Browser Daily Newsletter 1211


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

France’s Economic Sickness

Charles Wyplosz | The Conversation | 16th January 2014

It's mainly a crisis of the labour market. "For 30 years unemployment has hovered around 8% — and 25% among the young. Unemployment benefits last for years with generous welfare payments when these run out. One can live a whole life on the dole, and we now see a second generation of people who simply do not work. The statutory minimum wage is so high that school dropouts cannot be employed"

Is This Thing On?

Stan Alcorn | Digg | 15th January 2014

Why audio content never goes viral. “If you posted the most incredible story — literally, the most incredible story that has ever been told since people have had the ability to tell stories, it will never, ever get as many hits as a video of a cat with a moustache.” One possible reason: You can't skim sound. It takes time to consume. There is no audio equivalent of an image. An instant of audio is nothing

The Best Arguments For God’s Existence

Jerry Coyne | The New Republic | 16th January 2014

The New Atheists — Coyne, Dawkins et al — are criticised for attacking religious belief at a popular and simple level, while ignoring the arguments of more sophisticated theologians. But what more can the theologians bring? "The difference between theologians and believers is not their differential acquaintance with the truth about God, but the greater acquaintance of theologians with the history of theology"

Obituary: Mae Young, Lady Wrestler

William Yardley | New York Times | 17th January 2014

"Mae Young — make that the Great Mae Young — who pulled hair and took cheap shots, who preferred actually fighting to pretending, who was, by her own account and that of many other female wrestlers, the greatest and dirtiest of them all, died on Tuesday in Columbia, S.C. She was 90, and her last round in the ring was in 2010 ... She was a rough, tough broad" (Metered paywall)

Why Quants Don’t Know Everything

Felix Salmon | Wired | 7th January 2014

The quants always win at at first — in finance, in sports, in computer dating, in national security. They discover "numerical patterns or ingenious algorithms" that beat existing markets. But then their edge disappears, because the new markets that they create have new patterns and new behaviours that can be gamed in new ways — and often more easily, by targeting the quants' own explicit metrics

The Duchess Of Publishing

Bernard Porter | The Guardian | 9th January 2014

Review of History of The Oxford University Press, Volume III, 1896-1970. The Press was "notorious for its antediluvian structure". Board minutes were prepared by hand until 1969, "94 years after the typewriter was invented". It was so slow to produce books, "partly because of the care it put into its editing", that scientists stayed away: "By the time it was ready to publish their theories, they were out of date"

Video of the day:  The Sum Of All Natural Numbers

Thought for the day:

"Prosperity doesn't trickle down, but greed does" — John Naughton

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