Browser Daily Newsletter 1340

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

The Disruption Machine

Jill Lepore | New Yorker | 16th June 2014

Clayton Christensen's theory of disruption, accepted across American industry as "the gospel of innovation", is wobbly at best. It rests on a group of handpicked case studies that prove little or nothing. The first of them gets the disk-drive industry quite wrong: "Most of the entrant firms celebrated by Christensen as triumphant disrupters no longer exist, their success having been in some cases brief and in others illusory" (6,000 words)


Jacob Mikanowski | The Point | 14th June 2014

Appreciation of chef René Redzepi, his Copenhagen restaurant Noma, and his part in the current enthusiasm among foodies for combining the values and aesthetics of technology with those of cooking. Full of vivid touches: "The trick with the lamb brains is to treat them as a spread and an accompaniment to bread. They have a difficult texture — in between foie gras and fish sperm — and you can’t overcook them" (3,880 words)

How To Catch A Chess Cheater

Howard Goldowsky | Chess Life | 1st June 2014

Profile of Ken Regan, computer scientist, chess master, and world champion at detecting cheaters in chess. His algorithms analyse tournament play in real time and flag when a player makes a series of exceptional moves implying covert help from a computer. They also produce an intriguing flow of hard data about human behaviour in general, and cognitive biases in particular, along the way (6,820 words)

Life Begins With Genome Revealed

Antonio Regalado | MIT Technology Review | 13th June 2014

Californian genetics researcher Razib Khan sequences his baby's genome before birth — a first for a healthy human. It's not illegal, but the average person would probably not find a lab or a doctor willing to take on the job, for ethical reasons. The great fear: "Discovery of a bad mutation could lead parents to an abortion". Mr Khan did the sequencing using free online software, and says: “The future is here, deal with it" (1,580 words)

Only Apple

John Gruber | Daring Fireball | 13th June 2014

Upbeat take on Apple's strategy in the wake of the latest developer conference. "Jobs was a great CEO for leading Apple to become big. But Cook is a great CEO for leading Apple now that it is big, to allow the company to take advantage of its size and success. If Jobs were still with us, his ideal role today might be that of an éminence grise, with Cook as CEO, running the company much as he actually is today" (3,380 words)

The Brazilians Who Hope To Lose The World Cup

Anatole Kaletsky | Reuters | 13th June 2014

Though Brazil enters the tournament as runaway favourite, the country's business and financial community is secretly rooting for defeat, as a means to undermine President Dilma Rousseff. She trades on the popularity of her predecessor, Lula da Silva, but she is squandering his economic gains. A World Cup reversal would shatter national complacency and weaken Rousseff when she seeks re-election in October (1,070 words)

Video of the day:  Times New Roman

What to expect: Short documentary. Typographers talk about Times New Roman, and why they don't like it

Thought for the day:

"To think of humans as freedom-loving, you must be ready to view nearly all of history as a mistake" — John Gray

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