Media bias, Xi Jinping, Books, Pockets, Sustainability

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

Scott Alexander | Slate Star Codex | 11th September 2015

Book review full of points and counter-points. In "Manufacturing Consent," Chomsky and Herman claim "media acts as lapdog of the dominant neoliberal ideology against leftists of all stripes," mirroring right-wing accusations of media bias. Can both be correct? Potentially, if the media is "a self-organizing consensus enforcement system" for a "conservative establishment in which both Republicans and Democrats collude" (8,360 words)

The Superpower of Mr Xi

Roderick MacFarquhar | ChinaFile | 13th August 2015

On Xi Jinping, "the most powerful leader of China since Deng Xiaoping," who is "not primus inter pares like [predecessors] Jiang and Hu; he is simply primus." Xi has come out strongly against corruption, both at the top (life imprisonment for a former Politburo Standing Committee member) and among low-level cadres. "Swatting flies also involves considerable risks. In many ways, it is a more important task than bagging tigers" (3,460 words)

Academics Are Being Hoodwinked Into Writing Books Nobody Can Buy

Anonymous academic | Guardian | 4th September 2015

"Hoodwinked" seems like the wrong word, but the piece itself is insightful. Editors commission academic books they plan to sell for $100+ per copy to 300 university libraries, with little concern for topic or quality. No ordinary human will buy (or possibly read) the finished product. Meanwhile, "much of the time that goes into writing these books is made possible through taxpayers’ money," who pay again for the libraries' purchases (890 words)

Close At Hand

Diana Kimball | Medium | 6th September 2015

Ignore the hook (an unnecessary nod to Apple) – a delightful history of pockets, and relatives such as "chatelaines, a kind of waist-hung decorative metal toolkit" and "sagemono, a Japanese generic term for a hanging object attached to a sash." Internal pockets were unthinkable for Victorian women; they "had four external bulges already — two breasts and two hips — and a money pocket inside their dress would make an ungainly fifth" (2,420 words)

Making Sense of “Sustainability”

Scott Chamberlain | Mask Of The Flower Prince | 19th August 2015

Every organisation wants to be “sustainable,” but a long-time arts administrator argues that people in the arts world are abusing the term. They have “used a for-profit business model as their guide, and erroneously argued that since organizations had to supplement their earned income with fundraising, the organizations’ business models were fatally flawed.” But non-profit businesses must apply different criteria for sustainability (2,080 words)

Video of the day: How To Do Action Comedy

What to expect: Analytical view on why Jackie Chan's movies work, where imitators fail (9'14")

Thought for the day

Whenever you find that you are on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect
Mark Twain

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