Browser Daily Newsletter 1267T


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

Her Again: The Unstoppable Scarlett Johansson

Anthony Lane | New Yorker | 17th March 2014

Portrait of the actress, approaching 30, pregnant, and starring in her "best movie to date", Under The Skin. She plays "a form of alien, landed or stranded among us, and acquiring human males not for sex or friendship but for the serial harvesting of their meat ... No one will ever quite unravel what Johansson is, or does, in Under the Skin, but no one, equally, could improve on her own distillation of the outsider’s time on Earth" (5,430 words)

Not The Marrying Kind

Adam Mars-Jones | London Review Of Books | 17th March 2014

A novelist tells his father, a high court judge, that he is gay: "The coming-out speech is a relatively unvarying form because the event has only two parts, a clearing of the throat to demand attention and then a simple phrase that can’t be taken back (I’m gay). After that, as it seems to the person making the declaration, the fixed points disappear. All clocks return to zero hour and the speakers have new voices issued to them" (4,360 words)

Getting Cancer Wrong

Alexander Nazaryan | Newsweek | 20th March 2014

Portrait of radiologist Robert Gatenby, whose ambition is to model the behaviour of cancers mathematically from "first principles" so that their movements become "as predictable as those of a hurricane", and easier to arrest. It's a big job; he's been at it for 30 years; but "complexity doesn't mean there aren't simple rules". Doctors should aim to "understand cancer with the same totality that Newton understood gravity" (4,160 words)

Bill Gates: The Rolling Stone Interview

Jeff Goodell | Rolling Stone | 13th March 2014

He may well be "the most optimistic" man alive, as well as the richest. He sees the world as a "giant operating system" that "just needs to be debugged", and his charitable foundation is on the case. Topics include surveillance, public health, inequality, Microsoft, Apple, America. "Say you're gay in America, would you go back 50 years? Say you're sick in America, do you want to go back 50 years? I mean, who are we kidding?" (6,400 words)

The Dismal Art Of Forecasting

James Surowiecki | Democracy | 19th March 2014

Economic forecasting began in America with the financial panic of 1907 and the work of Roger Babson, a "serial entrepreneur" of "faddish beliefs" who popularised the idea of business cycles. A century later the business and financial worlds are "deluged" by data and forecasts, but with no general increase in certainty about the future. If there is a signal, it is lost in the noise. "Everyone is shouting at the same time" (3,200 words)

Video of the day:  Ten Minutes Of Stupidity

What to expect: A prisoner's sad monologue about childhood; edgy music

Thought for the day:

"If you ever find a zone that is truly comfortable, don’t dream of getting out of it" — Lucy Kellaway

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