Newsletter 947

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

Chavez To Eternity

Ivan Briscoe | Open Democracy | 6 March 2013

Sympathetic, well-informed assessment of Venezuelan leader's record and legacy. "The changes Chávez established were not of systems but of personnel; those who were poor, mestizo or excluded have entered power, but in the process have not managed to change the way power works, nor the circuits of patronage and dependence it relies upon"

Review: The Locust And The Bee

John Gray | New Statesman | 7 March 2013

Capitalism is good economic model. It is not a social model. "Ethics and politics are made up of conflicts rather than soluble problems and no increase in smartness will deliver us from difficult choices. In order to make these choices, we need ideas about the good life that go beyond anything that can be expressed in the language of economics"

Seeing At The Speed of Sound

Rachel Kolb | Stanford Magazine | 6 March 2013

On the limitations of lip reading. "Even the most skilled lip readers can discern an average of 30% of what is being said. How does one have a meaningful conversation at 30%? It is like functioning at 30% of normal oxygen, or eating 30% of recommended calories—possible to subsist, but difficult to feel at your best and all but impossible to excel"

Aleppo At War: Everyday Life In The Death Zone

Kurt Pelda | Spiegel | 6 March 2013

"In Aleppo, every footstep is a crunch. The streets are strewn with rubble and broken glass from destroyed buildings and shattered windows. It's a sound that distinguishes a walk around this war-torn Syrian town from any other city in the world. If you want to survive in this city gone mad, you watch out for flying metal and rubble"

Good Fences Make Good Bankers

William Quirk | American Scholar | 5 March 2013

The case for bringing back Glass-Steagall — enforcing a separation between deposit-taking and investment banking. It would create smaller banks that were easier to regulate. "Glass-Steagall was strong because it was simple. It could be easily enforced. It changed incentives by fostering a culture of stability and reasonable returns"

Why The Rich Are Getting Richer

Thomas Pascoe | Telegraph | 5 March 2013

It's because of quantitative easing. Central banks create money, pump it into the commercial banking system. But instead of lending to industry, banks buy financial assets, which rise in value. Look at the Dow. "In short, if you came into this last year owning assets, you will have done well." Nice for some. But is this sensible public policy?

Video of the day: House Of Cardinals

Thought for the day:

"Morality is a form of acting and not a particular repertoire of choices" — Susan Sontag

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