Browser Newsletter 1107

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

Best of the Moment

Confessions Of An Emergency Room Doctor

Brian Drummond | The Conversation | 10th September 2013

"I spend a lot of time conversing with patients in unusual positions: upside down, talking to their backs, or during an invasive pelvic or rectal exam. But it’s all very matter-of-fact – like an art appraiser or a farmer inspecting sheep. We’re more hands on than other doctors – we often don’t have the luxury of knowing the patents beforehand. Much as I love hearing stories, the information patients often want to share isn’t always what I need."

We’ve Learned Nothing From The Financial Crisis

James Kwak | The Atlantic | 10th September 2013

Five years after the Lehman crash, America has gone back to believing that financial markets are best left unregulated, and that society can rely on the self-interest of bankers to act in the public good. The structural problem: Financial stability has no lobby. It does have some advocates, in academia and even in government. But that's no match for the financial industry's hold over both political parties

Mogadishu, Baghdad, Troy

Mark Greif | n+1 | 10th September 2013

Republished from 2004, and still compelling reading. American special forces soldiers as the Homeric heroes of modern warfare. "They fight with powerful, almost preternatural weapons, in episodes of virtuosic slaughter, until they withdraw to safety. Eyes circle overhead to guide them, superiors to whom they can appeal in times of trouble. Medicine makes wounds insignificant, as long as they are not instantly fatal"

Did The NSA Secretly Make A Major Math Breakthrough?

Joe Kloc | Daily Dot | 7th September 2013

If the NSA really has worked out how to break the encryption used for banking transactions, that would be "a serious mathematical accomplishment, far beyond being just Internet security". But since the Department of Defence spends $11bn a year on cryptanalysis, it may just have risen to the occasion. Sensibility alert: The explanation given here involves a certain amount of algebra, and lots of prime numbers

Geeks On The Front Lines

David Kushner | Rolling Stone | 11th September 2013

US government and corporate recruiters vie to hire hackers, as cyberwarfare escalates. If you know how to hack into the Chinese government's computers, chances are the US government would like to use your services — and vice-versa. Security contractors are booming, and boasting. "If [the U.S. government] came to a company like us and said, ‘Here’s $15 million,’ we could turn a North Korean missile into a brick"

Video of the day: Ballpoint Barber

Thought for the day:

"Every man who loves his country hopes for the suppression of half his compatriots" — Emil Cioran

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