American Poverty, American iPhones, Soldiers, LinkedIn, Time Capsules, Radical Islam


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

Rethinking Robin Hood

Angus Deaton | Project Syndicate | 14th June 2016

An argument against foreign aid: There is greater absolute poverty to be relieved at home. “Several million Americans now live in households with per capita income of less than $2 a day, essentially the same standard that the World Bank uses to define destitution-level poverty in India or Africa. Finding shelter in the United States on that income is so difficult that $2-a-day poverty is almost certainly much worse in the US than $2-a-day poverty in India or Africa” (1,010 words)

The All-American iPhone

Konstantin Kakaes | MIT Technology Review | 9th June 2016

What if President Trump did tell Apple to make the iPhone in America, and not in China? Could Apple oblige? Yes. If Apple bought components globally and assembled them in America, the cost of a phone would rise $30-40, but few American jobs would be created. If Apple had to buy or make all iPhone components within America, the price would rise another $100, and a lot more jobs would be added. The deal-breaker would be raw materials. Rare earths would have to come from China (1,240 words)

Camp Cot, Folding

Harry Parker | Literary Hub | 3rd June 2016

Extract from Anatomy Of A Soldier, recounting the lives of British soldiers in Afghanistan from the perspective of objects around them. “I am a Camp Cot, Folding. My NSN is 7105-99-383. They unloaded me from an ISO container. I was picked up and carried to a small room cut into the wall of an old courtyard. A man unfolded me and my canvas stretched taut on my aluminum frame. He attached a dome that held a mosquito net to my four corners. This was the first man I ever supported” (1,650 words)

All LinkedIn With Nowhere To Go

Ann Friedman | Baffler | 14th June 2013

LinkedIn is “an Escher staircase masquerading as a career ladder”. You join to meet more important people — only to find that the more important people are all busy trying to meet even more important people. Everybody wants to link upward only. LinkedIn “digitizes the cruel paradox of all networking events”. The people you end up talking to are the ones who are most like you. “If you don’t already know the person you’re trying to meet, you’re pretty much out of luck” (4,000 words)

The Inevitable Awkwardness Of Time Capsules

Cara Giaimo | Atlas Obscura | 25th May 2016

Memo to the future: Judge us not by our time capsules. Even now, they make us cringe. The first, a marketing stunt for the 1939 New York World’s Fair, contained a Kewpie doll, a copy of Life magazine, some seeds and some samples of plastic. And heaven help any aliens trying to reconstruct life on Earth from the “Golden Records” sent up by NASA 1977. The digitised contents include a list of US Senators, a picture of a man eating a sandwich, and a recording of Louis Armstrong (4,300 words)

The Mind Of Islamic State

Robert Manne | The Monthly | 13th June 2016

To understand Islamic State, read The Management Of Savagery, published in 2004 by “Abu Bakr Naji”. It seems to have been the blueprint, covering warfare, statecraft, and theology. “The argument is intricate and occasionally arcane; the style is sometimes forensic, sometimes poetic, sometimes prophetic.” Naji urges exemplary cruelty, included beheading and burning alive, as a propaganda tool. “It is one of the most astonishing and terrifying political books that I have ever read” (9,800 words)

Video of the day: Patience

What to expect:

Montage of gorgeous scenes from high-definition time-lapse videos. An embarrassment of riches (2’20”)

Thought for the day

The gift of having good friends is much greater than the gift of being a good friend
Friedrich Nietzsche

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