Newsletter 957

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

Bringing Them Back To Life

Carl Zimmer | National Geographic | 15 March 2013

"The notion of bringing vanished species back to life—some call it de-extinction—has hovered at the boundary between reality and science fiction for more than two decades." Now it has crossed over into reality. Scientists have cloned a goat and a frog that were previously extinct. Coming soon: mammoths. But probably not dinosaurs

What Would You Do: The Island Of Surpyc

Daniel Davies | Crooked Timber | 19 March 2013

Cyprus banking crisis negotiations imagined as a role-playing game. "You are a representative of the Secret One World Government, and you have been temporarily flown in to pull the strings in the island of Surpyc, which is currently experiencing a bailout crisis … Nearly every idea could end up succeeding brilliantly or failing horribly"

Religion Without God

Ronald Dworkin | New York Review Of Books | 18 March 2013

"The familiar stark divide between people of religion and without religion is too crude. Many millions of people who count themselves atheists have convictions and experiences very like and just as profound as those that believers count as religious. ... We should treat this attitude as religious, and recognize the possibility of religious atheism"

What Foster Parents Wish Other People Knew

Sharon Astyk | Casaubon's Book | 12 March 2013

"Kids in foster care have endured a lot of trauma. Sometimes that does come with behavioural challenges. But many of the brightest, best behaved, kindest, most loving children I’ve met are foster kids. They aren’t second-best kids, they aren’t homicidal maniacs, and because while they are here they are mine, they are the best kids in the world"

Iraq In Retrospect

Gideon Rose | Foreign Affairs | 18 March 2013

Lessons learned, ten years on. "A dysfunctional national security decision-making process allowed the operation to proceed without serious questioning of heroically optimistic assumptions or proper contingency planning ... American hegemony and the trauma of 9/11 removed any significant foreign or domestic check on the administration’s actions"

Pleading Out: America’s Broken Public Defense System

Simon Waxman | Los Angeles Review Of Books | 18 March 2013

Public defenders don't have time or money to do their job properly. They accept plea bargains on a scale that undermines justice. "Any decent person would agree that the system has failed when an innocent person is convicted. What is more challenging and more important is to convince the public to pay for the defense of people who are guilty"

Video of the day: Dabbawalla

Thought for the day:

"The behaviour of any bureaucratic organisation can best be understood by assuming that it is controlled by a cabal of its enemies" — Robert Conquest

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