Newsletter 946

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

Algorithmic Rape Jokes In The Library of Babel

Tim Maly | Quiet Babylon | 3 March 2013

Thoughts on the Keep Calm t-shirts, object spam, Amazon as Borgesian retailer, and algorithms as alibis. "Part of what tips the algorithmic rape joke t-shirts over from very offensive to shockingly offensive is that they are ostensibly physical products. Intuitions are not yet tuned for spambot clothes sellers. Better tune those intuitions fast"

Roger Ailes Off Camera

Zev Chafets | Vanity Fair | 5 March 2013

Extracts from biography of Fox News boss. On Newt Gingrich: “Newt’s a prick.” On Joe Biden: “He’s dumb as an ashtray.” On making television: “Let CNN buy the new stuff and test it out, and when the technology is right I’ll come in like a ton of bricks”. On himself: "I’m old, fat, and ugly, but none of those things is going to kill me immediately"

Lee Kuan Yew On The Future of US-China Relations

Graham Allison and Robert Blackwill | Atlantic | 5 March 2013

Interview. Every sentence worth your attention. "Competition between the United States and China is inevitable, but conflict is not. This is not the Cold War. The Soviet Union was contesting with the United States for global supremacy. China is acting purely in its own national interests. It is not interested in changing the world"

Wrong In Public: The 4-Colour Theorem Edition

Evelyn Lamb | Scientific American | 5 March 2013

Notes on, and corollaries to, the four-colour theorem, which holds that you need only four colours in order to colour a map such that no adjacent countries share the same colour. "We know that the map as a whole, including the ocean, is 4-colourable, so we also know that we can colour everything that touches the ocean with the remaining 3 colours"

Middle East Storm Clouds Have Silver Lining

Efraim Halevy | New Republic | 5 March 2013

Optimistic portrayal of developments in Israel-Palestine, from former head of Mossad. Highlights working-level parallel talks between Israel-Egypt and Egypt-Hamas: "The quiet service that Egypt is rendering in brokering between Hamas and Israel may prove to be more important for the cause of peace than anything that President Mubarak did"

Postscript: Hugo Chavez 1954-2013

Jon Lee Anderson | New Yorker | 5 March 2013

Obituary of Venezuelan leader. Protegé of Fidel Castro. Bolivarist. Turned to socialism after reading Les Miserables. "It was Fidel who noticed Chávez’s discomfort on a visit to Havana in 2011, and insisted that he see a doctor—who promptly discovered Chávez’s cancer, a tumor described as the size of a baseball somewhere in his groin area"

Prince Alwaleed And The Curious Case Of Kingdom Holding Stock

Kerry Dolan | Forbes | 5 March 2013

Forbes falls out with Saudi tycoon, accuses him of exaggerating his wealth, strongly suggests that he ramps up the shares of his public company. Calls him a bigger egomaniac than Donald Trump, and a mediocre investor. By Forbes's reckoning Alwaleed is still the richest man in the Arab world — but $20bn rich, not, as he claims, $30bn rich

Video of the day: Bon Voyage

Thought for the day:

"Most of what they call humility is successfully disguised arrogance" — Nassim Nicholas Taleb

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