Nuclear Bombs, IQ, Puerto Rico, Concussion, Violence, Russia

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

The Effects Of A Single Terrorist Nuclear Bomb

Matthew Bunn & Nickolas Roth | Bulletin Of The Atomic Scientists | 28th September 2017

“The blast, fire, initial radiation, and long-term radioactive fallout could leave the heart of a major city a smoldering radioactive ruin, killing tens or hundreds of thousands of people and wounding hundreds of thousands more. Vast areas would have to be evacuated and might be uninhabitable for years. Economic, poitical, and social aftershocks would ripple throughout the world. A single terrorist nuclear bomb would change history. The country — and the world — would never be the same” (4,400 words)

Against Individual IQ Worries

Scott Alexander | Less Wrong | 28th September 2017

IQ tests are generally fairly accurate, especially when professionally administered. But we are not good at understanding the results. Any IQ score measured in a person below high school age is a “plausible prediction” about adult IQ and nothing more. IQ and parental wealth are roughly equal as predictors of socioeconomic status. Chess talent correlates with IQ at 0.24, about the same as income. “You can have an average IQ and still have high levels of innate talent in chess” (2,600 words)

Explaining The Jones Act

Matthew Yglesias | Vox | 28th September 2017

American law drives up the cost of shipping goods to Puerto Rico — which is wrong at the best of times, let alone when Puerto Rico has been flattened by a hurricane. The Jones Act was meant to build a mighty US shipping industry. Instead it has helped “a handful of US shipbuilding and merchant shipping operations” to stay in business “despite being laughably uncompetitive in global terms”. The costs are paid by Puerto Rico, which has no rail option and no representation in Congress (2,070 words)

Diary Of A Concussion

Elizabeth Lopatto | Verge | 27th September 2017

The aftermath of a cycling accident; of relevance to football. “I still felt like myself, but it was kind of like my personality was a set of piano keys and someone had sliced off all the notes you’d ordinarily play with your left hand. I could go on playing with both hands, but only the top half of the keyboard was available. While I was in the ER, it occurred to me: what if I am stuck like this forever? There is no treatment for concussion except for time, but people seem not to believe that” (5,700 words)

Spoiling For A Fight

Jim Sharpe | Aeon | 28th September 2017

On the historical decline of violence in England — which boils down to a story of men behaving slightly better. The homicide rate in medieval Oxford was 120 per 100,000 of the population – compared with around one per 100,000 in modern England. By 1600 the murder rate had halved. Over time, men were getting into fewer fights with death the unintended consequence. “Very few killings were planned and few occurred when other offences, notably burglary and robbery, were being committed” (2,800 words)

Whatever Happened To The Russian Revolution?

Ian Frazier | Smithsonian | 28th September 2017

Sprawling mix of travelogue, memoir and history. “Russia is a glorious country and an ongoing disaster. Just when you decide it is the one, it turns around and discloses the other. For a hundred years before 1917 it experienced wild disorders and political violence interspersed with periods of unquiet calm, meanwhile producing some of the world’s greatest literature and booming in population and helping to feed Europe. Then it leapt into a revolution unlike any the world had ever seen” (16,000 words)

Video of the day: Over Your Skin

What to expect:

Paint flowing over human skin (2’30”)

Thought for the day

Playing a game is a voluntary attempt to overcome unnecessary obstacles
Bernard Suits

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