Newsletter 898

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

Best of the Moment

Everything You Need To Know About The Trillion-Dollar Coin

Matthew O'Brien | Atlantic | 8 January 2013

Yes. There is an Austin Powers-ish plan taking shape in the margins of American political debate for the US Treasury to keep government debt within statutory limits by minting a trillion-dollar platinum coin and depositing that coin with the Federal Reserve. Now read on

Joy In The Task: Making Coffee

Julian Baggini | Aeon | 9 January 2013

Many of the world's finest restaurants serve coffee from a Nespresso machine. Which is dispiriting, in a way: You could make the same thing at home. But coffee-making is a process that can be automated and optimised, as Nespresso has done. So, which do you prefer: The best, or the human?

The New Power Map

Avizier Tucker | Foreign Affairs | 9 January 2013

Overview of shale-gas revolution and its likely impact on geopolitics. Main effect will be felt in Russia, where Gazprom's export revenues will collapse as gas prices fall and new supplies come online in central and eastern Europe. Whole Russian economy, and government, will come under pressure

Hillary Clinton's Ego Trips

Michael Kinsley | Bloomberg | 8 January 2013

She's got a tough job. But is there much to be gained at the margin by travelling so much and working such long hours? "I don’t mean to be ungallant. It’s just that she clearly has been working herself to death in her current job as well as in her past two, as senator and first lady"

Fonts Of Inspiration

Seth Stevenson | Slate | 4 January 2013

Review of The Anatomy of Type, by Stephen Coles — a book for serious typography nerds, ie, most of us nowadays. Here is Coles on Verdana: "Its large, broad lowercase letters with slightly flaring terminals, and its loose spacing, can appear almost horsey when viewed large, or in print"

Should We Tax People For Being Annoying?

Adam Davidson | New York Times | 8 January 2013

For: Useful primer on Pigovian taxes, which are taxes designed to deter people from doing things that cause gross inconvenience to others, such as driving in crowded cities. Against: Doesn't actually address the excellent question raised in the headline

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