Newsletter 909

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

The Vegans Have Landed

Rhys Southan | Aeon | 22 January 2013

On veganism and its shortcomings. "If we were replaced as the dominant animals on the planet, we’d probably prefer the new ruling species to be vegan. But if aliens with superior technology and minds came here and were determined to treat us the way that vegan humans treat animals on this planet, we’d still be in serious trouble"

Trading Faith For Wonder: On Judaism's Literary Legacy

Jacob Silverman | LA Review Of Books | 21 January 2013

Review of "Jews and Words", by Amos Oz and his daughter, Fania Oz-Salzberger, which locates the essence of Judaism in Jewish literary and intellectual culture. ”Jews are not first and foremost a race or a religion, but a civilization, one linked by the texts they read, the stories they tell, and the history they’ve chronicled"

The Force: How Much Military Is Enough?

Jill Lepore | New Yorker | 21 January 2013

Why America spends so much on its army, and how things got this way. "The U.S. once regarded a standing army as a form of tyranny. Now it spends more on defense than all other nations combined". Chance to rein in defence spending after Cold War was lost when neocons and liberals demanded new military adventures overseas

Ham Sandwich Nation: Due Process When Everything Is A Crime

Glenn Harlan Reynolds | SSRN | 20 January 2013

Lessons from the Aaron Swartz prosecution. "Though people charged with a crime have due process rights in court, the decision whether or not to charge a person is almost completely unconstrained. Yet, because of overcharging and plea bargains, that decision is probably the single most important event in the chain of criminal procedure" (PDF)

Pedophilia, Preemptive Imprisonment, And The Ethics of Predisposition

Kyle Edwards | Practical Ethics | 21 January 2013

"Why does it matter for our moral appraisal of pedophiles whether pedophilia is innate or acquired? Is it wrong to imprison someone for a terrible crime not yet committed? Is it problematic to condemn individuals for acting upon these (and other harmful) desires if it can be shown that poor impulse control is genetically predisposed?"

Kei Ochiai, Reformed Gangster

Judit Kawaguchi | Japan Times | 22 January 2013

Interview with Tokyo rag-and-bone man, who reminisces cheerfully about his younger days as a drug addict, and then as a yakuza gang member. "No matter how many times I tried, I couldn't give up the habit. I heard that some yakuza groups didn't touch drugs. I figured that if I joined their ranks, I'd be saved. In a way, I was"

Video of the day: President Obama's Second Inaugural Address

Thought for the day:

"History tells us that while these truths may be self-evident, they've never been self-executing" — Barack Obama

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