Newsletter 887

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 Elephant In The Situation Room

Ian Bremmer | Reuters | 24 December 2012

Critique of US National Intelligence Council's "Global Trends 2030" report. Needs more China. "If there are twin gigatrends that supersede all else, they are China’s trajectory, and the multipolar world in which it is playing out" Comments (

Jerry Seinfeld Intends To Die Standing Up

Jonah Weiner | NYT | 20 December 2012

It helps that Seinfeld is such a likeable character, and that good humour is his stock-in-trade. But wow, this profile is a pleasure to read. "In his jokes he arranges life’s messy confusions into a bouquet of trivial irritants" Comments (

Cleaning Up Science

Gary Marcus | New Yorker | 24 December 2012

"A lot of scientists have been busted recently for making up data and fudging statistics. How on Earth are we going to do better? Here are six suggestions, [starting with a proposal to] restructure the incentives in science" Comments (

Stalking The Taliban In Afghan Currency Markets

Matthew Green | Reuters | 23 December 2012

Is Haji Khairullah Barakzai an illiterate village boy made good thanks to hard work and street smarts? Or is he, as the US alleges, banker to the Taliban, kingpin of an underground drug network? Is it possible there's a bit of both? Comments (

Gifts That Keep Giving (If Not Exploding)

Jennifer Kingson | NYT | 24 December 2012

Would any child grow up wanting to be a chemist after using today's safe chemistry sets? The days of making bad smells and explosions are over. "Basically, you have to be able to eat everything in the science kit" Comments (

Politics And The Chinese Language

Perry Link | China File | 24 December 2012

Perry Link amplifies his criticisms of Mo Yan's writings, in reply to a defence from Charles Laughlin. Full of good points about literature in China, art under censorship, and the political manipulation of language and history Comments (

FiveBooks Interview


Catherine S Manegold on Narrative Non-Fiction

The author and former New York Times reporter says that some of the very best writing today is non-fiction — and that seductive narratives can yank readers into the most diverse range of subjects Read on (


Conflict in Syria

The Syrian conflict is causing terrible destruction and loss of life. This report charts how protests against the Assad regime descended into a bitter war  Read on (

Reader Recommendations

@rszbt ( RT @JadAbumrad ( : Amazing story of the first man to parachute through a cumulonimbus storm cloud - #browsings ( More like this (

Book of the Day

Book of the Day (

The Truth About Markets  by John Kay

Anatole Kaletsky says ( : “I think it’s a very profound book of permanent truths about markets. It’s not just about the dotcom bubble in 2000, which prompted Kay to write it” FiveBooks Archive (

Video of the Day

PAL-V Maiden Voyage


They promised us flying cars. And guess what? Here's a flying car. More videos (

Quote of the Day

Andrew Hacker, on complexity (
"Professionals are rated by the presumed complexity of what they know and do. So to retain or raise an occupation’s status, tasks are made more mysterious"

More quotes (

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