Royal Navy, Tories, Globalisation, Amazon, Running Shoes

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

The Sinking Of HMS Victory

James Holmes | War is Boring | 13th May 2017

Nelson’s triumph at Trafalgar made the British Royal Navy invincible for the next century — which was probably too much of a good thing. In an over-confident Navy untested by serious battle, inefficiencies accumulated. The Navy became “increasingly bureaucratic, laying great weight on administrative busywork”. Victorian culture “amplified and reinforced the Navy’s authoritarian proclivities”. The result, by the start of World War 1, was a force blindly obedient to incompetent officers (2,500 words)

Why The Tories Keep Winning

Andrew Gimson | New Statesman | 15th May 2017

Admiring appraisal of the British Conservative Party, and of its founding father, Sir Robert Peel. “No man has come so near our definition of a constitutional statesman – the powers of a first-rate man and the creed of a second-rate man. From a certain peculiarity of intellect and fortune, he was never in advance of his time. Of almost all the great measures with which his name is associated, he attained great eminence as an opponent before he attained even greater eminence as their advocate” (3,900 words)

Sending Jobs Overseas

Christopher Caldwell | Claremont Review | 25th April 2017

Perceptive discussion of Richard Baldwin’s Great Convergence, about globalisation and its discontents. “Computers were the key. Once a complex manufacturing process could be supervised from afar, it could be broken up into the simplest constituent tasks, and those could be done almost anywhere. Corporations could play governments off against one another. Globalisation is not about nations. It is not about products. And it has not been about people for a long time. No, it is about tasks“ (3,500 words)

Why Amazon Is Eating The World

Zack Kanter | Tech Crunch | 14th May 2017

Amazon has become uncatchable — and not only because of its vast economies of scale and scope. Less obviously, but even more importantly, it has an effective strategy to future-proof its operations against inefficiency and technological stagnation. Each piece of Amazon sells its services to third parties, so that any falling-off in competitiveness is exposed immediately. “Amazon will only be brought down by an anti-trust case or a paradigm shift in how we consume physical products” (2,700 words)

A Pair Of Nikes

Rosie Duckworth | National Law Review | 11th May 2017

If Nike’s latest Zoom VaporFly shoes do indeed allow runners to run faster, should they be banned? According to IAAF rules, shoes “must not be constructed so as to give an athlete any unfair additional assistance”. The traditional assumption has been that running shoes add weight as well as support, giving no net advantage over barefoot running. But with Nike claiming a 4% efficiency gain for runners using its shoes, mainly through improved posture, that may no longer hold (1,200 words)

Video of the day: Elle Fanning’s Fan Fantasy

What to expect:

Charming jeu d’esprit made up of visual puns on Elle Fanning’s name (2’00”)

Thought for the day

Go too far. And when others follow, move on
Frank Lloyd Wright

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