The Browser
Cecily Cecily

Writing Worth Reading

Transformers 4 Is A Master Class In Economics

The lessons are in the making of the film, not in the content. First, the real money comes from owning the machines: Transformers made $300m in its opening weekend, the biggest film of 2014. Second: Humans are dispensable; the franchise has got rid of its human star Shia LeBoeuf, and nobody cares. Third: China is as big a market as America; this Transformers is full of scenes tailored to a Chinese audience (1,800 words)

Eleven Lessons From Eric Cantor’s Loss

Here’s the main one: It’s good news for Hillary Clinton. “In terms of legislative achievements, Obama’s second term has been done for some time. But in terms of protecting his legislative achievements — and protecting coming executive branch actions like his proposed climate rules — what matters most for Obama is that a Democrat wins the presidency in 2016. Tonight made that a little more likely” (660 words)

Why The Government Should Provide Internet Access

Interview with Susan Crawford, former White House tech adviser, on America’s need for a “public option” providing universal low-cost high-speed internet access. “This is by nature a monopoly. It really makes sense to have one wire going to your house. The problem is we’ve gotten stuck with the wrong wire. We’ve got a cable wire and it should be fiber and it should be then shared by lots of competitors” (2,150 words)

Go Ahead — Scare Yourself

The public spat between 23andMe and the US Food and Drug Administration should force the FDA to update its rules and philosophy. The FDA views gene-testing as a medical product, whereas, to others, it’s an information product. “The danger isn’t that a genetic test will harm you directly but that you will act rashly on the information it provides. But is preventing patients from making bad decisions the FDA’s mandate?” (1,000 words)

Bill Gates: ‘Death Is Something We Really Understand’

Interview. Health care in the developing world. “When you’re running a poor country health-care system, you can’t treat a year of life as being worth more than, say, $200, or else you’ll bankrupt your health system immediately. But here’s the good news: If you spend less than 2 percent of what rich countries spend, but you spend it on vaccinations and antibiotics, you get over half of all that healthcare does to extend life” (2,884 words)

How Van Halen Explains Obamacare

Critics of government, take care: things that sound stupid may be things you just don’t understand. Here’s an analogy: Van Halen’s touring contracts required promoters to provide bowls of M&Ms with the brown ones taken out. Which sounded like prima-donna behaviour, but was really a litmus test of whether everything was in order. If the band arrived and found brown M&Ms on the table, the promoter had not read the contract. (1,180 words)

Unpopular Mandate

How was it that a legal argument that was considered fringe in 2010 could become mainstream by 2012? It happened with the individual mandate in US healthcare. Here’s how and why it happened, and could happen again

The Unpersuaded

“The power of the presidency is the power to persuade.” Really? History suggests not. Public aren’t any more persuaded by presidential rhetoric than opposition politicians. Trouble is, US system isn’t set up for partisan politics

The Hood Robin Economy

Why has economic inequality been rising so much in America? Because government has not been acting to counter the long-term drift towards a winner-take-all economy. Why has it not been acting? Because the rich control the government

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