Campus Rape, Gates Foundation, Bail Bonds, Guantánamo Diary, Deep Web, Lithuania

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

Rape On Campus

Zoe Heller | New York Review Of Books | 22nd January 2015

"Laws that offer special protections to women based on their difference from men have a habit of redounding to women’s disadvantage. In the case of affirmative consent, the payback is readily apparent: women are deemed to have limited agency in their sexual relations with men, so men are designated as their sexual guardians— occasionally overruling their stated wishes when they’ve had too much to drink" (3,800 words)

Interview: Bill Gates

Steven Levy | Backchannel | 22nd January 2015

Interview about the work of the Gates Foundation, with a digression on Bitcoin and a coda on artificial intelligence. "The key is not Internet connectivity. It doesn’t in itself stop childhood mortality, or help farmers know what to plant. If it wasn’t for the digital revolution, we could not be so ambitious. But if you just stood back and watched those things take place, the children would still be dying of malaria" (1,480 words)

Meet The Bail Bond Queen

Nicolás Medina Mora | Buzzfeed | 19th January 2015

Action-packed profile of Michelle Esquenazi, owner of Empire Bail Bonds. She lends out bail money — and gets it back, always. "I insure your appearance in court for the good people of the proud state of New York. That means that, for me, you are walking money. I own your body.” If a body is foolish enough to abscond, she sends her bounty hunter. His nickname is 'Hollywood' — because "he does shit you only see in the movies" (4,100 words)

Guantánamo Memoirs

Mohamedou Ould Slahi | Slate | 21st January 2015

Harrowing extracts from the diaries of Mohamedou Ould Slahi, a prisoner at Guantánamo Bay since 2002. Slahi was arrested in Mauritania, shipped to Bagram in Afghanistan and then to Guantánamo, where he was tortured and interrogated for three years on suspicion of terrorism. No case has been offered against him; he has never been charged or tried; he remains an American captive (14,000 words)

Deep Web Business Models

Joel Monegro | 21st January 2015

Venture capitalist evaluates "deep web marketplaces", which trade mainly in drugs. They differ from from conventional sales platforms in three main ways: They use Bitcoin for settlement; they hold payments in escrow; they don't seek customer data. "How can you build build network effects while relinquishing control of the data? Do you compete on product and user experience? Is that defensible?" (1,300 words)

How To Survive A Russian Invasion

Andrius Kuncina & Daisy Sindelar | Atlantic | 21st January 2015

Lithuania's Defence Ministry publishes a guide advising citizens how to respond if Russia invades again. The pamphlet, How To Act In Extreme Situations Or Instances Of War, is "no-nonsense and occasionally wry" in tone. Workers should offer passive resistance to occupation by "doing your job worse than usual". Families should "make contingency plans" to flee the country, probably to neighbouring Poland (770 words)

Video of the day: The Dawn Wall — Pitch 15

What to expect: Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson climb The Dawn Wall in Yosemite (3'41")

Thought for the day

Without science, democracy is impossible
Bertrand Russell (

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