Newsletter 955

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

Why I Have Quit Catholicism

Emma Keller | Guardian | 15 March 2013

"It is extraordinarily hard to bring your children up in a community with an entrenched tradition of pedophilia. It is almost impossible, as a mother, to stay connected to a church where thousands of children were abused, and the response of the men in charge, those you have trusted all your life, has been to cover the crimes up"

China Is Engineering Genius Babies

Aleks Eror | Vice | 15 March 2013

Genetics firm in southern China buys DNA from "2,000 of the world's smartest people", hoping to find the alleles that determine intelligence. Future parents will fertilise many eggs, then choose the most promising. "Even if it only boosts the average kid by five IQ points, that’s a huge difference in the competitiveness of the country"

The Future Of The Parachute Regiment

Sir Humphrey | Thin Pinstriped Line | 14 March 2013

Dry but expert note on parachutists in war. You don't need a regiment of them any longer. A few will do. "The time has come to move away from the Paratroopers parachuting, and instead refocus them more properly on the role in which they have excelled – namely hugely aggressive light infantry capable of conducting great physical acts of courage"

The Little That Hugo Chávez Got Right

Daniel Lansberg-Rodriguez | Boston Review | 14 March 2013

Long-time critic assesses late Venezuelan president's record, finds picture more nuanced than he previously allowed. "What cannot be denied, what gives me pause as I consider my own resistance to Chavismo, is that the regime did make a large segment of the population feel empowered and relevant for the first time in recent memory"

Is There A Word for "Nerd" In Chinese?

Victor Mair | Language Log | 5 March 2013

First we define what "nerd" means in English: "It doesn't just signify a bookish or pedantic person, but rather someone who is socially inept or square, perhaps, but not necessarily, because of a consuming commitment to intellectual or technical pursuits." For which the closest equivalent in Chinese is the assimilated English word "geek"

Video of the day: The Maghreb

Thought for the day:

"If you're the most intelligent person in the room, you're in the wrong room" — James Watson

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