Liberty, Luxury, Food Trucks, Subcultures, Puffins

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

Liberty Lost The Argument

Janan Ganesh | Financial Times | 3rd November 2015 | | Read with 1Pass

Reflections on James Bond. To preach civil liberty in Britain is a "fool’s errand", because the average Briton trusts and admires the police and security services. It's largely a matter of history. Unlike most of continental Europe, mainland Britain has no recent history of domestic repression (though Northern Ireland may be another matter). Libertarianism comes as "an answer to a question that nobody asked" (765 words)

The Lure Of Luxury

Paul Bloom | Boston Review | 2nd November 2015

You can buy a perfect fake top-of-the-line Rolex for $1,200. Even an expert would have to take it apart to know it was fake. So why does anybody pay $29,000 for the real thing? Not for aesthetic pleasure, since the real and the fake look identical. Not to signal wealth, for the same reason. The hidden value of the coveted object lies in its history. The more beguiling the history, the more we pay to become part of that history (3,930 words)

Crunching The Numbers: Food Trucks

Susan Chandler | Chicago Booth Magazine | 15th September 2015

What's the best place to park a food truck? Where the customers are, obviously. But that's where the other trucks want to be — which is good, too, so long as the clustering draws new customers. "The ideal situation here is to be one of many trucks but the only one selling your particular type of food. You don’t want to be one of 10 Thai food trucks. You want to be the only one selling Thai food among 10 trucks" (1,540 words)

Geeks, Mops and Sociopaths

David Chapman | Meaningness | 29th May 2015

How subcultures rise and fall. First come creators, bringing cultural capital; then fanatics, bringing social capital. The scene draws mops, members of the public who want to soak up the atmosphere. But the mops have money, which attracts the sociopaths, which is the beginning of the end. The sociopaths "loot whatever value is left, and move on to the next exploit. They leave behind only wreckage: devastated geeks" (2,270 words)

The Burning Man Of Birding

Brian Kevin | Audubon | 2nd November 2015

Iceland's century-old Puffin Festival, Thjodhatid, is running out of puffins. The colonies on the surrounding Westman Islands, home to 20% of the world's puffins, stopped breeding a decade ago, apparently because climate change was driving away the sand eels which were the puffins' staple food. The Westman puffin population is "gradually ageing away". The average puffin is now 10 years old. In six more years most will be dead (3,600 words)

Video of the day: Derek Parfit At The Oxford Union

What to expect: A moral philosopher discusses altruism (1 hour 4 minutes)

Thought for the day

The aim of argument should not be victory, but progress
Joseph Joubert

Join 150,000+ curious readers who grow with us every day

No spam. No nonsense. Unsubscribe anytime.

Great! Check your inbox and click the link to confirm your subscription
Please enter a valid email address!
You've successfully subscribed to The Browser
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in
Could not sign in! Login link expired. Click here to retry
Cookies must be enabled in your browser to sign in