Karachi, Kidneys, Mental Health, Facebook, Hayek, Espionage


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

Anatomy Of A Murder

Fahim Zaman & Naziha Syed Ali | Dawn | 31st July 2015

Portrait of an Al-Qaeda killer in Karachi, a "mild-mannered" business student called Said Aziz who became "disillusioned with worldly pursuits”. In April he shot a café owner: "There wasn’t one particular reason: she was generally promoting liberal, secular values". Two weeks later he massacred 43 Ismaili Shias: “It is perfectly acceptable to take the lives of women and children". In jail at the time of writing, he expects to escape soon (5,300 words)

Need A Kidney?

Tina Rosenberg | New York Times | 31st July 2015

Four thousand Americans died waiting for a kidney transplant last year and almost as many came off the waiting list because they grew too sick for surgery. In Iran nobody dies waiting because kidney donors are queuing up to sell. Government regulates the market, the price is fixed at $5,000, foreigners cannot buy. Donors, who are usually poor, also get small-business loans and dental care. “They are treated as equals to the recipient" (2,100 words)

A Senator’s Stroke

Alex Roarty | National Journal | 30th July 2015

Mark Kirk is running for re-election to the US Senate three years after a serious stroke. The physical effects are evident: He spends much of the time in a wheelchair. But has the stroke changed his mental state? And how should that question be handled in a re-election campaign? "This is a guy who could walk into any room and, no notes, give a 15-minute speech on any topic. That's not going to happen anymore" (2,800 words)

Mutually Assured Content

John Herrman | Awl | 30th July 2015

The publishers are surrendering to the platforms. They talk of content "partnerships" with Facebook, but when Facebook hosts the content, Facebook owns the audience. Facebook "supplies the entire context for the publisher, gradually assimilating its most profitable parts and perhaps leaving the parts that are either too labor-intensive or carry too much liability, not out of malice but rather obvious and rational self interest" (3,300 words)

I Knew Friedrich Hayek

New Statesman | John Gray | 30th July 2015

The fall of Habsburg Austria supplied Friedrich Hayek with the question that he spent his life answering: How to make individual freedom safe from political challenge. He won a Nobel prize for economics but considered himself a social philosopher. Margaret Thatcher revived his reputation but "fortunately Hayek never had any influence on Thatcher’s policies, and, perhaps also happily, Thatcher had no understanding of Hayek’s ideas" (3,500 words)

A New Age For Espionage

Edward Lucas | Economist | 31st July 2015

Western intelligence agencies are still reeling from the Snowden leaks; but the theft of US government personnel records, apparently by Chinese hackers, is a far worse disaster. "It will take decades for American intelligence to recover from the breach". Technology is making intelligence-gathering easier, counter-intelligence harder. Keeping data secret requires at least as much expertise as acquiring it in the first place (2,040 words)

Video of the day: Jonathan Anomaly On Public Goods

What to expect: Animated explainer. What are public goods? With digressions on free riders and altruistic punishment (4'46")

Thought for the day

If merely 'feeling good' could decide, drunkenness would be the supreme human experience
William James

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