Perfect Cheese Sandwich, Cultural Cognition, Bertold Brecht, Borges, Multiverses, Jewish Marriage


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

The Perfect Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Felicity Cloake | Guardian | 5th November 2014

Here's the bad news up front: It's fried, not grilled. Now on to the bliss. You want the best sourdough rye bread you can find, sliced 1cm thick — enough to "absorb the gooey cheese inside, and let the outside get nice and crispy". Use two kinds of supermarket cheese, one for flavour and one for texture. "Red Leicester and Mozzarella makes for a ridiculously oozy, molten core". Pan-fry on medium heat in butter and cured pork fat. Eat (2,390 words)

Seeking A Climate Change

Paul Voosen | Chronicle Review | 3rd November 2014

Dan Kahan of Yale University studies how the public understands science. His argument, roughly, is that we are happy with plausible explanations, we don't demand true ones; and we choose explanations that match our broad cultural values. In debates about climate change, stem cells, GMOs, vaccines, nuclear power, evolution et al, the basic question is not the science as such. It is always: "What kind of a person are you?" (4,460 words)

Bertolt Brecht

Anthony Daniels | New Criterion | 3rd November 2014

Stephen Parker's "definitive" biography, Bertold Brecht, presents a "devastating" portrait of its subject. "In all the hundreds of thousands of words, there is no account of Brecht ever having done a good, kind, generous, or unselfish thing. None of us would claim to be perfect, but I doubt that there are many of us about whom so much could be written without the description of a single indisputably praiseworthy deed" (4,100 words)

Borges And God

Jorge Luis Borges & Osvaldo Ferrari | New York Review Of Books | 4th November 2014

Borges and Ferrari discuss religion, identity, morality. Borges argues against judging acts by their consequences: "The consequences of an act ramify and multiply and perhaps balance out in the end. I do not know if the consequences of the discovery of America have been good or evil, because there are so many. Even as we are talking, they are growing and multiplying. To judge an act by its consequences is absurd" (1,417 words)

Measuring The Multiverse

Natalie Wolchover & Peter Byrne | Quanta | 3rd November 2014

The multiverse conjecture holds that our universe is just one among an infinite number of universes — and that this explains the mystery of life. If you posit an infinite number of universes, at least one of them is going to have life in it, and here we are. It is hard to imagine what the evidence for this conjecture might even look like — but a Berkeley physicist called Raphael Bousso has some suggestions (3,310 words)

Converting For Love

Adam Kirsch | Tablet | 4th November 2014

Adam Kirsch's daily reading of the Talmud considers the specificities of Jewish marriage law. Gentile women are not allowed to marry Jewish men; converts may do so because conversion "creates a new legal person, who did not exist before. It is only this new person who is marriageable, not the old, gentile version of her who has ceased to exist". Conversion for love alone is not recognised; belief must be the motive (1,500 words)

Video of the day: Hug Me I'm Scared

What to expect: Imagine a Muppets short directed by David Lynch in the spirit of Yellow Submarine

Thought for the day

Storytelling reveals meaning without committing the error of defining it
Hannah Arendt (https://twitter.com/michaeljaco/status/527628358428151808)

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