Giraffe Edition 10

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

Nature’s Perfect Killing Machine

Leigh Cowart | Hazlitt | 7th July 2014

The ebola virus announced itself to the modern world with two outbreaks in 1976. It carries a fatality rate of 50-90% — "the platonic ideal of a doomsday slate-wiper". In almost 40 years science has found no predictable pattern to epidemics, no standard treatment, no vaccine. The best that doctors can do is to assuage panic, persuade sufferers to stay in bed, scatter bleach, and warn strangers away (3,690 words)

Free Markets Killed Capitalism

Thomas Franks | Salon | 29th June 2014

Interview with Barry Lynn of the New America Foundation, on how monopolies and the reaction against them have shaped America since independence. The Boston Tea Party was not a revolt against taxation but against the East India Company, which Americans feared would monopolise their commerce. A basic problem of capitalism is the relative ease with which monopolists can capture free markets (8,220 words)

Transformers 4 Is A Master Class In Economics

Ezra Klein | Vox | 6th July 2014

The lessons are in the making of the film, not in the content. First, the real money comes from owning the machines: Transformers made $300m in its opening weekend, the biggest film of 2014. Second: Humans are dispensable; the franchise has got rid of its human star Shia LeBoeuf, and nobody cares. Third: China is as big a market as America; this Transformers is full of scenes tailored to a Chinese audience (1,800 words)

Why Classic Rock Isn’t What It Used To Be

Walt Hickey | Five Thirty Eight | 7th July 2014

What counts as classic rock? The radio industry put a lots of market research and math into getting the formula right. The answer it comes up with is: rock recorded between 1973 and 1982, with some backdating into the 1960s for the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and the Kinks. REM, Nirvana, Metallica and U2 get in under the wire. Right in the sweet spot are Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Aerosmith and Van Halen (1,970 words)

If Scotland Goes

Gideon Rachman | National Interest | 25th June 2014

Most English are "only just waking up" to the idea that the United Kingdom might "go poof" if Scotland votes for independence in September. Then what? "The Irish question would be reopened, as Northern Ireland’s status began to look increasingly anomalous". England would need a new base for its nuclear submarines. But if Britain could absorb the loss of America in 1776, it can absorb the loss of Scotland in 2014 (2,880 words)

Video of the day: Michael Bay — Bayhem

What to expect: Short documentary analysing the blockbuster film-maker's visual style

Thought for the day

"I'd rather regret the things I've done than regret the things I haven't done"
—  Lucille Ball

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