Browser Newsletter 1160

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

Best of the Moment

We Are Allowed to Hate Silicon Valley

Evgeny Morozov | Frankfurter Allgemeine | 11th November 2013

We're so thrilled by new technology that we ignore the corporate and political agenda of its producers. "While we understand that the interests of pharmaceutical, food and oil companies naturally diverge from our own, we rarely approach Silicon Valley with the requisite suspicion. Instead, we continue to treat data as if it were a special, magical commodity that could single-handedly defend itself against any evil genius who dares to exploit it"

Anand Pushes Carlsen To The Wall

Devangshu Datta | Yahoo India News | 13th November 2013

The poetry of this world chess championship report sings out, even to the non-player. "Anand blinked, understandably. He could have taken the pawn; several hours of cool analysis with computer engines suggests that the pawn grab should work. In practice, white’s optical compensation is immediately obvious. White smashes the pawn structure and starts hitting weaknesses on the light-squares and along the e-file"

I’m An Undocumented Farm Worker

Lauren Smiley & Odilia Chavez | Modern Farmer | 6th November 2013

Migrant from Oaxaca tells all. "I went to school through third grade, my dad was killed when I was 11, and we didn’t even have enough food to eat. In California there’s an abundance of farm jobs, so you don’t have to do one you don’t like. Tomatoes are the worst paid: I’ll pick 100 for 62 cents a bucket, or about $62 a day. Some undocumented people are scared, but I’ve never seen an immigration raid on a farm"

Washing Machines For Dirty Money

Randeep Ramesh | Guardian | 8th November 2013

How British drug dealers use gambling machines to launder their money: "Dealers feed their drug money through the machines, losing a little and then cashing out with the vast majority of their stake. They can then collect a printed ticket showing they have gambled that day." Bookmakers are limited to four machines per shop. The result: more betting shops in poorer areas, where the drug trade is busiest

The Man They Couldn’t Bore

Neal Ascherson | London Review Of Books | 7th November 2013

Affectionate review of The Broken Road: From the Iron Gates to Mount Athos, last volume of Patrick Leigh Fermor's effervescent memoir of walking across Europe in the 1930s, reconstructed by Artemis Cooper and Colin Thubron from the author's notes. In Bulgaria and Greece he is interested in everything and everybody. "Sometimes his boisterous catalogues of detail and epithet grow tiresome: why can’t he shut up for a moment?"

Business Rules Us Now

George Monbiot | The Guardian | 11th November 2013

"It's the reason for the collapse of democratic choice. It's the source of our growing disillusionment with politics. It's the great unmentionable: Corporate power. Until we name it and confront it, politics is a waste of time. The role of the self-hating state is to deliver itself to big business. In doing so it creates a tollbooth economy: a system of corporate turnpikes, operated by companies with effective monopolies"

Video of the day: inFORM

Thought for the day:

"Give me the serenity to accept the things I cannot predict, the courage to predict the things I can, and the wisdom to buy index funds" — Nate Silver

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