Browser Daily Newsletter 1270


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

The Brutal Ageism Of Tech

Noam Scheiber | The New Republic | 23rd March 2014

The world’s second-biggest dispenser of Botox is a San Francisco plastic surgeon who helps Silicon Valley males in their forties look a decade or two younger so they fit more credibly into the youth-dominated tech industry. Most venture capitalists won't back older entrepreneurs: “The cutoff in investors’ heads is 32”. Young bosses want young staff. "It can all add up to a wakeful nightmare for the lower-middle-aged" (7,100 words)

Interview: Michael Hayden

Holger Stark & Marc Hujer | Spiegel | 24th March 2014

Former NSA and CIA boss discusses surveillance after Snowden. "It has become harder for American services to cooperate with friendly services with common goals. What foreign service would want to cooperate with us, given our absolute seeming inability to keep anything secret?" Bugging Merkel's phone was a serious mistake: "Shame on us". But bugging Schroeder's would have been understandable (2,900 words)

In The Jungle

Rian Malan | Longform / Rolling Stone | 1st May 2000

From the archives: The story of The Lion Sleeps Tonight, the "most famous melody ever to emerge from Africa". Solomon Linda, "the Elvis Presley of his time and place", improvised his "haunting skein of fifteen notes" in Johannesburg in 1939. "There was something terribly compelling about the underlying chant, a dense meshing of low male voices above which Solomon yodeled and howled for two exhilarating minutes" (10,800 words)

Religious Exemptions: A Guide For The Confused

Eugene Volokh | Volokh Conspiracy | 24th March 2014

When can a religious objector go to court in America to get exemption from a generally applicable law? It's complicated, but to a first approximation: If the law requires you to violate sincerely held religious beliefs, whatever those beliefs may be, you can seek an exemption, which the court may grant unless it finds that a "compelling interest" of government — such as tax collection — is also at stake (2,470 words)

A Captivating Mind

Dimiter Kenarov | Nation | 18th March 2014

Portrait of the Bulgarian writer Georgi Markov, who turned his back on fame at home to become a dissident in exile, and was murdered on Waterloo Bridge in London by communist-era secret agents using a poisoned pellet. Nobody will ever face trial for his murder; the Bulgarian prosecutor has closed the investigation and the files have been destroyed. “The memory of communism in Bulgaria is a vast, unsolved problem" (9,300 words)

Football As Financial Economics

Chris Dillow | Stumbling & Mumbling | 24th March 2014

On Arsenal Football Club and tail risk. "Ordinarily, teams play a bit better than normal or a bit worse, but performances and results are usually roughly normally distributed. Not so for Arsenal: 10% of games this season account for 50% of goals conceded". For balance, Arsenal needs more players with what investors would call "negative beta" — ones who perform better when their team-mates are performing worse (612 words)

Video of the day:  The Oxford Comma

What to expect: Discussion of English grammar, with animation

Thought for the day:

"If you are not annoying someone, you are not doing anything new" — Penelope Trunk

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