John Gray, Election Day 2008, Magic Leap, Vox, Cars

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

The Closing Of The Liberal Mind

John Gray | New Statesman | 7th November 2016

“All that seemed solid in liberalism is melting into air. Accepting that this is a post-liberal moment does not imply that we should give up on values of freedom and toleration. Quite the contrary: the task at hand is securing the survival of a liberal way of life. The greatest obstacle to that end is a liberal ideology that sees state power as the chief threat to freedom. There are conflicting freedoms among which political choices must be made. Without security, however, freedom is soon lost” (3,600 words)

Oh Man, I Guess We’ve Won This Thing

Ruairi Arrieta-Kenna | Politico | 7th November 2016

Members of Barack Obama’s campaign staff remember the events of election day 2008. National field director Jon Carson was among the first to sense that things were going well: “The technical term we like to use in the political world is we had a negative flake rate. Usually you have a bunch of volunteers scheduled to come and a certain percentage of them flake off. Well we had a negative flake rate. People were showing up and they were bringing extra friends with them” (6,300 words)

Inside Magic Leap

David Ewalt | Forbes | 2nd November 2016

A glimpse inside the company whose technology, if it works, will allow users to add a layer of computer-generated optical illusions to the world around them. “The centerpiece of Magic Leap’s technology is a head-mounted display, but the final product should fit into a pair of spectacles. When you’re wearing the device, it doesn’t block your view of the world; the hardware projects an image directly onto your retina”. You enter a “mixed reality” world in which, say, unicorns canter down your high street (3,300 words)

Explaining It All To You

Nathan Robinson | Current Affairs | 6th November 2016

Perceptive and entertaining rant against Ezra Klein’s Vox. “For Klein, the job of experts is to process the information and tell the public what it ought to have concluded. Vox practices a crude and cruel form of rhetorical dishonesty: it treats matters of profound complexity as if they are able to be settled through mere expertise. If anyone disagrees with what the wonks have concluded, they must be dumb, delusional, or both. Liberal political values are implicitly assumed to be factually correct” (3,900 words)

Driving Lessons

Tom Standage | 1843 | 8th November 2016

To understand better how driverless cars will change our habits and our cities, look back to the spread of the driven car, the car we have now, a century ago. The first fatalities were mourned publicly — with church bells in Memphis, black flags in Detroit. It seemed inconceivable that a road system built for horses would be rebuilt for cars. Yet within a very few years society had accepted cars as the new normal, and reorganised around them. It will be the same with autonomous vehicles (745 words)

Video of the day: Art And Taxidermy

What to expect:

Documentary about alternative, eccentric and artistic schools of taxidermy (23’30”)

Thought for the day

The business of the novelist is to make small events interesting
Arthur Schopenhauer

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