Productivity, Bunny Wailer, Ants, Liberalism, Eton, Livestock

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

Time Management Is Ruining Our Lives

Oliver Burkeman | Guardian | 22nd December 2016

Once we were overwhelmed by claims on our time. Now we are overwhelmed by apps and systems purporting to manage and reduce claims on our time. “There are thousands of apps in the ‘productivity’ category of the Apple app store, including software to simulate the ambient noise of working in a coffee shop (shown, in psychology experiments, to help people focus on work), and a text editor that deletes the words you have written if you don’t keep typing fast enough” (5,400 words)

The Binoculars Of Jah

Colin Grant | Granta | 21st December 2016

In search of Bunny Wailer. “Just when the band was about to take off in the 1970s, Bunny turned his back on fame and fortune. He retreated to the deep bush of the Jamaican hinterland to plant his crops and commune with his god. I imagined him darkly and stubbornly brooding in his tent whilst his eager compadres went out to fight over the spoils of Babylon. There was a primal quality to Bunny Wailer that I, as the son of Jamaican parents, recognised. Bunny was the original Blackheart Man” (5,100 words)

The Queen And Her Ants

Deborah Gordon | Aeon | 19th December 2016

What ants can teach humans about tyranny, co-operation, and the division of labour. “We know now that ants do not perform as specialised factory workers. Instead ants switch tasks. An ant’s role changes as it grows older and as changing conditions shift the colony’s needs. An ant that feeds the larvae one week might go out to get food the next. Yet in an ant colony, no one is in charge or tells another what to do. So what determines which ant does which task, and when ants switch roles?” (3,400 words)

Liberalism’s Minsky Moment

Thomas Wells | 3 Quarks Daily | 19th December 2016

Liberalism was working fine; people just got bored with it, and forgot why they wanted its restraints and reassurances in the first place. “Various examples can be given of how people became bored with playing politics in safe mode. Hostility to globalisation is a salient case of a general impatience with the self-binding rules that cooperation requires. If your government lacks the power even to change an EU rule about the shape of bananas, then what exactly is the point of it?” (1,650 words)

Eton And The Modern Elite

Christopher de Bellaigue | 1843 | 1st September 2016

Expert account of Eton’s modern makeover from aristocracy to meritocracy. Registration at birth for old boys’ sons was abolished in 1990. The most common surname among pupils is currently Patel. “A delicate relationship seems likely to exist at Eton in the coming years between deserving boys of modest background who enter the school on bursaries and the poised, prepared, nutritionally optimised children of the new upper class whose parents are expected to finance this largesse” (5,500 words)

Live Animal Export: Escapees

Lynn Simpson | Splash 24/7 | 22nd November 2016

Harrowing notes from the diary of a sea-going vet. “The night before, we had had a 500kg escapee bull. He had broken out of one of the ratty Libyan trucks. Libyan trucks appear to be held together by prayers only. He jumped the breakwater and headed north across the Mediterranean Sea towards Italy. I was proud of his boldness until he became the hit and run victim of a 36,000-ton container ship. As a cattle vet I needed nothing short of a magic wand to help him. Alas, down he went” (1,250 words)

Video of the day: How The Footage Looked

What to expect:

Recreating a lost parent’s last day with everyday objects. By Yuval Hameiri (9’31”)

Thought for the day

It is the final proof of God’s omnipotence that he need not exist in order to save us
Peter De Vries

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