Smart Censorship, American Foreign Policy, Art & Religion, Scottish Independence, Apple Watch

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

China’s Smart Censorship

Andrew Brown | Guardian | 10th September 2014

China has perfected censorship that makes the state smarter. Citizens can say what they like online, provided they make no attempt to support or incite protest action in the physical world. A dictatorship thus gets the benefits of honest public debate which used to be the prerogative of liberal democracy. "The information signalling part of a market economy is co-opted to the service of an authoritarian state" (760 words)

National Insecurity

David Rothkopf | Foreign Policy | 9th September 2014 | Metered paywall

Bleak but persuasive assessment of Obama's record in foreign affairs. He inherited huge problems from his predecessor; he set about winding down the worst of them, and trying to avoid making new mistakes of his own; fair enough. But his caution has become a liability. He has not learned the craft of inspiring allies and deterring enemies. "It is hard to think of a recent president who has grown so little in office" (5,780 words)

Does Art Need Religion?

Bob Duggan | Big Think | 9th September 2014

Artists aspire to individual immortality; religions to collective salvation. But each can instrumentalise the other. Artists can profit from the communal energy of religion; religion can profit from the expressive power of artists. Some modern artists have tried to use politics as a substitute for religion; but politics has nothing to say about immortality. With religion, you have Michelangelo; without it, Jeff Koons (840 words)

Questions For Scots

John Kay | 10th September 2014

Succinct rehearsal of the main issues Scots should have in mind when deciding how to vote on independence. Among them: "Would an independent Scotland be economically viable? Not an issue. Scotland has income per head more or less the same as that of Britain as a whole, and is the richest UK region outside London and the southeast. At just over 5m, it has a population about the same size as Denmark or Finland" (903 words)

Apple’s Dumb Watch

Felix Salmon | Medium | 9th September 2014

The Apple Watch may get much better in its future iterations, as previous Apple products have done; but it's off to a bad start; Apple has been surprisingly maladroit in the basic design. The watch is overloaded with features; which makes it too complicated to use intuitively; and creates big issues with battery life and charging. "Put it this way: no one who only has one wrist is going to be wearing an Apple Watch" (1,030 words)

Video of the day: Come Study With Us

What to expect: Advertisement inviting America Jews to move to Israel

Thought for the day

There is no harm in being sometimes wrong; especially if one is promptly found out
J.M. Keynes (

A Talk in London

Come and see Browser favourites Felix Salmon (ex-Reuters) and Izabella Kaminska (FT) discuss art, 3D printing and Bitcoin on September 24th. Tickets are £5, and include a glass of wine (or two). Tickets are available here ( .

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