[Weekly Review] | April 15, 2014, by Jeremy Keehn | Harper's Magazine

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[Weekly Review]

Weekly Review


The infiltration of eastern Ukraine, the pain of Heartbleed, and the wrath of God Gazarov

Early Lessons in Self-government (March 1876)

Early Lessons in Self-government (March 1876)

Pro-Russian demonstrators seized government buildings and blockaded roads in nine eastern Ukrainian towns and cities, declaring a separatist republic in one and stealing arms in another. Ukraine requested that United Nations peacekeepers be sent in to participate in a “large-scale anti-terrorist operation,” and Russia called an emergency session of the U.N. Security Council, at which Russian ambassador Vitaly Churkin called Ukraine’s proposed military campaign a “criminal use of force,” British ambassador Mark Lyall Grant criticized Russia for massing as many as 40,000 troops near Ukraine’s border, and American ambassador Samantha Power argued that the infiltration of Ukrainian towns recalled the process by which Russia recently annexed Crimea. “This ‘instability,’ ” said Power, “was written and choreographed in and by Russia.”[1][2][3][4][5] Russian president Vladimir Putin sent a letter to 18 European leaders threatening a disruption in their countries’ natural-gas supply unless Ukraine settled a $2.2 billion gas debt, a Russian-born man named God Gazarov sued an American credit-rating agency, and Russia reportedly dropped a series of math texts from a list of recommended curricular books because its illustrations featured too many non-Russian characters. “Gnomes, Snow White,” said a Russian education expert, “these are representatives of a foreign-language culture.”[6][7][8] Rwanda marked the twentieth anniversary of its 1994 genocide, in which more than 1 million people died, with speeches and a reenactment that cast U.N. peacekeepers as an extension of European colonialism.[9] The U.N. Security Council voted to send 11,820 peacekeepers to the Central African Republic, where thousands of people have been killed in violence between Muslims and Christians since December 2012.[10][11] Russia announced that it would establish a permanent moon base by 2040. “This process has the beginning, but has no end,” said deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin. “We are going to come to the moon forever.”[12] A Colorado astronaut posted the first Instagram selfie from space.[13]

It was revealed that on New Year’s Eve 2011, German programmer Robin Seggelmann accidentally coded into the software library OpenSSL, which encrypts transactions on an estimated half a million websites, an error known as Heartbleed that allows anyone to access protected systems. “[It can] be explained pretty easily,” said Seggelmann. “I missed validating a variable containing a length.” The U.S. National Security Agency denied a report that it had exploited the bug, while the White House said that the agency would have had limited authorization to do so but that its protocol was “biased” toward disclosing vulnerabilities.[14][15][16][17][18] Indian prime-ministerial contender Narendra Modi, who advertises his bachelorhood as a mark of his incorruptibility, confessed to having a wife, and American researchers verified that a papyrus fragment, discovered in 2012, in which Jesus refers to “My wife,” dates to at least the eight century A.D. and so is not a modern forgery. “An undergraduate student with one semester of Coptic can make a reed pen and start drawing lines,” said Brown University Egyptologist Leo Dupuydt, who argued that the fragment is a pastiche of the gnostic Gospel of Thomas but acknowledged not having seen it.[19][20] Pope Francis asked forgiveness for the sexual abuse of children by Roman Catholic priests. “You cannot interfere,” said the pope, “with children.”[21] A Pakistani court withdrew a murder case against a nine-month-old baby.[22] An Ohio man sentenced to display a sign reading I AM A BULLY was bullied by passersby, the city of Irwindale, California, declared sriracha-sauce production a public nuisance, and the Atlanta Braves burned an American flag at their home opener.[23][24][25] Former Ku Klux Klan Grand Dragon Frazier Glenn Cross was arrested for allegedly shooting and killing a Methodist doctor and his grandson outside a Jewish community center in suburban Kansas City, then driving a few blocks and killing a Catholic woman outside a Jewish retirement home. “We’ve had a few members who have become bad apples,” said KKK Imperial Wizard Frank Ancona, “and the whole organization is overall cast in the same light.”[26][27][28]


The mayor of a Spanish village whose name translates to “Castrillo Kill Jews” proposed changing it to “Castrillo Jews’ Hill.”[29] Welsh archaeologists dated Offa’s Dyke to between one and three centuries before the reign of King Offa. “We know very little about the dyke,” said Clwyd-Powis Archaeological Trust director Paul Belford. “There was never any dating.”[30][31] A Norwegian fisherman recovered an orange vibrator from the belly of a Barents Sea cod, and North Carolina doctors reported the successful transplantation of lab-grown vaginas in four aplastic women.[32][33] In Chongqing, She Ping claimed a world record for nude bee-bearding after attracting more than 460,000 drones to his body, and in Singapore, Bai Ting was charged with biting the arm of a police officer.[34][35] Alberta dentist Michael Zuk, the owner of a molar that belonged to John Lennon, revealed that he hoped to clone a new Lennon and raise him as a son. “Hopefully keep him away from drugs,” said Zuk, “but, you know, guitar lessons wouldn’t hurt.”[36] The Swedish city of Lund introduced vein-scanning as a method of payment, and a Colorado company unveiled the state’s first marijuana vending machine. “I don’t think we’ve dreamed,” said COO Stephen Shearin, “what it can do yet.”[37][38]

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