Philosophy, Bach, Game Theory, School, Race

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

Atheism And The Philosophy Of Religion

Charles Styles | Five Books | 2nd August 2018

Conversation with Graham Oppy, atheist and philosopher of religion, about books by Bertrand Russell, David Hume and others. “It’s hard to suppose that, when people are persuaded by arguments, that it’s the virtues of the arguments that are doing all the work. It’s possible to talk to someone, present them with an argument, and make them change their mind by force of personality. It’s not a requirement for my being rational that I can persuade you to accept the things that I believe” (6,800 words)

Glenn Gould Is Always On Fast-Forward

Katharine Kilalea | Paris Review | 18th August 2018

Notes on listening to Glenn Gould playing Bach. “The gigue is just over a minute long, gone too quickly to sink into. A theme unravels, repeats, unravels a third time, adds a run of ascending and descending notes, then ends. There is no variation in volume or tempo, not unlike a piece by Beckett, so nothing stands out. Gould plays so fast that there’s no time to think about what you’re listening to. Perhaps it is the inability to analyze which is so enjoyable, the pleasure of not being able to think” (1,290 words)

An Interview With Avinash Dixit

Eric Wallach | The Politic | 4th August 2018

Discussion of game theory, graduated punishment, and problems of formal modeling. “Formal models have got to have a combination of moral hazard and adverse selection. You need experimentation to find out whether the person you’re dealing with is really a bad type or is a good type who just made a mistake, and you’ve got to have the possibility that someone who’s not really a bad type might just try and see how much they can get away with. The math of that gets quite tricky” (3,100 words)

Japanese Schools Test Parents Too

Kumiko Makihara | Salon | 15th July 2018

A Japanese mother enrols her five-year-old son in a “cram school” where he can be “trained like an Olympian” to get into an elite elementary school. Japanese children are expected to excel not only in academic skills but also in the finer points of everyday life. “To show good upbringing, Taro should know how to fold pajamas while ironing out any creases by hand, separate garbage for recycling, wring out all the droplets from a wet hand towel, hang laundry with clothespins, and tie a bow” (2,700 words)

White Threat In A Browning America

Ezra Klein | Vox | 30th July 2018

White Americans feel they are losing their hold on power, and they are correct. By the middle of this century non-Hispanic whites will be in a minority. In 2013, for the first time ever, most US infants under the age of 1 were non-white. The modal age of American whites is 58, against 29 for Asians, 27 for African Americans, and 11 for Hispanics. If Donald Trump hadn’t capitalised on white fear, somebody else would have done so soon. “The pressure was just going to keep building” (5,800 words)

Video of the day Under The Cherry Moon

What to expect:

Short and sweet time-lapsed reminder of July’s total lunar eclipse (0’36”)

Thought for the day

Fashion is anything that goes out of fashion
Jean Cocteau

Podcast The Signature | Planet Money

David Kestenbaum investigates the history of the signature, with help from a rabbi, a lawyer and a credit card executive
(16m 20s)

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