Moore's Law, Philippines, Pigs, Names, Espionage, Richard Feynman


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

The End Of Moore’s Law

Rodney Brooks | 4th February 2017

Gordon Moore’s prediction that computing power would get exponentially cheaper and faster thanks to the miniaturisation of components has held good for 50 years. But the era of Moore’s Law is coming to come to an end: Components are becoming as tiny as the laws of physics will allow, with some features already just 40 silicon atoms in width. This natural limit may be a blessing in disguise, if it forces engineers to devise new and more imaginative ways to make advances in computing (7,900 words)

On The Road To Martial Law In Manila

James Fenton | New York Review Of Books | 12th February 2017

The murderous Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte makes Ferdinand Marcos look like a statesman by comparison. “One of Duterte’s chief selling points as a leader is that he doesn’t give a s**t. So, when he gets in front of any crowd, he will say whatever he thinks will make an impact at that very moment, and it is striking that most of the most shocking things we have learned about Duterte have come from his own mouth. For instance, it was Duterte who compared himself to Hitler” (3,200 words)

I Accidentally Bought A Giant Pig

Steve Jenkins | Guardian | 10th February 2017

In which the writer agrees to give house room to a “mini-pig” which he is told will grow to the size of “a large cat”. Events prove otherwise. ” By her first birthday she had blown past 250lb; she was on track to be at least 500lb. She’s unlike any animal I’ve met. Her intelligence is unbelievable. She’s house trained and even opens the back door with her snout to let herself out to pee. Her favourite treat is a cupcake. She’s bathed regularly and pigs don’t sweat, so she doesn’t smell” (870 words)

The Clue Is In The Name

Debuk | Language: A Feminist Guide | 10th February 2017

On the taking (or not) of a husband’s name in marriage. Should one reject tradition? “I’ve heard women who kept their names say things like ‘I’m lucky, my husband wasn’t bothered either way’. I’ve heard feminist friends who changed their names say things like ‘I didn’t want to, but it was really important to my in-laws’. Part of what it means to be a woman in our society is that you can’t just disregard others’ feelings — or at least, not without being harshly judged” (2,013 words)

My Double Life As A KGB Agent

Shaun Walker | Guardian | 11th February 2017

True-life tales of a 1980s Soviet illegal in New York. “Barsky knew the drill. The red paint was a warning that he was in immediate danger. He should cross the border into Canada and contact the Soviet consulate in Toronto. Arrangements would be made for him to leave the country. He would cease to be Jack Barsky and return to his former life: that of Albrecht Dittrich, a chemist and KGB agent, with a wife and seven-year-old son waiting patiently for him in East Germany” (4,700 words)

Richard Feynman And The Connection Machine

W.Daniel Hillis | Long Now | 8th February 2017

“One day when I was having lunch with Richard Feynman, I mentioned to him that I was planning to start a company to build a parallel computer with a million processors. For Richard a crazy idea was an opportunity to either prove it wrong or prove it right. Either way, he was interested. By the end of lunch he had agreed to spend the summer working at the company. Many a visitor at Thinking Machines was shocked to see that we had a Nobel Laureate soldering circuit boards or painting walls” (4,500 words)

Video of the day: Bob Mankoff: Love Is The Answer

What to expect:

The New Yorker’s cartoon editor on the art of the Valentine’s Day cartoon

Thought for the day

From a hungry man’s point of view, it’s all the same who makes him hungry
Joseph Brodsky

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