Newsletter 801

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

Best of the Moment

Creative Blocks

David Deutsch | Aeon | 3 October 2012

Laws of physics tell us that artificial intelligence must be possible. So why does it have such a long record of failure? What is it that may unblock our understanding? And is there a role for philosophy here? Comments (

The Mitt Romney Who Might Have Been

Robert Draper | NYT | 2 October 2012

Mitt Romney's campaign tactics "reveal only what he would do in order to win, not what he’ll do once he has won". So what does a look at his decision-making when governor of Massachusetts have to tell us? Comments (

It’s My Birthday Too, Yeah

Steven Strogatz | NYT | 1 October 2012

How many people do you need to assemble before there's a 50-50 chance that two of them share a birthday? You know that the number is counter-intuitively low (it's 23). But do you know why? If not, invest a couple of minutes here Comments (’s-my-birthday-too-yeah)

Inequality And Its Perils

Jonathan Rauch | National Journal | 28 September 2012

Significant shift in mainstream economic thinking about inequality. Used to be viewed only as a symptom of other problems such as poverty and unemployment. Now it's reached the point at which it's seen as dangerous in itself Comments (

Obituary: Edwin P Wilson

Anonymous | Economist | 29 September 2012

Gun runner. CIA operative. "He was tall, loud, assertive, and a fund of great stories told over late-night Scotch—how he’d spent an evening clubbing with Somoza, how he’d killed Che Guevara. The real stories, though, he didn’t tell" Comments (

Painkilling Chemicals With No Side Effects Found In Black Mamba Venom

Ed Yong | Not Exactly Rocket Science | 3 October 2012

Nobody likes black mambas. Terrifying, highly dangerous beasts. But they may turn out to be very useful indeed. Researchers have found that black mamba venom contains a new class of molecules as effective at pain relief as morphine Comments (

FiveBooks Interview


Maria Sveland on Feminism

The feminist author chooses liberating literature for women, from Virginia Woolf to Erica Jong. She says that men still don’t share equal responsibility in the home, and that life after divorce is easier
Read on (


Human Modification

Scientists are experimenting with different ways to enhance humans. What's possible? And what may be possible in the future? Does messing with Mother Nature raise ethical questions? Read on (

Reader Recommendations

@rszbt Meet Michael Paprotta: RT @zerohedge: Resume Of The Day: Meet The Man Who Sold 1,300 Tons Of Swiss Gold " #browsings ( More like this (

Book of the Day

Book of the Day (

The Symposium  by Plato

Edward Skidelsky says ( : “What Plato seems to be saying is that moral education is not a matter of imposing principles on people against their natural bent, it’s more a matter of engaging with their desires and educating them.” FiveBooks Archive (

Video of the Day

Stephen Colbert: America Again


"If there's a better book than this, I haven't written it" More videos (

Quote of the Day

Andrew Gelman, on significance (

The difference between ‘significant’ and ‘not significant’ is not itself statistically significant

More quotes (

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