Browser Daily Newsletter 1295


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

Game Of Thrones

David Owen | New Yorker | 21st April 2014

How airlines design cabins and seats to charm first- and business-class passengers. The Stradivarius of the flat-bed seat, James Park, honed his skills restoring train carriages for the Orient Express. “There are certain little events you experience as you progress through this promenade up to the plane. They should climax in your vision of the seat”. Bonus fact: the inflight entertainment system costs $10,000 per seat (5,200 words)

Writing Philosophy

Peter Lipton | University Of Cambridge

Advice to students. Valid for all writers on all subjects. Use your own words; explain things as you would to a friend; strive to be original. "Often the problem is not lack of originality; it is rather that the originality is not exploited. When you have a good point, don't throw it away in one sentence. Make the most of it: explain it, extend it, give an example, show connections. Push your good ideas as deep as they will go" (1,000 words)

Chat Wars

David Auerbach | n+1 | 18th April 2014

Alexis Madrigal calls this "one of the finest pieces I've read on what it feels like to code (abstraction, problem-solving, power)". Insider's tale of how Microsoft tried to get traction for its messaging app, MSN Messenger. MS developers spoofed the protocols used by America Online's more popular AIM messaging app, so that Microsoft users could ping AOL users. AOL fought back. Everybody lost (6,670 words)

The New Hidden-Camera Movies

Matt Singer | The Dissolve | 18th April 2014

After reality TV comes a new wave of reality cinema, with Jonathan Glazer's Under The Skin its great triumph. Most of Scarlett Johansson's victims aren't actors — they are ordinary people that Johansson picked up, in character, and filmed using a hidden camera. Sasha Baron-Cohen pioneered a variant with Borat: Most of his subjects knew they were being filmed — but they didn't know for what. (1,775 words)

Back To The Future

Fraser Nelson | Spectator | 24th April 2014

Labour will win the next election in Britain, not because it is particularly strong, but because the compromises and confusions of the Conservative-LibDem coalition have divided and demoralised the Right. Once in power, Ed Miliband will be a populist — and popular — leader. Evidence of rising inequality is plain across Britain, and the silence of Conservatives gives Labour a free hand on this great issue of our time (Metered Paywall) (1,350 words)

Narrative Framing In Online Restaurant Reviews

Dan Jurafsky et al | First Monday | 7th April 2014

Academic paper. Recommended for the abstract (at the beginning) and the discussion (at the end). Online restaurant reviews are not primarily restaurant reviews, but rather essays in which the reviewers portray themselves with the restaurant as backdrop. Positive reviews are often written in a high-flown style — a chance to show off "linguistic capital". Negative reviews "function as a means of coping with service–related trauma" (7,440 words)

Video of the day:  Wes Anderson's Forest Gump

What to expect: Gorgeous homage. If Anderson had made the film, this would be the trailer

Thought for the day:

"Don't be afraid to go out on a limb, it's where all the fruit is" — Shirley MacLaine

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