Browser Newsletter 1062

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

Best of the Moment

Mad Dog Naturalist

Richard Marshall | 3AM | 19th July 2013

Interview with philosopher Alexander Rosenberg about science, truth, and realism. Difficult in places; assumes familiarity with philosophical concepts and arguments; worth the effort. "In philosophy the surest route to immortality is to provide a logically impeccable argument from true premises to a conclusion that is known, usually by science, to be false. We prize such paradoxes above all else, and celebrate their originators"

Art As The Sophisticated Man’s Bitcoin

Izabella Kaminska | FT Alphaville | 18th July 2013

Re-thinking the art market in the light of Bitcoin. "Just as the Bitcoin market depends on the Emperor’s New Clothes effect, so does the art market. If we — art dealers, collectors, writers and experts — all agree a particular work has value, it surely does, irrespective of its cost of production, utility and purpose. In that sense a lot of the art market fuses the core characteristics of both Bitcoin and the gold market"

Obituary: HRH Princess Shirley Of Hutt

Anonymous | Telegraph | 19th July 2013

Born Shirley Casley, she became "HRH Princess Shirley of Hutt" after her husband, Len, seceded from Australia. "Having studied the Treason Act of 1495, he had concluded that it was illegal to hinder a de facto prince; he had therefore declared himself Prince of what he called Hutt River Province", a tract of land he owned near Perth. Australia didn't recognise Prince Len or his consort, but the tax authorities did agree to treat them as non-resident

Have You Heard The One About President Joe Biden?

Jeanne Marie Laskas | GQ | 17th July 2013

Warm, funny, smart, hugely readable profile of "the guy who is about a Hillary Clinton away from the White House." What you see is what you get. And then some. "He will say foolish things he doesn't quite mean, and he will say bluntly brilliant things that others long to say. It's his charm. It's his gift. It's his political liability ... To the extent that all politics is personal, Joe Biden is the historic monument"

Unhappy Truckers And Other Algorithmic Problems

Tom Vanderbilt | Nautilus | 19th July 2013

On the "travelling salesman" problem. How do you calculate the quickest route between a lot of stops? Sounds easy, soon gets difficult. Six-city route has 720 possible paths, 20-city route has more than 100 quadrillion possible paths. Computer scientists have been wrestling with this class of problem for decades. How about transport companies, who are doing it for real? What's their solution? It's mostly trial and error. And keeping drivers happy

Video of the day: Apple — Design By Intention

Thought for the day:

"Income almost always flows along the same axis as power, but in the opposite direction" — J.K. Galbraith

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