, Stephen Wall, King Abdullah, Why Gender?, Paternity Testing, Political Philosophy


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

Interview: New York Times Editor Dean Baquet

Holger Stark & Isabell Hülsen | Der Spiegel | 23rd January 2015

Spiegel asks hard questions and Baquet answers them. On not republishing the Charlie Hebdo cartoons: "As much as I love showing solidarity, that's my second or third most important job. My first most important job is to serve the readers of the New York Times, and a big chunk of the readers of the New York Times are people who would be offended by showing satire of the Prophet Muhammad" (3,390 words)

Lunch With The FT: Sir Stephen Wall

Gideon Rachman | Financial Times | 23rd January 2015 | Metered paywall

Proof that there are second and even third acts in British lives. Stephen Wall was Britain’s ambassador to the European Union and then Tony Blair’s adviser on Europe. A lifelong Catholic, he retired from the civil service to serve as policy adviser to the Archbishop of Westminster. But "in his early sixties" he read Richard Dawkins's The God Delusion and lost his faith. He came out as gay and his divorce is pending. Now read on (2,500 words)

Obituary: King Abdullah Of Saudi Arabia

Madawi Al-Rasheed | Guardian | 22nd January 2015

He came late to the throne and achieved little or nothing good. He used his wealth to undermine the Arab Spring, particularly in Egypt, and so "helped to reverse the prospect of democracy in the Arab world". Under his rule Saudi Arabia "degenerated into multiple fiefdoms". Like his father he married the daughters and widows of defeated enemies: "He is believed to have had around 30 wives, 15 sons and 20 daughters" (2,500 words)

Paris Lees | Prospect | 22nd January 2015

A short piece raising simple questions which would have seemed absurd to most people a generation ago, but now seem more than reasonable: "Why do we have to have a legal gender? Why even have someone’s gender on their passport? Why do we have to have a gendered title at all? It’s an interesting debate that will only grow as more and more people challenge what it means to be a man or a woman" (500 words)

Father, Son & Double Helix

Snigdha Poonam | Open | 23rd January 2015

Paternity-testing by DNA has boomed in India since the first commercial clinic opened in 2008. Most requests come from couples living in "joint families" where "the uncertainty over a child’s parentage tends to be high". Maternity tests are also popular. Hospitals request them when staff inadvertently mix up babies, and in cases of "child swap" when professional thieves steal newborn boys and substitute girls (2,600 words)

Jonathan Wolff On Political Philosophy

Nigel Warburton | Five Books | 22nd January 2015

British philosopher discusses books by Thomas Hobbes, Karl Marx, John Rawls, Robert Nozick and Jerry Cohen. Rawls "created the world of contemporary political philosophy" with his Theory Of Justice in 1971. He "won the debate". But Nozick is a more enjoyable and accessible writer. "Nozick makes you think. With Rawls, it probably has to be explained to you before you can start thinking about it" (7,600 words)

Video of the day: San Francisco At Night

What to expect: Hyperlapse. Twelve nocturnal hours compressed into a single minute (1'06")

Thought for the day

When ideas fail, words come in very handy
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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