Martian Politics, Giraffes, Durack, Lynching, Snowbot

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

How To Govern Mars

Michael J. Coren | Quartz | 10th June 2016

As Silicon Valley lays plans to colonize Mars, ideas flourish about how Mars should be governed. The central question is whether Mars could or should be ruled from Earth. Earth-governments will doubtless think so, while knowing that they court an eventual war of secession. Elon Musk favours a system of “direct democracy” allowing the people of Mars vote directly on most (if not all) issues before the government. It remains to be seen whether the example of Brexit will temper his view (1,300 words)

Can A Giraffe Swim?

Darren Naish | Scientific American | 23rd June 2016

Giraffes have been seen to wade into rivers — but none has been seen to swim. Can computer modelling supply the answer which observation cannot, as to whether giraffes can swim? The lungs are huge, but the neck is long. A giraffe could easily float, but with its neck flat on the water, a very awkward posture. It could then kick its way forward, much as a horse does. It would be swimming, but badly. Small wonder if swimming is something that giraffes take great care to avoid (1,700 words)

Australian Politics Covers A Lot Of Ground

Rob Taylor | Wall Street Journal | 26th June 2016

If Durack were a country, it would be the 19th-largest in the world, behind Mexico. In Australia it is a single parliamentary constituency with 91,000 voters in 300 settlements. Candidates, take care when campaigning: “If you’re crossing rivers there are crocodiles.” And count your blessings: “Until 2010, when it was broken into two, the constituency used to be even larger, covering a third of the Australian continent, an area the size of France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Poland and Britain put together” (1,140 words)

He Lived

Syreeta McFadden | Buzzfeed | 24th June 2016

Strange Fruit mourns two boys lynched in Indiana, their broken bodies shown hanging from trees in Lawrence Beitler’s unbearable photograph. But there was more. “There were actually three ropes strung up on the maple tree in Marion on August 7, 1930. A third teenager had been dragged from his jail cell to the courthouse square. His name was James Cameron and he was the only known person to have ever survived a lynching in America. We were standing in front of him” (7,800 words)


Andrew Rice | New York | 26th June 2016

From his exile in Moscow, Edward Snowden functions to surprisingly good effect in America by means of an internet-connected robot which relays his face and voice, lets him listen and see by means of cameras and microphones, and moves around on wheels in response to his joystick controller. He can join panels, give interviews, deliver speeches, even lecture at Harvard Law School. “It all amounts to an unprecedented act of defiance, a genuine enemy of the state carousing in plain view” (7,150 words)

Video of the day: Slow Wave

What to expect:

A night of troubled sleep. Surreal, noir cartoon by Andy Kennedy

Thought for the day

Time is how you spend your love
Zadie Smith

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