Sunny Balzano, Broderers, Michael Oakeshott, DeafSpace, Paul Bremer, AlphaGo

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

RIP Sunny Balzano

John Del Signore | Gothamist | 11th March 2016

"Sunny Balzano, beloved Red Hook bar owner, artist, and patron saint of misfits, died on Thursday at Methodist Hospital. He was 81. Balzano's bar, known simply as Sunny's, operated illegally as a speakeasy. It cast a powerful spell over first-time visitors, many of whom felt transported back in time as they escaped the abrasive city into a colorfully-lit honky tonk that appeared, Brigadoon-like, every Friday night" (905 words)

The Broderers Of St Paul’s Cathedral

Gentle Author | Spitalfields Life | 19th February 2016

Short, but sweet almost beyond belief. In a windowless chamber atop St Paul's, beneath thirteen tons of bells, sit 14 seamstresses embroidering and restoring the cathedral's robes and banners. "There are still wonderful haberdashers in Kuala Lumpur and Aleppo. I found this place there that still sold gold thread. If someone’s going to Marrakesh, we give them a shopping list in case they stumble upon a traditional haberdashery" (624 words)

Michael Oakeshott

Terry Nardin | Stanford Encyclopedia Of Philosophy | 8th March 2016

New entry. Long overdue. The meat is in sections 3 and 4. "Whether we are applying rules or calculating outcomes, we must work with what we presume to be facts though these are always uncertain in various ways. There is never a single and demonstrably correct course of action. Political arguments cannot be proved or disproved; they can only be shown to be more or less convincing than other such arguments" (10,400 words)

Redefining Deaf Space

Amanda Kolsen Hurley | Curbed | 2nd March 2016

DeafSpace is a design movement that aims to optimise buildings and interiors for deaf people, with a particular emphasis on sight-lines, mobility and acoustics. The result is a "close focus on human cognition and emotion" which has valuable lessons for design in general. "We use a lot of these DeafSpace terms as shorthand for bad design. We see a column in the middle of a big space, and we say: 'That is not Deaf'" (3,700 words)

Paul Bremer And The Rise Of ISIS

Neil Swidey | Boston Globe | 10th March 2016

A second draft of history. It's time to talk about Paul Bremer. We live in a world shaped by two disastrous decisions he made when running American-occupied Iraq. He purged the Baath party; he disbanded the Iraqi army. Chaos and civil war followed, destabilising the Middle East and spawning ISIS. Bremer is unrepentant: “The world would be a much, much more dangerous place if Saddam were still in power" (7,000 words)

Google AI Passes Go Grandmaster

Cade Metz | Wired | 10th March 2016

Illuminating account of Google's new Go-playing engine, AlphaGo. "They taught AlphaGo to play the game by feeding thousands of human Go moves into the neural networks. Then they matched AlphaGo against itself. By playing match after match on its own, the system could learn to play at an even higher level — perhaps at a level that eclipses the skills of any human. That’s why it produces such unexpected moves" (2,100 words)

Video of the day: George Martin And Brian Wilson

What to expect: From a 1997 BBC documentary. Wilson and Martin re-record 'God Only Knows' (5'24")

Thought for the day

The lie has long since lost its honest function of misrepresenting reality
Theodore Adorno

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