Browser Newsletter 1070


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

WarGames: Google vs. Apple

Farhad Manjoo & Matthew Yglesias | Slate | 29th July 2013

Recommendation goes to the entire series: seven episodes long at the time of writing, and still under construction. What would happen if Google and Apple went to war — first commercially, but then for real? Slate at its slightly crazy best. Worthy of an Orson Welles radio broadcast. To my taste it jumps the shark in episode seven, when Apple starts issuing iPistols to loyalists queueing outside Apple stores, but, who knows, it may yet jump back again.

Interview: Orhan Pamuk

Pankaj Mishra | New Republic | 29th July 2013

On literature and Turkish politics. Interesting throughout. "The novel is a middle-class art. We see the proliferation of middle classes in India, China, Turkey, so everyone is writing novels. Innovation will come from there, because the populations are large, there will be a lot of production. Maybe we’re not so interested in what is happening in London, but we’re interested in what’s happening in Zadie Smith’s new novel"

Luck, Careers, And Income Inequality

Phil Birnbaum | Sabermetric Research | 24th July 2013

Persuasive rebuttal to the argument that inequality is increasingly arbitrary. "Why does it follow that a system that rewards ability must also be more equal? It's understandable; we see that some people get rewarded for being lucky. But in the hiring context, the more that merit matters, the bigger the differences in salary. An employer is only going to pay you the expected value of your production"

Fear Of A Female Fed Chief  ief

Jonathan Chait | New York | 29th July 2013

Conservatives oppose Janet Yellen, as potential successor to Fed chairman Ben Bernanke, owing to a "primal fear" that their "monetary essence will be drained by a woman". The implied context is that women are soft, easily flustered, bad with numbers. The Wall Street Journal can't quite say as much out loud, so it argues disingenuously that Yellen is being advanced for her gender more than her ability

The Pink Panthers

David Samuels | New Yorker | 12th April 2010

"A tale of diamonds, thieves, and the Balkans". First published in 2010, newly ungated after Sunday's $50m jewel theft in Cannes. A "spectacularly inventive, and elusive, gang of jewel thieves known as the Pink Panthers", consisting of twenty or thirty thieves, headquartered in Belgrade, is responsible for "dozens" of heists in Europe and Asia, worth $250m when this piece was written. The Cannes coup suggests they are still in business

Won’t Get Fooled Again

Andy Welch | Tell The World | 28th July 2013

Anatomy of a credit-card fraud, turning on a quirk of the land-line telephone. "If you call a landline, it’s up to you to end the call. If the person who receives the call puts down the receiver, it doesn’t hang up the call — meaning that when I went to find my bank card, the fraudster was still on the other end, waiting for me to pick up the phone and call ‘the bank’. As I did this, he first played a dial tone down the line, and then a ring tone"

Video of the day: Pope Francis's Press Conference

Thought for the day:

"Recipes are stories of pretend meals" — Bee Wilson

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