Baccarat, Honesty, Teleportation, Facebook, Transcripts

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

The Baccarat Binge That Bled Bangladesh

Alan Katz & Wenxin Fan | Bloomberg | 3rd August 2017

More on the 2016 theft of $81 million from the account of the central bank of Bangladesh at the New York Fed. The hackers planned to drain all $951 million from the account, but after the first few bogus transfer instructions arrived via Swift, the Fed ordered a compliance check. Already $81 million had gone to shell accounts in Manila, where it was withdrawn and laundered by Chinese gamblers in casino baccarat. The gamblers ended up in jail. The money ended up in North Korea (3,300 words)

An Honest Business News Update

Morgan Housel | Collaborative Fund | 2nd August 2017

The truth as satire, or possibly vice-versa. “The S&P 500 closed at a new high on Wednesday in what analysts hailed as the accumulated result of several hundred million people waking up every morning hoping to solve problems and improve their lives. Fifty-five million American children went to school Wednesday morning, leveraging the compounded knowledge of all previous generations. Analysts expect this to lead to a new generation of doctors, engineers, and problem solvers” (500 words)

If I Teleport From Mars

Charlie Huenemann | Aeon | 1st August 2017

Thought experiment about identity. “I am stranded on Mars. Luckily, my ship has a teleporter. The machine scans my body and produces an amazingly detailed blueprint, a clear picture of each cell and neuron. That blueprint file is beamed back to Earth where a ‘new me’ is constructed. But there’s a complication: a toggle switch allows me to decide whether the ‘old me’ on Mars is preserved or destroyed after I teleport back home. It’s this decision that is causing me to hesitate” (1,400 words)

You Are The Product

John Lanchester | London Review Of Books | 3rd August 2017

Outstanding essay about the history, technology, business model and evil genius of Facebook. “I’ve spent time thinking about Facebook, and the thing I keep coming back to is that its users don’t realise what it is the company does. What Facebook does is watch you, and then use what it knows about you and your behaviour to sell ads. I’m not sure there has ever been a more complete disconnect between what a company says it does – ‘connect’, ‘build communities’ – and the commercial reality” (8,800 words)

Trump And Foreign Leaders

David Graham | Atlantic | 3rd August 2017

What we can deduce from the transcripts of Donald Trump’s White House telephone conversations with Mexico’s president and Australia’s prime minister, leaked to the Washington Post. Trump is “unusually clear and complex in his discussions — raising the possibility that he is intentionally dumbing down his speech in public”. But he is wrong-footed with disconcerting ease in both conversations — charmed into acquiescence by Enrique Peña Nieto, bullied into submission by Malcolm Turnbull (2,100 words)

Video of the day: Milky Shot

What to expect:

Surreal science fiction. A benign alien sucks up all the spoons from Earth (2’50”)

Thought for the day

Passion thrives on impediment
W. Somerset Maugham

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