Browser Daily Newsletter 1314

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

What Do We Save When We Save The Internet?

Ian Bogost | Atlantic | 15th May 2014

The arguments over net neutrality are too little, too late. The supposedly "free and open" internet is already so corrupted and corporatised that most of us might be better off without it. "What new growth might erupt if we let the Internet as we know it burn? Shouldn’t we at least ponder the question? Perhaps we’d be better off tolerating the venial regret of having lost something, than suffering the mortal regret of enduring it" (1,420 words)

Stretch Genes

H. Allen Orr | New York Review Of Books | 15th May 2014

Polite but firm slapping-down of Nicholas Wade's book, A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History, which argues that "human races likely differ in social behaviour for genetic reasons as a result of recent evolution". There are divergences between the genomes of population groups on different continents; but Wade produces no evidence that this causes, or is caused by, different patterns of behaviour (3,680 words)

Bullfighting, Sport, And Industry (1930)

Ernest Hemingway | Forbes | 1st March 1930

On the economics of Spanish bullfighting. "It is not the bullfighters in general who make the money but rather the twenty or so who are in the first flight of their profession". Spain's top matador, Marcia Lalanda, earned $172,000 last season, tax-free. By comparison, Spain's leading bull breeder reported a profit of $33,000; the Pamplona bullring $29,000. A picador working for Lalanda earned $92 per fight (h/t ( ) (6,330 words)

Bring Back the Girls—Quietly

Peggy Noonan | Wall Street Journal | 16th May 2014

An optimal scenario for American action against Boko Haram in Nigeria: Just do it, because it needs to be done, without any swaggering. "We go in, rescue the kids, get out, go home, and say nothing. What happened would, of course, get around. The world would know in time. But we would say nothing, like dignified people who use their might not for praise or power, but to achieve a measure of decency in the world" (1,230 words)

The Trick That Makes Google’s Self-Driving Cars Work

Alexis Madrigal | Atlantic | 15th May 2014

Google cars drive safely in Mountain View because Google loads them with perfect models of the terrain. "It might be better to stop calling what Google is doing mapping, and come up with a different verb to suggest the radical break they've made with previous ideas of maps. I'd say they're crawling the world, making it legible and useful to computers". It will be a long job; but Google is playing a long game (2,080 words)

If We Talked About Architecture Like We Talk About Writing

Mallory Ortberg | The Toast | 14th May 2014

Then we would say things like this: “Where do you get your ideas for buildings?” “Do you have a designing process, or do you just sort of build it all at once?” “Is this skyscraper autobiographical?” “Sometimes I feel like I have a building in me” (333 words)

Video of the day:  Kant On Determinism (8-Bit Edition)

What to expect: Kant's view of free will dramatised as a videogame

Thought for the day:

"What does it matter how many lovers you have if none of them gives you the universe?" — Jacques Lacan

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