Washington DC, Sisters, Harper Lee, Theft, Bloomberg, Voting

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

How The DC Metro Got So Bad

Michael Gaynor | Washingtonian | 9th December 2015

Drivers "regularly relieve themselves on the tracks" and sabotage their trains as part of a civil war with controllers whose overtime racket keeps the control-room dangerously understaffed. Nobody gets sacked "unless they smoke crack in the middle of the platform.” And even then, who knows? "Up-to-date rule books aren’t always available, because of problems with the printer and three-hole puncher" (4,700 words)

A Tale Of Two Sisters

Nancy Segal | Psychology Today | 2nd November 2015

A gymnast born without legs grows up idolising an Olympic gold-medalist from afar — and then discovers from her adoptive parents that the star athlete is her biological sister. The result is a personal drama for all involved, and a fine case study for researchers exploring the balance between nature and nurture. Can it be mere coincidence that these sisters, separated since birth, have identical tattoos? (4,000 words)

Harper Lee: My Christmas In New York

Harper Lee | Guardian | 14th December 2015

The young Harper Lee spends a Christmas in New York with her friends Michael and Joy Brown, who astonish her with their gift: a stipend sufficient for her to leave her airline job and spend a year writing full-time. "I took some time to find my voice. When I did, I asked if they were out of their minds. What made them think anything would come of this?" Happily, what came out of it was To Kill A Mockingbird (1,390 words)

‘Thieves Stole My Wife’s House’

Max Hastings | Daily Mail | 12th December 2015

How to steal a million pounds: Rent a London house, change your name legally to the name of your new landlord, get a passport in your landlord's name, then sell the house and disappear with the money to Dubai before anybody catches on. It's quite a common scam, apparently. "Fraudsters look for unmortgaged properties — so no bank or building society has an interest — and select houses whose owners do not live locally" (1,790 words)

Bloomberg: Terminal Patient

Holger Stark & Isabell Huelsen | Der Spiegel | 2nd December 2015

Michael Bloomberg expected to be offered a top job at an international institution when he stepped down as mayor of New York. But the call never came; he returned, chagrined, to run the media empire which carries his name, and the reunion has been fraught. "Mike felt like he lost his influence over what had been his life's work ... Bloomberg's aspiration is shrinking back to what it used to be: a newsletter for bankers" (3,100 words)

A Voter’s Guide To Thinking

Scott Adams | Dilbert | 14th December 2015

"Analogies are not an element of reason. Analogies are good for explaining things to people who are new to a topic. If I am busy as a beaver, that does not imply that I also build dams by gnawing on wood. It just means I’m busy." "If you think your well-informed and reasoned opinions as a voter are bringing up the average, let me introduce you to the 100% of other voters who believe they are bringing up the average as well" (650 words)

Video of the day: An Interview With Adam Smith

What to expect: Edinburgh Business School re-enacts a conversation with Adam Smith about his work (10')

Thought for the day

Andy Warhol is the only genius I’ve ever known with an IQ of 60
Gore Vidal

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