Newsletter 814

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

Best of the Moment

The Vanishing Groves

Ross Andersen | Aeon | 16 October 2012

Superb essay on the bristlecone pines of California, the world's oldest trees, and their interaction with humans, land and climate. Most ancient is estimated to be 4,800 years old. They're an extraordinary record of the Earth's past Comments (

Obituary: Norodom Sihanouk

Anonymous | Telegraph | 16 October 2012

Model obituary. Extraordinary life traced through decades of turbulent history. Best and worst of leaders. Won Cambodia's independence from France in 1953. Ousted. Supported Khmer Rouge. Exiled in Pyongyang. Returned as king in 1991 Comments (

Sorry, US Recoveries Really Aren't Different

Carmen Reinhart & Kenneth Rogoff | Bloomberg | 15 October 2012

This is a systemic crisis, the US's first since the Great Depression. Recovery will be slow and halting, with false dawns along the way. It would be helpful to put away the V-shaped nonsense and recognise reality (h/t @nuzav) Comments (

Where Will The Next Pandemic Come From? And How Can We Stop It?

David Quammen | Popsci | 15 October 2012

Best guess: A human disease that comes from wildlife, probably from a subgroup known as RNA viruses. They're highly adaptable, jump species, disappear quickly or kill. And human behaviour is making an outbreak more likely Comments (

Economies Of Scale, Economies Of Scope

Venkatesh Rao | Ribbonfarm | 15 October 2012

"Scaling is engineering, scoping is marketing. Both are types of learning. You have to do both to survive in competitive markets, which are the only kind around today." Dazzling post from dazzling blog Comments (

My Way: The Song That Refuses To Die

John Sutherland | Guardian | 15 October 2012

Favourite song at British funerals. And thus a paradoxical choice. "If the deceased really went through life doing everything their way, then why choose, for their farewell, the same musical tribute as all the others?" Comments (

FiveBooks Interview


PJ O’Rourke on Political Satire

PJ O’Rourke talks Swift, Huxley, Orwell and Waugh and says we now live in the world of 1984 but, instead of being a horror show, a television that looks back at you is just a pain in the ass Read on (’rourke-on-political-satire)


Women and the Workplace

Women in the West may be slowly winning the battle for workplace equality. But at what price? Read on (

Reader Recommendations

@henrylf ( Remembering Yakov Solodovnik, First Man To Parachute From The Stratosphere: Great piece of #history (!/search?q=#history) #browsings ( More like this (

Book of the Day

Book of the Day (

Seven Tenths  by James Hamilton-Paterson

Philip Marsden says ( : “A wonderful meditation on the sea and its scale - historical, ecological and lyrical” FiveBooks Archive (

Video of the Day

The Debate In 100 Seconds


Cries out to be remixed as rap. It certainly doesn't work as politics More videos (

Quote of the Day

Italo Calvino, on classics (

"A classic is a work which persists as a background noise even when a present that is totally incompatible with it holds sway"

More quotes (

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