Newsletter 1017

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

Best of the Moment

Beneath The Cherry Blossoms

Rebecca Giggs | Aeon | 28th May 2013

What we can learn from the Japanese tradition of sakura, or cherry-blossom, viewing. We've become too functional, too scientific, in our relationship with the environment. It's all about ecology, management, quantification. We should leave more room for imagination, pleasure, mysticism, spiritualism. As the Japanese do when they camp out, drink, talk, play, contemplate sakura and glimpse the sublime

Light My Fire

Mark Steyn | Steyn Online | 27th May 2013

Ray Manzarek is dead, but Light My Fire lives on. The funny thing is, it lives on mainly in the repertoire of easy-listening singers, though it started life as a psychedelic shouter, and is notably short of lyrics. Memorable cover versions from Shirley Bassey, Jose Feliciano, Julie London. Which is less surprising, when you find that the chord changes are basically the same as those of My Favourite Things, from The Sound Of Music

Future Shlock

Evgeny Morozov | New Republic | 27th May 2013

Review of The New Digital Age, by Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen. An ill-researched exercise in crude futurology whose underlying message is that Google can safely be left in control of technologies whose real-world implications it scarcely understands. "One day Google, too, will fall. [But] thanks in part to this superficial and megalomaniacal book, the company’s mammoth intellectual ambitions will be preserved for posterity to study in a cautionary way"

Optimal Civility

Adam Ozimek | Forbes | 27th May 2013

Kenneth Rogoff and Carmen Reinhardt accuse Paul Krugman of "incivility", in his public attacks on their economic theories. And probably they are right. But incivility has its place, even at higher levels of discourse. We needn't be polite about bad ideas. "If not incivility in the sense of writing rudely, there is at least a place for harshness, and writing aimed at lowering the status of a writer in everyone’s eyes"

Anatomy Of A Hack

Dan Goodin | Ars Technica | 28th May 2013

How to crack passwords. Interesting and useful. "Lots of passwords for a particular site are remarkably similar, despite being generated by users who have never met each other. After cracking a large percentage of hashes, the next step was to analyse the plains and mimic the patterns to guess the remaining passwords with statistically generated brute-force attacks based on Markov chains"

Video of the day: Siggraph 2013

Thought for the day:

"The technological mentality instructs us to ask of things not if they are true or false, or good or evil, but how they work"— Leon Wieseltier

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