Browser Newsletter 1071

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

Best of the Moment

In The Violent Favelas Of Brazil

Suketu Mehta | New York Review Of Books | 30th July 2013

Police and army units vie with drug gangs and militias for control of Rio's slums. "A couple of years ago the traficantes brought down a police helicopter with antiaircraft guns. The police cannot safely enter a large part of Rio by land or by air. There is a de facto sharing of power between the legitimate organs of the state and the gangs, the militias. Many people will die as the exact contours of this power-sharing are negotiated"

Whose Life Is It Anyway?

Mike Dorf | Dorf On Law | 30th July 2013

How long does a "lifetime warranty" last? For the life of the owner? "That's absurd. Should I give the charger to my daughter and ask her to loan it to me to use during my lifetime, on the theory that then the warranty will last longer?" Or for the life of the product? "That's even more absurd. If the product breaks immediately, then it's dead, and its lifetime is over, and the manufacturer is not in breach of the warranty"

Where’s The Male Pill?

Jalees Rehman | Aeon | 31st July 2013

Male contraceptive pills and implants have been developed; none has come to market. Why so? Side effects. Contraceptives for women have side-effects too, but "the risk of contraceptive side effects can be offset by the benefit of avoiding an unintended pregnancy." Since men don't get pregnant, there's not the same risk calculus. "It becomes more difficult, ethically, to justify the side effects of hormonal contraceptives in men"

The Perils Of Public Opinion Research

Xavier Marquez | Abandoned Footnoes | 31st July 2013

On conducting a survey in Gaddafi's Libya. First you needed a permit: "I was trapped for nearly four months in a revolving door of authorities, revolutionary committee offices and security agencies". Then you had to win your subjects' trust: "I wanted to show good will by presenting the security permission, but people then suspected me of being sponsored by the security agencies, and consequently were afraid of me"

Observations From A Tipless Restaurant

Jay Porter | 25th July 2013

First in a promised series of posts (two so far), recommended for their elucidation of restaurant economics and restaurant wages. I'm going to suspend judgement on the writer's argument that levying a mandatory service charge and banning additional tips is the optimal model for restaurant, staff, and customer — leading to a virtual circle of better food, better service, and higher revenues. If so, why aren't all restaurants run that way?

Video of the day: Support CGP Grey

Thought for the day:

"Inevitabilities in history never work out. It’s always something else" — Orhan Pamuk

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