Weekly newsletter 94

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

Beats By Dr Dre: How Monster Lost The World

Sam Biddle | Gizmodo | 7 February 2013

Gripping business story. How bad deals get done. Some people are smarter than others. Monster electronics and Interscope Records agree to build headphones branded by rapper Dr Dre. Interscope walks off with all of the brand value, stuffing Monster with development and manufacturing costs. "One of the all time worst deals in tech"

We Never Have To Be Alone

Will Sheff | Will Sheff | 4 February 2013

Let me deliver the off-putting news up front. This is a long essay about a shambolic television performance by Dr Hook And The Medicine Show band in 1974. You may want to read no further. But if you do, prepare to delight in a lyrical appreciation of the cheesy underbelly of period pop—"entertainment verging on sheer life-affirming joy"

Civil Disobedience

David Byrne | David Byrne's Journal | 6 February 2013

Aaron Swartz started an argument that he wasn't ready to finish. "If Swartz had admitted the theft and publicised his willingness to go to jail, thereby bringing attention to the inordinate punishment he was receiving and to the inequities of databases like JSTOR, then he might have better made his point ... His method was sloppy"

Who Is This Herr Ratzinger?

Andrew Sullivan and Christopher Hitchens | Daily Dish | 7 February 2013

Fragments of a conversation about religion, transcribed from a rediscovered tape. Hitchens: "Who is this Herr Ratzinger? By what right does he arbitrate? Do these people want power in this world or the next? It’s always this world. That’s how religion strikes me as absolutely material, nothing to do with the spiritual or after-existence"

Moon Man: What Galileo Saw

Adam Gopnik | New Yorker | 4 February 2013

Great scientists establish truths that will outlast them by centuries. If they work under oppressive regimes, as Galileo did in papal Italy, it's not the best use of their time to fight the oppression. Their highest priority must be to create the space in which they can do their scientific work—if necessary, by making compromises with power

Why People Keep Pressing The Elevator Call Button

Dennis Mahoney | Morning News | 5 February 2013

You've pressed the button. It's lit up, to show that it's been pressed. One minute later Bob comes along and presses it again. What is it with Bob? Doesn't he trust you? Does he have superior call-button technique? Or is his whole life full of similarly futile rituals, fron honking in traffic jams to refreshing his email every two minutes?

Ten Virtues For The Modern Age

Alain de Botton | School Of Life | 4 February 2013

"Being virtuous has become a strange and depressing notion, while wickedness and evil bask in a peculiar kind of glamour." Virtue needs rehabilitating. But also updating. Try this draft list of ten virtues appropriate to the modern age: Resilience; empathy; patience; sacrifice; politeness; humour; self-awareness; forgiveness; hope; confidence

Drone Home

Lev Grossman | Time | 1 February 2013

On the history, morality, technology, and usage of drones. They've transformed warfare. They're about to transform our personal lives, as they reach the mass market. Think of them as flying robots. "When robots take to the air, they're faster and nimbler and more graceful than humans will ever be. All along, robots just wanted to be drones"

Video of the week: Namibian Nights

Thought for the week:

"An essential part of power is the freedom not to think too deeply" — Zadie Smith

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