Browser Daily Newsletter 1312


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

The Rise Of Nintendo: A Story In 8 Bits

Blake Harris | Grantland | 14th May 2014

Enthralling. How a 19C Kyoto playing-card maker morphed into a gaming giant. The founder's grandson, Hiroshi Yamauchi, saw the potential of videogames in the 1970s, and deputed his son-in-law to break into the American market. "By 1990, Nintendo of America had sold nearly thirty million consoles, in one out of every three homes. Videogames were a $5 billion industry, and Nintendo owned at least 90% of that" (5,000 words)

My Day As A Robot

Leon Neyfakh | Boston Globe | 11th May 2014

What it's like to attend a conference via a telepresence robot: Surprisingly satisfying. Even though you are just a screen on top of a scooter, people notice you, you can work the room, line up to ask a question, see and be seen. "I feel genuinely transported, and I’ll remember it much more as time spent at a conference than as time spent sitting in front of my computer. I ride around and wonder who I’m going to talk to next" (3,250 words)

Glassholes At Work

Ned Resnikoff | The Baffler | 14th May 2014

"In a workplace where Google Glass is a standard part of the company uniform, every employee would become a security camera. Managers will determine how workers talk to each other, how hard they work, how many bathroom breaks they take. The Glass-inflected workplace would become a perfect panopticon, where the boss has the ability to see every employee through the eyes of every single other employee" (950 words)

The Inequality Puzzle

Lawrence Summers | Democracy | 14th May 2014

Review of Capital In The Twenty-First Century. Thomas Piketty writes in "the epic philosophical mode of Keynes, Marx, or Adam Smith". His book "richly deserves all the attention it is receiving". His analysis of rising inequality "has transformed political discourse and is a Nobel Prize-worthy contribution." But the political remedies he proposes, including a progressive wealth tax, are "unworldly" (3,560 words)

Literary Hero To Zero

D.J. Taylor | Guardian | 10th May 2014

On the rise and fall of literary reputations. Who now reads Charles Morgan, or Angus Wilson? Or Theodore Dreiser, once compared with Tolstoy? In the 1950s even Virginia Woolf seemed to be heading for oblivion, but was rescued by a surge of American university interest in the 1960s. The best recipe for escaping the abyss would seem to be a publisher willing to keep you in print, and the occasional film or TV adaption (1,500 words)

Rebalance The Use of Military Power

James Kitfield | Defense One | 12th May 2014

Interview with General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs Of Staff. "There are basically three ways we can influence the security environment around the world: direct military action, building partnership capacity and enabling other actors. Over the past 10 years we’ve done most of our heavy-lifting on the direct action side. Increasingly, however, we are doing more to build partners" (2,960 words)

Video of the day:  Randall Munroe — What If?

What to expect: TED talk by popular science blogger and cartoonist

Thought for the day:

"What would happen if most people tried to act intelligently on their own behalf? Anarchy" — Alasdair Gray

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