Bells, Uber, Football, Bernie Sanders, Tipu Sultan

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

So Long, Whitechapel Bell Foundry

Gentle Author | Spitalfields Life | 2nd December 2016

Britain’s oldest manufacturing company closes after trading for 450 years. The owner of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry is retiring and the building will be sold. A way of doing business dies. “My great-grandfather visited the church in Langley in the 1890s and told them the bells needed rehanging in a new frame. They patched them. My grandfather said the same thing in the 1920s. They patched them. My father told them again in the 1950s and I quoted for the job in the 1970s. We completed the order in 1998” (1,500 words)

Can Uber Ever Deliver?

Hubert Horan | Naked Capitalism | 30th November 2016

First in a series of articles about the economics of Uber. Which are bleak. Last year Uber lost $2 billion on revenues of $1.4 billion. In effect, passengers pay only 41% of the true cost of travelling by Uber, and Uber’s shareholders pay the rest. Uber’s strategy of undercutting fares and driving out competitors has been great for growth. But Uber’s valuation of $69 billion assumes that great growth will bring great economies of scale, as with Amazon or Google. So far, that assumption is wrong (2,700 words)

The Future Of Football

Bill Simmons & Malcolm Gladwell | The Ringer | 1st December 2016

Conversation about the “sagging ratings, national controversy, horrifying head injuries and shameless greed” afflicting American football. “High-definition television has clearly been a two-edged sword for the NFL. It makes the drama of the game come alive, because we can now see the action in so much more detail. But it also means that when Luke Kuechly is writhing in pain on the ground, we can see every emotion on his face. That’s not a trivial matter” (8,500 words)

Bernie Sanders: Where We Go From Here

Matt Taibbi | Rolling Stone | 1st December 2016

Interview. Interesting throughout. On President Trump: “There are areas where people like me could work with him: Rebuilding the infrastructure, lowering the cost of prescription drugs, re-establishing Glass-Steagall, raising the minimum wage. We’re not going back to an era of racism and sexism and discrimination. On that there will not be any compromise. But are there areas that we can perhaps work together? If he remains consistent with what he said on the campaign trail, we’ll see” (4,100 words)

The Tiger Of Mysore

Zareer Masani | History Today | 2nd December 2016

Portrait of Tipu Sultan, the 18C Muslim warlord who terrorised southern India and fought furiously with the British East India Company. “Court chroniclers claimed that the sultan breakfasted on the brains of tame male sparrows, had two wives and 68 concubines, but nevertheless lived simply with little revelry and read himself to sleep at night. He kept half a dozen tigers chained on the veranda of his palace and was credited with having wrestled and killed a wild tiger with his bare hands” (2,700 words)

Video of the day: This Panda Is Dancing

What to expect:

A poetic short film about our surrender to smartphones and social media (3’49”)

Thought for the day

All great literature is one of two stories; a man goes on a journey or a stranger comes to town
Leo Tolstoy

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