Browser Daily Newsletter 1175


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

How To Write About The North

Stuart Maconie | New Statesman | 27th November 2013

A variant, for Brits, of Binyavanga Wainaina’s Granta essay, How to Write About Africa. "Mention any traffic problems on your journey, or any particularly awful baguette you were offered on the train. If your piece is generally favourable, mention any hills or cows you glimpse from first class and even risk a bit of poetry about pylons or cooling towers. If not, do note the first swear word you hear, particularly from a hoodie"

Don’t Bowdlerize Balthus

Jed Perl | The New Republic | 29th November 2013

Balthus was "the last of the mystics who transformed twentieth-century art", along with Matisse, Picasso, Kandinsky, Mondrian, Bonnard. But the Met's exhibition, Balthus: Cats and Girls: Paintings and Provocations, is "extraordinarily frustrating", because it takes such a narrow view of his work. "Who would imagine, knowing Balthus only from this show, that he was one of the greatest landscape painters of modern times?"

Interview: Stephen Wolfram

John Koetsier | Venture Beat | 29th November 2013

Mathematician and computer scientist talks up his new project, Wolfram Language, which will supposedly revolutionise computer programming by making "literally anything in your application — from code to images to results to inputs — usable and malleable as a symbolic expression". This is basically a pitch, by a man who is never knowingly undersold, but the conversation is interesting and intelligent throughout

Top Ten Films Noirs Of All Time

David Thomson et al | Guardian | 29th November 2013

The Big Sleep leads the list. "The narrative's defiance of our comprehension is part of the film's sensational effect and its remarkable longevity: scenes, characters, moments and quotable lines float up out of the mesmerising stew and into your consciousness like fragments of a dream. The noir fused pulp detective fiction with the enigmatic form of German expressionism and The Big Sleep is an almost surrealist refinement of the noir genre."

Start Thinking Like A Data Scientist

Thomas Redman | Harvard Business Review | 29th November 2013

Collecting and analysing data is the new literacy. "Managers who can’t conduct basic analyses, interpret more complex ones, and interact with data scientists are already at a disadvantage." For example: "Five meetings began exactly on time, while every other meeting began at least seven minutes late. Bringing meeting notes to bear reveals that all five meetings were called by the Vice President of Finance. Evidently, she starts all her meetings on time"

Lunch With Ha-Joon Chang

David Pilling | Financial Times | 29th November 2013

Korean-born Cambridge economist argues that mainstream economics is narrowly focused on market orthodoxy and mathematical modelling, cut off from the real world. "The economics profession is like the Catholic clergy. In the old days, they refused to translate the Bible, so unless you knew Latin you couldn’t read it. Today, unless you are good at maths and statistics, you cannot penetrate the economic literature” (Metered paywall)

Video of the day: The Question Pitch

Thought for the day:

"The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that you've got it made" — Jean Girardoux

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