Iggy Pop, American Diners, Stalin, Bill Gates, Quantum Banking, Surviving Ebola

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

Iggy Pop Gives The John Peel Lecture

Iggy Pop | Gigwise | 14th October 2014

Everything you might wish. Rude, funny, clever, generous. Lessons learned over a lifetime in the music business. "If you're an entertainer your God is the public. They'll take care of you somehow. I want them to hear my music any old which way. Period. There is an unseen hand that turns the pages of existence in ways no one can predict. But while you’re waiting for God to show up, try to find a good entertainment lawyer" (5,500 words)

A Field Guide To The True American Diner

John Leavitt | Awl | 9th October 2014

"There are always at least two retired people at the counter; they will never speak to each other or anyone else. Someone is on the run from the law; someone is the law. There are two teenagers and they are simultaneously talking about nothing and having The Most Important Conversation Of Their Lives. You wouldn’t go there for a special occasion, but you can always go there after one: proms, weddings, or funerals" (890 words)

Understanding Stalin

Anne Applebaum | Atlantic | 14th October 2014

Stephen Kotkin's new biography of Stalin goes a long way towards explaining how a poor boy from a Georgian hill town came to rule half of Europe. Kotkin overturns Trotsky's version of Stalin as a man of "bureaucratic manipulation and brute violence". He shows Stalin as "a rational and extremely intelligent man, bolstered by an ideology sufficiently powerful to justify the deaths of many millions of people". (2,000 words)

Why Inequality Matters

Bill Gates | Gates Notes | 13th October 2014

Discussion of Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Piketty is right to say that high levels of inequality in wealth and income are bad for society. But he assumes too readily that wealth is secure and will increase; in practice, fortunes are lost at least as readily as they are made. And it's a pity he didn't look more at consumption data, which give a clearer picture of how we live, and what needs to be fixed (1,700 words)

Quantum Banking

Matt Levine | Bloomberg View | 15th October 2014

When Bank of America reports earnings of $168 million, that doesn't mean it has earned $168 million. "A bank's earnings are a quantum event; they are entirely probabilistic. You make some guesses with some degree of statistical likelihood, and then you apply one of a half-dozen accounting regimes to the guesses, and you you get a number, and then you're like, ooh, look at this number, it's so numeric" (2,100 words)

Diary: Ebola

Paul Farmer | London Review Of Books | 15th October 2014

"Weak health systems, not unprecedented virulence, are to blame for Ebola’s rapid spread. An Ebola diagnosis need not be a death sentence. Here’s my assertion as an infectious disease specialist: if patients are promptly diagnosed and receive aggressive supportive care – including fluid resuscitation, electrolyte replacement and blood products – the great majority, as many as 90 per cent, should survive" (4,300 words)

Video of the day: Marine Survives Taliban Headshot

What to expect: Marines in Helmand encounter Taliban sniper. Much military language (3 minutes)

Thought for the day

Anything can happen in life, especially nothing
Michel Houellebecq (https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/32878.Michel_Houellebecq)

The Death of Old Europe 3rd November, St Mary Moorfields Church, 7pm
The brilliant and charming David Hargreaves, editor of The Browser Looks Back, will be our guide to the extraordinary parallel world of 1914. Admission is free. Click here to register. (https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/august-december-1914-the-death-of-old-europe-tickets-13574558871)

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