Afghanistan, Bill Gates, Patrick Macnee, Genetics, Pixar

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

Forgetting Afghanistan

Dominic Tierney | Atlantic | 24th June 2015

Afghanistan used to be America's good war; 90% of the public supported it at the start, after 9/11. Now it's America's forgotten war. "Americans debate whether to start a war against ISIS, a Wahhabi Islamist insurgent group bordering Iran. Few notice that the United States is already at war with a Wahhabi Islamist insurgent group in a strategic region bordering Iran: the Taliban in Afghanistan" (1,100 words)

A Conversation With Bill Gates

Lionel Barber | Financial Times | 25th June 2015 | | Read with 1Pass

Q&A. Interesting throughout. "My basic theory was that IQ was fungible. I would hire a great physicists, biologists, and I would assign them some task, and they would figure out how to do it. Well that didn't work for very long. By age 25 I realised IQ comes in different forms. These guys who understand sales and management, that seems to come negatively correlated with IQ. That was befuddling to me" (1,590 words)

Obituary: Patrick Macnee

Telegraph | 25th June 2015

He was born in the Bayswater Road to a father who "enlivened dinner parties by levelling a shotgun at guests suspected of pacifist tendencies", and a mother who ran with Tallulah Bankhead before "absconding with a wealthy lesbian". Expelled from Eton for running "a pornography and bookmaking empire", he trained as an actor, served in the navy, then met a man in Piccadilly who offered him a part in The Avengers (1,270 words)

Editing The Software Of Life

Sandra Upson | Backchannel | 18th June 2015

Admirably clear explainer of a new technique for editing DNA, and the frenzy it has sparked among scientists and venture-capitalists. "Doudna demonstrated that a protein called cas9 could be engineered to easily cut through DNA at precise locations of the scientists’ choosing. If genome editing was once akin to performing dental surgery, it had almost overnight become more like squeezing toothpaste out of a tube" (3,070 words)

Technology And The Evolution Of Storytelling

John Lasseter | Art And Science | 25th June 2015

Conference presentation, so more a set of bullet-points than a flowing essay. But what a set of bullet points — on Pixar, the evolution of computer graphics, and movie technology in general. New technology almost always disappoints on early use because nobody quite knows how to handle it. Its possibilities become apparent over time, as with computer graphics. The grammar of film changes. But the aim is still to tell a story (3,100 words)

Video of the day: Three Switches — A Puzzle

What to expect: Three switches, one lightbulb. Which switch operates the light? (3'32")

Thought for the day

Anything is okay as long as it’s done by people who are sufficiently unlike you
P.J. O’Rourke

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