George Soros, Conversations, Squash, Money, Telepathy, Janis Joplin

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

The EU Is On The Verge Of Collapse

George Soros | New York Review of Books | 18th January 2016

Interview. "The Germans, under the leadership of Merkel, have achieved a position of hegemony. But they achieved it very cheaply. Normally hegemons have to look out not only for their own interests, but also for the interests of those who are under their protection. Now it’s time for Germans to decide: Do they want to accept the responsibilities and the liabilities involved in being the dominant power in Europe?" (3,700 words)

Eleven Conversations I Can’t Stop Overhearing

Tim Rogers | Slackjaw | 13th January 2016

This ought to be terrible. It's a listicle, and so self-referential that it disappears up its own Embarcadero. And yet it manages to be honest and funny and all kinds of wonderful. The later sections are the best. Note in particular those on the popularity of dogs in San Francisco, on the claim to hate Facebook, and on the relative merits of iOS and Android. Also a useful coinage: "nonversation" (9,500 words)

Holding The T

Tad Friend | New Yorker | 18th January 2016

An instant classic. One for the anthologies. Metered paywall, but worth a year's subscription to the New Yorker in itself. Tad Friend struggles to continue playing first-class squash — "tennis at triple speed" — after he turns fifty. The prose is so exhilarating that you don't need any prior interest in squash to be carried along by it. "The game, above a certain level of skill, is played at a lunatic extremity of effort" (5,700 words)

The Cheque Republic

Ben Norman & Peter Zimmerman | Bank Underground | 20th January 2016

Can a modern economy keep working without money? Ireland conducted a natural experiment in 1970, when a labour dispute closed the domestic banking system for six months. Businesses moved relatively smoothly to a trading system using cheques and IOUs, thanks to a general confidence that the banks would re-open eventually. "Notoriously, local publicans were well-placed to judge the creditworthiness of payers" (1,720 words)

How To Seem Telepathic

Tyler Cowen | Marginal Revolution | 20th January 2016

"Many of our errors stem from a mismatch between how we analyze ourselves and how we analyze others. When it comes to ourselves, we employ a fine-grained, highly contextualized level of detail. When we think about others, we operate at a much higher, more generalized and abstract level. There are two mismatches: We aren’t quite sure how others are seeing us, and we are incorrectly judging how they see themselves" (460 words)

O Janis

Robert Draper | Texas Monthly | 1st October 1992

Janis Joplin hated Port Arthur, her Texas hometown. The town hated her back as a "spiteful, ungrateful ragamuffin". When the Janis Joplin industry boomed after her death, Port Arthur wanted to reclaim her, but not as a drugging, boozing, damaged blues singer. So it invented a new, "normalised" Janis. Locals now insist that she "sang in the church choir, painted religious motifs, and had her high school yearbook signed by dozens of pals" (7,200 words)

Video of the day: The End Of Innovation

What to expect: TED talk. Robert Gordon explains why American economic growth may be ending (12'10")

Thought for the day

One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore
André Gide

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