Weekly Review — June 19, 2001, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

A group of NASA engineers and American astronomers proposed solving the problem of global warming by moving the entire Earth into another orbit, which they say would add another 6 billion years to the planet’s working life. “The technology is not at all far-fetched,” Dr. Greg Laughlin said. “We don’t need raw power to move Earth, we just require delicacy of planning and maneuvering.” President Bush went to Europe but avoided France and Germany, whose leaders are unlikely to go along with his missile-defense scheme. “There’s some nervousness,” the President said, “and I understand that. But it’s beginning to be allayed when they hear the logic behind the rationale.” In Sweden, at a meeting of the European Union, Bush told reporters that “we spent a lot of time talking about Africa, and we should. Africa is a nation that suffers from incredible disease.” Bozo the Clown finally went off the air. Ohio executed a schizophrenic man. A New York jury sentenced a terrorist to life in prison for killing 213 people in the 1998 bombing of the American embassy in Kenya. A group of Holocaust survivors sued the French railroad in a Brooklyn court because its trains were used to carry Jews and others to the death camps. Porno magazines and a painted swastika were found behind a seat panel in the Queen of England’s Jaguar automobile; a Jaguar employee resigned over the incident.Another employee said that writing secret messages was an old Jaguar tradition: “The chaps go to an awful lot of trouble to do the car, they’re there all dayâ??what else have they got to do?”

Monster hunters were searching Lough Ree in Ireland for a creature with an eel’s body and the head of a horse. Mobile public toilets were introduced in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, in an attempt to keep residents from defecating on the sidewalks. Procter & Gamble largely eliminated its line of foods containing Olestra, a fat substitute that failed to catch on with consumers, perhaps because of widespread concerns about “anal oil leakage.” Karl Rove, President Bush’s chief adviser, was in trouble because he owned $100,000 worth of Intel stock when he met with the company’s CEO, who was in town lobbying for approval of a corporate merger, which followed with celerity. President Bush proposed ending the bombing of Vieques, Puerto Rico, by 2003, satisfying no one, not even the Rev. Al Sharpton, the professional agitator, who was arrested last month during a protest on Vieques; Sharpton continued his hunger strike, with no end in sight, in a New York City jail. Holland’s “abortion ship,” Women on Waves, was unable to pick up Irish women and give them abortions because it lacked a Dutch permit to perform medical procedures and an Irish permit to take on passengers. Women are more caring than men, scientists discovered, and old women are smarter than old men. In Florida, a 73-year-old woman attacked a pit bull, biting it on the back of its neck in an attempt to save her Scottish terrier; the pit bull released its victim and was rewarded with another bite from the old woman. A stork’s nest fell from the sky and landed on a French woman sitting in a cafĂ©. Researchers found that Scots are the most potent men in Europe.

South Korea called out the army to fight a drought. Mohammad Khatami was reelected president of Iran with 78 percent of the vote. Silvio Berlusconi was sworn in as Italy’s prime minister. “I have given instructions,” announced President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela, “that from today onward, any foreigner who comes here and says anything offensive against the nation or the government or the president or the people will be expelled from Venezuela.” Bauchi became the eleventh Nigerian state to adopt Islamic law. The United States made clear its opposition to sending peacekeeping troops to Macedonia, preferring to wait until the conflict leads to a wider war and genocide of one kind or another. Prime Minister Tony Blair, freshly reelected, gave himself a $65,000 raise. British supermarkets were working on a technique, developed by a Texan, to carbonate fruit; the technique works on any fruit but bananas, which explode. Buck Weimer, an inventor from Colorado, came up with a new type of fart-proof underpants for people who suffer from chronic flatulence; the device, called Under-Ease, comes with a replaceable charcoal filter. Scientists found that simply looking at pictures of young attractive women causes a significant increase in a man’s ambition, self-esteem, estimation of his earning potential, career prospects, and dominance. Tall people live longer, according to a new study, and they always have. Japanesefarmers were growing square watermelons.

Share
Single Page

More from Roger D. Hodge:

From the October 2010 issue

Speak, Money

Get access to 167 years of
Harper’s for only $45.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

December 2017

Dead Ball Situation

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Document of Barbarism

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Destroyer of Worlds

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Crossing Guards

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“I am Here Only for Working”

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Dear Rose

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
Destroyer of Worlds·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

In February 1947, Harper’s Magazine published Henry L. Stimson’s “The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb.” As secretary of war, Stimson had served as the chief military adviser to President Truman, and recommended the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The terms of his unrepentant apologia, an excerpt of which appears on page 35, are now familiar to us: the risk of a dud made a demonstration too risky; the human cost of a land invasion would be too high; nothing short of the bomb’s awesome lethality would compel Japan to surrender. The bomb was the only option. Seventy years later, we find his reasoning unconvincing. Entirely aside from the destruction of the blasts themselves, the decision thrust the world irrevocably into a high-stakes arms race — in which, as Stimson took care to warn, the technology would proliferate, evolve, and quite possibly lead to the end of modern civilization. The first half of that forecast has long since come to pass, and the second feels as plausible as ever. Increasingly, the atmosphere seems to reflect the anxious days of the Cold War, albeit with more juvenile insults and more colorful threats. Terms once consigned to the history books — “madman theory,” “brinkmanship” — have returned to the news cycle with frightening regularity. In the pages that follow, seven writers and experts survey the current nuclear landscape. Our hope is to call attention to the bomb’s ever-present menace and point our way toward a world in which it finally ceases to exist.

Illustration by Darrel Rees. Source photographs: Kim Jong-un © ITAR-TASS Photo Agency/Alamy Stock Photo; Donald Trump © Yuri Gripas/Reuters/Newscom
Article
Crossing Guards·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Ambassador Bridge arcs over the Detroit River, connecting Detroit to Windsor, Ontario, the southernmost city in Canada. Driving in from the Canadian side, where I grew up, is like viewing a panorama of the Motor City’s rise and fall, visible on either side of the bridge’s turquoise steel stanchions. On the right are the tubular glass towers of the Renaissance Center, headquarters of General Motors, and Michigan Central Station, the rail terminal that closed in 1988. On the left is a rusted industrial corridor — fuel tanks, docks, abandoned warehouses. I have taken this route all my life, but one morning this spring, I crossed for the first time in a truck.

Illustration by Richard Mia
Article
“I am Here Only for Working”·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

But the exercise of labor is the worker’s own life-activity, the manifestation of his own life. . . . He works in order to live. He does not even reckon labor as part of his life, it is rather a sacrifice of his life.

— Karl Marx

Photograph from the United Arab Emirates by the author. This page: Ruwais Mall
Article
The Year of The Frog·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

To look at him, Sweet Macho was a beautiful horse, lean and strong with muscles that twitched beneath his shining black coat. A former racehorse, he carried himself with ceremony, prancing the field behind our house as though it were the winner’s circle. When he approached us that day at the edge of the yard, his eyes shone with what might’ve looked like intelligence but was actually a form of insanity. Not that there was any telling our mother’s boyfriend this — he fancied himself a cowboy.

“Horse 1,” by Nine Francois. Courtesy the artist and AgavePrint, Austin, Texas
Article
Dead Ball Situation·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

What We Think About When We Think About Soccer, by Simon Critchley. Penguin Books. 224 pages. $20.

Begin, as Wallace Stevens didn’t quite say, with the idea of it. I so like the idea of Simon Critchley, whose books offer philosophical takes on a variety of subjects: Stevens, David Bowie, suicide, humor, and now football — or soccer, as the US edition has it. (As a matter of principle I shall refer to this sport throughout as football.) “All of us are mysteriously affected by our names,” decides one of Milan Kundera’s characters in Immortality, and I like Critchley because his name would seem to have put him at a vocational disadvantage compared with Martin Heidegger, Søren Kierkegaard, or even, in the Anglophone world, A. J. Ayer or Richard Rorty. (How different philosophy might look today if someone called Nobby Stiles had been appointed as the Wykeham Professor of Logic.)

Tostão, No. 9, and Pelé, No. 10, celebrate Carlos Alberto’s final goal for Brazil in the World Cup final against Italy on June 21, 1970, Mexico City © Heidtmann/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

Factor by which single Americans who use emoji are more likely than other single Americans to be sexually active:

1.85

Brontosaurus was restored as a genus, and cannibalism was reported in tyrannosaurine dinosaurs.

Moore said he did not “generally” date teenage girls, and it was reported that in the 1970s Moore had been banned from his local mall and YMCA for bothering teenage girls.

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!

HARPER’S FINEST

Report — From the June 2013 issue

How to Make Your Own AR-15

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

By

"Gun owners have long been the hypochondriacs of American politics. Over the past twenty years, the gun-rights movement has won just about every battle it has fought; states have passed at least a hundred laws loosening gun restrictions since President Obama took office. Yet the National Rifle Association has continued to insist that government confiscation of privately owned firearms is nigh. The NRA’s alarmism helped maintain an active membership, but the strategy was risky: sooner or later, gun guys might have realized that they’d been had. Then came the shootings at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, and at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, followed swiftly by the nightmare the NRA had been promising for decades: a dedicated push at every level of government for new gun laws. The gun-rights movement was now that most insufferable of species: a hypochondriac taken suddenly, seriously ill."

Subscribe Today