Free 4 min read

Best Articles on Scammers

From Arsène Lupin to Elizabeth Holmes we are enamoured with tales of deceit and those who pull off scams—successfully or unsuccessfully.

Below we have dug through our ten year archive to bring you tales that include a Japanese fake-Beethoven, the theft of an entire hotel, landlord-impersonation and polygamist tax fraud.

Phantom Of The Orchestra

Christopher Beam | New Republic | 2nd March 2015

Critics hailed Mamoru Samuragochi as "the Japanese Beethoven", and called his 2003 First Symphony a work of genius. He wrote scores for films and television. His claim to be totally deaf only added to his legend. How could he write such music? The answer was that he couldn't. He probably wasn't deaf either. He paid a silent partner to write the music for him. A decade later, the ghost talked and the scandal broke (7,200 words)

The Lion And The Polygamist

Vince Beiser | Wired | 2nd February 2021

Free 18 min read

Browser Interviews: Eugene Wei on making and thinking

Every week at the Browser we conduct edifying interviews with interesting figures. Today we speak to product executive and filmmaker Eugene Wei—whose writing occasionally graces our recommendations—about how we often misclassify choices led by intuition as luck, the benefits of always being a beginner at something, and thinking in infinite timescales despite our finite human lives. Wei is known for his considered writing on tech at his blog Remains of The Day, but here he speaks lithely on the philosophy of film and mortality.

For more interviews, see the rest of our Browser Interviews.

Baiqu: So how did you end up being on this interview?

Eugene: It's funny, I was trying to remember how I first became acquainted with The Browser. I've been a subscriber for so many years that I honestly don't remember how I first heard about it, but it's been part of my daily reading

Free 2 min read

Piracy, Tourette's, Snakes, Spots, War

Every day, The Browser selects and summarises the five best articles from across the web on every imaginable topic. Here, instead we turn our attention to the world of academic writing and have selected five papers from different disciplines worth your attention.

Those without institutional access to some of the publications below might be interested in this additional paper. For previous editions see: Academia

Sci-Hub Provides Access To Scholarly Literature

Daniel Himmelstein et al. | eLife | 9 February 2018 | U

Three quarters of scholarly papers are restricted by paywalls online, but the piracy website Sci-Hub provides a level of access to this content that far outstrips the institutional reach of even large research universities. The website's popularity and the decline in library journal subscriptions has led to calls to entirely reconsider the structure of academic publishing (7,678 words or DOI: 10.7554/eLife.32822.001)

It’s Not Tourette’s

Free 9 min read

A Literal Banana on the problems with social science

Uri Bram: I'm delighted to be here today with A Literal Banana. Banana, I know you've got an interest in abstractions – abstract nouns like “trust” and “aggression” and “generosity” – and how they’re worked out in the social sciences. Can you tell us a little more about that?

Using abstractions poorly

A Literal Banana: So the current crisis in the social sciences has mostly been called the “replication crisis,” and people have focused on issues like whether results replicate, on statistical issues like power (for which the intervention is large sample sizes), on things like the “garden of forking paths” as articulated by Andrew Gelman (for which the intervention is preregistration), and on things like direct replication.

And those are important, but I still see studies being done with very large sample sizes that are perfectly pre-registered, and often that describe their sub-experiments as replications of each other, but there’

Free 4 min read

The Best Articles on Organ Ethics

As medical and technological science advance, the ethical quandaries that our organs raise also increase.

Below we have dug through our ten year archive to bring you articles that cover topics such as kidneys lost in transit, lab grown brains becoming conscious, hackers turning organs into ransomeware and whole human head transplants.

Transplant Organs Missing In Transit

JoNel Aleccia | Reveal | 8th February 2020 | U

Surgeons will personally collect and transport hearts, which survive only four to six hours out of the body. But kidneys and pancreases – which have longer shelf lives – rely for shipment within the US on packing and dispatching by a network of non-profits. They often travel as cargo, with no special status. Some miss connecting flights or end up as lost luggage. “If an airline forgets to put a kidney on a plane or a courier misses a flight because he got lost or stuck in traffic,

Free 23 min read

Browser Interviews: Chris Williamson on how Love Island cured his existential crisis

Every week at the Browser we conduct edifying interviews with interesting figures. Today we speak to Chris Williamson, who's the host of the Modern Wisdom podcast. For more, see the rest of our Browser Interviews.

Baiqu: So what is Modern Wisdom? Do you feel like there's a lot of wisdom dispensed through your channel? Have you been gaining wisdom?

Ongoing through "manopause" and searching for answers

Chris: I couldn't say that. Definitely not by me, maybe by some of the guests. The challenge that I found was that there's no instruction manual that comes with life. and I went through a "manopause" toward the end of my twenties, where I thought I was this guy who was about partying and status and girls and money and stuff like that. Then I realised I wasn't, and I thought, I don't know how to actually get from where I am to where

Free 20 min read

QNTM on memes, anti-memes, and knowledge that doesn't want to be shared

QNTM is a software engineer and the author of There Is No Antimemetics Division. Here, QNTM speaks to the Browser's Uri Bram about collaborative fiction, why people with deep and very specific expertise are often great storytellers, and the surprising subjectivity of finding right answers in software development.

[Listen to this interview as a podcast or on Youtube (audio only)]

Uri Bram: Your latest book—which is wonderful—is called There Is No Antimemetics Division. Can you tell us a little bit conceptually about the idea of antimemes?

What is an anti-meme?

QNTM: So if you're reading this, you probably have a reasonable idea of what a meme is, but there are a couple of different colliding definitions of meme these days.

For my purposes, a meme is a contagious idea, which is much more of an older definition than today's conception of "internet meme." It's an idea that catches

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