Cuba After Castro, Smart Homes, Horse Racing, Machiavelli, Plot Arcs

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

Cuba After Castro’s Revolution

Barbara Smith | New Republic | 17th December 2014

From the New Republic of 1962, an optimistic view of Cuban communism in its younger days. "The economic muddles and catastrophes are obvious; the infringement on personal liberties is no less serious for being under the surface. It might have been possible to have done everything in a less destructive way. But even as things are, Cuba’s stride towards social and racial equality is real and lasting" (3,400 words)

The Internet Of Paternalistic Things

Sarah Wilson | Medium | 16th December 2014

In your smart home the toilet will know you are pregnant before you do — and the toilet will tell the fridge, which will tell everything else. "I could have really used that beer. But the fridge still wouldn’t let me take it. I opened up Taskr to see if could get an old fashioned birth control test delivered. That’s when I got the notification that my funding interview for my new project the following morning had been canceled" (660 words)

Fools And Horses

Stanley Pignal | Economist | 17th December 2014 | Metered paywall

Glorious portrait of Barney Curley, 75-year-old Northern Irishman, former aspiring Jesuit priest, and the most ingenious racetrack gambler of our time. "The template is simple. A horse with proven ability is purchased, often from overseas. It disappears for months or years, perhaps recovering from injury. When it finally competes, its performance is appalling". But guess what: On its next outing it starts at long odds and it wins (3,100 words)

A Realist Raised From The Dead

Roger Harrison | American Interest | 16th December 2014

What Machiavelli might say, if he were reanimated to advise President Obama: “Caution served you well as an antidote to the rashness of your predecessor but only because fortune also favored you. Just as caution served you once, so the changing times demand assertiveness, perhaps even impetuosity. You must rouse yourself on all fronts and shake off this awful lethargy that seems to afflict you and infect those around you" (1,660 words)

Fundamental Plot Arcs

Ben Schmidt | Sapping Attention | 16th December 2014

Lessons from quantitative analysis of film and television scripts. Plot arcs are revealed by the frequent use of significant words and phrases at particular stages in the script. Work and school words occur most in early scenes, as do apologies; body and face words tend to come in the middle; expressions of love come far more often at the end. Law And Order has the most predictable scripts; Doctor Who the least (3,990 words)

Video of the day: Jackie Chan's Action Comedy

What to expect: Tony Zhou analyses the nine principles of Jackie Chan's action scenes (9')

Thought for the day

Some books are undeservedly forgotten, no book is undeservedly remembered
W.H. Auden

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