Splinters, Restrooms, Jaron Lanier, Laptops, Tennis


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

My Ancestor Died Of A Splinter

Annie Hortense Crawford’s death in 1930 was a long, dramatic affair, according to her obituary in the California Democrat. First, there was severe pain in her hand. Over the course of a week “a creeping debility overcame her entire body”. The cause? A splinter. Before penicillin in 1942, the tiniest infected wound could bring fatal blood poisoning. Splinters will start killing us again, if our over-use of antibiotics encourages the evolution of antibiotic-resistant germs (1,950 words)

Gender-Neutral Restroom Architecture

Alexandru Marcoci & Luc Bovens | Behavioural Public Policy | 17th April 2018

Design notes for public lavatories. “It is not clear that we can keep urinals in gender-neutral toilets, at least not at their current locations. Some women will refuse to use facilities with urinals in them. The Swedes, who were early pioneers with gender-neutral toilets, mostly did away with them. If there is sufficient space in new-builds, we may be able to place them behind a privacy wall, but even so, only experimentation can tell whether women will be accepting of such facilities” (1,040 words)

Something Is Wrong With The Internet

Noah Kulwin | New York | 17th April 2018

Interview with virtual reality pioneer Jaron Lanier about Silicon Valley culture. “We run everything. We are the conduit of everything else happening in the world. Politics, finance, education, media — we’ve put ourselves in the middle of everything. We’ve absolutely won. But we don’t act like it. We have no sense of balance or modesty or graciousness. We’re still acting as if we have to defend ourselves, which is preposterous. And so in doing that we really kind of turn into assholes, you know?” (4,800 words)

The $100 Laptop

Adi Robertson | Verge | 16th April 2018

One Laptop Per Child promised to change the world by giving cheap laptops to children everywhere. That was in 2005. What went wrong? First, the handle fell off. Then the price went up. “After announcing the $100 Laptop, OLPC had one job: Make a laptop that cost $100. They slowly realized that this wasn’t going to happen. They pushed the cost to a low of $130, but only by cutting so many corners that the laptop barely worked. Even at $180 the design had major tradeoffs” (5,100 words)

Tennis And Technology

Jonah Lehrer | 18th April 2018

Howard Head unveiled a carbon-fibre tennis racket in 1974. His bigger, lighter, springier frames took over pro tennis within a decade. They also turned it into a younger person’s game. “Players had to learn a new set of tactics and techniques. The increased experience of veterans seemed to interfere with this adjustment. Their exit rate from the tour doubled. Head invented the composite racket to make it easier for older players. He ended up ridding the pro tour of nearly everyone over 30” (1,500 words)

Video of the day Martin Scorsese Teaches Filmmaking

What to expect:

Scorsese introduces an online masterclass for people who can’t help but make films (2’17”)

Thought for the day

Due to scarcity, two intelligent talkers seldom meet
Truman Capote

Podcast Daniel Dennett | The Panpsycast

Daniel Dennett talks to Jack Symes and Gregory Miller about the philosophy of religion
(1h 11m 27s)

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