Browser Daily Newsletter 1318T


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

The Inside Story Of Oculus Rift

Peter Rubin | Wired | 20th May 2014

Founded by a Californian teenager, bought by Facebook for $2bn, Oculus seems to have cracked the 30-year-old challenge of virtual reality. Its Rift headsets use 360-degree visuals and stereoscopic 3D to "hack your visual cortex ... As far as your brain is concerned, there’s no difference between experiencing something on the Rift and experiencing it in the real world". A game-changing technology; perhaps life-changing (5,200 words)

Waiting For The Revolution

Caleb Gardner | Lapham's Quarterly | 20th May 2014

Psychiatry still awaits its scientific revolution, like genetics before Mendel. Freud was a false dawn. Medication helps manage symptoms. But we still don't know the rules, the principles, of mental illness. Epigenetics holds promise; it argues for behaviour as the product of complex and idiosyncratic interactions between genes and environment. But for that very reason it is less likely to yield general therapeutic breakthroughs (2,070 words)

Nicholas Shakespeare On Bruce Chatwin

Alec Ash | Five Books | 12th May 2014

Interview with Chatwin's biographer, discussing books that influenced Chatwin's work, including Robert Byron's "Road to Oxiana", and Jorges Luis Borges's "Labyrinths". On Chatwin himself: "The Bruce Chatwin of the books is an all-knowing action-man and laconic observer. But Chatwin himself was a hopelessly impractical chatterbox who could not stop talking and never did the washing-up" (2,100 words)

How YouTube Destroyed Tom Cruise

Amy Nicholson | LA Weekly | 20th May 2014

Tom Cruise's early public profile was closely managed in the way that reputations still could be in the 1980s when the gossip media consisted mainly of eight big magazines. He was serious and self-effacing. Then the internet hit. Tom Cruise, movie star, became Tom Cruise, fruitcake and scientologist, jumping on Oprah's couch (which he never did; that image is a YouTube artefact). "We gave him up for a gif" (5,040 words)

Everything Is Broken

Quinn Norton | The Message | 21st May 2014

Rant. There is no security online. None. "It’s hard to explain to regular people how much technology barely works, how much the infrastructure of our lives is held together by the IT equivalent of baling wire. The number of people whose job it is to make software secure can practically fit in a large bar, and I’ve watched them drink. It’s not comforting. It isn’t a matter of if you get owned, only a matter of when" (3,980 words)

Seventeen People

Jon White | Seventeen People | 21st May 2014

Words-and-pictures re-telling of "Seventeen People", Season Two Episode 18 of "The West Wing", which creator Jon White considers to be Aaron Sorkin's masterpiece and "the single greatest episode of television ever created", according to an interview with Vox (http://www.vox.com/2014/5/21/5737478/meet-the-man-who-spent-a-year-and-a-half-of-his-life-explaining-the) . White breaks down the episode into five overlaid themes: Intrigue, persuasion, drama, comedy and romance; with Toby at their centre (2,300 words)

Video of the day:  Matthew Young - My Life In Typefaces

What to expect: TED talk by type design guru

Thought for the day:

"Hotel rooms inhabit a separate moral universe" — Tom Stoppard

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