Giraffe Edition 29


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

Just How Likely Is Another World War?

Graham Allison | The Atlantic | 30th July 2014

Political scientist catalogues the similarities and differences between 1914 and 2014, seven of each, and finds they balance one another fairly evenly; which is not in itself particularly encouraging news. "This exercise in historical analysis leads me to conclude that the probability of war between the U.S. and China in the decade ahead is higher than I imagined before examining the analogy — but still unlikely" (3,000 words)

Mean Outcomes Are Often Meaningless

John Kay | 30th July 2014

On the illusions of accounting. Your lottery ticket may win, or not. Your loan may be repaid, or not. You may have a portfolio of diversified loans, but in a crisis they all go down. What is the "fair value" today, when so much depends on tomorrow? "There is no right answer ... Only a need to acknowledge that there is never such a thing as a single true and fair view, only a range of possible outcomes (730 words)

Welcome To Dataland

Ian Bogost | re:Form | 29th July 2014

Disneyland brings together the two contradictory tendencies that animated Walt Disney. He was a traditionalist, fond of railroads and small town main streets and folk tales. But he was also a futurist fascinated by experimental cities — a sort of mass-market Le Corbusier whose visions "might seem daft, but at least he had the modesty to contain them within the fantasy of entertainment rather than to unleash them on the world untested" (2,460 words)

The Great Philosophers: Theodor Adorno

Alain de Botton | School Of Life | 17th July 2014

Adorno was preoccupied with the question of how we spend our leisure. He saw leisure as our prime opportunity to improve our lives by absorbing high culture and philosophy. He railed against radio and television as a threat to human flourishing. He believed that capitalism corrupted human nature by creating artificial wants which obscured our real wants. Luckily, he did not live to see the Internet (1,480 words)

Ghosts In Sunlight

Hilton Als | New Yorker | 30th July 2014

Commencement speech. New Yorker writer recalls student days at Columbia in the early 1980s. "New York felt, then, like a small exploding Gotham filled with extreme sunsets and light, an intense universe shaped as much by poverty as it was by hope and creativity. Columbia was part of that. The whole campus, in memory, feels as though it were lit by a thousand cigarettes in the dark" (2,330 words)

Video of the day: Saver Animaciones

What to expect: As if household objects were being put through a CT scan

Thought for the day

"Truth is what your contemporaries let you get away with"
— Richard Rorty

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