Browser Daily Newsletter 1293

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

Mind Readers

Roger Highfield | Mosaic | 20th April 2014

Faintly terrifying account of research indicating that coma patients in "persistent vegetative state" are often conscious — minds trapped within bodies, a modern form of being buried alive. Techniques described here rely on brain imaging, but persuasively so. Seemingly-comatose patients can be taught to respond to questions via fMRI: by thinking about particular subjects they activate particular parts of the brain (8,150 words)

Springtime Thoughts

Conrad Black | National Review | 17th April 2014

Possibly the best short piece about racoons you will read today. "I have reviewed what other columnists and bloggers have written in the last few days on more frequent current political and economic personalities and subjects, and Henrietta and her cub are more interesting and more admirable. We would rather have them sheltering in or near our house than almost any contemporary political leader I can think of" (1,000 words)

Transcending Complacency On Superintelligent Machines

Max Tegmark & Stephen Hawking | Huffington Post | 19th April 2014

Artificial intelligence is "potentially the best or worst thing ever to happen to humanity". And yet very little serious scientific research is being devoted to the ways in which it will change our world. It is as though we humans were getting a message from a superior alien civilisation saying, "We'll arrive in a few decades", and we were replying, indifferently: "OK, call us when you get here — we'll leave the lights on" (520 words)

How To Get A Job At Google

Thomas Friedman | New York Times | 19th April 2014

Here's the best tip: “The key is to frame your strengths as: ‘I accomplished X, relative to Y, by doing Z’. Most people would write a résumé like this: ‘Wrote editorials for The New York Times.’ Better would be to say: ‘Had 50 op-eds published compared to average of 6 by most op-ed [writers] as a result of providing deep insight into the following area for three years.’ Most people don’t put the right content on their résumés” (1,230 words) (Metered paywall)

When Hitler Was Curator

Morgan Meis | Smart Set | 21st April 2014

Reflections on the Neue Galerie's exhibition of "degenerate art" banned by the Nazis. "The terrifying but necessary thing to do is to look into Hitler’s thoughts on art and to realise that there are places where we agree with him. Hitler’s abhorrence of Modernist art was a common reaction in his day. It takes much training to appreciate the work of the Expressionists, let alone see beauty in it" (1,900 words)

Vinyl Is Great — But Not Better Than CDs

Dylan Matthews | Vox | 19th April 2014

CDs and vinyl do sound different. That's not because vinyl records are in some way more authentic; on the contrary; CDs transcribe more accurately, especially since compression algorithms have improved. The "warmth" that some listeners find in vinyl records is probably introduced by recording engineers who, in mastering for vinyl, routinely cut back on extreme high and low ends and filter out sibilance (1,820 words)

Video of the day:  The Rolling Stones Play Hull (1964)

What to expect: Contemporary documentary footage from Pathé News

Thought for the day:

"A leader is a dealer in hope" — Napoleon

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