Weekly Review — July 20, 2004, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: Calvin Burning, 1875]

The United Nations continued to issue warnings about the ongoing genocide in Sudan, where Arab militias, known as Janjaweed, have been slaughtering and raping black farmers in Darfur; more than one million people have fled their homes and hundreds of thousands of refugees could soon die of cholera and other diseases.Reuters, Associated PressA court in southern Darfur sentenced ten Janjaweed fighters to have their left hands and right feet amputated; the Sudanese ambassador in London denied that his government was supporting the militias.BBCYasir Arafat rejected the resignation of Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia, and the Palestinian National Security Council declared a state of emergency after militants seized several security officials and four French charity workers.Associated PressThe Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades assassinated an Israeli judge.ReutersA Sunni cleric in Ramadi declared a holy war on American forces.Agence France-PresseIraqi militants killed the governor of Mosul in an ambush, andReutersIraq’s justice minister narrowly escaped when a suicide car bomber attacked a convoy in Baghdad.ReutersAn audit of the Coalition Provisional Authority found that American officials did not know how much oil Iraq was producing or how oil revenues were being spent, andUSA TodayPhilippine forces were withdrawn from the country in response to the kidnapping of a truck driver. The Bush Administration was not pleased.CNNMike Ditka, the former coach of the Chicago Bears football team, said that he might make a run for the Senate, andReutersGovernor Arnold Schwarzenegger of California called his Democratic opponents “girlie men.”New York Times

The United Nations estimated that southern Africa will have 50 million AIDS orphans by 2010, and the World Bank reported that only 700,000 orphans receive support from AIDS resources.New ScientistMexico’s attorney general was implanted with computer chips that broadcast his location and his identity; security experts said that publicly revealing the existence of the location chip was unwise, since kidnappers could simply remove the chip.AnanovaCanadian patients were complaining about the quality of government-grown pot.Canadian PressCharges were dismissed against a Texas woman who holds “Tupperware-type” parties for housewives interested in buying dildos.Associated PressMartha Stewart was sentenced to five months in prison, andAssociated PressCondoleezza Rice said that there was no plan to cancel the November presidential elections.Associated PressGraduate students at the University of North Carolina discovered that 75 percent of the fish sold as red snapper was some other kind of fish.University of North CarolinaA first draft of the doggenome was released.NIHSenator John Kerry promised to double the number of American spies.Reuters

The Los Alamos National Laboratory suspended all classified research after it was discovered that two computer disks had been lost.Los Angeles TimesThe inspector general of the USDA said that the agency’s mad-cow surveillance system is weak, that the testing is not random, that it fails to require rendering plants to participate, and that it is based on flawed, unscientific assumptions.Seattle TimesA runaway cement truck killed 17 guests at a wedding party in Java, Indonesia.Straits TimesResearchers found that east Asians are not naturally nearsighted.New ScientistA large survey by the British Ministry of Health of male Gulf War veterans found that they suffer significant fertility problems.New ScientistA mule reportedly gave birth in Bhutan.AnanovaThe Senate killed a proposal for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, andNew York TimesBoston Scientific Corporation recalled 85,000 drug-coated heart stents.ReutersPublic-health experts said that 40 percent of the residents of Los Angeles County get no more than 10 minutes of exercise per week.Center for the Advancement of HealthResearchers in Montreal found that people who go blind as infants have better pitch than sighted people.ReutersPacific Gas & Electric revealed that it lost three segments of a used nuclear fuel rod.ReutersBritain’s Science Museum was thinking about using visitors’ excrement to cut down on its electricity bills.ReutersA study found that children who watch two hours of TV a night risk becoming fat smokers with high cholesterol.Associated PressSome drug companies were thinking about banning people who respond to placebos from clinical trials.New ScientistA plague of locusts was massing in Africa.New ScientistScientists said that they could estimate how many years a woman has left before the onset of menopause by using a technique called transvaginal sonography.New ScientistIn Florida, a man was accused of beating his girlfriend with a pet alligator.IndependentA British man was jailed for shooting off his testicles.Reuters

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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
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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.

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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
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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
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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.

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