Browser Daily Newsletter 1199

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

Paul Dacre, Editor Of The Daily Mail

Peter Wilby | New Statesman | 2nd January 2014

Sharp and admiring profile of Dacre, "by general consent, the most successful editor of his generation". Readers expecting an attack on Dacre's views and values will find instead much more in the way of praise, however grudgingly given, for his professional skills. "No other editor chooses, with such unerring and lethal precision, the issues, often half forgotten, that will create panic and fear among politicians"

The Intelligent Plant

Michael Pollan | New Yorker | 23rd December 2013

Central question: Can plants think? It's partly — perhaps even largely — a terminological question, since there seems to be general scientific agreement that plants can behave. The reporting here stays largely within the biological sciences; but the invitation to range into theories of mind, and philosophy of mind, is always strong. Do we know enough about how consciousness works, to decide when and where it is present?

Fergie Time

David Runciman | London Review Of Books | 30th December 2013

Shrewd, illuminating review of My Autobiography by Alex Ferguson. "It is a hectoring, petty, repetitive book. Ferguson returns again and again to the things that nag him. It’s ugly, it’s grinding, but it gives you the flavour of the man. The only other autobiography I’ve read recently that comes across like this is Tony Blair’s, which was also so disconnected, erratic and self-referential that it had the unmistakeable ring of authenticity"

Optimise Your Travel To Work: Read Shakespeare

Stig Abell | Evening Standard | 2nd January 2014

There are 38 plays in the canon. If you can read for an hour a day going to and from work you can manage a play a week easily — the collected works in less than a year. "Shakespeare is the best possible use of your time on the train, Tube or bus. You could work, I suppose, but that is what being at work is for. Or you could annoy people by playing loud music through tiny headphones"

How Netflix Reverse Engineered Hollywood

Alexis Madrigal | Atlantic | 2nd January 2014

How Netflix knows what you want to watch next. It pays human viewers to tag films using more than 70,000 standard terms, which can be matched against customer preferences. "We're gonna tag how much romance is in a movie. We're not gonna tell you how much romance is in it, but we're gonna recommend it. You're gonna get an action [film] and it may have more or less romance based on what we know about you"

Video of the day:  How To Sharpen Pencils

Thought for the day:

"The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off" — Gloria Steinem

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