Giraffe Edition 44

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

Paulo Coelho, Fiction’s Digital Alchemist

Ellen Gamerman | Wall Street Journal | 14th August 2014

Coelho's 27th novel, Adultery, will hashtag well — an important consideration for a writer who does his own promotion on Facebook and Twitter, where he has 25.6 million fans and 9 million followers respectively. And it seems to work: he has sold 165 million books in some 80 languages, accumulating a fortune, by his own reckoning, of $535m, which probably makes him the second-richest living novelist (2,282 words)

Thelonious Monk: High Priest Of Jazz

Lewis Lapham | Longform/Saturday Evening Post | 1st April 1964

Classic profile from the archives. Thelonious Monk "may be the dominant jazz musician of his time". His compositions "combine the driving force of traditional jazz with the oblique ironies of modern jazz". He went to jail and lost his way in the early 1950s; he's a star again by 1964, if a deeply eccentric one, who lives in a "junkyard apartment ... wholly inappropriate to his reputation as a weird and enigmatic genius" (3,400 words)

Britain’s Role In Europe Is To Be A Pain

Clive Crook | Bloomberg View | 17th August 2014

Probably, Scotland should secede from Britain. "The advantages of self-government outweigh the drawbacks of being a small state". But Britain should not leave the EU, because it has an effective strategy there: Be a pain. Block integration. When integration can't be blocked, get an opt-out, as with the euro. Eventually other countries may tire of this and bribe Britain to leave; that's fine too (960 words)

Regulating Infinity

Robin Hanson | Overcoming Bias | 17th August 2014

Longer lifespans, more rapid technological change and greater plasticity of values point us towards a world in which inter-generational conflict becomes much fiercer as older people co-exist with younger people who are very, very different. An interesting and plausible problem, though the possible solution debated here — that the world should be regulated by a super-intelligence — is more of a thought experiment (1,630 words)

Up And Then Down

Nicholas Paumgarten | New Yorker | 21st April 2008

How elevators work, and how they make buildings work. Wrapped around the tale of a New Yorker for whom elevators, one horrible night in October 1999, did not work. Nicholas White, an editor at Business Week, got into a lift at Rockefeller Centre at 11pm. It jammed at the 13th floor. He emerged 41 hours later with his nerves shattered. He sued the company and lost his job. To this day, he doesn't know what the problem was (8,000 words)

Video of the day: Face Tracking And Projection Mapping

What to expect: A light show on a human face. Many "wow" effects

Thought for the day

"Superstition brings bad luck"
— Raymond Smullyan

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