Orson Welles, Carmaking, Anti-Science, Witchcraft, Internet Shaming

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

On 24th February, at 6pm, The Browser is hosting a free event in London about information overload. See details at the bottom of this email.

Remembering Orson Welles

Gore Vidal | New York Review Of Books | 1st June 1989

A classic from the vaults. "Everything that Welles touched as a director has a degree of brilliance, here and there, but he was always running out of money, not to mention leading ladies, who kept mysteriously changing in his films. We got to know each other in the Sixties, a period described as the nadir of Welles’s acting career. Well, all I can say is that there was an awful lot of nadir going around in those days" (5,700 words)

The Entrant’s Guide To The Automobile Industry

Horace Dediu | Asymco | 23rd February 2015

Ground rules for any company that hopes to disrupt the motor industry. "Like a siren, it calls." But if you try to break into the mass market you are very likely to fail. The mass-market is all about capacity, which belongs to incumbents, and governments make it almost impossible for incumbents to fail. Stay niche, and compete on speed. "It’s cheaper to design and build a Ferrari than a Ford" (1,480 words)

Why Do Many Reasonable People Doubt Science?

Joel Achenbach | National Geographic | 20th February 2015

Why do only 40% of Americans believe in man-made global warming? How can parents refuse vaccination for children? Two main reasons. First, scientific findings — including evolution — can be powerfully counterintuitive. Second, we want to fit in with those around us. "Science appeals to our rational brain, but our beliefs are motivated largely by emotion, and the biggest motivation is remaining tight with our peers" (3,480 words)

Witches Of Chiloé

Mike Dash | Compass Cultura | 20th February 2015

Notes on a tradition of witchcraft in southern Chile which continued into the late 19th century. "Members of the Righteous Province claimed to possess the ability to fly, using a special word, arrealhue, as they leaped into the air, wearing a magical waistcoat that gave them the power to defy gravity. Each novice was expected to fashion his own waistcoat; this was done by digging up and flaying a recently interred Christian corpse" (3,700 words)

Overnight, Everything I Loved Was Gone

Jon Ronson | Guardian | 21st February 2015

On internet shaming. Meetings with trolls, victims, and with Michael Fertik — "a big, angry, coiled-spring Jewish bear of a man" who "invented the concept of online reputation management". If you post a silly selfie on the internet then not even Fertik can erase it. But there is hope: He can drive it down to the third or fourth page of your Google search results, where no future employer will bother to look (5,900 words)

Video of the day: Meanwhile

What to expect: Hypnotic undersea time-lapse. Corals and starfish at high magnification (5'02")

Thought for the day

One becomes weary only of what is new
Soren Kierkgaard (http://www.newrepublic.com/article/112887/obama-crosses-his-own-red-line#)

Information Overload

The Browser & Cronycle invite you to a discussion about information overload in London at 6.30pm on February 24th.

Discussants will include:
* Bill Emmott — editor and film-maker
* Anatole Kaletsky — columnist and economist
* Dayo Forster — international editor of The Browser

Moderated by Robert Cottrell, editor of The Browser.

Venue: Forge & Co, 154 Shoreditch HIgh Street, London E1 6HD.

Drinks from 6pm. Discussion starts at 6.30pm.

Admission free, but please reply to this email to register in advance.

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