Patrick Modiano, Activism, Satellites, Growth Mindset, Holocaracy

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

Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Mutt

J.P. Smith | Millions | 21st September 2015

“I remember when I began to hate Patrick Modiano…” With the 2015 Nobel Prize in Literature announced today (Thursday), profile of last year’s winner. “Essentially abandoned by both his parents”, Modiano’s life is “as extraordinary and as bizarre as the situations of his fiction.” His work is “a series of incremental epiphanies on the past” — a succession of smaller novels that can be read as one extended, lifelong masterpiece" (2,670 words)

College Students Have Forgotten How To Fight The System

Fredrik deBoer | New Republic | 27th September 2015

Suggests Wesleyan activists’ lukewarm response to a column on Black Lives Matter typifies a broader trend on American campuses: students have forgotten how to fight the system. "Student activists are now far too willing to pursue administrative means to address their complaints," thereby “neutering their efforts, sacrificing them to red tape, bureaucratic procedure, and the self-protective instincts of large institutions” (1,870 words)

The Sky’s Gone Dark

Charlie Stross | Charlie's Diary | 29th September 2015

Kessler Syndrome, aka collisional cascading, is the "nightmare scenario" (seen in the movie Gravity) where debris hitting satellites creates new debris and more collisions until some part of earth's orbit becomes essentially inaccessible to humans. Already "a satellite is destroyed every year by an impact event," and a fleck of paint "carries as much kinetic energy as a rifle bullet when it's traveling at orbital velocity" (700 words)

Carol Dweck Revisits The Growth Mindset

Carol Dweck | Education Week | 22nd September 2015

Carol Dweck fears her "growth mindset" concept, "which grew up to counter the failed self-esteem movement," is being used to perpetuate it. A "growth mindset" is the belief that you can (metaphorically) "grow your brain" through structured effort. "Maybe we originally put too much emphasis on sheer effort," she says. "Maybe we talked too much about people having one mindset or the other, rather than portraying people as mixtures" (1,220 words)

Are Bosses Necessary?

Jerry Useem | Atlantic | 14th September 2015

Online shoe-seller Zappos adopts a hierarchy-smashing organisational scheme: Holocracy. "Instead of being assigned job descriptions from on high, employees take on mutable roles where they see a need. The hierarchical org chart is replaced by an ever-changing array of circles." Though radical, holocracy's development resembles that of the org chart itself: new information technologies changing how we structure organisations (1,930 words)

Video of the day: The Making Of “A Bigger Picture”

What to expect: Making-of trailer for “The Bigger Picture,” a film about two-dimensional brothers caring for their elderly mother (3’45”)

Thought for the day

A man is never so on trial as in the moment of excessive good fortune
Lewis Wallace

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