New Media, Migration, Apple, Strunk & White, 2016 Republicans, China

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

Farewell, Old Internet

Todd VanDerWerff | Vox | 6th August 2015

"The old internet was a world of communities. Our articles increasingly seem to be individual insects trapped in someone else's web. The internet has the exact opposite problem of every other medium. Instead of going from something for everybody to something for a large series of hyper-specialized niches, we're navigating the choppy seas where once stood an archipelago and now stands a continent" (2,400 words)

A Richer Africa Means More Migrants

Rick | Flip Chart Fairy Tales | 6th August 2015

"There may come a time when the wealth gap between Europe and Africa is reduced to the point at which people no longer feel the need to migrate. That is unlikely to happen for many years. In the meantime, as Africa gets richer, more people will have the knowledge and the means to migrate. The streets of Europe will still be paved with gold and more people will go looking for it. Expect more overcrowded boats" (1,350 words)

Apple’s Transcendent Chihuahua

Ian Bogost | Longreads | 16th June 2015

"An iPhone is not a computer. It is a living creature. One would do better to think of the iPhone as a pet. It is the toy dog of mobile devices, a creature one holds gently. The brilliance of the iPhone is not how intuitive or powerful or useful it is—for really it is none of these things. Rather, the brilliance of the iPhone is in its ability to transcend the world of gadgetry and enter another one: the world of companionship" (5,530 words)

Strunk And White’s Macho Grammar Club

Mark Dery | Daily Beast | 12th July 2015

Strunk and White’s Elements Of Style is a work of ideology masquerading as a work of reference. "Strunkian style embraces the cultural logic of the Machine Age, which by 1918 was well underway. Optimized for peak efficiency, Strunk’s is a prose for an age of standardized widgets and standardized workers, when the efficiency gospel of scientific management was percolating out of the workplace into the culture at large" (2,200 words)

The 2016 Republican Field

Ben Smith | Buzzfeed | 6th August 2015

Yes, there is "something particularly undignified about The Donald". But "don't be fooled into thinking this is a weak field". The 2016 Republicans are more formidable than those of 2012. Jeb Bush is a better-grounded Mitt Romney. Scott Walker is "the man Tim Pawlenty sought to play". Rand Paul is "a less fringy version of his father" and Ted Cruz is "a much improved version of Rick Santorum". Hillary Clinton has a hard fight ahead (690 words)

China: Dying For Land

Lucy Hornby | Financial Times | 7th August 2015 | | Read with 1Pass

Land grabs by developers and government are the top cause of unrest in the Chinese countryside and in the sprawling shanty-villages surrounding every city where migrant-workers settle. Private title to land is still weak, and limited to 30-year leases. "Villagers have no say when the government sells the land to a developer, but those who put up a tougher fight can often wrestle a greater share of the revenues" (1,945 words)

Video of the day: The Onion Explains China

What to expect: Humour. China's wealth is not, in fact, derived from patents on fireworks (2'42")

Thought for the day

I never allow myself to have an opinion when I don’t know the other side’s argument better than they do
Charlie Munger (

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