Newsletter 879

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

Best of the Moment

Utopian For Beginners

Joshua Foer | New Yorker | 17 December 2012

John Quijada, a 54-year-old former employee of the California State Department of Motor Vehicles, invented a language, "Ithkuil". It's a monument to ingenuity and design. And then Ukrainian militants started showing an interest Comments (

I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother

Anonymous | Anarchist Soccer Mom | 14 December 2012

Not literally. A powerful post on living with an unstable child. Interesting if true. "I live with a son who is mentally ill. I love my son. But he terrifies me. A few weeks ago, Michael pulled a knife and threatened to kill me" Comments (’s-mother)

Learning To Speak American

Tim Parks | NYRB | 14 December 2012

Interesting thoughts on language from Parks, who was commissioned to write a book about Italy for the American market and found many of his words changed in the editing process. Why do American publishers insist on this? Comments (

Self-Driving Cars. Can They Navigate The Law?

Russell Brandom | Verge | 14 December 2012

The great American question: Whom do you sue? If accident victims are incentivised to sue developers and manufacturers of driverless cars, companies won't make the cars. If liability rests with owners of cars, people won't buy them Comments (

20 Astounding Gun Ads

Mark Murrmann | Mother Jones | 14 December 2012

Just what the headline says. Every picture worth a thousand words, most of them unprintable. Note in particular Mattel's advertisement for a toy M-16 rifle: "You can cut loose with a solid blast almost a whole minute long!" Comments (

Why I'm Not Angry At Lance Armstrong

Sally Jenkins | Washington Post | 15 December 2012

Doping biker's co-author doesn't exonerate him, exactly, but relativises his conduct, and says others must share the blame: "I enjoyed and profited from my association with Lance when he was on top, and so did his fellow riders" Comments (’m-not-angry-lance-armstrong)

FiveBooks Interview


Vlatko Vedral on The Quantification of Everything

The professor of quantum information theory at Oxford tells us about books that successfully popularise quantum physics and the science of complex systems. Look, no equations! Read on (


Guns in America

How does one make sense of the killings in Newtown and Aurora? And will Americans, will President Obama do anything to stop it happening again? Read on (

Reader Recommendations

@polit2k ( : RT @evgenymorozov ( : So Michiko Kakutani on Taleb is predictably worth reading  #browsings (!/search?q=#browsings)  (book review) ouch! @rszbt (
More like this (

Book of the Day

Book of the Day (

Hermit of Peking  by Hugh Trevor-Roper

Orville Schell says ( : “It’s a wonderful story of how the East and the West merge but never meet, about a gay man who set himself up as a kind of Caucasian emperor in China”
FiveBooks Archive (

Video of the Day

Google Zeitgeist 2012


OK, it's a feel-good video. So watch it when you want to feel good More videos (

Quote of the Day

Leon Wieseltier, on ideology (

"The historical victory of an idea reveals nothing about its merit: power has uses for fictions"

More quotes (

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