Newsletter 1002


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

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Best of the Moment

The Paradox Of The Proof

Caroline Chen | Project Wordsworth | 10th May 2013

A mathematician called Shinichi Mochizuki may have solved a basic problem that has baffled his peers for decades. It's called the ABC Conjecture, and it's too complicated to explain here; indeed, it may be too complicated to explain anywhere. Mochizuki has terrific credentials. He is certainly not a fraud. But he has posted his papers, nobody understands them, they're written in a private language, and he won't elucidate. Why?

Black And Brown Blues

Chuck Klosterman | Grantland | 9th May 2013

With the Cleveland Browns on the day of the NFL draft picks. It's tense. And complicated. "The Browns want to swap the no. 6 pick for a later selection in the first round and another selection in the second. The St. Louis Rams are willing to surrender the 16th pick. However, the Browns will agree to the deal only if Mingo is no longer available at no. 6, and the Rams will make the swap only if the guy they want is still there"

Dr Who? Dr Jew

Liel Leibovitz | Tablet | 9th May 2013

Is Dr Who the greatest Jewish character in the history of television? Consider the evidence: He is "wildly intelligent, intergalactically cosmopolitan, with a biting sense of humor. He is constantly wandering, never at home." He is "surrounded by a host of belligerent warlike species who view him, alternatively and sometimes simultaneously, as both pesky and effete and oddly omnipotent"

Myth Of Presidential Leadership

Norman Ornstein | National Journal | 9th May 2013

Critics reproach Obama for lack of "leadership". As though he could change political realities by force of personality. Not so, when Congress won't be led. "No one schmoozed more or better with legislators in both parties than Clinton. How many Republican votes did it get him on his signature initial priority, an economic plan? Zero in both houses. How did things work out on his health care plan? How about his impeachment in the House?"

Why Pay More?

Peter Singer | Project Syndicate | 9th May 2013

Nobody needs a $30,000 watch or a $12,000 handbag. "Such a person is saying: 'I am either extraordinarily ignorant, or just plain selfish. If I were not ignorant, I would know that children are dying from diarrhea or malaria, and obviously what I have spent on this watch or handbag would have been enough to help several of them survive; but I care so little about them that I would rather spend my money on something that I wear for ostentation alone.'”

Stumbling Over The Past

Andreas Kluth | Intelligent Life | 8th May 2013

Strange, beautiful, sad, admirable. Across Berlin and other European cities, 40,000 small brass plates embedded in front of buildings remember residents who died in the Holocaust. These are called Stolpersteine — "stumbling stones". You might think this a government project, but it is a private initiative run by an artist, Gunter Demnig, who was born in Berlin and now lives in Cologne. You choose the subject; he makes the stone

Video of the day: Google Doodle For Saul Bass

Thought for the day:

"Relativism thrives when people do not have to shoulder the burden of actually coming to a conclusion"— Simon Blackburn

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