Primates, Mars, Scapulimancy, Gender, Israeli Fiction, Men

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

Unusually Murderous Mammals

Ed Yong | Atlantic | 28th September 2016

Rabbits rarely kill each either. Neither do bats or whales. Lions, tigers, and bears kill each other more frequently, but not nearly as often as primates do. Modern humans kill at a rate which is fairly typical for primates, though high for mammals in general — roughly 2% of human deaths are intra-species murder, down from 12% in medieval times. The most murderous mammals are meerkats: “Almost one in five meerkats, mostly youngsters, lose their lives at the paws and jaws of their peers” (1,300 words)

Musk’s Mars Moment

Eric Berger | Ars Technica | 28th September 2016

Hard-nosed look at Elon Musk’s plan to populate Mars within the coming decade. It is at the outer edge of possible, and it will probably cost two or three times Musk’s budget of $10 billion — but it is possible, and it leaves far more expensive and far less ambitious government programmes in the dust. Musk argues that we must conquer space not merely to advance science but to ensure human flourishing: “It is about releasing the masses into space, and letting them create a new life in space” (3,900 words)

How To Read Bones Like A Scapulimancer

Jacob Mikanowski | JSTOR Daily | 28th September 2016

The Shang kings of ancient China sought guidance from the gods by inscribing questions on the shoulder-bones of oxen, cracking the inscribed bones with hot irons, and divining the gods’ answers from the shapes of the cracks. “The pantheon they addressed included nature powers, predynastic powers, a supreme power called Di, and the legendary ancestor Ku, one of whose consorts gave birth to the founder of the dynasty after swallowing an egg left by a dark bird” (1,500 words)

Imagine If Donald Trump Was A Woman

Hadley Freeman | Guardian | 27th September 2016

“Imagine it wasn’t Trump who was the conduit for this anger. Imagine it was a woman. Picture a woman up there on the podium shouting over her rival, jabbing her finger in the air, denying she’d said things there was ample evidence of online that she had said. Imagine a completely inexperienced woman insisting she had better political nous than someone who had been at the forefront of politics for decades. And, of course, you can’t: it is, literally, beyond imagination” (1,100 words)

Fiction And Politics In Israel

Emily Rhodes | Five Books | 27th September 2016

An interview with novelist Ayelet Gundar-Goshen about modern Israeli fiction. “I don’t think it is possible to write anything in Israel without referring to politics, and if you were to decide to write something without referring to politics, then that in itself is a political decision. I don’t mean to say that fiction has to limit itself only to the current conflict. Writing is a political act, but it’s much wider than everyday politics: It deals with morals, with people, with power and knowledge” (3,800 words)

We Are Much More Than Our Bodies

The Man Who Has It All | Irish Times | 27th September 2016

How men should meet the challenges of modern manhood: “I always advise men to make sure they stay fully hydrated throughout the day because being even a fraction dehydrated can have a massive impact on your mood and concentration levels. My other top tips are to snack on 6 almonds a day, carve out time for you (I call this ‘me-time’), don’t be afraid to ask for help, and banish daddy guilt. Sometimes it’s okay to say: ‘Do you know what? I’m not Superman and that’s absolutely okay’” (950 words)

Video of the day: Slow Wave

What to expect:

The worst insomnia ever. Animation by Andy Kennedy (3’28”)

Thought for the day

To give a reason for anything is to breed a doubt of it
William Hazlitt

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