Bangalore, Interrogation, Brazil, Indiana Jones, Andrey Kolmogorov

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

Bangalore Before The Dystopia

Harish Menon | Quartz | 9th August 2017

Bangalore has gone from Garden City to Garbage City in 30 years. Renowned as the tech hub of India, producing 10% of India’s GDP, the city is “a disaster in slow motion”. Population and area have tripled with little in the way of planning or infrastructure. Green spaces and watercourses have been concreted over. Quality of life has fallen to the lowest of all Indian cities. Residents “grapple with self-combusting foaming toxic lakes”. By 2025 Bangalore “will be simply uninhabitable” (2,900 words)

Witness To An Interrogation

Anthony Loyd | New Statesman | 12th August 2017

A moral dilemma. What do you do as the inadvertent witness to an interrogation of captured ISIS fighters? “I felt intrigued but uncomfortable, watching it all unfold, the bound and kneeling men waiting for the whip or worse. I knew that if I left the room both prisoners would get thrashed for sure, and likely tortured. If I stayed, they might get thrashed anyway, in front of me, which might have implied my acquiescence. But I also wanted to know what would happen. It was awkward either way” (1,900 words)

After The Flame

Mariana Lajolo & Wayne Drehs | ESPN | 10th August 2017

On the aftermath of the 2016 Rio Olympics. Venues lie abandoned and vandalised. The Organizing Committee still owes $40 million. The net effect on Brazilian sport has been catastrophic: “Sponsors have dried up. Elite coaches have fled the country. Training centers have closed”. The games were supposed to revitalise the favelas; instead, street crime is reaching new highs. “Even some of the medals awarded to the athletes have tarnished or cracked, with more than 10 percent of them sent back to Brazil for repair” (4,300 words)

Indiana Jones, Archaeologist

Max Gladstone | Tor | 9th August 2017

“Often Jones seeks an object smaller than a standard sea chest, with at best a vague sense of its location. In most cases the object is regarded by the brightest minds of the field to be mythical. If we ignore the Siva Stones, which Jones seems to have always planned to return to the village from which they were stolen, Jones’ success rate at converting ‘this object is probably mythical’ into ‘this object is part of a publicly accessible museum collection’ rises to one in five” (2,070 words)

The Kolmogorov Option

Scott Aaronson | Shtetl-Optimized | 9th August 2017

The duty of scientists is to pursue the truth. Is it also their duty to proclaim the truth, when this will lead to their own destruction? A case in point: Andrey Kolmogorov, a giant of 20C mathematics, who lived and worked through Stalin’s terror. “Anyone as intelligent and morally sensitive as Kolmogorov would have seen through the lies of his government, and been horrified by its brutality. So then why did he utter nary a word in public against what was happening?” (2,300 words)

Video of the day: Nabokov’s Butterflies

What to expect:

The story of Nabokov’s first road trip across America, finding inspiration and collecting butterflies (4’38”)

Thought for the day

The past is always attractive because it is drained of fear
Thomas Carlyle

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