Browser Daily Newsletter 1296


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

Larry Page, The Untold Story

Nicholas Carlson | Business Insider | 24th April 2014

Larry Page is the Steve Jobs of Google. At first he was an impossible boss; "working at Google felt more like a never-ending thesis defense". Investors forced him to stand back for a while, and bring in Eric Schmidt. They were right. Page has come back from his wilderness years a better-rounded genius, with "wild ambitions and a new resolve". His goal now: To come up with at least one more business as big as search (9,800 words)

Two Degrees: How The World Failed On Climate Change

Brad Plumer | Vox | 22nd April 2014

Long pieces about climate chance usually bore me (which reflects badly on me) but this one held my attention throughout. Clear, intelligent, plausible. Explains how the aim of keeping global warming within two degrees centigrade was formulated by a group of German scientists 20 years ago, and adopted almost universally; considers the scenarios now that the two-degree limit appears sure to be breached (3,690 words)

Why Militaries Mess Up So Often

Megan McArdle | Bloomberg View | 24th April 2014

Military operations are especially mistake-prone because armies aren’t like other organisations. A normal bureaucracy has a job which it does all the time. Armies spend most of their time not engaged in their main job, which is fighting wars. The people who are good at running peacetime armies aren't necessarily much good at fighting wars: In peace you ask for permission; in war you ask for forgiveness (580 words)

Gay Marriage And Racism

Jonathan Rauch | Daily Beast | 24th April 2014

Opponents of gay marriage should not be compared to opponents of interracial marriage. The analogy is flawed for three main reasons: Marriage was always gendered until very recently, but never intrinsically racist; opposition to gay marriage has deep religious roots, and religion, unlike racism, is constitutionally protected; the analogy is counter-productive, when the case for gay marriage is prevailing on its own merits (1,520 words)

Why Government Cuts Usually Backfire

Noah Smith | The Week | 24th April 2014

Cutting the size of government does not make for more efficient government, all other things being equal; rather the opposite. Government is inefficient because of incentive structures, not size. The units most likely to survive any general cutbacks are the "parasitical" ones that have "figured out how to game the political process to make themselves secure" — and are probably the very ones you don't want to keep (630 words)

Video of the day:  Action Movie Kid

What to expect: Lots of fun. A home movie, when Dad works at Dreamworks

Thought for the day:

"The secret of biography resides in finding the link between talent and achievement" — Leon Edel

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