Browser Newsletter 1073

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

Best of the Moment

Cheating As Moral Imperative In Video Games

Michael Thomsen | Fanzine | 1st August 2013

Interesting if incoherent. "What’s fun about video games is not the winning and the losing, but the relief that comes with obedience. In this light, cheating is the only ethical action one can take in a game, forcing play to be a consideration of the rules themselves and not an obedient exploration of how to best follow them. Cheaters are not enemies of game culture but an essential group whose persistence should be embraced"

The Quality Of Life

Venkatesh Rao | Ribbonfarm | 31st July 2013

It's about freedom, not things. "A deep truth about the human condition as captured in the Maslow hierarchy is that it is much easier for humans to help each other with acute needs at lower levels of the hierarchy. For all non-acute needs, and acute needs in the upper levels, the only defensible way to help others is to increase their freedom of action. Whether they choose to make themselves happy or miserable with that freedom is up to them"

The Best Little Checkpoint In Texas

Al Reinert | Texas Monthly | 1st August 2013

What it's like to get caught with marijuana at "the checkpoint of no return", the U.S. Customs and Border Protection inspection station on Interstate 10 near Sierra Blanca, Texas, where Willie Nelson was arrested in 2010. "The agents were not only rigorous but considerate as well. They refolded my clothes and underwear neater than I’ve ever done and even put most of my CDs back in their correct cases for the first time in years"

Japan: Problem Is Assets, Not Debt

Peter Tasker | Financial Times | 1st August 2013

"The idea that Japan has too much debt is easy to propagate. The idea that it also has too many assets, that its balance sheet is too large for the scale of the economy, is harder to grasp. The policy implications are different, too. The right solution is belt-loosening, not belt-tightening. Rather than taxing household spending, the government should be targeting the mountains of idle cash lying on corporate balance sheets" (Metered paywall)

Father Of Fracking

Adrian Wooldridge | Economist | 2nd August 2013

Appreciation of George Mitchell, a "one-man refutation of the declinist hypothesis" in America. When America's domestic energy industry was going into decline in the 1970s, he argued for the potential of immense reserves of oil and gas trapped deep within rock formations; spent decades perfecting techniques for unlocking them; and when he succeeded — with government help — he changed global energy fundamentals

Turkeys vs Hummingbirds

Matthew Yglesias | Slate | 1st August 2013

Ornithological metaphors in central banking. The divide isn't between hawks and doves, but between turkeys and hummingbirds. "Turkeys think that if you're at the zero bound and unemployment is high you can't generate inflation. They think the central bank has become flightless. Hummingbirds think central banks have superpowers and unlike other birds can even fly backwards if they want to"

Video of the day: 108 Years Of Herman Miller

Thought for the day:

"Sometimes it feels like a chunk of the next decade has already happened and we just haven’t noticed it yet" — Warren Ellis

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