Station Cat, Polygamy, Bones, Pac-Man, News, Faeroese

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

Obituary: Tama-Chan, Railway Cat

Anne Wroe | The Economist | 2nd July 2015 | | Read with 1Pass

Born in Kishi station, although a cat, Tama-Chan was a natural choice for stationmaster when the last human retired. "According to the Japanese principle of promotion by seniority, she rose effortlessly to super-stationmaster and honorary division chief. She was made an operating officer of the WER in recognition of her contribution to profits, the first female to be so honoured, and then became company vice-president" (932 words)

Polygamy And Gay Marriage

Jonathan Rauch | Politico | 30th June 2015

Polygamy is the opposite of gay marriage, not the next step. Gay marriage extends the freedom to marry; polygamy reduces it by allowing high-status men to hoard marriage opportunities at the expense of everybody else. "The principle on which gay marriage won social and judicial approval — that individuals and society are better off when everyone has the opportunity to marry— militates against polygamy, not for it" (1,900 words)

Harvesting Bones At Waterloo

Gareth Glover | Wonders And Marvels | 1st July 2015

A soldier in 1815 was worth more dead than alive. Scavengers stripped the 20,000 fallen at Waterloo while the bodies were still warm. Teeth were sold for making dentures: "So many [teeth] were collected at Waterloo that they were carted away in huge oak barrels". Bones were sold for fertiliser. "In 1822 a correspondent pointed out that the farmers of Yorkshire were probably enjoying bumper crops with the very bones of their own sons" (450 words)

The Perfect Man

David Ramsey | Oxford American | 1st July 2015

Profile of Billy Mitchell, Florida restaurant-owner and the greatest Pac-Man player the world has ever known. He plays "at a level unimaginable to everyone else in the arcade". In 1999 he achieved "the Holy Grail of gaming", the perfect Pac-Man score. "The feat requires navigating 256 boards, or levels, and eating every single possible pellet, fruit, and ghost, for the highest score of 3,333,360, all without dying once" (5,100 words)

Apple And Facebook Make The News

Hannah Kuchler & Matthew Garrahan | Financial Times | 2nd July 2015 | | Read with 1Pass

Desperate newspapers and magazines are signing deals allowing their content to be distributed freely through Apple and Facebook in exchange for a share of advertising revenues, apparently in the belief that only Apple and Facebook — and in due course Google — can command critical market share among mobile internet users, and that this battle for mobile market share will determine the future of the news industry (2,110 words)

The Ballad Of Steinbjørn Jacobsen

Eric Wilson | Literary Hub | 1st July 2015

The Faroe Islands' greatest poet tours America. All goes relatively well, save for the poet’s habitual breakfast — a bottle of whisky — and the lack of a common language. The visitor and his State Department interpreter converse in a creole of Faroese, Swedish and Danish. “This was quite refreshing”, says an American professor after a meeting. “I teach folklore — but I almost never come into any living, breathing contact with it” (7,200 words)

Video of the day: How Do Bikes Stay Upright?

What to expect: A moving bicycle without a rider is surprisingly stable. Here's why (3'52")

Thought for the day

If you are using an adverb you have chosen the wrong verb
Mark Kelly

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