Weekly Review — June 14, 2005, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: Babylonian Lion, March 1875]

General Motors announced that it will eliminate the jobs of 25,000 blue-collar workers in the United States by the end of 2008; the cuts amount to 22 percent of the company’s hourly work force. Washington PostTwenty-eight bodies were found dumped on the street or in shallow graves in Baghdad. Four U.S. soldiers died in Iraq, bringing the total U.S. casualties since the war began past 1,700.APIt was reported that interrogators at Guantánamo Bay tortured prisoners with the music of Christina Aguilera; it was also revealed that American military torturers performed a satirical puppet show for one victim. Drudge ReportTwo crows attacked a jogger in London, drawing blood,This is Londonand a dead goat’s head was found in the Maryland woods.Sentinel and EnterpriseBombs killed ten people in Iran; an Iranian official blamed the United States.BBC NewsAustralian officials were investigating allegations that prison guards tricked a prisoner into inserting a sausage into his rectum,Herald Sunand Australia won an international sheep-shearing contest. The contest was judged on speed and lack of nicks.AFPA flash flood in China killed ninety-two people, most of them young children.BBC NewsDwarves fought bulls in Mexico,Reutersand in the Solomon Islands a hermit who had lived in a cave for forty years decided to return to his village after his fire went out.The New Zealand HeraldScientists in California sequenced the genes of an extinct cave bear using material extracted from its teeth, and now plan to sequence the genes of Neanderthals. “I think it will work,” said a scientist. “It is just a matter of time.”BBC News

A study showed that the world military budget was about $1,035,000,000,000 in 2004; the United States accounted for nearly half of that.Washington PostRecently released emails showed that Air Force officials knew all along that a contract for leased refueling tankers was actually a bailout for Boeing. “We all know,” wrote an official in the Pentagon comptroller’s office, “that this is a bailout for Boeing.”Washington PostBody parts, including a leg and part of a spine, fell from a plane approaching JFK International Airport in New York City. The parts came from a stowaway who had hidden himself in the plane’s wheel well. “[I] heard pounding,” said the plane’s pilot, “but nothing appeared wrong.”ReutersScientists in Los Angeles created a fusion reaction at around room temperature using a pyroelectric crystal.The Christian Science MonitorVoters in Nevada elected a former stripper to be a judge,APofficials in Dortmund, Germany, were preparing to host a game of the upcoming World Cup by setting up “sex garages” for assignations with prostitutes,Reutersand the Xochiquetzal home for elderly prostitutes was slated to open in Mexico City.News24.comAn Italian court ruled that Sicilian authorities had acted improperly when they took away a man’s driver’s license because he was gay; the man’s lawyer said that the arrest had caused his client to suffer hair loss.ReutersResearchers found that one in five women would consider having their breasts removed if it reduced their odds of contracting cancer,Reutersthat babies are soothed by suckling the nipples of men,Times Onlineand that 99 percent of women are against comb-overs.WebIndia123.comA vaccine against the Ebola and Marburg viruses was found to work on monkeys,News24.comand surgeons in Peru separated the legs of Milagros Cerron, the thirteen-month-old “mermaid baby” whose legs were fused from thigh to ankle. Some of the surgery was broadcast live.News-Medical.netIn Augsburg, Germany, zoo officials were being criticized for a planned attraction that will show elephants and rhinos in their “natural environment” by surrounding them with black men in grass skirts.The ScotsmanTwo women were upset when they visited a Houstonmausoleum and found that the cremated remains of their mother had been replaced by a can of sour-cream-and-onion potato chips. Local6.com

Janet Reno had a fender-bender in Florida.Florida TodayPlastic surgery on women’s genitalia was becoming more popular; surgeons reported that they were keeping busy plumping outer labias, tightening vaginas, and restoring hymens.MSNBCThirty-five percent of America’s annual clam harvest was found to be toxic because of red tide.New York TimesScientists studying the Devils Hole pupfish, of which only 180 remain, accidentally killed eighty of them.Live ScienceBritish pranksters kidnapped a Dalek from Wookey Hole Caves.BBC NewsIranian companies were planning to build bicycle factories in Venezuela.Islamic Republic News AgencyPink Floyd announced that it would reunite for a concert, Chron.comand Paul Ankareleased an album on which he sings “The Lovecats” by The Cure and “Eyes Without a Face” by Billy Idol.New York TimesAnne Bancroft died.The Belfast Telegraph-DigitalA new Bach aria was discovered in Germany,CNN.comand Israeliscientists were raising a date palm from a 1,990-year-old seed found at Masada.IHTDisney digitally reduced the size of Lindsay Lohan’s breasts to make a film called Herbie: Fully Loaded less offensive,Hollywood.comand Microsoft opened a new Chinese Internet portal that forbids some users from publishing personal home pages with the words “demonstration,” “democratic movement,” and “freedom.”MSNBCMichael Jackson was acquitted. The New York TimesPolice in Nigeria arrested a cow for murder,AFPthere was a wave of Canadiancanola robberies,CBC Newsand researchers discovered a formula to determine the humor value of a sitcom: (((R * D + V) * F) + S)/A.The Guardian

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Addressing the graduating cadets at West Point in May 1942, General George C. Marshall, then the Army chief of staff, reduced the nation’s purpose in the global war it had recently joined to a single emphatic sentence. “We are determined,” he remarked, “that before the sun sets on this terrible struggle, our flag will be recognized throughout the world as a symbol of freedom on the one hand and of overwhelming force on the other.”

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Harold Jamieson, once chief engineer of New York City’s sanitation department, enjoyed retirement. He knew from his small circle of friends that some didn’t, so he considered himself lucky. He had an acre of garden in Queens that he shared with several like-minded horticulturists, he had discovered Netflix, and he was making inroads in the books he’d always meant to read. He still missed his wife—a victim of breast cancer five years previous—but aside from that persistent ache, his life was quite full. Before rising every morning, he reminded himself to enjoy the day. At sixty-eight, he liked to think he had a fair amount of road left, but there was no denying it had begun to narrow.

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1. In 2014, Deepti Gurdasani, a genetic epidemiologist at the Wellcome Sanger Institute in England, coauthored a paper in Nature on human genetic variation in Africa, from which this image is taken. A recent study had found that DNA from people of European descent made up 96 percent of genetic samples worldwide, reflecting the historical tendency among scientists and doctors to view the male, European body as a global archetype. “There wasn’t very much data available from Africa at all,” Gurdasani told me. To help rectify the imbalance, her research team collected samples from eighteen African ethnolinguistic groups across the continent—such as the Kalenjin of Uganda and the Oromo of Ethiopia—most of whom had not previously been included in genomic research. They analyzed the data using an admixture algorithm, which visualizes the statistical genetic differences among groups by representing them as color clusters. The top chart shows genetic differences among the sampled African populations, in increasing degrees of granularity from top to bottom, and the bottom chart shows how they compare with ethnic groups in the rest of the world. The areas where the colors mix and overlap imply that groups commingled. The Yoruba, for instance, show remarkable homogeneity—their column is almost entirely green and purple—while the Kalenjin seem to have associated with many populations across the continent.

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