Pigeons, Grenfell Tower, Reputation, Hair, Radio

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

Monty Hall In The Wild

Jacob Falkovich | Put A Number On It | 3rd June 2018

Let’s assume you are familiar with the problem — if not, it is explained here, and you will never be able to unthink it. This is about pigeons. “Pigeons quickly learn to switch doors when the game is repeated multiple times and they can observe that switching doors is twice as likely to yield the prize. You know who fails miserably at playing the iterated Monty Hall game? Humans. While pigeons quickly converge on switching always, humans don’t learn at all” (1,770 words)

The Tower

Andrew O'Hagan | LRB | 7th June 2018

Breathtaking, horrifying, book-length account of the Grenfell Tower fire in London and the lives it destroyed. “Sepideh and her son, Karen Aboud and her sons, Hamid the fish-seller, Mr Neda’s wife and son, Alison Moses and Maryam Adam and Mr Kebede, in whose flat the fire started: they, along with hundreds of others, got out of the building and they stood below, believing everyone would get out. They would, wouldn’t they? In 2017, with all these firefighters, and all these cameras?” (60,000 words)

Please Don’t Rate Your Waitress A Four

Left Outside | 4th June 2018

“If I’m asked to score someone and their employment relies on it, then they’ll get five stars. But numbers can’t substitute for management. A 4 means nothing without context. Management is meant to provide that context, but if you disaggregate management to thousands of customers how can anyone provide that context? Star ratings are worse than good management, but they’re much cheaper than they are worse. Ikea furniture is worse than antique furniture but it sure is cheaper” (960 words)

The Hair Tells All

Amanda Mull | The Outline | 6th June 2018

How to read a person by their hair. Exhibit A: Anna Delvey, the New York it-girl who pretended to be rich. “In all the photos that emerged of her after she was exposed, her hair was an enormous tangle of frizzy, poorly colored, untrimmed straw. She claimed allegiance to an ultra-fancy New York salon where haircuts cost $800, but anyone with even a moderate interest in personal care could see that well-trained professionals were rarely, if ever, in contact with her head” (1,450 words)

On The Radio, It’s Always Midnight

Seb Emina | Paris Review | 6th June 2018

“Podcasts are the audio of our time. They can be beautifully produced, as good as a good book, and perhaps they will supersede radio. But there’s something about the knowledge that countless others are listening to the same thing as me, at the same time as me, that can’t be replaced. When I listen to radio from other time zones, I am reminded that I do not move through times of day but rather they move through me. Somewhere in the world, it is always far too late to be up listening to the radio” (725 words)

Video of the day Danse Exquise

What to expect:

As if Debussy and Kandinsky decided to make a short animation with Studio Ghibli and Van Gogh (3’15”)

Thought for the day

The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you
David Foster Wallace

Podcast Surviving The Tulsa Race Riots | Radio Diaries

Olivia Hooker, 103, remembers the night in May 1921 when Tulsa whites massacred 300 black neighbours
(22m 00s)

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