Identity Theft, Existence, Drowning, Consciousness, Germany

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

Identity Theft, Credit Reports, And You

Patrick McKenzie | Kalzumeus | 9th September 2017

Definitive guide to what you should do in case of identity theft — at least in America, but the lessons generalise. “Never pay a penny of a debt which isn’t yours. Paying waives your legal rights, because the system assumes that nobody would pay something they didn’t actually owe. Paying also doesn’t help you, because in most cases paying debts which were once delinquent does not improve your credit scores. Why? Math math, clustering algorithms, blah blah; just trust me” (5,500 words)

How To Make History

Venkatesh Rao | Ribbonfarm | 14th September 2017

Existentialism updated. How to give meaning to your life. “In everything you do, from posting a tweet or buying a coffee to running for President or tackling the Riemann hypothesis, you must choose between two extreme contexts: to either mark time with labor, or make history with action. In between there is a third context, where you can choose to slow time, which includes any sort of making, including art and trade (which is making in the sense of market-making)” (4,500 words)

My Drowning (And Other Inconveniences)

Tim Cahill | Outside | 15th September 2017

In which the celebrated writer is thrown from a raft, almost drowns, and flirts with death. “My face turned blue, then gray, and then my heart stopped beating altogether. I died that December day on Tequila Beach. This created a great deal of consternation. I was, at the time, 71 years old, and most of my team was half my age or less. These fine and foolish folk had every reason to imagine that I had all the skills necessary to handle a winter trip down the Grand Canyon” (5,400 words)

Consciousness Goes Deeper Than You Think

Bernardo Kastrup | Scientific American | 19th September 2017

Can you be conscious without being conscious of being conscious? “Consider your breathing right now: the sensation of air flowing through your nostrils, the movements of your diaphragm, etcetera. Were you not experiencing these sensations a moment ago, before I directed your attention to them? By directing your attention to these sensations, did I make them conscious or did I simply cause you to experience the extra quality of knowing that the sensations were conscious?” (1,046 words)

The Divisions Of Germany

John Hawes | New Statesman | 19th September 2017

Contestable but interesting argument that East Germany is the “bad” Germany and West Germany is the “good” Germany. Communist East Germany was the continuation of Prussia, a feudal and warlike society which dominated all Germany from 1871 to 1945. West Germany was a liberal, bourgeois society which thrived when a separate and quite different nation. Reuniting the two halves in 1990 was a mistake. It has weakened West Germany, opening the way to restored Prussian dominance (2,700 words)

Video of the day: Peter Singer: Utilitarianism

What to expect:

Philosopher argues that utilitarianism helps us to make the right decisions (2’50”)

Thought for the day

Silence is the ultimate weapon of power
Charles de Gaulle

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