Browser Daily Newsletter 1263

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

The Automatic Corporation

Vivek Haldar | 17th March 2014

Corporations can be thought of as "information-processing feedback loops". They propose products, bring them to market, learn from results, and adjust, while trying to maximize profit. So why can’t corporations be completely automated — replaced by algorithms? Innovation could be ensured by allocating a fraction of resources to "exploring new points in the space completely unrelated to the current neighbourhood" (670 words)

Letter From Yambio, South Sudan

Aly Verjee | African Arguments | 15th March 2014

"The market here does not bustle – ambles would be a more accurate descriptor. The banks function, construction continues, the schools are open. People go to work. The post office still sells stamps from Khartoum, denominated in Sudanese pounds, as well as those issued by the postal authorities in Juba. There haven’t been any mail deliveries in 2014, though, so mail workers find other ways of occupying their time" (780 words)

Love, War And The Moomins

Mark Bosworth | All Things Moomin | 14th March 2014

Tove Jansson drew her first Moomin "after arguing with one of her brothers about the philosopher Immanuel Kant". She sketched “the ugliest creature imaginable” on the toilet wall and wrote under it “Kant”. Her characters Thingumy and Bob represent Jansson herself and Vivicka Bandler, with whom she had an affair when homosexuality was still illegal in Finland; the danger to them is personified in The Groke (1,750 words)

There Must Be Some Misunderstanding

Kevin Dettmar | Chronicle Review | 17th March 2014

On "mondegreens", or mis-heard song lyrics. If you think Jimi Hendrix sang "’Scuse me while I kiss this guy" in Purple Haze, that's a mondegreen. "This is one of the signature malaises of music in the age of mechanical reproduction. Words that are unintelligible in recordings often remain unintelligible". They "harden in our memories into the misconstrued forms in which we’ve stored them, through multiple listenings" (1,860 words)

Goodnight Clock

Burrito Justice | 7th March 2014

What physics tells us about the universe of Goodnight Moon, as glimpsed in the movements of the moon through the window. "I have come to a rather startling conclusion. In the space of an hour and ten minutes the moon has moved 10,000 km closer to the bunny's room. The little bunny has about two hours sleep before the moon is torn apart by the Roche limit, and three hours sleep before another extinction event" (1,480 words)

Jobs Of The Future And The Gender-Norm Challenge

Cardiff Garcia | FT Alphaville | 3rd March 2014

The labour market is shifting towards female-dominated occupations. Women are taking more traditionally male jobs, and most of the jobs in growing industries. Will men adapt? It's slow going. Couples where the wife earns more than the husband "find it harder to stay together". It may take generations before "new, more enlightened scripts for masculinity and femininity" are generally accepted (Free registration required) (1,740 words)

Video of the day:  Toyota — Believe

What to expect: Funny, action-packed car commercial

Thought for the day:

"Tragedy happens only when you are trying to live well" — Martha Nussbaum

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