Richard Dawkins, Universities, Medievalism, Happy Words, Migration

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

In Retrospect: ‘The Selfish Gene’

Matt Ridely | Nature | 28th January 2016

Like Darwin's Origin Of Species, Richard Dawkins's The Selfish Gene changed the course of science and captured the public imagination. "The gene-centred view of evolution that Dawkins championed is now central to evolutionary theorizing. A bird or a bee risks its life and health to bring its offspring into the world, not to help itself, and certainly not to help its species." Forty years later, "Dawkins's synthesis stands to this day" (1,300 words)

I Was Completely Wrong About Tuition Fees

Martin Robbins | Guardian | 28th January 2016

An opponent of tuition fees in British universities recants. "The data simply couldn’t be clearer. In the last decade, in spite of rising tuition fees, students are more likely to apply for university, poorer students are more likely to apply for university, and the inequality gap – while still a problem – has closed. We’re not talking about small debatable improvements here – these are massive changes" (1,000 words)


Josephine Livingstone | The Point | 28th January 2016

Report from "the largest gathering of medievalists on earth", the International Congress on Medieval Studies, where this year's panels include “Waste Studies: Excrement in the Middle Ages", and “J. K. Rowling’s Medievalism (I & II)”. "Medievalists, who lead solitary and difficult lives, get together and cavort and dance and talk about the things they love the most in the world, surrounded by people who care about the same things" (3,700 words)

Positive Lexicography

Tim Lomas | 28th January 2016

A list of expressions from many languages for positive emotional states and concepts, many without immediate English equivalent. "Ah-un (阿吽) (Japanese): Unspoken communication between close friends. Fargin (Yiddish): To glow with pride at the success of others. Gigil (Tagalog): The irresistible urge to pinch a loved one. Sarang (Korean): The desire to be with someone until death. Mudita (Sanskrit): To revel in someone else's joy" (2,325 words)

Ian Goldin On Immigration

Sophie Roell | Five Books | 29th January 2016

Oxford professor of globalisation and development discusses the economic effects of immigration, and recommends the best books on the subject for the general reader. "There’s a real disconnect between the evidence and the politics. Population growth is very, very good for a country. There are vast parts of England which are not heavily populated. Immigrants become the catalysts of economic growth and change" (3,370 words)

Video of the day: Wild Wild Waves: 'Silence'

What to expect: Psychedelic visuals, indie pop. Beware the exploding spinach at the start (4'35")

Thought for the day

Any effective means is automatically judged by the opposition to be unethical
Saul Alinsky

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