Browser Daily Newsletter 1197

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

The Birds: A Tale Of Extinction

Jonathan Rosen | New Yorker | 30th December 2013

The passenger pigeon (not be confused with its distant cousins, the carrier pigeon and the rock pigeon) was the most plentiful bird in North America in the mid-19C. A few decades later it was extinct. A boy in Ohio shot the last known wild passenger pigeon in 1900. The last zoo bird died in 1914. "How a bird could go from a population of billions to zero in less than fifty years? The short answer is that it tasted good"

Hazards Of Revolution

Patrick Cockburn | London Review Of Books | 30th December 2013

Notes on the disappointments and contradictions of the Arab Spring, which has brought anarchy in Libya, dictatorship in Egypt, civil war in Syria. "If there was a fair election in Syria today, Assad would probably win it." The one bright spot in the region may be Kurdistan, which is "close to becoming an oil-rich independent state, militarily and diplomatically more powerful than many members of the UN"

I, Glasshole: My Year With Google Glass

Mat Honan | Wired | 30th December 2013

The hardware is clunky. You get a lot of angry reactions. But as a proof of concept Glass has already succeeded. "The future is on its way, and it is going to be on your face. We need to think about it and be ready for it in a way we weren’t with smartphones. Because while you (and I) may make fun of glassholes today, come tomorrow we’re all going to be right there with them. Wearables are where we’re going"

Redistribute Respect

Noah Smith | Noahpinion | 27th December 2013

A dream of social justice. Don't obsess about redistribution of money. Redistribution of respect would be a big step towards a happier world. "I want to move back toward a society where the hard work of an unskilled labourer is considered worthwhile in social interactions; a society where being a good parent or a friendly neighbour earns as much respect as making a hundred million dollars on Wall Street"

NSA And The Corrosion Of Silicon Valley

Michael Dearing | All Things D | 30th December 2013

"The people who work at the NSA are patriots. They devote their considerable intellects to preserve, protect, and defend the people of the United States. [But] the NSA’s version of patriotism is corroding Silicon Valley. Integrity of our products, creative freedom of talented people, and trust with our users are the casualties. The dolphin in the tuna net is us — our industry, our work, and the social fabric of our community"

Video of the day:  2013 In One Minute

Thought for the day:

"Cooking is a way of listening to the radio" — Brian Eno

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