Browser Newsletter 1166


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

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Best of the Moment

Blame Rich, Overeducated Elites As Society Frays

Peter Turchin | Bloomberg | 20th November 2013

America veers toward collapse, due to “elite overproduction” — more and more rich people and unemployed lawyers competing to for political power. "Elite overproduction leads to more intra-elite competition that undermines the spirit of cooperation, which is followed by ideological polarization and fragmentation of the political class ... We should expect many years of political turmoil, peaking in the 2020s"

The Amazon Whisperer

Jason Feifer | Fast Company | 18th November 2013

Meet the company that makes products based on Amazon reviews of other products. It's called C&A and it has 20 staff in New Jersey scanning internet comments to find what additional features shoppers want in a product. If customer reviews of waterproof audio speakers on Amazon are asking for a speaker with Bluetooth connectivity, for example, C&A hires a manufacturer in China to produce one

My Mistake

Daniel Menaker | New York | 16th November 2013

Memoir of life in the publishing trade as an editor at Random House and HarperCollins. The picture isn't encouraging. "Gina Centrello takes me to lunch and lets me know that she would like me to step aside as editor-in-chief. Why? Numbers, evidently. Prizes — lack thereof. My high salary. It comes back to me that Harry Evans, when he hired me, said, 'You have five years to fook oop.' I have barely finished four"

What It’s Like To Be Wounded in Afghanistan

Ann Jones | Mother Jones | 14th November 2013

Notes from a US military plane flying injured troops back to Delaware. "Patient number three is breathing on his own and fast asleep, a saline drip feeding into his arm. He's lost both legs, but both below the knee. He has his hands. He has his junk. Of these four patients, he's the one the military and the media will call 'lucky'. But the doctor doesn't call him that. He is a boy who used to have legs and now he doesn't"

The One-Man Intelligence Unit

Bianca Bosker | Huffington Post | 18th November 2013

Profile of Eliot Higgins, British blogger who, as "Brown Moses", has become an international authority on the weaponry used in the Syrian civil war. He helped establish that Iran was arming the Syrian regime, that Syria was using cluster bombs, that Saudi Arabia was arming the rebels, and that Assad was using chemical weapons. Almost all of which he did by diligent study of YouTube at his home in Leicester

The Other Texas Death Penalty

Rachel Pearson | Texas Observer | 13th November 2013

Medical student running a free health clinic in Galveston writes movingly about her attempts to care for the poor. "There’s a popular myth that the uninsured — in Texas, that’s 25 percent of us — can always get medical care through emergency rooms." Not so: the ER will patch you up and move you on. The poor still die of treatable diseases. "Part of my job is to sit down with patients and, as gently as possible, take away hope"

Video of the day: Small Talk In Finland

Thought for the day:

"The cultivated person's first duty is to be always prepared to rewrite the encyclopaedia" — Umberto Eco

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