Newsletter 11

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

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[2]Life After The Synthetic Cell
Mark Bedau et al | Nature | 20 May 2010
Eight experts assess significance of Venter's synthesised genome. Majority
line is to applaud it as a great technical advance, but not a scientific
watershed (PDF)
[3]Interview With Christopher Hitchens
Decca Aitkenhead | Guardian | 22 May 2010
Writer's charm fails him. Portrayed here as "paunchy, middle-aged figure
with a crust of dried toothpaste around his mouth", and conversational style
of a "home counties golf club bore"
[4]Flying Doctor’s Dark Secret
John Heminway | FT | May 21
Anne Spoerry, French-born doctor serving Kenya's poorest, hid WW2 past as
death-camp collaborator. Fascinating story, finely pieced together and
sensitively told
[5]Come Party With Lady Gaga
Caitlin Moran | London Times | 21 May 2010
You may well think everything imaginable has been written about this singer,
most of it not worth reading. Fear not. Here is an interview to stop you in
your tracks
[6]Elena Kagan: Historian
David Greenberg and Tony Michels I Slate I 21 May 2010
History professors assess US Supreme Court nominee's undergraduate thesis.
No outré ideological radicalism but sympathy for social democratic left.
Intellectually nimble and mature, could have been superb historian.
[7]Predicting Behaviour
Nick Southgate I School of Life I 21 May 2010
Brief note on research suggesting others can know us better than we know
ourselves. They remember things we prefer to forget, base predictions on
observed behaviour not rose-tinted view of self.
[8]Roots Of African Homophobia
Madeleine Bunting I The Guardian I 21 May 2010
Toxic mix of historical, cultural causes. Unlike West, idea of sex de-linked
from reproduction still perceived as unnatural. Gay and lesbian activists
face huge task, much personal danger.
[9]Preventative Measures
Noam Scheiber | New Republic | 21 May 2010
American financial reform bill pretty strong stuff. Creates resolution
authority for failing banks. Doesn't provide for breaking up megabanks, but
subjects them to new mandates, regulations
[10]Social Networking—Please Kill Us Already
Anonymous | Onion | 20 May 2010
"Aging, scared newspapermen throw themselves at the latest mobile technology
trend in a humiliatingly futile attempt to remain relevant"
[11]NYPD Tapes
Graham Tayman | Village Voice | 4 May 2010
Police officer secretly tapes work environment for 15 months, publishes
tapes. Like "The Wire", only better. Golden rule: always look busy, but
don't ruin statistics by booking crimes
[12]"So" Pushes to the Head of the Line
Anand Giridharadas | NYT | 21 May 2010
“So” is the latest filler word, succeeding “well,” “um,” “oh” and “like.”
Probably popularised by techies. "It conveys an algorithmic certitude. It
suggests that there is a right answer"
David Macfarlane | Walrus | June 2010
Canadian purist laments American takeover of professional ice-hockey.
"Transformed in the digestive tract of American consumerism, the sport has
become an American entertainment"
[14]Help Me Help My Friend In DC
Fake et al | MetaFilter | 19 May 2010
Amazing, nail-biting real-time thread. MetaFilter commenters in DC and New
York club together to save a pair of visiting Russian students from falling
into the hands of sex-traffickers
[15]And Man Made Life
Anonymous | Economist | 20 May 2010
Artificial genome points to a future of computer-designed animals and
plants. Open-source this science, in the hope that responsible users will
outnumber, outwit rogue users
[16]Afterlife Of Stieg Larsson
Charles McGrath | NYT Magazine | 17 May 2010
Captivating backgrounder, for fans of Larsson's Millennium trilogy. Author
dies without will. Much feuding ensues. Father and brother get estate,
partner holds unfinished novels
[17]End Of Empire
Leon Neyfakh | New York Observer | 19 May 2010
Epic history of New York all-night gay diner, now closing. Centre of
debauchery in 1970s; celebrity hang-out as Chelsea gentrified in 1980s.
Parental guidance recommended
[18]Food Movement, Rising
Michael Pollan | NYRB | 20 May 2010
Industrial food hurts society, health, environment. Main cause of America's
obesity epidemic. Hence surge of popular interest in fresh food, local
farming, home cooking
[19]Enter God, Stage Left
Michael Billington I The Guardian I 20 May 2010
Where is today's Brecht or Shaw? Tensions in Roman Catholicism, Anglicanism,
Islam, rise of militant secularism provide rich opportunities for theatre.
Dramatists should engage.
[20]The Price Of Clarity
Robert Skidelsky I Project Syndicate I 20 May 2010
Call to reduce opaque language in finance, politics. Knavery, complexity may
partly explain obscurity but political correctness, decline of literacy have
role too. IMF among those guilty.
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