Newsletter 938

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

Assembling The Billing Block

Ben Schott | New York Times | 24 February 2013

"The blurb at the bottom of a movie poster is called the billing block. While it might look like a bar-code of haphazardly packed type, it is in fact the product of detailed legal agreements and intense contract negotiation. Here is the billing block for a fictitious film—All The Presidents—and an explanation of how it was constructed"

Heaven On Earth

Peter Schjeldahl | New Yorker | 24 February 2013

Review of Piero della Francesca at the Frick. "He is like no other artist in my experience: not better, exactly, but loftily apart, defying comparison. Piero’s style, which remained consistent throughout his career, projects both a formal rigor, like that of geometry theorems, and a religious devotion so serene that it seems common sense"

A Brief History Of The Chinese Growth Model

Michael Pettis | China Financial Markets | 21 February 2013

Superficially, China's growth model aspires towards the American model associated with Alexander Hamilton: infant industry tariffs; public infrastructural investment; sound financial system. It's the right approach, but China's version has critical weaknesses. There isn't enough domestic competition, and domestic investment is badly allocated

The Intern Who Went Out in the Cold

Andrew Martin | New York Review Of Books | 23 February 2013

Another 50th anniversary staff reminiscence. Another completely wonderful piece of writing. "When calling writers, one would first consult the nascent electronic database, then flip doggedly through ancient rolodexes, pausing, wide-eyed, at things like James Baldwin’s number in Turkey before flipping to the number of the requested (living) person"

Interview: John Gray

J.P. O'Malley | Spectator | 22 February 2013

Brief, lively, pessimistic, philosophical conversation about freedom, religion, language, knowledge. "Knowledge can never eradicate the conflicts of the human world, or produce harmony where there are conflicting goals to start with. Because knowledge is used by human beings as a tool to achieve whatever it is they want to achieve"

Head Of The Dragon: The Rise Of New Shanghai

Daniel Brook | Design Observer | 18 February 2013

Long essay on the resurgence of Shanghai. Traces current phase of modernisation back to Tiananmen massacre of 1989 in Beijing. Shanghai party leaders kept order in the city. Deng Xiaoping admired and promoted them, giving them the power base from which to direct domestic and foreign investment into Shanghai, and to plan extravagant new building

Video of the day: What Will Your Last Ten Years Look Like?

Thought for the day:

"Good ideas formulated in bad English either die or get repackaged" — Frans de Waal

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