Roger Scruton, Malware, Owls, CIA, Pakistan


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

Which Are The British Institutions That Matter Most?

Roger Scruton | CapX | 1st May 2017

“This country is a shambling collective of unregimented people who don’t like being bossed about but who do insist that anybody who does anything to them that they don’t like must be held to account for it. Accountability for the British people is the crucial thing and it is enough – it stands opposed to the idea of regulation from above by people who have a plan. We don’t have a plan, and when we discover people who do have plans, we take vehemently against them” (3,925 words)

Why Don’t They Just Update?

Tante | Nodes In A Network | 15th May 2017

Why so many organisations rely on outdated computer software vulnerable to attack. “Properly estimating the costs of an unpatched Windows 7 server is extremely hard if your job is baking donuts or producing plastic cat toys. But you do know that you haven’t patched your servers for five years and it never hurt you. Supporting and maintaining software systems needs to be a requirement of being able to run your plant. Because if it’s not legally enforced it will not happen” (2,096 words)

A Parliament Of Owls

Robert Paxton | New York Review Of Books | 16th May 2017

All about owls. “They are killing machines capable of dispatching birds or animals larger than themselves. Central to this are big legs and claws, wing feathers designed for silent flight, and highly sensitive eyes and ears. Since owls have the night pretty much to themselves, they have evolved into a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and behaviours. Colour is their least variable aspect. They come mostly in cryptic browns and greys, since plumage matters less for courtship than for concealment” (2,600 words)

China’s Great Books

Paul French | LARB | 10th May 2017

Brief and entertaining conversation about Chinese literature with Frances Wood, former Curator of Chinese Collections at the British Library. “I’ve always been impressed by the popularity of western literature in China — finding a taxi-driver in Shanghai with a well-thumbed copy of Sherlock Holmes to while away his waiting time. Wen Jiabao was genuinely keen on Shakespeare. I don’t feel that London’s taxi-drivers and our own great leaders are sufficiently aware of Chinese literature” (1,590 words)

A Foreign Intelligence Analyst Report on President Trump

Dennis Gleeson & Nada Bakos | Lawfare | 15th May 2017

Ex-CIA analysts appraise President Trump as they once appraised foreign leaders: “Despite the unusually tenuous nature of the relationship between Mr. Trump and congressional members of his own party, it is unclear under what conditions those members would break with Trump. Notwithstanding persistent speculation among commentators regarding impeachment, there is no current evidence to support the claim that a Republican-controlled Congress would be willing to remove Mr. Trump” (1,050 words)

China’s Plans For Pakistan

Khurram Husain | Dawn | 16th May 2017

China’s planned “economic corridor” through Pakistan to the Indian Ocean will transform Pakistan — if Pakistan agrees. “Thousands of acres of agricultural land will be leased out to Chinese enterprises. Surveillance systems will be built in cities from Peshawar to Karachi for law and order. A fibre-optic backbone will be built for internet traffic and for terrestrial distribution of broadcast TV, which will cooperate with Chinese media in the dissemination of Chinese culture” (4,000 words)

Video of the day: Slices Of Time

What to expect:

The life and work of Eadweard Muybridge, by Drew Christie for SFMoMA (3’50”)

Thought for the day

Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent
Jim Jarmusch

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