Cashlessness, Donald Trump, Tech Billionaires, Jokes, Terry Wogan


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

Bring On The Cashless Future

Editorial | Bloomberg | 31st January 2016

China says it plans to switch from physical cash to digital currency. Britain and Canada are thinking similarly. Good. Electronic money is an idea whose time has come, better than cash in almost every way. It promises cheaper and easier transactions, more effective monetary policy. The main downside is the extra power it gives to the issuing government. But used properly, against crime and terrorism, that is an upside too (600 words)

How Trump Did It

Ben Schreckinger & Eli Stokols | Politico | 1st February 2016

Interesting throughout. Donald Trump had his strategy planned two years in advance. Advisers said he should declare late and storm the convention. Trump said no. He would declare early for two reasons. He "saw a news void he wanted to fill during the summer doldrums of the campaign" when rivals would be fund-raising. And if he didn't get traction, he could exit in time for the fall season of The Apprentice (2,900 words)

Maximum Wage

Steven Johnson | How We Get To Next | 28th January 2016

The founders of successful start-ups get rich. That increases inequality; it also encourages smart people to work hard and efficiently. So far so good. But there is a balance to be struck. A system in which founders walk away with billions cannot be the only one that works. When America's most brilliant graduates aspire to produce trivial pieces of software, it is surely a signal that incentives are not being correctly allocated (2,700 words)

The Hundred Jokes That Shaped Modern Comedy

Jesse David Fox | Vulture | 31st January 2016

Jack Benny reputedly earned the longest laugh in radio history for a joke broadcast in 1948: "Criminal: 'Your money or your life'. Benny: [Pause.] Criminal: 'Look, bud. I said your money or your life'. Benny: 'I’m thinking it over'." But Jean Carroll surely deserved to win with this line two years later: “I’ll never forget the first time I saw him, standing up on a hill, his hair blowing in the breeze — and he too proud to run and get it” (21,000 words)

An Intriguingly Subversive National Treasure

Mark Lawson | Guardian | 31st January 2016

Affectionate memoir of Terry Wogan, who "channelled his love of literature and Ireland and his innate good nature to become one of the most original and enjoyable talkers in the history of British broadcasting". He borrowed his "wild but jaunty tone" from the Irish satirist and surrealist Brian O’Nolan, with whom Wogan shared a taste for "eye-popping innuendo". Radio listeners are "unlikely ever to hear his like again" (2,500 words)

Video of the day: Space Rocks

What to expect: Animated explainer from the Royal Observatory Greenwich about comets, asteroids and meteors (2'20")

Thought for the day

Fallacies contain the only clues we have about what thinking means to those who engage in it
Hannah Arendt

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