Television, Music, Clark Gable, Trade, Flying

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

Watch It While It Lasts

Ian Leslie | FT | 13th April 2017

Golden ages come when a culture invents or re-invents itself. A golden age of television began almost 20 years ago when The Sopranos showed that cable audiences would pay to watch challenging new drama. The Sopranos was truly original; which made originality bankable — a wonderful conjuncture for creatives, but a temporary one. “Only when nobody knows anything does a creative industry bet on its creators. Golden ages come to an end when everybody knows something” (3,500 words)

Now That Was Music

Lary Wallace | Aeon | 25th April 2017

Why do our tastes in popular music ossify when we hit thirty or so? Why this “solidification of the soul”? Once upon a time it was difficult to keep up with trends as your lifestyle changed, but Spotify has solved that. Perhaps in adulthood we no longer want or need to be stirred in the deep way that music can stir us; we are “no longer trying on identities like new clothes”. In any case, it’s hard to idolise people who are younger than you. What can Justin Bieber know of the world? (2,900 words)

Clark Gable’s Vest

Jim Carroll | 17th March 2017

Claudette Colbert charged twice her usual fee to make It Happened One Night with Clark Gable, calling it “the worst picture I’ve ever made”. It went on to win all five main Oscars — and that was the least of its surprises. A scene of Gable bare-chested “led to a dramatic decline in undershirt sales across America”. Another scene, showing Gable eating a carrot, inspired the characterisation of Bugs Bunny. “Creative enterprises generate any number of unintended consequences” (1,100 words)

What Causes Trade Imbalances

Joseph E. Gagnon | PIIE | 7th April 2017

Counterintuitive economics. Trade barriers do not generally cause (or cure) trade imbalances. According to research studies conducted over the past twenty years the fundamental factors behind trade imbalances include fiscal policy, intervention in currency markets, trend economic growth rates, per capita income levels, and prospective population ageing. Business cycles may also play an important short-term role. But “none of the studies found any role for trade barriers” (1,200 words)

Ejecting From A Fighter Jet

Cut-out-and-keep guide, just in case. In a two-person jet the co-pilot sitting in the rear seat needs to go first, otherwise they get burned by the rockets from the pilot’s seat in front. After ejection the seat falls away and the chute should deploy automatically. Otherwise: “If you see the ground coming up big and fast, pull the rip cord.” When you land, roll. “You will come away from the experience significantly bruised and battered, possibly with fractured bones and torn ligaments” (1,800 words)

Video of the day: Reflected Cats

What to expect:

Mathematician Tadashi Tokieda discusses the properties of curved reflections of cats (3’29”)

Thought for the day

There is an infinite amount of hope in the universe — but not for us
Franz Kafka

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