Newsletter 996

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

Best of the Moment

Inside Taco Bell’s Doritos Locos Taco

Austin Carr | Fast Company | 1st May 2013

How a fast food giant engineers a new product. Stage one: "The dev team basically went out to Home Depot to buy a paint-spray gun, and then sprayed Doritos flavoring onto our existing yellow corn tacos". Stage two: Spend a couple of years trying out dozens of variant recipes to get a "teeth-rattling crunch". Stage three: Decide the Doritos flavouring doesn't actually work and make something else. Stage four: Launch, sell, have a hit on your hands

My Dinner With Mrs Thatcher

Andrew Hagan | London Review Of Books | 3rd May 2013

An invitation to a 90th birthday party for Bill Deedes, retired editor of the Daily Telegraph, finds the author sitting across the table from Margaret Thatcher; the peg for a long, and hostile, reflection on her qualities as a politician. "The Britain that Orwell describes in his essays is a place of fairness, a place of differences gently tolerated. And that is the place that ended with the advent of Mrs. Thatcher’s stridency"

How Van Halen Explains Obamacare

Ezra Klein | Washington Post | 2nd May 2013

Critics of government, take care: things that sound stupid may be things you just don't understand. Here's an analogy: Van Halen's touring contracts required promoters to provide bowls of M&Ms with the brown ones taken out. Which sounded like prima-donna behaviour, but was really a litmus test of whether everything was in order. If the band arrived and found brown M&Ms on the table, the promoter had not read the contract.

A Most Profound Math Problem

Alexander Nazaryan | New Yorker | 2nd May 2013

On the struggle to solve "P versus NP", one of the great puzzles of mathematics, and a big practical problem in computer science. Roughly speaking, it asks whether every problem whose solution can be quickly verified by a computer can also be quickly solved by a computer. A proof either way would speed research in cryptography, algorithm research, artificial intelligence. A $1m prize awaits the solver

Chasing The Chinese Dream

Anonymous | The Economist | 3rd May 2013

Backgrounder on what China's leader, Xi Jinping, means when he talks about pursuing the "Chinese Dream". He probably adapted the phrase from a Tom Friedman column. He's keeping the content flexible. The words have a populist touch. But the echo of "American dream" is presumably intended to reassure the new — and potentially disruptive — middle class that private wealth is now seen as part of China's strength

Video of the day: Crickett Rifle

Thought for the day:

"One of the disadvantages of being a hog is that at any moment some blundering fool may try to make a silk purse out of your wife's ear"— Beachcomber

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