Yemen, Waterloo, Colour, Bad Science

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


Maciej Cegłowski | Idle Words | 17th May 2015

Travel notes from Yemen. "The horn is an essential part of Yemeni driving, and in skilled hands becomes an instrument of great subtlety. It can mean 'I’m coming up behind you', or 'I’m about to turn left across five lanes of traffic' or 'I’m passing on this blind curve'. Drivers use it to communicate their intentions to the three-year-olds playing unsupervised in the street, and even to dogs and pack animals. Everyone speaks car horn" (4,700 words)

In Defence Of Napoleon

Andrew Roberts | Smithsonian | 21st May 2015

Napoleon deserved to lose the Battle Of Waterloo, and Wellington to win it. But if the battle had never been fought, if the Allies had accepted Napoleon as emperor of France instead of making war on him, "European civilization would have benefited inestimably". With Napoleon defeated, the reactionary rulers of Russia, Prussia and Austria were free to crush liberalism in continental Europe for another century (4,600 words)

Does Colour Exist?

Malcolm Harris | New Republic | 21st May 2015

What is colour? The question is still open. Are colours out there in the world, or imagined in our heads? If the former, what explains The Dress? Philosophy professor M. Chirimuuta says we should think in terms of "color adverbialism": I don't see the brown dog, I see the dog brown-ly. "From an adverbialist position, The Dress isn’t black and blue or white and gold. Some people see it one way, some people the other" (1,635 words)

Can Bad Science Be Fixed?

Richard Horton | The Lancet | 11th April 2015

The editor of The Lancet says that standards in science have collapsed: "Much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness" (PDF) (715 words)

Video of the day: Vivid Sydney

What to expect: Time-lapse tour of the city beautified still further (if that were possible) by 60 light-art installations (3'09")

Thought for the day

The neurotic has problems, the psychotic has solutions
Thomas Szasz

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