Weekly Review — July 27, 2010, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Wikileaks released thousands of military field reports from six years of the war in Afghanistan, including several asserting that representatives of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence met with Taliban leaders to coordinate attacks against American troops and plan assassinations of Afghan leaders, and that the Taliban has been using heat-seeking missiles provided to the mujahideen by the United States during Afghanistan’s Soviet occupation. The reports also describe widespread corruption among Afghanistan’s military and police. “I asked the seven patrolmen we detained to sit and relax while we sorted through a problem without ever mentioning why they were being detained,” one report reads. “Three of the patrolmen responded by saying that they had only taken money from the truck drivers to buy fuel for their generator.” Another report describes what happened after an Afghan civilian protested the rape by a police commander of a 16-year-old girl. “The district commander ordered his bodyguard to open fire on the AC [Afghan civilian],” it says. “The bodyguard refused, at which time the district commander shot [the bodyguard] in front of the AC.” “The United States strongly condemns the disclosure of classified information,” said National Security Adviser General James Jones. “Look,” said a spokesman for Afghan President Hamid Karzai about the reports, “this is nothing new.”New York TimesNew York TimesNew York TimesAt least 45 Afghan civilians were killed in Helmand province when a NATO rocket hit a mud house in which they had taken shelter from fighting between NATO and Taliban forces.New York TimesA stampede during the Love Parade, an electronic music festival in Germany, killed eighteen people, and an Arab Israeli was sentenced to 18 months for rape after he slept with a woman under the pretense that he was an eligible Jewish bachelor. New York TimesHaaretz Daily

President Barack Obama signed into law the Restoring American Financial Stability Act, which expands federal regulation to derivatives markets and other previously unregulated areas of the financial system and creates a panel to monitor risks to the financial system. “These reforms represent the strongest consumer financial protections in history,” Obama said. Analysts estimated that three quarters of the bill’s substance would be determined later, and congressional Democrats and labor leaders pushed for Elizabeth Warren, the architect of the consumer financial protection bureau created by the bill, to be named its first head. “Symbolically, it does seem incredibly important to pick somebody who not only invented the idea,” said Stephen Lerner of the Service Employees International Union, “but someone who doesn??t claim to be a neutral.”New York TimesNew York TimesForbesNew York TimesThe Senate Judiciary Committee voted 13 to 6 to approve Elena Kagan’s nomination to the Supreme Court, sending her candidacy to the full Senate for confirmation. South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham was the lone Republican to vote in favor of Kagan. “No one spent more time trying to beat President Obama than I did,” said Graham, who was also the only Republican committee member to vote for Sonia Sotomayor. “But President Obama won.”Washington PostWashington PostBP’s board met to decide the future of CEO Tony Hayward, and the rock band Kings of Leon abandoned the stage three songs into a concert in St. Louis after a pigeon shat in their bass player’s mouth.MSNBCBBC

Forensic scientists in Romania dug up the official graves of Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu to determine whether the bodies of the former dictator and his wife are really buried there.New York TimesAmazon.com announced that it was selling more ebooks than hardcovers for the first time, and the Library of Congress, which oversees the U.S. Copyright Office, ruled that iPhone owners can legally “jailbreak” their phones to download software that is not approved by Apple.GuardianNew York TimesOfficials revealed that prisoners in a northern Mexican prison had been allowed out at night to moonlight as hitmen using vehicles and weapons provided by prison guards.New York TimesA British hedge-fund manager spent roughly $1 billion on 240,000 tons of cocoa beans in an effort to corner the world cocoa market, and scientists in England were developing Ecobot III, a self-sustaining robot that feeds on biomass, digesting it in an artificial gut and excreting waste into a litter tray. “Diarrhea-bot would be more appropriate,” said the director of the lab working on the project. “It’s not exactly knocking out rabbit pellets.” BBCMSNBC

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Arab artists take up — and look past — regional politics
“When everyday life regularly throws up images of terror and drama and the technological sublime, how can a photographer compete?”
“Qalandia 2087, 2009,” by Wafa Hourani
“There was torture by the previous regime and by the current Iraqi regime,” Dr. Amin said. “Torture by our Kurdish government, torture by Syrians, torture by the U.S.”
Visiting His Own Grave © Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
The Tale of the Tape·

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“Heroin isn’t the weakness Art Pepper submits to; it’s the passion he revels in.”
Photograph (detail) © Laurie Pepper
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"Policymakers, recognizing the growing influence of civil disobedience and riots on the direction of the nation, had already begun turning to science for a response."
Illustration by Richard Mia
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“Almond insists that watching football does more than feed an appetite for violence. It’s a kind of modern-day human sacrifice, and it makes us more likely to go to war.”
Photograph by Harold Edgerton

Chance that a movie script copyrighted in the U.S. before 1925 was written by a woman:

1 in 2

Engineers funded by the United States military were working on electrical brain implants that will enable the creation of remote-controlled sharks.

Malaysian police were seeking fifteen people who appeared in an online video of the Malaysia-International Nude Sports Games 2014 Extravaganza, and Spanish police fined six Swiss tourists conducting an orgy in the back of a moving van for not wearing their seatbelts.

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In Praise of Idleness


I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.

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