Native Americans, Brexit, Oil Rigs, Bangalore, Inequality

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

Native Nations And The Constitution

Angela Riley | Harvard Law Review | 10th April 2017

American courts struggle to reconcile the theoretical sovereignty of Native American tribes with their subjection in practice to American law. “It’s quite clear that the Constitution contemplates Indian tribes and tribal rights and establishes a structure for federal-tribal relations. At the same time, the Bill of Rights does not apply directly to the tribes via the Constitution.” What some lawyers call ‘Native American Exceptionalism’ is in constant tension with the principle of equality before the law (2,600 words)

That May-Juncker Dinner

FAZ / Kat | Medium | 2nd May 2017

English translation of much-discussed FAZ article about Jean-Claude Juncker’s Brexit dinner at Downing Street. “Juncker left London with great worries. Circles around him now consider failed negotiations to be more than fifty percent likely. They still hope that Britain will face the facts soon, for a wake-up call in government. Communicating their worries so openly is part of the strategy — because sometimes the alarm bells have to ring very loud for people to wake up” (2,800 words)

Where Oil Rigs Go To Die

Tom Lamont | Guardian | 2nd May 2017

Rich and romantic essay on the life and death of drilling platforms. “As recently as 2010 the rigs were thought too few. An oil company might wait a year until an exploration company had a rig available to lease.” The shortage led to a boom in new construction. Worldwide orders tripled between 2010 and 2011. But rigs take three years to build — just enough time, in this case, for the oil price to slump and exploration with it. The problem is no longer building rigs, but scrapping them (10,800 words)

India’s Silicon Valley Is Dying Of Thirst

Samanth Subramanian | Wired | 2nd May 2017

Bangalore is running out of water: “The projections are relatively correct. Our groundwater levels are approaching zero”. Developers concreted over water-catchment areas as the city doubled in size during India’s hi-tech boom. Save for some radical solution, Bangalore will be “unlivable” by 2020. “The prospect of Bangalore’s imminent collapse from dehydration, and its apparently anarchic response to the threat, seemed to offer a discomfiting preview of a more general urban future” (4,500 words)

Inequality And The Fracturing Of American Democracy

David Alexander | National Review | 2nd May 2017

“One of the foundational assumptions of modern economics, the Pareto principle, holds that if a government policy improves the spending power of one group, we should assume zero impairment to other groups providing their absolute position does not go backward. The significance of the Pareto principle to economics has been enormous: The policies that economists judge ‘efficient’ naturally tend to be those that widen the gap between higher- and lower-wealth citizens” (2,200 words)

Video of the day: Neural Networks For Character Control

What to expect:

Scientific presentation: How machine learning can produce more lifelike animation (4’50”)

Thought for the day

Provability is a weaker notion than truth
Douglas Hofstadter

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