Browser Newsletter 1135

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

Best of the Moment

Jack Dorsey: Two-Hit Wonder

D.T. Max | New Yorker | 14th October 2013

After Nick Bilton's history of Twitter ( portraying Jack Dorsey as a shallow opportunist, here's the alternative version: Dorsey as deep thinker, team leader, serial entrepreneur. Twitter is largely behind him; his new payments platform, Square, is what matters to him now. "He is a techno aesthete in the manner of Steve Jobs ... He is scruffily handsome ... Larry Page doesn’t have anywhere the qualities that Jack has"

The State of Assange

Benjamin Wallace-Wells | New York | 11th October 2013

On the legacy of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, subject of a new film, The Fifth Estate. He has fallen so far in reputation and fortune that we're in danger of forgetting how much he did to change the way we think about technology and government. He is "both a prophet and a warning: If his work has proved the dangers of trusting too much, then his life has demonstrated the impossibility of living without any trust at all"

Democracy And Political Ignorance

Ilya Somin | Cato Institute | 11th October 2013

Can well-functioning democratic government co-exist in America with an electorate that doesn't know much about what government is doing? It's hard to see how; but attempts to seriously increase public knowledge of political process and political issues would almost inevitably be partisan. It may be best to accept that most voters prefer to be ignorant, and to see that as argument for limiting the functions of government

Lunch With Ronnie O’Sullivan

Ludovic Hunter-Tilney | Financial Times | 11th October 2013

Conversation with "the Mozart of snooker", in the words of Keith Richard. Runner, alcoholic, insomniac, depressive. "O’Sullivan’s background was well-off but unorthodox. His parents ran sex shops in Soho. He remembers hearing the thud of envelopes filled with money as they fell through the letterbox. In 1992, the year he turned pro, his father was jailed for murder following a fight in a nightclub" (Metered paywall)

How A Nobel Prize Gets Won

Ian Sample | Medium | 8th October 2013

Book extract, recalling the day last year that CERN in Switzerland announce the discovery of the Higgs Boson. Peter Higgs was there, as was his Nobel co-laureate-to-be, Francois Englert — the first time the two had met. "After 20 years of research, billions of dollars, and the effort of thousands of people, the hunt for the Higgs Boson was compressed down to about 100 slides. One by one, the audience was taken through them"

Interview With Richard Thaler

Douglas Clement | Minneapolis Fed | 3rd October 2013

Discussion of financial-market economics, behavioural economics, nudge theory, and much besides. "Bob Shiller has this great line in one of his early papers to the effect that if you see a random walk, concluding from that that prices are rational is the greatest error in the history of economic thought. Why? Because it could be a drunken walk. A drunken man will have a random walk and it’s not rational"

Video of the day: Sunglasses Illusion

Thought for the day:

"The key to stupidity isn’t that you make a mistake, it’s that you persist with the mistake"— Alex Harrowell

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