Vice, Espionage, Oprah, Silk Road, Society, CIA


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

Vice Goes To Cuba

Matthew Garrahan | Financial Times | 15th May 2015 | | Read with 1Pass

On the road in Cuba with Spike Jonze, shooting news footage for Vice, which has grown in 20 years from a small music magazine to a $4bn video-led media group. Rupert Murdoch calls it "a wild, interesting effort to interest millennials who don't read". Vice will soon have its own US cable channel. It may even try an IPO. The secret of its success? "We've just tried to make stuff that sucks less than everyone else" (3,980 words)

Frozen Assets

James Bamford | Foreign Policy | 11th May 2015 | Metered paywall

According to the Inuit, “Only when the ice breaks will you truly know who is your friend and who is your enemy.” So get prepared. The Arctic ice is melting, uncovering oil and gas reserves worth $17 trillion, which are claimed by five countries, pending a UN decision which could take decades. The seas and skies are buzzing with satellites and submarines. Russia is building 13 military bases. The new Cold War gets colder (3,675 words)

Oprah Winfrey As Neoliberal Thinker

Nicole Aschoff | The Guardian | 9th May 2015

Oprah Winfrey is "one of a new group of elite storytellers" who help us to "manage our desires" by appealing to "deep fantasies about how we want to live our lives". Her creed: "External conditions don’t determine your life. You do. Anybody can do anything." Her own rise from poverty to great wealth and fame is a model for all. Which cannot be true, but it ought to be true. She offers, not a description of life, but a vision of it (2,140 words)

The Rise And Fall Of Silk Road

Joshuah Bearman | Wired | 14th May 2015

The Fall. The FBI traces a Silk Road IP address to a server farm in Iceland, mirrors the site, and starts tracing the superusers — of whom the most super is frosty@frosty. Which happens to echo one of Ross Ulbricht's old screen names at Stack Overflow. "In the end, one of the best law enforcement tools was Google. Ross was careless early on. And in the era of informational perpetuity, you only have to be careless once" (11,000 words)

The Real Story Of The American Family

Stephanie Coontz | The American Prospect | 14th May 2015

Recent books by Andrew Cherlin and Robert Putnam about the crisis of the American family, especially within the white working class, blame the decline on money, not morals. "Only in the economic boom that followed World War II, with the assistance of a strong union movement and massive government investment in job creation, did significant numbers of blue-collar men earn enough to marry and support a family at an early age" (2,600 words)

Dean Baquet On Naming Names

Jack Goldsmith | Lawfare | 29th April 2015

New York Times editor Dean Banquet defends his paper's decision to name CIA officials running the US drone programme, despite objections from the CIA. "The CIA’s role has changed with the drone program. It has become a semi-military agency. I don’t think you can do that and then insist on the same rules in dealing with the Press as you did when you were running truly secret clandestine programs" (3,860 words)

Video of the day: LSD: Wonder Drug Of The Future

What to expect: Promotional video for LSD from the manufacturer, Sandoz, made in 1965 (3'08")

Thought for the day

Remember that, in giving any reason at all for refusing, you lay some foundation for a future request
Arthur Helps

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