Newsletter 906

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

What US Jews Don’t Get About European Anti-Semitism

Jonathan Freedland | Daily Beast | 14 January 2013

"This is becoming a regular task for a British Jew: reassuring our American friends that, no, we are not living in a new dark age and, no, the lights are not going out all over Europe. Such fear is fed by the claim that the British capital has become Londonistan, a sharia-ruled outpost where al Qaeda sheiks preach on every street corner"

Aaron Swartz’s Illusion Over Research

John Gapper | FT | 16 January 2013

"Free access to academic research could bring public benefits. It would enable anyone to read, analyse and build upon privately and publicly funded research. However, someone would still need to pay for it and the costs to universities such as MIT and Oxford would rise, not fall. Open access mostly transfers the bill"

Can Non-Europeans Think?

Hamid Dabashi | Al Jazeera | 15 January 2013

European philosophers still talk as though Europe is the only home of philosophy worthy of the name. They scarcely know the great thinkers of the Arab and Muslim worlds. This hubris might have been defensible a century or two back, when Europe could pose as the vanguard of humanity. But now it is clearly wrong, and self-limiting

What We Should Fear

Gary Marcus | New Yorker | 15 January 2013

150 scientists and other intellectuals contribute to a symposium on what humanity should fear in the long term. Mostly conventional answers: demographics, computer hacking, rogue robots. But an interesting strand of "meta-worry": Do we worry too much, or too little? Are we good at identifying our problems? If so, why can't we deal with them?

Which Way Did The Taliban Go?

Luke Mogelson | New York Times | 17 January 2013

In action with soldiers of the Afghan National Army, which will have sole charge of national security once Nato leaves next year. "They don’t like to stand in straight lines or dress according to regulation or march in step". But they're tough, adaptable, and they know the country. The big problem: They don't trust their own government

Edge And The Art Collector

Gary Sernovitz | n+1 | 16 January 2013

Surely one of the best essays ever published by n+1, which is setting the bar very high. Speculative account of Steven Cohen, hedge fund tycoon, seen here through the prism of his other life as an art collector. Gorgeously understated prose style. Equally sound on the art and the money. Do yourself a favour. Make time. Read this

Video of the day: Keycopter

Thought for the day: “Philosophy is a battle against the bewitchment of our intelligence by means of our language” — Ludwig Wittgenstein

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