Wright brothers, Refugees, Translation, Sandwiches, Amazon

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

Let’s All Go To Mars

John Lanchester | London Review Of Books | 10th September 2015

“Some stories are so well known in outline that we don’t really know them at all,” such as the invention of powered flight by the Wright brothers. The juxtaposition of a new book about the Wrights and a biography of Elon Musk “suggests that America ... deeply wants to believe in the new thing, to believe that the new inventions will be as consequential as the old ones proved to be” (6,260 words)

Europe’s Refugee Crisis Shenanigans

me pe Ghana | 4th September 2015

"The western media somehow forgets that millions of refugees driven from wars in Syria, Afghanistan, Sudan or Somalia have sought asylum in neighboring countries," many times more than make the treacherous trip to Europe. "Lebanon, which has a population of only 4.2 million, now hosts more than 1.1 million refugees, or 1 refugee for every 4 residents." "Kenya has more refugees from Somalia than all of the refugees residing in Germany" (720 words)

The Curious Condition Of Being A Translator

Daniel Hahn | The Author | 20th March 2014

"There's no single word in one language that maps perfectly onto a word in another – not one. And every language has things it can do, and things it can't." Some languages "put verbs at the end, allowing you to save up surprises." A translator must figure out how to "recreate ingeniously all the things that [one language] does naturally but in another language that does all things differently" (PDF) (1,700 words)

Is This A Sandwich?

Dr. M. Ritchey | Medium | 7th August 2015

Socrates was an “annoying jerk” who wanted to prove how little we really know. We think we understand what a sandwich is but we can't even figure out a satisfying definition that excludes hotdogs and small piles of bread. Meanwhile, “our social practices, personal relationships, moral judgments, foreign policies, and political beliefs” rely heavily on more complicated concepts that, “when pressed,” we similarly can't “define or demonstrate” (2,280 words)

Amazon Tour Notes

Dan Suo & Jason Spinell & Rob Snowden & Spencer Wright | Google Docs | 28th October 2014

Inside an Amazon fulfillment centre. "Instead of arranging inventory by category, Amazon arranges at random. Computers keep track of where everything is" and send workers to the right cubbies to pick up the parts of an order. Surprisingly, this is more efficient and also minimises mistakes. Further down the line, computers calculate the expected weight of each order and reject a package if the weight is wrong (2,210 words)

Video of the day: Another Congo

What to expect: Documentary. Glimpses of life in the Congo. French narration with English subtitles (4'58")

Thought for the day

All work is the avoidance of harder work
James Richardson (http://www.amazon.com/Vectors-Aphorisms-Ten-Second-James-Richardson/dp/0967266890)

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