Browser Daily Newsletter 1179

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

The Men Who Leaked The Secrets

Janet Reitman | Rolling Stone | 4th December 2013

You may feel that you have read your quota of articles about Edward Snowden and/or Glenn Greenwald for the current year, but make an exception for this well-made profile, which moves lightly on its feet and offers much new colour and detail throughout — notably on Greenwald's early life as a lawyer, on Snowden's time at the NSA, and on how Julian Assange elbowed his way belatedly into Snowden's drama

23 And You

Virginia Hughes | Matter on Medium | 5th December 2013

Elegantly told tale of a woman seeking her biological father through DNA testing and family-tree websites. "Searching your genetic ancestry can certainly be fun: You can trace the migration patterns of 10,000-year-old ancestors, or discover whether a distant relative ruled a continent or rode on the Mayflower. And then there are people like Cheryl, who learn to their surprise, late in life, that they aren’t the person they thought they were"

Bullied To Death By A Desperate Bank

Keith Carter | Spectator | 5th December 2013

Thrilling read. When the Royal Bank of Scotland wants to call in a loan, the usual rules of business don't apply. "Dealing with RBS feels like fighting a highly trained army skilful in psychological warfare: the removal of certainties and their replacement with threats, the opaque meanings, the unexplained substitutions of staff — new people well-versed in the dark arts of insolvency, covenants and barrack-room law (Metered paywall)

An Economists’ Oscar Wilde

Martin Walker | Wilson Quarterly | 2nd December 2013

Entertaining and informative review of The Memoirs Of Walter Bagehot — an imaginative recreation by an American scholar, Frank Prochaska, based on Bagehot's life and writings. Bagehot emerges not only as an economic and political sage, and a great editor (of The Economist), but also as a fine aphorist. Wilde himself might have envied this one: “It is good to be without vices, but it is not good to be without temptations”

The Ghostwriting Business

Alex Mayyasi | Priceonomics | 3rd December 2013

Ghostwriters exist for the same reason that Bill Gates doesn’t mow his own lawn: It’s just not worth his time. “The appeal is pretty clear. If you are an executive making $10 million a year, will you really stop working for two to three months to write a book? Or if you’re an athlete?” Established ghostwriters get $50,000 per book; the very best up to $1 million. And they work fast: perhaps ten hours of interviews and four months of writing per book

Video of the day: It's A Movie

Thought for the day:

"Ideas improve. Plagiarism is necessary. Progress implies it" — Guy Debord

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