Browser Daily Newsletter 1247


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

Obama’s Trauma Team

Steven Brill | Time | 27th February 2014

Another healthcare magnum opus from Brill, one year on from his acclaimed investigation of hospital billing (http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2136864,00.html) . This time, a deep dig into the healthcare.gov fiasco, and how a team of geeks from Silicon Valley rescued the site from total failure. Beneath the tech problem, the political problem: "It is the story of an Obama Administration obsessed with healthcare reform policy but above the nitty-gritty of implementing it"

The Mammoth Cometh

Nathaniel Rich | New York Times | 27th February 2014

Stewart Brand and Harvard biologist George Church back a project to revive the extinct Passenger Pigeon though genetic engineering. The first step, now under way, is to reconstruct the Passenger Pigeon genome using decayed DNA taken from dead museum specimens; then inscribe the DNA into living cells; and the cells into a living embryo. And if it works for pigeons, why not for mammoths? (Metered paywall)

The Future Of The News Business

Marc Andreessen | Andreessen Horowitz | 25th February 2014

Venture capitalist foresees a boom: "I am more bullish about the future of the news industry over the next 20 years than almost anyone I know." The price of content may fall tenfold, but the size of the market will increase a hundredfold or more, thanks mainly to the growth of mobile internet. "Maybe we are entering into a new golden age of journalism, and we just haven’t recognized it yet"

The Ethics Of Genetically Enhanced Monkey-Slaves

David Webber | TED Blog | 19th February 2014

Interview with Julian Savulescu, professor of practical ethics at Oxford University. Interesting throughout; and full marks for the headline. "Say you did create a human-chimp chimera that was like a dog but much smarter. It loved you unconditionally and did what you wanted and was a sort of slave, but it enjoyed it. Does that being have a complaint against you? If it hadn’t been created in that way, it wouldn’t have existed"

Searching For The Elephant’s Genius

Ferris Jabr | Scientific American | 26th February 2014

Elephants have huge brains, and show every sign of being correspondingly intelligent. They love and grieve. "To look an elephant in the face is to gaze upon genius. Here is a creature who experiences emotional intimacy, who seems to understand death; who can recognize itself in the mirror, fashion twigs into tools, formulate and implement plans, and remember someone’s face for decades"

The Secret Auden

Edward Mendelson | New York Review Of Books | 27th February 2014

On the "secret life" of W.H. Auden. In public he portrayed himself as "rigid or uncaring", but in private he was "generous and honorable". He gave freely to needy friends and charities. He helped young and struggling poets. He was "disgusted by his early fame", and preferred to be seen as "less than he was". He was not a Christian, but he felt "an absolute obligation" to love his neighbour as himself

Video of the day:  Wolfram Language

Thought for the day:

"If children fail to understand one another, it is because they think they understand one another" — Jean Piaget

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