Easter, Bob Seger, Air Force One, Cost Disease, Film

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

The Watchmaker And The Easter Egg

Jack Forster | Hodinkee | 17th April 2017

Patek Philippe makes the only watch on Earth with “probably the single most difficult complication in horology”, an indicator for the date of Easter — and even Patek Philippe’s mechanism relies on a notched wheel that needs to be replaced every 28 years. You could in theory put a full cycle of Easter dates on to such a wheel, but since the cycle spans 5,700,000 years, the wheel would be six kilometres wide. “The basic rule for Easter is that it falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon of Spring” (2,700 words)

Where Have All The Bob Seger Albums Gone?

Tim Quirk | NPR | 29th March 2017

If you want to complete your collection of Bob Seger records, then bad luck. His physical albums are mostly out of stock and he doesn’t do digital. “Seger is one of the few remaining digital holdouts — there’s nothing beyond the odd Christmas tune available on subscription services”. Seger’s neglect of his legacy used to seem like eccentricity, or modesty. Now it looks like career suicide. “Bob Seger’s old albums are not only missing from my shelves. They are missing from the world“ (5,600 words)

The President’s Secret Air Force

Garrett Graff | Politico | 2nd May 2017

Everybody knows about Air Force One, but nobody knows about all the other planes at the American president’s disposal. “Ever since the 1960s, the United States has been building and equipping a special set of planes whose sole purpose has been to evacuate the president in the event of a nuclear war and allow him to command a war from wherever he may be. The biggest secret isn’t the planes themselves — it’s where the planes are supposed to land after scooping up the president” (2,900 words)

RIP William Baumol

Timothy Lee | Vox | 4th May 2017

Baumol wondered why violinists’ wages rose faster than those of factory workers even though productivity increased constantly in the factory and never on the stage. His explanation became known as “cost disease”: Exactly because rising productivity in manufacturing leads to cheaper goods and higher wages, other employers have to pay more to attract and keep workers — and raise prices as best they can. Thus, services can get dearer when manufactured goods get cheaper (1,600 words)

Lost And Found Cinema

Imogen Sara Smith | Criterion Collection | 2nd May 2017

Report from Mostly Lost, an event at which film geeks try to identify unattributed movies from the vaults of the Library of Congress. “There were slapstick comedies, tearjerkers with faithful dogs pining on the graves of their masters, a bicycle that rode by itself, a train that jumped its tracks to run through the clouds, a man in a bear suit dancing with a ballerina … After a while the films all ran together like fitful dreams; it was like snorkelling through the subconscious of the early twentieth century” (4,300 words)

Video of the day: Judith Butler Tells The Truth

What to expect:

Satire, or not, on the disconnect between cultural theory and everyday life. From The Onion (2’04”)

Thought for the day

Your strength as a rationalist is your ability to be more confused by fiction than by reality
Eliezer Yudkowsky

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