Kitchen Gadgets, Brexit, Economics, Names, Pricing, Music

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Annual Kitchen Gift Guide

Megan McArdle | Bloomberg View | 21st December 2016

An institution. A joy for ever. Coolest gadget for advanced cooks: The PolyScience induction burner, $1,800. “This thing is amazing. It is, to be sure, a specialty product. But it’s a great specialty product. Basically, it’s an induction burner that also has a temperature probe to regulate the temperature. I’ve used it as a deep fryer, to make candy, to do sous vide and slow cooking, and, of course, just to cook regular things. Spectacular success with all of them. It is both precise and powerful” (5,220 words)

An Optimist’s Guide To Brexit

Andrew Marr | New Statesman | 22nd December 2016

In two or three years Britain will be out of the European Union. Great change is coming. Whatever you thought before the referendum, no sense in prolonging the remorse and recrimination. Politicians should be seeking out and seizing the new possibilities arising for defence, for trade, for economic policy, for everything. “For all of us who believe in British democratic culture, there can be exciting times ahead. The winds of change can be invigorating, not simply bloody cold” (2,700 words)

Economists Versus The Economy

Robert Skidelsky | Project Syndicate | 23rd December 2016

The great economists from Adam Smith and John Stuart Mill to J.M.Keynes and Irving Fisher were wide-ranging thinkers for whom economics was a useful but limited set of tools. Today’s practitioners “have studied almost nothing but economics. They don’t even read the classics of their own discipline. Economic history comes, if at all, from data sets. Philosophy is a closed book. Mathematics has monopolized their mental horizons. The economists are the idiots savants of our time” (990 words)

What Kind Of Name Is That?

Tony Tulathimutte | Paris Review | 8th February 2016

How novelists name their characters. “Cratylic” names define the character. Dickens was the master here: Think Murdstone, Stryver, Slyme. In the 20C novel, two strategies have largely displaced the cratylic: “Realistic” names, such as John Carter, Theodore Decker; and Pynchonesque absurdonyms — Pig Bodine, Perkus Tooth. “Both court a kind of arbitrariness that makes it easier for readers to make up their own minds about what kind of a character they’re dealing with” (1,500 words)

Do Not Talk About Pricing

Tom Whitwell | Fluxx | 18th April 2016

It’s tempting to talk to your customers about pricing. Don’t bother. Always experiment. Customers cannot foresee how they will respond in practice to a particular price or range of prices. At best, when asked, they will underestimate their willingness to pay; the optimal price is almost always one that is accepted only after some initial resistance. The decision to buy is usually in part an emotional one — and the only way to find out what people feel about prices is by selling them things (1,700 words)

Teaching Music

Adam Kotsko | An Und Für Sich | 9th February 2016

“Talking about music and art in an intelligent way requires a different set of skills from talking about texts, a problem compounded by the fact that many people believe those skills are an occult discipline unattainable by most — especially in the context of music, with its complex theoretical apparatus. In the worst case, you get some students making up narratives to go with a classical piece, other students trying unsuccessfully to explain what the sheet music probably looks like” (980 words)

Video of the day: Noah Hits Green Lights

What to expect:

Manhattan cab driver hits 240 consecutive green lights. Probably a record. In any case, deeply satisfying (4’49”)

Thought for the day

Any fool can tell the truth, but it requires some sense to know how to lie well
Samuel Butler

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