Browser Newsletter 1065

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

Best of the Moment

Golden Arches Of McModernism

Jimmy Stamp | Smithsonian | 24th July 2013

The McDonald's aesthetic. "In the early 1950s Richard and Maurice McDonald hired architect Stanley Clark Meston to design a drive-in hamburger stand that carried on the traditions of roadside architecture established in the 1920s and 1930s. In an age before ubiquitous mass media advertisements, the building was the advertisement. Meston made the entire building a sign specifically designed to attract customers from the road"

Inside Switzerland’s Fine Art Fortress

Christoph Pauly | Spiegel | 24th July 2013

A visit to a warehouse in Geneva where the world's billionaires keep their gold and fine art. The physical security is immense; the greater attraction is that Switzerland treats the warehouse as a free port: no taxes or duties on goods brought there. One downside: there's so much treasure inside, that insurance companies won't write any new cover. "A fire in Geneva is seen as the greatest potential loss scenario in the art world"

Explaining The Commodity Warehouse Trade With Scripture

Izabella Kaminska | FT Alphaville | 23rd July 2013

Very possibly the finest piece of financial journalism ever written on any subject at any time. You remember those stories over the past couple of days about how Goldman Sachs was rigging the aluminium market by shunting ingots around a warehouse in Detroit? And you got the general sense of cause and effect, without really understanding how the mechanics of it worked? Well here's the explanation, as a parable, with pictures

The Price Of Hypocrisy

Evgeny Morozov | Frankfurter Allgemeine | 24th July 2013

Lessons from the Snowden affair. "While Silicon Valley runs, updates and monetizes the digital infrastructure, the NSA can tap it on demand. Everyone specialises and everyone wins. Decentralisation is liberating only if there’s no powerful actor that can rip off the benefits after the network has been put in place. If such an actor exists – like NSA in this case – those in power get more of what they want quicker, and pay less"

L.S. Lowry

John Barrell | London Review Of Books | 23rd July 2013

London exhibition forces radical reappraisal of Lowry's work and stature. He is "the successor to Seurat, Degas, Pissarro". He took on "the project of painting the landscape of the Industrial Revolution, the most life-changing event in the history of modern Britain". "What I most admire and enjoy about Lowry is the interest he shows, without any apparent agenda, in what people do. I have no idea why that should be so moving"

Video of the day: Fiona Apple — "Hot Knife"

Thought for the day:

"To choose doubt as a philosophy of life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation" — Yann Martel

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