Shoreditch, Dachau, Disability, Satoshi Nakamoto, Data-Mining


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

The London Hipster Economy

Felix Martin | New Statesman | 19th May 2015

When the banks tanked, the hipsters kept Britain going. The "flat white economy" of tech, marketing and media makes up 8% of British GDP — "the size of the car manufacturing and oil and gas industries combined". Much of it squeezes into Shoreditch. "Between 2012 and 2014, more businesses were created in the single London postcode of EC1V than in the whole of Manchester and Newcastle put together" (950 words)

A Liberator, But Never Free

Steve Friess | New Republic | 17th May 2015

American army doctor entering Dachau in 1945 describes the aftermath of the Holocaust in letters to his wife: "Dearest, the atrocity reports are true — and more! For over 8 days, I’ve seen-lived-smelled-existed it as one of 28 doctors to try to correct the medical-horror component of THE-Hell-On-Earth. Bodies starved to 50-pound men piled like rotting cord-wood! Huge gas chambers built like shower rooms (as a ruse)" (4,600 words)

Confessions Of A Bitter Cripple

Elizabeth Barnes | Philosop-her | 15th May 2015

Disabled philosopher wrestles with utilitarian ideas about the value of life: "I have sat in philosophy seminars where it was asserted that I should be left to die if the choice was between saving me and saving a non-disabled person. I have been told that, while it isn’t bad for me to exist, it would’ve been better if my mother could’ve had a non-disabled child ... It’s a strange thing to construct arguments for the value of your own life" (1,180 words)

Decoding The Enigma Of Satoshi Nakamoto

Nathaniel Popper | New York Times | 15th May 2015 | Metered paywall

Circumstantial evidence and linguistic analysis says that Nick Szabo is Satoshi Nakamoto, the inventor of Bitcoin. Nick Szabo tells the Times that he isn't Satoshi, but that he is "among a small group of people who laid the foundation for Bitcoin". Based on this story it's hard to resist the conclusion that Satoshi is a persona created by Nick Szabo, perhaps with a collaborator. So Szabo isn't quite Satoshi. But really, he is (2,420 words)

Data Mining Algorithms In Plain English

Ray Li | 2nd May 2015

Inevitably wonkish, although the promise to use plain English is largely kept. Full of "a-ha" moments as the tropes which pursue you through the internet all day are reunited with their parent algorithms. The Apriori algorithm, for example, "learns association rules and is applied to a database containing a large number of transactions". It's what tells Amazon to offer us a Franzen if we have just bought a Foster Wallace (6,200 words)

Video of the day: The Cars Of Mad Max

What to expect: George Miller explains. No CGI. Real cars. How they were designed and made (3'53")

Thought for the day

A proof tells us where to concentrate our doubts
W.H. Auden

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