Richard Desmond, Biotech, Africa, Evil Data, Code, Bullfighting

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

Lunch With Richard Desmond

Henry Mance | Financial Times | 12th June 2015 | | Read with 1Pass

"I've got a billion in cash" says Richard Desmond, ordering a £580 bottle of claret to kick off what may well be the best FT interview ever. "Even at a quiet table overlooking a wisteria-clad patio, his menace is sometimes barely concealed". Desmond owns Filth, "the world’s most honestly titled television channel", along with the Daily Express and the Daily Star. His business career in brief: “There’s always some c*nt trying to stop me” (2,419 words)

Towards The Body On A Chip

Science & Technology | The Economist | 12th June 2015 | | Read with 1Pass

Biotech companies are starting to commercialise "organ chips" — miniature versions of human organs grown from stem cells — for use in drug research and clinical trials. A lung-chip comes in a plastic sandwich the size of a USB stick. "This use of stem cells raises the possibility of a device that represents an individual patient — a patient-on-a-chip, if you like. In this case all the tiny organs would be derived from a single person" (1,460 words)

African Take-Aways

David Evans et al | Development Impact | 10th June 2015

Main points from 50 papers presented at a World Bank conference on Africa. "When a mine opens in South Africa, crime doesn’t increase. But you may not want to be around when the mine closes". "Higher rainfall significantly reduced civilian participation in the [Rwandan] genocide". "Members of ethnic groups exposed to greater historical missionary activity [in 19C Nigeria] express significantly less trust today” (1,850 words)

Is It Ethical To Use Nazi Data?

Lynn Gillam | Practical Ethics | 12th June 2015

Nazi doctors had "unfettered access" to human beings for experiments, some of which yielded scientifically sound data — for example, on the manner in which people freeze to death. Is it justifiable for later scientists to use knowledge gained by murder and torture? Yes, if it helps to save lives. But make clear how the data was obtained. Using the data while obscuring the source, the practice in the past, can only be wrong (918 words)

What Is Code?

Paul Ford | Bloomberg Businessweek | 11th June 2015

This is a book, really: Computing For Beginners. Not for every beginner, but for anybody in a management job who cannot write code and thus is completely at the mercy of developers who can. It explains why every two years your company is racing to catch up with some new Internet thing, the work goes twice over budget, and it never actually gets finished before the next thing comes along. Come to think of it, this is the new Two Cultures (38,000 words)

The Greatest Bullfight Ever

Barnaby Conrad | Esquire Classics | 1st April 1948

Far too many animals were hurt in the making of this story. "We were afraid to scream, but when he faced the bull again and, still on his knees, made it pass by four times, a great roar burst from our throats. And then suddenly Carlos rose to his feet, and hurling himself on top of the horns, he sank the sword in between the shoulders to the hilt, the bull reeling and its hulk crashing over backwards to the sand" (2,380 words)

Video of the day: Johnny Express

What to expect: Cartoon adventures of a courier in Space. Perhaps an allegory for Amazon on Earth (5'26")

Thought for the day

People will believe anything, if you whisper it
Karl Kraus

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