Browser Daily Newsletter 1276T


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

How Gmail Happened

Harry McCracken | Time | 1st April 2014

When Google launched Gmail on 1st April 2004, the offer of 1GB free storage per user —500 times what Microsoft’s Hotmail offered — seemed so implausible that some mistook it for a prank. It was rolled out on "three hundred old Pentium II computers which nobody else at Google wanted". But it was real, and revolutionary. It was the first truly cloud-based app, and, for better or worse, the gateway to targeted advertising (3,790 words)

Tax The Childless

Reihan Salam | Slate | 31st March 2014

Slash taxes on parents. "As a childless professional in my mid-30s I often reflect on the sacrifices working parents make to better the lives of their children. I have come to the reluctant conclusion that I ought to pay much higher taxes so that working parents can pay much lower taxes. The willingness of parents to bear and nurture children saves us from becoming an economically moribund nation" (1,140 words)

Complete Guide To New York City Pizza

Nick Solares | Eater | 20th April 2014

America's first pizzas sold by New York grocery store in 1905. Thin crust, softish centre, splash of tomato sauce, smattering of fresh mozzarella. Immediate triumph; industry thrives. Pizza's step-change from popular to ubiquitous comes in 1970s thanks to cheap pre-fab gas ovens, more cheese, sale by the slice. "NY style is virtually defined by the low cost of entry, the immediacy of service, and the portability of the product" (3,400 words)

Life As A Humanistic Discipline

David Sagar | Oxonian Review | 17th April 2014

Highly intelligent discussion of Bernard Williams's Essays and Reviews, 1959-2002. "For Williams, philosophy is not like science. In science, the big breakthroughs come from brilliant thinkers, but everybody else can usefully get on with collecting data. In philosophy, you are not only not adding data if you are making banal and repetitive arguments; you are getting in the way of those who are trying to make sense of our world" (2,120 words)

The Six Of Coins

Jessica Crispin | Ohio Edit | 31st March 2014

How to tease meaning out of a tarot card. "The Six of Coins is about a lopsided balance. The man on the card has two beggars before him. He is only giving money to one, and yet the scale he holds is balanced ... If you are the beggar (and we are all, all of the time, the beggar in front of someone), who are you holding your hand out to for help? And what behaviour are those people going to reward?" (1,520 words)

Pilots And Flight Attendants Confess

Viral Quake | 24th April 2014

I know, I know. It's a listicle engineered to be viral. And pirated from Reddit. But despite or because of those things it still has me hooked. Includes at least three warnings not to drink any non-bottled water onboard. And one tip completely new to me: "If the plane is being hijacked when the pilot lands they will leave the wing flaps up. This is to signal to the airport that there is something happening in the plane" (2,040 words)

Video of the day:  Tiny Sydney

What to expect: Cityscape rendered in tilt-shift. Simply picturesque

Thought for the day:

"The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it" — Henry David Thoreau

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