Booing, Jewish Innovation, 1776, Philosophy & Sport, Dune, German Debt

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

Booing At The Royal Opera House

Ludovic Hunter-Tilney | Financial Times | 6th July 2015 | | Read with 1Pass

Audiences love to make a noise. They will cough, laugh, clap or boo given the slightest leeway. Disrupting an event panders to our sense of narcissism. The booing of an excessively violent scene in the Royal Opera House's new production of Guillaume Tell last week may have been justified, but it set a bad precedent. A booing audience enjoys "a secret feeling of exhilaration, the unacknowledged desire to do it again" (690 words)

There’s A Great Future In Patents

David Zvi Kalman | Tablet | 6th July 2015

A history of Jewish-American innovation as captured by patent applications for "devices or processes relating to Jewish ritual practice". The 1970s brings "an explosion in patents for the Orthodox market" including tefillin cases, kosher pet food and "a tool for buttering matzo without breaking it". The first Shabbat-friendly elevator is patented in 1975. In 1997 Jeffrey Clark invents "a baseball cap that unzips to become a skullcap" (1,680 words)

The American Revolution Was A Mistake

Dylan Matthews | Vox | 2nd July 2015

Counterfactual. If the revolutionary war had failed and America had stayed in the British Empire for another century, the world would have been a better place for three main reasons: American slavery would have ended decades earlier; American Indians would have suffered less; and America would have gained a parliamentary system of government. Independence in 1776 was "a monumental mistake" (2,450 words)

David Papineau On Philosophy And Sport

Nigel Warburton | Five Books | 6th July 2015

Philosopher explains how philosophy can help us to understand sport, and vice-versa. Discussion of books including Moneyball by Michael Lewis, Both Flesh And Not by David Foster Wallace, and Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby. "Sporting fandom is very interesting philosophically: it’s a case of partiality, partisanship, valuing something when you can see that what you value isn’t going to be valued by other people" (6,700 words)

Dune, 50 Years On

Hari Kunzru | Guardian | 3rd July 2015

Frank Herbert's Dune is widely considered "the greatest novel in the science-fiction canon". Herbert's fascination with deserts was sparked by government efforts to stabilise sand dunes in Oregon. His philosophical ideas evolved in conversations with Zen thinker Alan Watts. Twenty publishers rejected his manuscript. Hollywood bungled the film adaptation. But actually, "the great Dune film did get made. Its name is Star Wars" (2,600 words)

Thomas Piketty: Germany Has Never Repaid

Georg Blume | Medium/Stern | 27th June 2015

Interview. Germany is "the single best example of a country that, throughout its history, has never repaid its external debt. Neither after the First nor the Second World War". It has "no standing to lecture other nations". Germany's post-war economic miracle was a product of the 1953 London Debt Agreement which cancelled 60% of German foreign debt. Without that agreement Germany "would still be repaying [its] debts" (1,820 words)

Video of the day: Paul Mason On People Power In Greece

What to expect: Video blog from Greece on the morning after the referendum (2'30")

Thought for the day

Life is one discrepancy after another
Henry Green

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