Newsletter 1029

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

Best of the Moment

Why We Sign Emails With “Thank You”

Krystal D'Costa | Scientific American | 11th June 2013

The rules of social engagement require politeness formulae at the close of communications. When letters took time to write and send, it was important for the sender to attest to her reliability. Hence the preference for valedictions such as "Yours sincerely". With emails, the ease of writing and sending means that the most effective politeness formula is one that thanks the recipient for sparing the time to read the thing at all

The Trouble Within Islam

Tony Blair | Project Syndicate | 10th June 2013

"The problematic strain within Islam is not the province of a few extremists. It has at its heart a view of religion – and of the relationship between religion and politics – that is not compatible with pluralistic, liberal, open-minded societies. At the extreme end of the spectrum are terrorists, but the worldview goes deeper and wider than it is comfortable for us to admit. So, by and large, we don’t admit it"

David Kynaston’s “Modernity Britain”

Charles Moore | Telegraph | 7th June 2013

Review of the third volume in Kynaston's "admirable and interesting" history of post-war Britain, for 1957-59. "The author rightly shies away from firm conclusions, and his own politics are hard to discern. But he certainly, though subtly, pursues themes. The biggest in this volume is the tension between freedom and control. On the whole, the Fifties was a time when the former began tentatively to get the better of the latter"

Gideon Rachman: The World Since 1978

Alec Ash | Five Books | 10th June 2013

Interview. Since 1978, because that's when Deng Xiaoping came to power, and the great rebalancing began. Rachman's choice of books to illuminate the period includes Vogel's biography of Deng — "You can’t approve, obviously, of the killing of innocent people, but his vision of development had something to it"; and Tony Blair's Journey — "Like any politician he is shaping his legacy, but he can at least simulate frankness"

Inside The United States

Peter Gelling | Global Post | 7th June 2013

What you might be reading, if the American press covered America as it does the rest of the world. The article is described as "satire", though it is not. "On a recent visit to the United States by GlobalPost, signs of the increased security apparatus could be found everywhere. At all national airports, passengers are now forced to undergo full-body scans before boarding any flights. Small cameras are perched on many street corners"


Anonymous | Harper's | 10th June 2013

"China was driving demand for the gill plates of manta rays and was stealing West Africa’s fish, and Philippine authorities detained a Chinese crew after their ship ran aground on a protected coral reef while carrying eleven tons of illegal pangolin meat. A seal boarded the Royal Navy’s HMS Bulwark, and the Ukrainian Defense Ministry denied reports that three military dolphins had deserted in search of sex"

Video of the day: Everest Time Lapse

Thought for the day:

"People only speak to get something. If I say, 'Let me tell you a few things about myself', already your defenses go up"— David Mamet

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