Disruption, Publishing, Geography, Voices, Roger Scruton

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

Disrupt The Citizen

Nikil Saval | n+1 | 27th June 2017

The case against Uber and Lyft; against their presumed right to disrupt settled legal and social systems; and against the ease with which they hire lobbyists to legitimise and normalise their self-interest. “What Plouffe and the ride-sharing companies understand is that, under capitalism, when markets are pitted against the state, the figure of the consumer can be invoked against the figure of the citizen. Consumption has in fact come to replace our original ideas of citizenship” (1,800 words)

The Bad Science Of Scientific Publishing

Stephen Buranyi | Guardian | 27th June 2017

Robert Maxwell perfected the system whereby government-funded scientists submit research free of charge to commercial publishers, who turn it into journals which they sell back expensively to government-funded libraries. With global revenues of £19 billion and profit margins of 30-40%, scientific publishing “weighs in somewhere between the recording and the film industries in size, but it is far more profitable”. Why has it not been crushed by free online sharing? (6,400 words)

A Brief History of Maps

Clive Thompson | Smithsonian | 26th June 2017

The Greek astrologer Claudius Ptolemy drew the first realistic maps of the world in the 2nd century AD in order to specify places of birth more precisely and thus cast better horoscopes. He knew that the Earth was round, so he calculated a way of reducing its three dimensions to two. He added lines of latitude and longitude. He even coined a name for his new discipline: Geography. When the Roman Empire fell, his techniques were lost to the West for a thousand years (2,500 words)

Hearing Voices

Joseph Frankel | Atlantic | 27th June 2017

If you hear voices, are you psychic or psychotic? A comparative study finds similarities: “The psychics described hearing voices of similar volumes, frequencies, and timbres as the patients”. Hearing voices does not always signal wider psychiatric disturbance, and in isolation is considered nowadays to require clinical treatment only when it causes distress to the hearer. “When people hear voices, they may be hearing ‘unmarked’ thoughts they do not recognise as their own” (3,600 words)

A Conversation With Roger Scruton

Hans Maes | Art And Aesthetics | 26th June 2017

On the appreciation of fine art and fine wine. “Savouring a wine is nothing like savouring a picture, a poem or a symphony. It is an act of consumption that destroys its object, and which soothes and illuminates through associated thoughts and emotions, not through any meaning contained in the experience itself. It is not enjoyed only because it tastes good: it is enjoyed because it enters you in a certain way, transforming consciousness and softening the trauma of existence” (2,700 words)

Video of the day: How to Find A Wonderful Idea

What to expect:

Damian Kulash, lead singer and director of OK Go, explains the band’s perpetual capacity to surprise (17’20”)

Thought for the day

In real life, I assure you, there is no such thing as algebra
Fran Lebowitz

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