Newsletter 1038

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

Best of the Moment

A Pianist’s A-V

Alfred Brendel | New York Review Of Books | 20th June 2013

A classic. A joy. On Mozart: "His piano sonatas seem to me, with few exceptions, underrated. Artur Schnabel has splendidly summed up why: they were too easy for children and too difficult for artists." On Beethoven's piano concertos: "One could jokingly speak of two very lively teenagers (B flat and C major), a young man (C minor) with a strongly pronounced inner life (E major), and their parents (G major — mother, E flat — father)"

Pi Versus Information Theory

Robert Lucky | IEEE Spectrum | 20th June 2013

The mathematical constant Pi is an infinite non-repeating decimal. Does it contain all possible number combinations? Probably. If so, does Pi contain all possible information? No, because data is not necessarily information. "For every fact you might find, you would also find the exact opposite Still, if we expanded pi out a few more places and a message appeared, that would be scary. Something to think about"

Inside Digg’s Race To Build The New Google Reader

Mat Honan | Wired | 20th June 2013

As a near-full-time user of Google Reader, I may be prone to overestimate the general interest of this story. But it strikes me as an excellent account of how a project gets conceived and executed; and also a good insight into Betaworks, which sees to have the gift — denied to Google — of breathing life and warmth into its platforms, such as Digg and, and making them play together intelligently

Rachel Kushner: Transcending The Political

Geoff Mak | The Millions | 20th June 2013

Demanding, illuminating interview with Flamethrowers author on literary techniques and traditions, relations between writing and politics, milieux of fine art and writing. "The art world has a lively and dynamic social component to it, whereas the publishing world is, er, not that dynamic of a place, and it doesn’t have to be, it’s not motored the same way. Artists truck in culture. I don’t feel that’s necessarily the case with writers"

Booz Allen, The World’s Most Profitable Spy Organization

Drake Bennett & Michael Riley | Business Week | 20th June 2013

About 70 percent of the US intelligence budget goes to Booz and a few other private contractors. "Name a retired senior official from the NSA or the CIA or the various military intelligence branches, and there’s a good chance he works for a contractor—most likely Booz Allen. Name a senior intelligence official serving in the government, and there’s a good chance he used to work for Booz Allen"

Video of the day: Steve Jobs In 1994

Thought for the day:

"The terrible state of public education has paid huge dividends in ignorance"— Fran Lebowitz

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