Newsletter 899

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

Best of the Moment

The Improbable Is The New Normal

Kevin Kelly | The Technium | 7 January 2013

"When we all wear tiny cameras all the time, then the most improbable accident, the most superlative achievement, the most extreme actions of anyone alive will be recorded and shared around the world. Henceforth, rather than be surrounded by ordinariness we'll float in extraordinariness"

The World Until Yesterday

Wade Davis | Guardian | 9 January 2013

Critique of Jared Diamond, who is prone to see tribal peoples as "failed attempts at modernity". Culture resides in ideas, not in technology. If we all emulated the Aborigines, we would never have put a man on the moon, but nor would we now be threatening the planet with pollution and climate change


Geoffrey Nurnberg | Chronicle Of Higher Education | 7 January 2013

On the history and uses of note-taking. "Marginalia increase in value, figurative and literal, with the temporal distance between the reader and their creator. Even when they're banal, they're banal in revealing ways. The past is a foreign country; they annotate things differently there"

Ryszard Kapuściński: Journalism And Revolution

David Ost | Dissent | 8 January 2013

Review of Artur Domosławski's "Life": "An extraordinary book offering a complex picture of a man and his time, and provoking in the reader the deepest reflections—on literature and journalism, the nature of political commitment, and the challenges to maintaining that commitment as the world changes"

Into The Unknown

David Roberts | National Geographic | 9 January 2013

How Australian explorer Douglas Mawson survived a 300-mile trek across Antarctica with his supplies lost, his dogs and companions dead and dying, the flesh falling off his feet. And when he did get back to base, he missed his boat out by five hours, and had to wait a year for the next one

On Stephen Hawking, Vader, And Being More Machine Than Human

Helene Mialet | Wired | 8 January 2013

"Hawking isn’t just issuing remote commands and expressed desires, his entire body and even his entire identity have become the property of a collective human-machine network. He is what I call a distributed centered-subject: a brain in a vat, living through the world outside the vat"

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