Lyft, Forensic Science, God & Baseball, Propaganda, Andy Grove

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


Josh Luber | TED | 18th November 2015

The launch of Nike’s Air Jordan 3 Black Cement in 1988 triggered a fundamental change in the sneaker market. Sneakers became collectables. Last year American sneakerheads bought and sold nine million pairs in a secondary market worth $1.2 billion, still largely dominated by Nike. But what's the chemistry? Are sneakers an investment product, or an addiction product? Are they more like stocks, or drugs? (1,834 words)

A Taxi Driver Writes

Jon Kessler | On Demand | 17th November 2015

San Francisco cab driver explains why he defected to Lyft. He came to see that the licensed taxi trade was run for the benefit of medallion owners, cab drivers, and customers, in that order. "I remember imagining the person who decided to chop down the last remaining tree on Easter Island, and in doing so cued the collapse of an entire civilization. I became convinced; it had to have been a cab driver" (4,340 words)

Forensic Pseudoscience

Nathan Robinson | Boston Review | 16th November 2015

Forensic science is not a science, but a set of techniques used to convict criminals. "Forensic science works when prosecutions are successful and fails when they are not". Some techniques, such as fingerprint matching, are highly subjective. Even the "gold standard", DNA testing, is prone to human error. "The risk of corruption and incompetence is no less pronounced simply because the biology has been peer-reviewed" (2,690 words)

The Frauds Of Memory. And Baseball

David Simon | Audacity Of Despair | 19th November 2015

Does God follow baseball? Does God listen to the prayers of ten-year-old boys? In 1971 David Simon begged God to let Mike Epstein of the Washington Nationals hit a home run. In exchange, Simon promised never to cut Hebrew school again. God delivered. Simon didn't, and he dates all the bad luck in his life from that betrayal. So he reaches out to Epstein, 72, to see if between them they can make atonement (3,970 words)

The Utopia Of Isis

Helen Lewis | New Statesman | 20th November 2015

The public savagery that Isis uses to intimidate outsiders is almost entirely absent from its internal and recruiting propaganda, which presents Isis as an organisation dedicated to brotherly love and better social services. "Only 5 per cent of imagery produced and distributed by Isis is violent. Very little utopian Isis propaganda is seen in the West. Might we understand the group better if it was?" (770 words)

High Output Management

Ben Horowitz | Medium | 18th November 2015

Introduction to a new edition of Andy Grove's classic business book, High Output Management, which quickly gained an "almost legendary status" when first published in 1995. "It amazed all of us that the CEO of Intel had taken the time to teach us how to manage". The book's main message: "All you can do to improve the output of an employee is motivate and train. There is nothing else" (2,570 words)

Video of the day: David Bowie — Blackstar

What to expect: Spacey, surreal video for the title track of David Bowie's forthcoming album (9'54")

Thought for the day

It pays to be obvious, especially if you have a reputation for subtlety
Isaac Asimov

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