Steel, Semicolons, Nutella, Babies, Austria

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

The Entire History Of Steel

Jonathan Schifman | Practical Mechanics | 9th July 2018

The Indians made it first, the British made it best. “To know steel, we must first understand iron, for the metals are nearly one and the same. Steel contains an iron concentration of 98 to 99 percent or more. The remainder is carbon—a small additive that makes a major difference in the metal’s properties. In the centuries and millennia before the breakthroughs that built skyscrapers, civilizations tweaked and tinkered with smelting techniques to make iron, creeping ever closer to steel” (5,500 words)

On Semicolons

Adam O'Fallon Price | Millions | 10th July 2018

“As we know, semicolons connect two independent clauses without a conjunction. I tend to use em dashes in many of these spots, but only when there is some degree of causality, with the clause after the em typically elaborating in some way on the clause before it. Semicolons are useful when two thoughts are related, independent yet interdependent, and more or less equally weighted. They could exist as discrete sentences, and yet something would be lost if they were, a cognitive rhythm” (1,740 words)

Nutella Billionaires

Noah Kirsch | Forbes | 26th June 2018

One-third of the world’s hazelnuts go straight into Ferrero Rocher praline chocolates, produced by the Ferrero family, who made their first fortune by devising a post-war treacle-based chocolate substitute called Giandujot for sale to impoverished Italians. To win German customers they converted former Nazi missile plants into production lines for cherry liqueurs. In the 1960s they rebranded Giandujot as “Nutella”, added more cocoa, and conquered the world. A thousand tons of Nutella are sold ever day (2,700 words)

Peter Pan Complex

Erik Vance | Last Word On Nothing | 10th July 2018

A neotenic animal is “one that never truly reaches adulthood but rather becomes a sort of giant breeding baby.” Could human beings, like axolotls, be neotenic? The differences between human babies and human adults seem marked enough to us; but to other primates, far hairier and ganglier, human adults must look like babies that just kept on growing. “All babies have traits that inherently make us want to protect them. Perhaps we held onto these traits in order to create social cohesion” (940 words)

A Journey Down Austria’s Path To The Right

Ullrich Fichtner | Der Spiegel | 9th July 2018

Austria’s democracy is in danger, now that the far-right Freedom Party controls the hard power in government. “Austria’s societal debate is obsessed with migrants and all the trouble people have with them. And it’s not just about refugees, but also foreigners of all stripes, including Germans, Slovenes and Hungarians. Somehow, there are always too many of them, allegedly taking up all the public housing, filling up the universities and snapping up all the tickets to the Vienna State Opera” (4,700 words)

Video of the day Jacques Lacan

What to expect:

Alain de Botton provides a simplified introduction to Lacan’s ideas about identity (8’10”)

Thought for the day

If we were all on trial for our thoughts, we would all be hanged
Margaret Atwood

Podcast War And Humanity | BBC

Anita Anand introduces historian Margaret MacMillan, who explores how war creates warriors, and vice-versa
(57m 27s)

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