Browser Daily Newsletter 1238


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

This Old Man: Life In The Nineties

Roger Angell | New Yorker | 17th February 2014

"I’m ninety-three, and I’m feeling great. Well, pretty great, unless I’ve forgotten to take a couple of Tylenols in the past four or five hours. I get around with a couple of arterial stents that keep my heart chunking. My conversation may be full of holes and pauses, but I’ve learned to dispatch a private Apache scout ahead into the next sentence to see if there are any vacant names or verbs in the landscape"

Drip, Drip, Drip: Rain In Literature

Alexandra Harris | Guardian | 14th February 2014

It rains a lot in England. It rains even more in English literature. The Canterbury Tales, "the first great epic of English daily life", has April showers in its first line. For Shakespeare, "the rain it raineth every day". But the wettest century in literary history is undoubtedly the 19th. In Bleak House the rain falls non-stop for 11 chapters, pauses, and then falls again. "I am in love with moistness" says the narrator of The Mill on the Floss

I Raise Livestock And I Think It May Be Wrong

Rhys Southan | Modern Farmer | 5th February 2014

Interview with Bob Comis, New York pig farmer. "No matter how well it’s done, I can’t help but question the killing itself. In a well-managed, small-scale slaughterhouse, a pig is more or less casually standing there one second, and the next second it’s unconscious on the ground, and a few seconds after that it’s dead. As far as I can tell, the pig has no experience of its own death. But I experience the full brunt of that death"

18th-Century Books Looked Like Smartphone Screens

Clive Thompson | Collision Detection | 2nd February 2014

Small formats were common for 18C books. The pages of an octavo edition measured about 6" by 9"; the duodecimo was smaller still. They were easy to read one-handed and to carry around, much like a smartphone. A "book" in octavo or duodecimo might be only a couple of thousand words long; it was with the arrival of industrial publishing that non-fiction works "started to congeal into the 300-page quantum"

A Theory Of Troubles

Ryan Avent | The Economist | 17th February 2014

"Since this post is long and not exactly bursting with colour, I'll go ahead and share the gist of the story in hopes of enticing you to read on: because we rely on market wages to allocate purchasing power we have resisted technology-driven reductions in employment, and because we have resisted that decline in work we have trapped ourselves in a world of self-limiting productivity growth. Enticed? Good" (Metered paywall)

Is Tech Money Good For San Francisco’s Middle Class?

Gregory Ferenstein | Tech Crunch | 15th February 2014

On balance, yes, say local economists. "Every tech job creates five in other industries, as compared to just two from a manufacturing job." The tech sector is responsible for "the vast majority of the economic growth in San Francisco since 2010". There is a but, of course, "and it’s big enough to need two plane seats". Rising rents have forced many locals out of the city. "Those who get hit get hit hard"

Video of the day:  Balls

Thought for the day:

"While we’re laissez-ing, someone else is faire-ing" — Brian Eno

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