Newsletter 959


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

Ask Me Anything — I Am Nassim Taleb

Nicholas Nassim Taleb | Reddit | 20 March 2013

Online Q&A with Black Swan author. Good questions, good answers: "Are there cases where Skin-In-The-Game is the wrong heuristic? Should judges, jurors, and prosecutors have skin in the game? Also, the whole idea behind corporations is to remove skin from the game. This has made possible large scale enterprises. Isn't this a good thing?"

Truth And Melodrama And Phil Spector

David Mamet | Medium | 20 March 2013

Playwright discusses the structure of melodrama. "We know any drama ends when we find the answer to the question which gave rise to it. When we discover the answer simultaneously with the hero, the dramatist has done a very good job indeed". Casablanca is an excellent example. Rick himself doesn't know how it will end, until it ends

Trouble In The Eastern Mediterranean

Yuri Zhukov | Foreign Affairs | 20 March 2013

The good news: there's huge quantities of gas under the eastern Mediterranean. The bad news: the countries with claims on it — Cyprus, Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey — don't get along all that well, and the scramble for gas will only make tensions worse. By the way, if you're wondering why Russia covets Cyprus, here's part of the answer

Working At Time Magazine

Calvin Trillin | New Yorker | 20 March 2013

"There on my desk was the raw material for one of the three or four stories in my section: a fifteen-page file from the main reporter on the story, a five-page file from the Washington bureau, three books, a fistful of previous Time files and some clippings from the Times. From this, I was to produce a seventy-line piece"

The One-Legged Wrestler Who Conquered His Sport

David Merrill | Deadspin | 18 March 2013

Anthony Robles was born poor and one-legged in Mesa, Arizona. Bullied at school, chose wrestling to toughen up. Lost every match at first. Then he found the key: "Instead of balancing on one leg, he dropped to the mat, on two hands and a knee". Opponents were baffled. Four years later he was a national champion. Now he's quitting

The Great Hog-Eating Contest

Christine Baumgartner | New Inquiry | 19 March 2013

Diet of 19C America South was simple and robust: pork, corn, whisky. “You see bacon upon a Southern table three times a day either boiled or fried.” No milk or eggs. Rickets, blindness, toothlessness common among rural families. "Farmers devoted precious acreage to tobacco and, later, cotton. Economic necessity trumped biological"

Video of the day: Explain Like I'm Five: Existentialism

Thought for the day:

"You will never never never make a Harvard professor understand what is relevant to the risk of society, unless he works as a firefighter on the side" — Nicholas Nassim Taleb

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