Trees, Mushrooms, Judges, Amazon

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

Books About Trees

Caspar Henderson | Five Books | 13th July 2017

Action-packed interview with biologist and writer David George Haskell about the place of trees in the world and their value in our lives. “Yes, we have shorter attention spans, but we’re counter-evolving. I encounter a great hunger in my students to restore more control, more balance, so that we’re the ones choosing how our minutes, days, and lives will pass. Smelling the soil, talking to other people, coming to know the sounds of birds and trees: These have great power once we wake to them” (4,080 words)

Notes On The Ingestion Of Amanita Muscaria

Lawrence Millman & Tonya Haff | Cooking Wild Mushrooms | 13th July 2017

Amanita muscaria mushrooms, also known as fly agaric, are prized for their nutty flavour. You boil them in a big pot first to get the toxins out. And if you don’t use a big enough pot, this is what happens: “Our highs seem to have stabilised. Tonya says she feels almost normal, whereas Lawrence says he can’t feel normal because he isn’t. Lawrence is drinking a beer and says he can relate to the bottle, that the bottle can relate to him, and that the two of them are enjoying each other’s company” (1,040 words)

China And America In World Public Opinion

Richard Wike et al | Pew Research Centre | 1st January 1970

How the world sees China and America, based on opinion polling in 38 countries. America is seen as the top global economic power, leading China in aggregate opinion by 42% to 32%. But seven out of the ten EU countries surveyed — including Germany and the UK — rate China as the world’s top economy. China is most admired in sub-Saharan Africa and in Russia, least admired among its East Asia neighbours. Xi Jinping is distrusted by 53% of respondents; Donald Trump by 74%

Should There Be Age Limits for Federal Judges?

Jed Rakoff & Richard Posner | Slate | 5th July 2017

Top judges spar over mandatory retirement. Jed Rakoff argues that life tenure strengthens judicial independence, and judges do great work well into their eighties. Not so, says Richard Posner. A flat retirement age for all judges is no threat to independence; and nobody gets smarter in old age. “While many judges and justices have performed OK in old age, I don’t think any of them improved, which means they could readily have been replaced with equally good or better judges” (2,450 words)

Two Decades Of Recommendations

Brent Smith & Greg Linden | IEEE CS | 12th May 2017

Writers of Amazon’s original recommendation algorithm explain their thinking. What seemed like magic then seems obvious now. “Some purchases, such as a manual for sailing in heavy seas, are likely to indicate a durable long-term interest. Others, such as a dishwasher repair kit, might not be relevant after this weekend’s project. There are purchases, such as baby rattles, where the recommendations have to change over time. Four years later we should recommend board books” (4,500 words)

Video of the day: Michel Gondry: Timelapse

What to expect:

Promotional short for Apple. Michel Gondry shows how to use time-lapse mode on iPhone 7 (0’57”)

Thought for the day

Generosity lies less in giving much, more in giving at the right moment
Jean de la Bruyere

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