Industrial Revolution, Parag Pathak, Freeman Dyson, Cape Town, Lisa Howard


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

The Symphony Orchestra And The Industrial Revolution

Tyler Cowen | Marginal Revolution | 22nd April 2018

Technology determines cultural change as it does industrial change. “Sometimes I think of the Industrial Revolution as fundamentally a Cultural Revolution. The first instantiation of this Cultural Revolution was the rise of early Renaissance Art, based on a series of technological developments including the reintroduction of paper into Europe. The Industrial Revolution was different only in that it came to sectors — energy, transport, and textiles — that boosted living standards immensely” (365 words)

Parag Pathak

Kevin Bryan | A Fine Theorem | 20th April 2018

Notes on the work of Parag Pathak, winner of the John Bates Clark medal for economics for his work on matching markets. “As Becker took economics out of pure market transactions and into a wider world of rational choice under constraints, the work of Al Roth and his descendants, including Parag Pathak, has greatly expanded our ability to take advantage of choice and local knowledge in situations like education and health where, for many reasons, we do not use the price mechanism” (1,500 words)

The Key To Everything

Freeman Dyson | New York Review Of Books | 20th April 2018

Review of Geoffrey West’s work on complexity and scale. West argues that universal laws govern the growth of complex entities such as organisms, cities, economies, and companies. Dyson’s commentary is disjointed, but with plenty of interesting ideas; for example, that some pivotal changes in human history, such as the Renaissance in Florence and the Industrial Revolution in Manchester, were caused by “genetic drift” — concentrations of genius arising from interbreeding within small cities (3,983 words)

What Cape Town Learned From Its Drought

Piotr Wolski | Bulletin Of The Atomic Scientists | 16th April 2018

Total shut-down of mains water in Cape Town has been narrowly averted thanks to official and voluntary restrictions on water use, and some rainfall. The crisis could return within months if the rain stops. But Cape Town has already learned valuable lessons — lessons which may soon be useful to many other cities around the world. Under pressure, Cape Town residents halved their average water use in the space of six months. They now consume one-sixth the water used by average Americans (3,044 words)

My Dearest Fidel

Peter Kornbluh | Politico | 21st April 2018

ABC News correspondent Lisa Howard interviewed Fidel Castro, encouraged his advances, and used their intimacy to engineer a backchannel for US-Cuban dialogue at the level of UN ambassadors that might have gone higher but for President Kennedy’s assassination. After a first trip to Cuba and two meetings with Castro in April 1963 she wrote to him: “We met and came together and, I know, felt something for one another that could not go further. I am who I am, and you are Fidel Castro” (8,900 words)

Video of the day New York City In 1911

What to expect:

Documentary footage shot by the Swedish company Svenska Biografteatern, restored by Moma (7’45”)

Thought for the day

Brain: An apparatus with which we think we think
Ambrose Bierce

Podcast Bojack Horseman | Sound Exploder

Patrick and Ralph Carney explain how they created the theme song for Bojack Horseman
(15m 51s)

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