Newsletter 977

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

A Beginner’s Guide To Immortality

Venkatesh Rao | Ribbonfarm | 10th April 2013

"Human life is like walking into a movie halfway through, and having to walk out again two minutes later. Your ability to derive satisfaction from your two-minute glimpse will depend partly on your ability to construct meaning out of it. One way to do this is to pretend to be immortal — to approach your limited two-minute glimpse of the movie as though you’ve been watching all along, and as though you might stick around to see how it all ends"

A Wild Country Grows In South Sudan

Patrick Symmes | Outside | 9th April 2013

Adventures in the world's newest country. Ten million people, 60 tribes. "South Sudan is not a society in recovery: there never was any real infrastructure, government, civil society, rules, laws, or rule of law here, so there is nothing to recover. It’s a scratch country, invented as a solution to an insoluble problem of semipermanent war and defined by what it lacks ... There are more guns than people who can read; refugee camps are more common than towns"

Prosperity Requires More Than Rule Of law

John Kay | John Kay | 10th April 2013

The central role of institutions in fostering economic growth has been accepted relatively recently by mainstream economists. And, clearly, too little in the way of institutional anchoring is detrimental: compare the history of mainland China with that of Hong Kong. But one can also have too much of a good thing: arguably, America now has too many property rights and too much law

After 27 Years Of Burglaries, ‘North Pond Hermit’ Is Arrested

Christopher Knight | Morning Sentinel | 9th April 2013

Man disappears into Maine woods. Lives there alone for 27 years reading, meditating. Keeps a pretty tidy house in a shack made of garbage cans and plastic sheeting. The problem: he steals food, books, daily necessities from neighbouring houses. Never very much. But over 27 years it adds up. Policeman tracks him, spots him on a webcam, arrests him. "He hasn't seen himself in the mirror for well over 20 years. It's a very unusual situation."

When Dickens Met Dostoevsky

Eric Naiman | Times Literary Supplement | 10th April 2013

Except that he never did. The only source for the imagined meeting was an article in a minor specialist journal, contributed pseudonymously, citing Russian source materials which, on closer inspection ... Yes, you can guess. It was a brilliantly executed hoax. One that fooled the New York Times, Dickens specialists in academia, and a biographer. Who pulled it off? You might reproach this article for excessive length; but that is an aspect of its thoroughness; we do get the answer

Video of the day: The Birth Of Datafication

Thought for the day:

"Rules that only apply to stupid people must be stupid rules " — Alex Harrowell

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