Browser Newsletter 1100

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 Defence Of The Wild Child

Elizabeth Weil | New Republic | 2nd September 2013

American schools want to abolish nonconformity. They demand "a composed, conforming kid who doesn’t externalize problems or talk too much or challenge the rules too frequently or move around excessively or complain about the curriculum or have passionate outbursts". Children who don't fit the model are assumed to need therapy. “We are stealing their childhoods. We’re suppressing their natural messy existence”

Ronald Coase: Nobel Prize Lecture

Ronald Coase | American Economic Review | 1st September 1992

Ronald Coase was the author of the two most cited papers in economics, and still hard at work when he died this week at 102. As a short guide to his ideas, here is the lecture he gave when accepting his Nobel Prize in 1991. He believed that economies consisted of institutions as well as markets, but that economists spent too much time on the markets and too little on the institutions. An imbalance which he strove nobly to correct (PDF)

Drones Over Damascus

Audrey Kurth Cronin | Foreign Affairs | 2nd September 2013

Drones are supposed to offer a cheap, low-risk way to eliminate emerging global threats without getting entangled in protracted conflicts. But, as their absence from the Syrian conflict shows, their uses are in practice quite limited. For one thing, they require unfettered access to the foreign airspace. They are slow and noisy, they fly low, and they hover a lot. If the enemy has air defences, drones are sitting ducks

Academy Fight Song

Thomas Frank | The Baffler | 29th August 2013

The tragedy and outrage of American universities. They exploit their historic role and privilege in society to pile up wealth for themselves and their managers. They charge indebted students inflated prices for classes of diminishing value taught by professors who are mostly low-paid adjuncts. "The charmingly naive American student is in fact a cash cow, and everyone has got a scheme for slicing off a porterhouse or two"

Should Countries Be More Like Families?

Roger Scruton | BBC | 30th August 2013

Nationalism is the foundation of well-functioning democracy, because the sense of shared interests makes compromise possible. "A nation state is the by-product of human neighbourliness, shaped by an invisible hand from the countless agreements between people who speak the same language and live side by side." Thus the United States works as a political unit, but the European Union doesn't. (Good comments, too)

Video of the day: Captain Kirk Watches Miley Cyrus

Thought for the day:

"A man who says he is willing to meet you halfway is usually a poor judge of distance" — Anonymous

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