Newsletter 907

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

Lunch With The FT: Sydney Kentridge

John Gapper | Financial Times | 18 January 2013

Lawyer for Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu; and for Steve Biko's family, at the inquest. "When you’re doing one of these ANC terrorism cases, you can be certain of three things. First, the witnesses have all been assaulted or threatened. Second, any statement made to the police has been obtained by torture. Third, your client is guilty."

Enlightened Surveillance

Stuart Armstrong | Practical Ethics | 18 January 2013

Cameras everywhere. We are moving towards a surveillance society. But is that all bad? Not necessarily. There are many ways in which society could benefit from inhabiting a panopticon. "We should at least consider the possibility that people who know that their words and deeds are recorded would behave in more pro-social and honest ways"

Bruce Sterling: The Complete Interview

Corey Doctorow et al | Forty Key Books | 2 January 2013

If you know Sterling, you know what to expect: volleys of ideas about tech, society, writing. "It's mostly our paper that will survive us as data, while a lot of our electronics will succumb to erasure, loss, and bit rot. If we're like most civilizations, we're going to leave some of our most effective clues to ourselves in our garbage"

Diving Deep Into Danger

Nathaniel Rich | New York Review Of Books | 19 January 2013

Captivating read, filled with of derring-do and offbeat tales about the life and work of deep-sea divers — who may descend a thousand feet down to repair oil equipment, and stay for a month in a "saturation complex" like a small space station. As to what this piece is doing in the NYRB, your guess is as good as mine

Google’s Larry Page On Why Moon Shots Matter

Steven Levy | Wired | 17 January 2013

Exhilarating interview with Google boss, on the need to think differently and plan big. "I feel like there are all these opportunities in the world to use technology to make people’s lives better. At Google we’re attacking maybe 0.1 percent of that space. And all the tech companies combined are only at like 1 percent"

Writing Tips From W.G. Sebald

David Lambert and Robert McGill | Robert Skinner | 14 January 2013

Notes from the last fiction workshop that W.G. "Max" Sebald taught at the University of East Anglia before his death in 2001, compiled by two of his students. They provide, as you might expect, a useful guide for writing like W.G.Sebald. "The present tense lends itself to comedy. The past is foregone and naturally melancholic"

Video of the day: The Violence Of Mexican Drug Cartels

Thought for the day: “You can only have declining fertility for so long, until whichever groups are declining are replaced by other groups that aren't declining. In other words, if rich guys don't breed, you're gonna get a new breed of rich guy” — Bruce Sterling

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