Newsletter 1053

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

Best of the Moment

What Is To Be Done About The Banks?

John Lanchester | London Review Of Books | 9th July 2013

Lanchester's capacity to render plainly and relatively calmly the monstrosities of the banking system during and since the 2008 crisis make him the most reliable and, by the same token, the most terrifying financial commentator for the intelligent general reader, Matt Taibbi notwithstanding. "In their current condition our banks are an existential threat to British democracy, a more serious one than terrorism, either external or internal"

Life On The Set Of “The Wire”

Brett Martin | Slate | 8th July 2013

The main theme of this book extract — the interpenetration of life and art during prolonged filming on location — may be a bit predictable. But, even so, irresistible stuff, lots of fun facts, for admirers of the series. "In the isolated hothouse of Baltimore, immersed in the world of the streets, the cast of The Wire showed a bizarre tendency to mirror its onscreen characters in ways that took a toll on its members’ outside lives"

Andy Murray’s Wimbledon: We Are All Winners

Justin Cartwright | Telegraph | 8th July 2013

A nation of losers gets addicted to winning. "Something extraordinary has happened to Britain in the last 12 months, the sort of thing that politicians are always dreaming of finding in political life – a national sense of shared pride. This sense of unity is an elusive thing, but it is magnificent to experience. And the strange thing is that Britain, which once seemed to have forgotten how to compete, has become one of the great sporting nations"

Moscow’s Metro Dogs

Sally McGrane | New Yorker | 8th July 2013

It's been done before, but it's a great story, and, as here, always with new touches to add. “There are three models of metro dogs: dogs who live in the subway but do not travel, dogs who use the subway to travel short distances instead of walking, and entrepreneurial dogs who spend the day riding back and forth, busking. This last type of dog takes long trips, working the crowd for treats and emotional contact"

How Unscientific Innovations Saved Marlin Steel

Charles Fishman | Fast Company | 17th June 2013

Terrific story. All business reporting should be this good. Ten years ago a small factory in Baltimore making wire baskets for bagel stores was undercut by Chinese imports. Almost by chance it discovered a new market: supplying precision baskets for use on factory floors. Business is booming. "The lesson for Greenblatt was that the wire basket was only part of his product. To Boeing, he was selling engineering, precision, and speed, too"

Video of the day: E-David, Robot Painter

Thought for the day:

"The formula for prison is a lack of space counterbalanced by a surplus of time" — Joseph Brodsky

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