Browser Daily Newsletter 1326


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

How The NRA Rewrote The Second Amendment

Michael Waldman | Politico | 19th May 2014

On the political history of gun rights in America. "Many are startled to learn that the US Supreme Court didn’t rule that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual’s right to own a gun until 2008, when District of Columbia v. Heller struck down the capital’s law effectively banning handguns in the home". The change had little to do with legal scholarship, and everything to do with political lobbying (3,680 words)

So, Where Are My Robot Servants?

Erico Guizzo | IEEE Spectrum | 29th May 2014

They may not be far away. Components are getting better and cheaper. Research and investment is booming. "The robots that will really change things will perform multiple tasks. They won’t do everything right out of the box. They’ll come equipped with attachment points for new accessories and standard interfaces that allow new third-party software to add functions, much like apps on phones" (2,580 words)

An Astonishing Record Of Complete Failure

Tim Harford | Financial Times | 30th May 2014

As late as September 2008, when the financial crash was well under way, the consensus among economic forecasters was that no country would fall into recession in 2009. "The obvious conclusion is that forecasts should not be taken seriously". Economists should emulate dentists, who at least know how to treat problems effectively when they occur; they don't pretend to know when your teeth will fall out (890 words)

Of Brains & Minds: An Exchange

Colin McGinn & Patricia Churchland | New York Review Of Books | 29th May 2014

Fine spat between Churchland, author of "Neurophilosophy", and McGinn, who reviewed it (http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2014/apr/24/storm-over-the-brain) . Churchland: "Nobody in neuroscience needs McGinn to tell us that structural correlates of a function do not ipso facto explain that function. His sermonizing is just so much spit in the wind." McGinn: "It is possible to discern some points beneath the rhetoric in which Patricia Churchland indulges. But none of these points is right" (1,360 words)

“All Women Look Beautiful To Me Now.”

Chris McCoy | The Believer | 29th May 2014

Interview with Gordon Wills, cinematographer who worked with Woody Allen and Francis Ford Coppola. "There was never a dull moment with Francis. They also used too much dynamite in the car when we blew up Apollonia. It put a crack down the side of the villa. It was never a good idea to turn your back and miss what was being said. Francis tended to make a different movie with whoever he was talking to" (2,910 words)

The Art Hitler Hated

Michael Kimmelman | New York Review Of Books | 29th May 2014

The Nazis arrived at their notion of "degenerate art" partly because they could not settle on a positive aesthetic of their own. Nazi art was "whatever Hitler felt at the moment". He favoured expressionism, then turned against it. The 1937 “Entartete Kunst” exhibition was mirrored by a “Grosse Deutsche Kunstaustellung,” or Great German Art Show, of approved Nazi art. Some artists — Nolde, Barlach, Belling — featured in both (2,600 words)

Video of the day:  The Court Roo om Artist

What to expect: Short New York Times documentary about a court room sketch artist in Texas

Thought for the day:

"Become good at cheating and you never need to become good at anything else" — Banksy

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