Newsletter 1006

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

Best of the Moment

Social Networks As Evolutionary Game Theory

Izabella Kaminska | FT Alphaville | 14th May 2013

Yes, Facebook and other social networks suck data from their users and monetise it. But if you apply evolutionary thinking to social media, you may see a bigger picture, in which Facebook and its users are collaborating unknowingly for the general good, by "performing the altruistic duty of pooling the data on behalf the system and drawing important — potentially survival-related — meaning from it"

British Exit From EU May Really Happen

Clive Crook | Bloomberg View | 14th May 2013

We're so used to the Brits grumbling and seething about the European Union in a low-level way, that we may be missing the seriousness of the curent trend. The Conservative Party promises a referendum on Europe in 2017, the Labour Party will probably have to match the pledge, and the chances are, the voters will say "out". Cameron would rather renegotiate Britain's terms of membership, but other EU leaders aren't interested

When A Bomb Goes Off In Afghanistan

Heidi Vogt | Daily Beast | 12th May 2013

Associate Press correspondent reflects on five years in Afghanistan. Partly an account of the daily routine — what you do when a bomb goes off, who you call for information, what you can deduce from the circumstances of the blast. But also an expression of regret that, as the America military presence winds down, so will the press coverage, and Afghanistan will go deeper into chaos with nobody outside knowing or caring

Ten Hotel Secrets From Behind The Front Desk

Jacob Tomsky | Mental Floss | 14th May 2013

How to get an upgrade, how to complain effectively, and other tips from hotel life. Including this one: always deny your minibar bill. The front desk will give in without a fight. "Minibar charges are the most disputed charges on any bill. That is because the process for applying those charges is horribly inexact. Keystroke errors, delays in restocking, double stocking, and hundreds of other missteps make minibar charges the most voided item"

Welcome Robot Overlords

Kevin Drum | Mother Jones | 13th May 2013

On the rise of artificial intelligence, and the displacement of human work. "The exponential curve of Moore's Law suggests it's going to take us until 2025 to build a computer with the processing power of the human brain. For the first 70 years it seemed as if nothing was happening, even though we were doubling our progress every 18 months. In the final 15 years, seemingly out of nowhere, we'll finish the job"

Dull Flag And Tongue Of Gangsta

Frank Jacobs | Strange Maps | 13th May 2013

Whatever Mencken might have said, when it comes to strange place-names, America has nothing on the Orkneys and the Shetlands, where they range from the primal — Woo, Too, Bu, Ha, How, Pow — to the surreal — Neven o' Grinni, Sinians of Cutclaws, Glifters of Lyrawa, Quilse of Hoganeap — by way of the naughty — Moan, Queenamoan, Hendry's Holes, The Rump, Howan Lickan, Longa Tonga, The Lash, Flae-Ass, Cumminess, Peerie Breast, Drooping Point

Video of the day: How To Piss Off Every New Yorker

Thought for the day:

"I have suffered for my music. Now it's your turn"— Neil Innes

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