Pregnancy, Plea Bargaining, Billionaire Drugs, Today's World, Polish Jews, Foodbanks, Graceland & Ro

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

I’m 41, Single And Pregnant

Rachel Sklar | Medium | 29th October 2014

"Sometimes, at 41, after lots of great relationships and some less-great relationships and optimistic plans to explore fertility treatments, girl gets unexpectedly knocked up. That’s what happened to me. I had a lovely summer romance, and got pregnant. The relationship ended, the pregnancy did not. I know how it looks: At 41, single and pregnant, I’m a sad, lonely outlier. But it’s 2014. I’m not" (1,490 words)

Why Innocent People Plead Guilty

Jed Rakoff | New York Review Of Books | 3rd November 2014

Plea bargains are a judicial improvisation never foreseen by the Founding Fathers, yet they are used to settle 90% of federal criminal prosecutions in America. They put the prosecutor in "the driving seat". Innocent defendants are intimidated into pleading guilty. The prosecutor "effectively exercises the sentencing power, albeit cloaked as a charging decision". The remedy: Involve judges more in the bargaining process (4,400 words)

A Plutocratic Proposal

Alexander Masters | Mosaic | 27th October 2014

The rich should be allowed to buy places for themselves and their loved ones in clinical trials of promising new drugs. This mechanism would generate new funding for medical research, enable more trials to go ahead, and eventually bring more drugs to market for everyone's benefit. The effect would be greatest on research into rare and difficult-to-treat diseases, which traditional funders are reluctant to support (10,400 words)

Today’s World

Bob Lefsetz | Lefsetz Letter | 31st October 2014

A page of thoughts, notes and bullet-points, most of which hit home. "You’ve got someone else’s gig, you just don’t know it. That’s right, there’s someone smarter and more qualified who you’re holding down and you’d better watch out, they’re working behind the scenes to bring you down, because if they can’t have the gig, you shouldn’t either" (1,170 words)

Small Miracle In Poland

Timothy Garton Ash | Guardian | 1st November 2014

The opening of a Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw symbolises a "once almost unimaginable" improvement in relations between Poles and Jews. "If an electric tingle does not go up your spine at such a moment, there is something wrong with your spine ...To anyone who knows anything about the tortured history of Polish-Jewish relations since the second world war, this whole event felt like a small miracle" (1,070 words)

The Foodbank Dilemma

James Harrison | New Statesman | 21st October 2014

Moving account of how the very poor live in Britain. Almost a million people rely on foodbanks, to which they are referred by doctors, charities, even government agencies. "Normally I eat porridge in the morning to fill myself up and often I don’t eat at all in the evenings. Today is the start of the kids’ holidays and so they don’t get the school meals, they have to eat all their food at home and I just can’t manage" (7,900 words)

Going To The Chapel

Nathan Dunne | Aeon | 31st October 2014

Extraordinary. One of the most original and rewarding essays that Aeon has yet published — which is setting the bar high. The story begins with a disturbed man shouting lyrics from Paul Simon's Graceland in the Rothko Chapel in Houston, Texas; and goes on to explain why Graceland might indeed voice the "silent music" of Rothko's abstractions. Both evoke, in their different ways, "the plight of the disfranchised and the unseen" (1,900 words)

To The Bat Cave

Amy Davidson | New Yorker | 1st November 2014

Jeb Bush for president in 2016? The argument-for is ingenious. His opponent would be Hillary Clinton, carrying another familiar surname. "Those who would vote against either out of a belief that dynasties aren’t healthy for democracies, and that maybe four out of five Presidents in a row shouldn’t be named Clinton or Bush, would have no one to vote for. The Hillary camp might see the same comfort in Jeb’s presence" (1,170 words)

Video of the day: An Experiment In Gravity

What to expect: Documentary. How objects fall in a near-perfect vacuum (4'40")

Thought for the day

It requires a very unusual mind to undertake the analysis of the obvious
Alfred North Whitehead (

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