Browser Newsletter 1063


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

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Best of the Moment

Don’t Contain Germany — Copy It

Boris Johnson | Telegraph | 21st July 2013

"The reunification of Germany has been one of the greatest success stories of modern geopolitics. I look around modern Berlin, and I don’t see Prussian revanchism. I see not the slightest sign of German militarism. I see a culture so generally cool and herbivorous that the bicycle is king. The rents are cheap, the food comes in proper Germanic helpings and everywhere there are bright people with tattoos engaged in start-ups"

The Eruv, A Jewish Quantum State

Frank Jacobs | Strange Maps | 21st July 2013

Religious law forbids Orthodox Jews from carrying objects and children outside the home on the Sabbath. But the law has a loophole: a community can erect a token fence — in string or wire — around the neighbourhood, turning the whole public space, or eruv, into "home". "Eruvin are a hybrid of the divine and the mundane. To believers, they are of paramount ritual importance; to non-believers, it’s as if they weren’t there"

Slow Ideas

Atul Gawande | New Yorker | 22nd July 2013

We assume that effective innovations spread quickly and almost inevitably. But that isn't always the case, at least in medicine, and especially if the benefits aren't immediately clear and quantifiable. The use of antiseptics against germs took decades to catch on, whereas the use of anaesthetics took just months. To change a doctor's behaviour, you have to take into account his own beliefs and interests

In Praise Of Stevie Cohen

Felix Salmon | Reuters | 21st July 2013

Why hedge-fund manager Steven Cohen, now facing criminal charges, may be "the greatest stock-market trader of all time" — and what that means. Trading is not investing. "It is more about understanding probabilities, taking advantage of fleeting arbitrage opportunities, and 'reading the tape' — understanding the way that money is flowing around the market, and how those flows are going to manifest themselves in securities prices"

Principles For Responsible Media Moguls

Seth Godin | 21st July 2013

Useful checklist for any journalist or publisher. Plain and simple stuff, but that's the point of checklists. Here's principle number one: "Establish your standard for truth, and don't vary it. Are you okay reporting rumor or innuendo in order to get attention? How about rushing to judgment so you can beat everyone else to the punch? People will put up with a lot as long as you don't become inconsistent"

A Shuffle Of Aluminum, But To Banks, Pure Gold

David Kocieniewski | New York Times | 20th July 2013

How Goldman Sachs manipulates the aluminium market. It owns a warehouse in Detroit that handles 25% of trade shipments. It slows deliveries to drive up prices. Result: customers pay more for tin cans and other aluminium products; Goldman pockets an estimated $5bn. J.P. Morgan is moving in on the copper trade, and Goldman will follow. Banks used to be banned from non-financial business, for just this sort of reason

Video of the day: Travis: Moving

Thought for the day:

"An ethicist is someone who sees something wrong with whatever you have in mind" — Marvin Minsky

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