Free 6 min read

Phares Kariuki


Uri Bram: I'm very glad to be here today with Phares Kariuki, technologist and entrepreneur -- I've been telling people for years that you're my favourite philosopher of technology and it's great to be able to interview you. Phares, what are you thinking about these days?

Phares Kariuki: Thank you Uri for the very kind introduction. My thoughts of late have been focused primarily on the role that trust / justice plays in growing an economy.

There's a direct correlation between trust and economic progress: society isn't trying to ensure that people do what they promise, they simply cooperate.

The secret to the human race isn't so much our intelligence, rather it's our cooperation. The best hunters cooperate; persistence hunting is how human beings evolved in the savannah. Killer whales and African wild dogs also persistence hunt and this leads to some of the highest kill rates of any predators.

Cooperation

Free 13 min read

Adam Ozimek On Remote Work


Uri Bram: I’m excited to be here today with Adam Ozimek, economist and writer, and now chief economist at Upwork and a leading expert on remote work. Adam you’re also one of the original econbloggers and I feel like I’ve been reading you for more than a decade, which feels wild.

I want to start with a slightly weird question for you: if we had perfect teleports for humans, so we could instantly and costlessly move from any place to any other, what would our work and living patterns look like? Would we all live in the countryside and just pop into the city for meetings and restaurants? Would we even have cities?

Adam Ozimek: That causes so many pieces to move at once that it's actually less telling than you'd think, because you end up in such a weird hypothetical. For example, cities have value that

Free 3 min read

A Year Of Living Thoughtfully


The French have a nice term for what has been lacking in journalism this year: grand reportage, which I mentally subdivide into two categories, blockbusters and yarns. Blockbusters are news stories writ large, the kind that win Pulitzers. Yarns are offbeat stories pursed to the point at which they become fascinating. The greatest yarn ever told is either Frank Sinatra Has A Cold, by Gay Talese (the making of which has since been recounted by Talese himself); or Orchid Fever (which became a book called The Orchid Thief), by Susan Orlean.

This was a thin year for grand reportage partly because it was so difficult for reporters (and everybody else) to get out and about, and partly because so much of the media was a monoculture of Covid updates. But every cloud has a silver lining: Stuck at home, we did a lot of thinking. The quantity and quality of

Free 8 min read

The Fallacy Of Success, by G. K. Chesterton (1915)


Part of our Browser Classics series, recommending outstanding essays from centuries past.

G.K. Chesterton. was an English writer, philosopher, lay theologian, and literary and art critic. He has been referred to as the "prince of paradox" He was the author of around 80 books including All Things Considered, from which this essay is taken.

Text courtesy of Project Gutenberg


There has appeared in our time a particular class of books and articles which I sincerely and solemnly think may be called the silliest ever known among men. They are much more wild than the wildest romances of chivalry and much more dull than the dullest religious tract. Moreover, the romances of chivalry were at least about chivalry; the religious tracts are about religion. But these things are about nothing; they are about what is called Success. On every bookstall, in every magazine, you may find works telling people how

Free 15 min read

Rohit Krishnan on bureaucracy, experimentation and problems of scale


Uri: I’m excited to be here today with Rohit Krishnan of Strange Loop Canon, who has burst out the gates this year as one of the most interesting and prolific bloggers in an indescribable corner of the internet that I vaguely describe as “tech culture writing”.

Rohit, something I’ve been interested in from reading your writing is whether there’s a few core lenses you could articulate that underlie your worldview. I don’t know if you read Matt Levine, but one thing I always enjoy about him is that I think he brings some clear and consistent lenses to bear on a lot of different situations, and every edition of his newsletter is like “here's some applications of my classic lenses to some new situations.” He’s given a bunch of his lenses names, like everything is securities fraud, and I find that very helpful too.

Your

Free 2 min read

The art of the limerick


🗣️
Do limericks still form part of the culture? They were commonplace and often rude, but it's ages since we saw a decent (or indecent) new coinage. This week's bleg was for the best limerick which draws, however slightly, on the questions and answers in this week's Browser quiz.

... and of course, our ever-delightful readers delivered in spades. Here are just a few of our favourites...

Bryan Baird kicks us off with not one, but two offerings:

The first, regarding the quote on friendship:

It's a Wonderful Life has a book
Inscribed with a memorable hook
Yet no one can find
A source for the line
Though many made effort to look

The second, on the picture book that is Shrek:

Though the first story form was quite slick
Shrek really took off as a flick
The loveable ogre
(Mike Myers made brogue-er)
Made money, and that is what sticks!

Jamie

Free 18 min read

Lea Degen On Saving San Francisco And Getting Out Of The Kiddy Pool


In today's interview, The Browser's Applied Divinity Studies (ADS) sits down with Lea Degen, the host of Frontiers, a podcast that aims to make the tacit state of knowledge in advancing areas of technology, science, and the arts explicit and accessible to a broader audience. She is also the author of "We Must Save San Francisco", a piece in Palladium arguing for the importance of reforming America’s vanguard city.

ADS: I want to start by asking about the cultural backdrop to your essay.

You’re touching on a few subcultures here. There’s the libertarian / Progress Studies piece, the YIMBY / New Urbanism / NUMTOT piece, and then the burgeoning Palladium-style Governance Futurism view. How do these overlap? How would you even describe Governance Futurism?

Lea Degen: All these subgroups recognize that stagnation is not an option for solving problems that have their roots in scarcity (of which San Francisco housing

Join 90,000+ curious readers who grow with us every day

No spam. No nonsense. Unsubscribe anytime.

Great! Check your inbox and click the link to confirm your subscription
Please enter a valid email address!
You've successfully subscribed to The Browser
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in
Could not sign in! Login link expired. Click here to retry
Cookies must be enabled in your browser to sign in
search