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[Weekly Review]

Weekly Review


A study that compared the temperatures of French postal carriers’ left and right testicles won an Ig Noble Prize, annual awards honoring research that “first makes people laugh, and then makes them think.”

John Bolton, who flew to Florida to be present during the 2000 presidential election recount, assisted the State Department in drafting fact sheets about yellow cake in Iraq, and, since 2002, has repeatedly advocated for preemptively attacking Iran, as well as Cuba, Libya, and Venezuela, was fired from his post as national security adviser via a tweet by the president, who sometimes called him “Mike Bolton.”1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Ten drones struck two oil facilities in Saudi Arabia, which suspended more than half of the country’s crude oil production.10 Though Houthi rebels claimed responsibility, Mike Pompeo, who is reportedly being considered to fill Bolton’s former position while still serving as secretary of state, accused Iran of being behind the attack.11 Separately, Pompeo and Donald Trump considered supporting a French plan to offer a $15 billion credit line to Tehran, compensation for oil sales lost as a result of sanctions Trump had imposed, on the condition that Iran return to the nuclear treaty negotiated by President Obama and then abandoned by Trump.12 Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is up for reelection next week, accused Iran of destroying a secret nuclear weapons facility; promised that if returned to power he would annex a third of the West Bank, effectively encircling any future Palestinian state; and released a video that concealed the fact that he referred to Boris Johnson as “Boris Yeltsin” in front of his cabinet.13 14 15 A New Zealand man brought an “emotional-support” clown to a redundancy meeting where he was to be fired; throughout the proceedings, the clown inflated balloons and folded them into a series of animals.16 Milo Yiannopoulos was banned from an upcoming furry convention.17

Theresa May, former U.K. prime minister, published a list of supporters who would receive peerages and knighthoods, including two aides who resigned after allegations that they had bullied members of parliament, and a chief of staff who suppressed safety reforms before a fire at the Grenfell Tower apartment building, which killed 72 residents.18 19 20 Authorities arrested a onetime FEMA official who had been tasked with restoring power to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, and charged him with accepting bribes in connection with a $1.8 billion contract awarded to Cobra Acquisitions, whose CEO was also arrested.21 An eighth detainee died this year while in custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which released an improperly redacted document that revealed the location of an “urban warfare” training facility and used placeholder text and “ijunynyhhjhjhjjjjjjj,” “hnjumgfrdddfffffff,” and “BHMKKOOOOOO” where signatures should’ve been.22 23 It was reported that, during the Supreme Court confirmation hearings of Brett Kavanaugh, the FBI declined to interview at least 25 people who could have corroborated Deborah Ramirez’s claim that, while at Yale, a drunken Kavanaugh thrust his penis at her face, and another witness who could have corroborated a separate incident involving a different female classmate; the Court allowed the Trump Administration to temporarily enforce a new rule that would deny most Central American refugees asylum status; and the City Council of New York, which is chaired by a gay man, ended a ban on gay conversion therapy, citing concern that the Supreme Court would uphold a challenge to the ban.24 25 26 A solid-gold toilet named “America” was stolen from Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of Winston Churchill, in Oxfordshire, England.27

A French company was held liable when one of its employees died of a heart attack after having sex on a work trip, and a study that compared the temperatures of French postal carriers’ left and right testicles won an Ig Noble Prize, annual awards honoring research that “first makes people laugh, and then makes them think.”28 29 Andrew Yang raised more than $1 million in the three days following the most recent Democratic debate, during which the candidate offered to give 10 families $1,000 a month in order to prove the effectiveness of his universal basic income proposal.30 Two contractors were held in jail for attempting to break into the courthouse in Adel, Iowa, after their company had been hired to test the facility’s security.31 Beekeepers sued the EPA for relaxing a ban on pesticides known to harm apiaries, and in Bhopal, India, a pair of frogs—who had been married two months ago to please Indra, the god of rain, in an effort to alleviate drought—were divorced amid flood conditions and 26 percent higher than usual rainfall.32 33 A Tasmanian garlic farmer was sentenced to two months in prison for importing “outstandingly dangerous” bulbs that she had smuggled onto the island as “office supplies,” and a woman in Iceland spent hours searching for herself when, after she changed clothes, neither she nor her fellow tourists recognized the description of a missing woman.34 35 “I just gritted my teeth and smiled,” said Vice President Mike Pence when telling GOP lawmakers at a retreat in Baltimore about being bitten so hard by the Triple Crown–winning racehorse American Pharoah that he “almost collapsed.”36 —Cameron French

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