Giraffe Edition 19

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

Choosing A Driving Plan

Adrian Hon | A History Of The Future | 17th July 2014

The recommendation goes to the whole collection of articles on this site, which tells the story of the coming hundred years by describing the products and services which will be invented during that time. Driving plans are just like mobile phone plans, but for driverless car networks. Do you want fixed pricing or dynamic pricing? Miles or minutes? Low minimum and expensive overage, or high minimum? (1,070 words)

How To Talk Like An Estate Agent

Steven Poole | Guardian | 18th July 2014

"If in doubt, add -ed. Call something a 'two-bedroom flat' and it seems plain, but a 'two-bedroomed flat' sounds more made-to-measure; that flat has been thoroughly bedroomed, twice. Turning 'open-plan' into 'open-planned' emphasises the ratiocination of the flipper at the very moment he rammed a sofa up one end of the kitchen, in order to bedroom the place up and add £50,000 to the asking price" (780 words)

After The Crash

David Remnick | New Yorker | 18th July 2014

Commentary on the crisis in Ukraine, with remarks from former Kremlin spin-doctor Gleb Pavlovsky, who thinks Putin has gone too far: "The audience is warmed up and ready to go. It is waiting for more and more conflict. You can’t just say, ‘Calm down’. It’s a dangerous moment. Forty per cent of Russia wants real war with Ukraine. Putin himself doesn’t want war with Ukraine. Putin needs to lower the temperature” (1,110 words)

Why Did Nobody Resurrect The Caliphate Before Isis?

Allison Beth Hodgkins | Political Violence | 17th July 2014

Asked and answered, succinctly. Because earlier Islamist groups — Hamas, Hezbollah, FIS, Taliban — were products of national struggles, with national objectives; they were focused on defeating the infidels, not the Shia; and not many people want to live back in the middle ages, where the caliphate belongs. "The extremism and brutality of da’ash is really off-putting to your average guy on the street" (300 words)

Staring At The Flame

John Le Carré | New York Times | 17th July 2014

Appreciation of the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, who stars in the film adaptation of Le Carré's novel A Most Wanted Man. "He made his voice the only authentic one, the lonely one, the odd one out, the one you depended on amid all the others. And every time it left the stage, like the great man himself, you waited for its return with impatience and mounting unease" (Metered paywall) (1,800 words)

Movies Are Not A Growth Business

Liam Boluk & Prashob Menon | Ivey Business Review | 13th July 2014

First in a four-part series (all good) on the American film and video-gaming industry. Cinema no longer a growth business despite appearances. Total theatre revenues have been rising, but attendance is falling and marketing costs have tripled. Theatres have responded by pushing up ticket prices, but they cannot go on doing so indefinitely when other forms of entertainment are cheap and plentiful (710 words)

Video of the day: Emoji Among Us

What to expect: Fake documentary making gentle fun of emoji

Thought for the day

"Science is what you know, philosophy is what you don't know"
—  Bertrand Russell

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