Free 14 min read

Oliver Burkeman on making the most of life


Uri Bram: I'm delighted to be here today with author and journalist Oliver Burkeman, who is the author of the wonderful book Four Thousand Weeks. We're going to play this game called The Last Word, where we ask very smart people to answer difficult questions in a very specific number of words.

So, first up -- Oliver, could you please tell us the whole idea of your book in exactly 20 words?

Oliver Burkeman: 20 words? [smiling] I’ve just got to dive into this, right?, there's no point in planning out in advance. Which is actually part of the message of the book.

I'm counting down here: Life is very short. Can't do everything. So it makes sense to give up that struggle and focus instead.

Uri Bram: That is phenomenal.

Oliver Burkeman: I had another 10 words that I wanted to say, I had to rewrite it in

Free 28 min read

Ada Palmer on censorship, science fiction, and Machiavelli's laundry


Baiqu: Welcome to The Browser Interviews. Today, I'm with Ada Palmer who is a cultural and intellectual historian, and the author of science fiction and fantasy novels, including the award-winning Terra Ignota series. Welcome to The Browser Ada.

Ada: Thank you. It's a lot of fun.

What history and science fiction have in common

Baiqu: So you focus specifically on the Renaissance and the history of books and censorship, and you also write science fiction and fantasy. Do those things come together easily?

Ada: Very much. A lot of people think that being a historian sounds like it should be the opposite of being a science fiction writer, but nothing is more similar to the future than the past. It's a long period of time in which cultures exist and change, and new technologies get invented and disseminate, and you watch the impact of those technologies over time.

So in

Free 20 min read

Browser Interviews: Visa Veerasamy


Baiqu: Welcome to The Browser, today I'm with Visa Veerasamy, the Friendly Ambitious Nerd

Visa: Hi, thanks for having me.

Community and The Internet

Baiqu: First, what would you say to someone who wanted to know what your area of expertise was?

Visa: Right, so I change my answer to this all the time because there are so many different angles.

When I was a child the first thing I fell in love with were books. My parents brought me to the library and I fell in love. I'm like oh my God, every book is like a portal into a different universe and so much knowledge and wisdom. And I just wanted to participate in that, but I didn't know how. I didn't know any authors.

Then when I discovered the internet, I was about eight years old maybe, I was like wow, I can publish directly, I don't

Free 29 min read

Lyz Lenz on religion, marriage and writing on the internet


Browser Editor Caroline Crampton is joined by Lyz Lenz, a journalist and author based in Iowa. Lyz has written two books so far: 2019’s God Land and 2020’s Belabored, and she's currently working on an essay collection about divorce and domestic inequality.

CC: Could you introduce yourself a bit to our listeners who may not have read your work so far?

LL: So, I'm an essayist and a journalist; for about a year and a half I wrote for my local paper; I've written profiles of media people for the Columbia Journalism Review; a lot of people discovered my work when I wrote a profile of Tucker Carlson, you know, that hot mess of a Fox News host, who everybody loves to hate.

And so that's just, a little bit of my work, but I'm also a single mother of two, living in the middle of America, kind

Free 14 min read

Browser Interviews: Interfluidity on the dynamics of capitalism and the fallacy of composition


Baiqu: Welcome to The Browser Interviews, today I'm with Steve Randy Waldman who writes about finance, economics, and politics at interfluidity.com.

Welcome to The Browser.

Steve: Hi, I'm delighted to be here, thank you so much for having me.

Baiqu: We know the drill by now, so we can dive into our recommendations when you're ready Steve.

Steve: So I'm very flattered to be asked by The Browser, kind of the preeminent recommendation site on the internet, to recommend things. I wanted to begin with a caveat that I view my own life history more as a cautionary tale than recommendation. So recommendations with a grain of salt, I will recommend stuff, but I don't claim to have any great footsteps others should follow in.

How to expand the river of intellectual life by falling in love with random things

Baiqu: Thank you, Steve. I'm very excited to hear

Free 16 min read

System Error: Where Big Tech Went Wrong and How We Can Reboot


Uri: Hello. I'm delighted to be here today with three Stanford professors – philosopher Rob Reich, political scientist Jeremy Weinstein and computer scientist Mehran Sahami – who are authors of the new book System Error: Where Big Tech Went Wrong and How We Can Reboot. Thank you all so much for being here today.

We're going to play a very simple game we call The Last Word, where we ask you to answer difficult questions in a very specific number of words. Rob, we'll start with you. Could you please tell us what this book is all about in exactly ten words?

Rob: [smiles] Alright: [counts on fingers] Reenergizing democratic institutions through the sensible regulation of Big Tech.

Uri: That was fantastic

Jeremy: Wow

Uri: Obviously the relationship between Big Tech and the democratic process, and our values as a society, is a very prominent topic on everyone’s minds these days,

Free 3 min read

The Best Articles on Covid


A Very Bumpy Ride

Larry Brilliant et al | Edge | 7th December 2020

Epidemiologist Larry Brilliant discusses the past and future of the pandemic, and lessons learned, with other scientists. Getting a vaccine to market in 14 months has been a fantastic achievement; but Covid-19 will never be eradicated, because other species will harbour it; and there will be more such pandemics, so long as we have global commerce and tourism without a global public health system (11,470 words)


The Origin Of Covid

Nicholas Wade | Bulletin Of Atomic Scientists | 5th May 2021

Wade weighs evidence that the Covid virus originated in the wild, perhaps among Chinese bats, against evidence that the virus was leaked unintentionally from a Wuhan laboratory that was conducting research financed by the US government. Wade warns against drawing final conclusions, but believes the preponderance of evidence in favour of a lab leak is overwhelming (11,100

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