Peter Singer, Lobbying Lords, New Republic, Anders Breivik, Internet

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

The Ethics Of Fighting Ebola

Peter Singer | Project Syndicate | 12th November 2014

Can we afford placebo trials for Ebola drugs? No, and we don't need them. "Monitor carefully the outcomes of different treatment centers now, before experimental treatments become available, and then compare these outcomes with those achieved by the same centers after experimental treatments are introduced. No one would receive a placebo, and it should still be possible to detect which treatments are effective" (950 words)

The Business Of Lords

Charles Forelle & Justin Scheck | Wall Street Journal | 11th November 2014

Members of Britain's House of Lords don't make laws, but they can amend them. They tend to have excellent political access; especially those that have served in government. Which makes this tally of their outside interests somewhat disconcerting. Sixty-nine advise private companies on government affairs, 113 advise financial-services firms, 26 are paid by resource-extraction companies and 20 work for foreign governments (3,060 words)

How The New Republic Invented Modern Liberalism

Franklin Foer | New Republic | 9th November 2014

Editor Franklin Foer traces the 100-year history of the New Republic as a vehicle for liberal ideas, financed initially by Dorothy Whitney, "heir to a glimmering tangle of intermarried fortunes". According to founding editor Herbert Croly: "The whole point is that we are trying to impose views on blind or reluctant peopleā€. The modern era gets short shrift, though; no mention of Marty Peretz, owner and publisher for 30 of these 100 years (3,700 words)

Anders Breivik, West End Boy

Adam Shatz | London Review Of Books | 12th November 2014

Powerful discussion of Norwegian mass-murderer Anders Behring Breivik, drawing on biographies by Aage Borchgrevink and Sindre Bangstad. Breivik killed dozens of children in a deranged protest against Islam in Europe. His actions were unique but his hatreds were not. "It is entirely possible to be a lone madman, yet act out ideological fantasies of purity and existential danger which are far more mainstream" (3,790 words)

Surfing, Drowning, Diving

Rex Strogatz | The Message | 12th November 2014

The early years of the internet were the heyday of surfing, when the pool of content was shallow enough to be skimmed over happily and carelessly. Then came the years of drowning, when the pool turned into an ocean that threatened to engulf us. We are now in the era of diving. The ocean has grown bigger, but we can explore its depths purposefully using filtering and curation tools (1,530 words)

Video of the day: Ambition

What to expect: Sci-fi short sponsored by the European Space Agency (6 minutes)

Thought for the day

Under conditions of tyranny it is far easier to act than to think
Hannah Arendt (

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