Newsletter 868

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

Best of the Moment

Suckers For Superheroes

Frank Rich | New York | 9 December 2012

"What’s really shocking about the Petraeus affair is not Petraeus’s affair but the fact that once again, we were taken in by a secular plaster saint." And there are many more where he came from, says Rich in this fun, barbed piece Comments (

Happy Birthday, Noam Chomsky

Gary Marcus | New Yorker | 7 December 2012

How Chomsky changed linguistics. "For most of us, words and sentences are tools for communicating. But for Chomsky, words and sentences are tools for understanding the nature and origins of knowledge" Comments (

The Robot Economy And The New Rentier Class

Izabella Kaminska | FT Alphaville | 10 December 2012

Intricate reflection on paradoxical impact of technological change. New technology raises productivity and hours worked, bringing abundance closer. "Incumbent interests" react to protect their relative wealth by engineering scarcity Comments (

A Lost Map On The Tramway In Istanbul

Avedis Hadjian | Ianyan | 4 December 2012

Meetings with Turkey's "secret Armenians"— families that survived the 1915 massacres, usually converting to Islam, assuming new identity as Turks or Kurds. Numbers unknown: Could be two million. Still afraid to reveal themselves Comments (

Inspiring Politics?

Eric Ellis | Global Mail | 7 December 2012

Who, bar Danes, could possibly be interested in a TV drama about Danish politics? Ellis considers the phenomenon of Borgen, which has viewers across five continents glued to their screens. NBC is to produce a US re-make Comments (

What To Do When The Bus Doesn't Come And You Want To Scream

Robert Krulwich | Krulwich Wonders | 7 December 2012

Fun, short post (better with pictures enabled) on the psychology of waiting. For anything really, but in this case buses. With reference to the grandaddy of such experiments, waiting at the baggage reclaim carousel Comments (

FiveBooks Interview


Uta Frith on Autism

The author of "Autism and Talent" and "Autism in History" puts her subject into historical context and tells us why studying the development of the mind continues to fascinate her Read on (


The Writing of Anthony Shadid

A selection of recent despatches by Anthony Shadid (1968-2012), one of the best reporters working in the Middle East in the past 10 years Read on (

Reader Recommendations

@IainManley ( An excellent dispatch from the Cape winelands by @roadskingdoms ( :, #longreads (!/search?q=#longreads) , #browsings ( More like this (

Book of the Day

Book of the Day (

How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming  by Mike Brown

Philip Plait says ( : “Mike Brown was finding objects that were as big or possibly bigger than Pluto in the outer solar system. It’s a great story” FiveBooks Archive (

Video of the Day

Does The Universe Have A Purpose?


Neil deGrasse Tyson resolves the meaning of life in 2'35", a new internet record More videos (

Quote of the Day

Leonard Cohen, on songwriting (

"My tiny trouble is that, before I can discard a verse, I have to write it"

More quotes (

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