Weekly Review — July 5, 2005, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: A Short-Horn Bull, September 1886]

A bovine idyll.

It was the 229th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.Arrivenet.comThe U.S. Capitol was evacuated for a few minutes,CNN.comChina Export & Credit Insurance Corporation was planning to buyHuffy Bikes,BBC NewsSenator Gaylord Nelson died,The New York TimesNASA smashed a coffee-table-sized device traveling at 23,000 miles per hour into the Tempel 1 comet,Nasa.govand Toyota announced that it would open a new $800 million plant in Ontario. The company turned down hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies in the United States because, when compared to Canadians, U.S. workers are too hard to train, often illiterate, and expensive to insure.CBC NewsA Japanese man recited 83,431 digits of pi,Japan Todayand the state of Georgialegalized fishing with only your hands.The TelegraphThe owner of the New England Patriots football team took off his 14-karat-gold Super Bowl ring to show it to Vladimir Putin; Putin put the ring in his pocket and kept it.The Miami HeraldA member of Britain’s parliament identified himself as a Jedi,Parliamentary Recordand a trader for Taiwan’s Fubon Securities accidentally purchased $223 million worth of the wrong stocks.BloombergA woman in Florida won the right to bare her breasts in public, Newsdaygenetic engineers were growing a SARS vaccine in tomatoes,Globe and Mailand a suicide melon truck exploded in Mosul, killing six people and damaging many melons.The AustralianIn New Zealand a baby boy undergoing penis-enlargement treatment was accidentally given ten times the recommended dose of testosterone by his nurse, causing the boy to become angry and irritable and to develop pubic hair. A doctor warned that the baby might also suffer from painful erections, but that problem had yet to arise.Stuff.co.nz

President George W. Bush gave a nationally televised speech about the war in Iraq to an audience of soldiers. Bush, who served in the Air National Guard, said there was “no higher calling” than military service and mentioned the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks five times. After the speech, there was some question as to whether the soldiers had clapped enough.The New York TimesThe U.S. Army, having increased the maximum enlistment age from thirty-four to thirty-nine and the maximum age for officer candidate school from twenty-nine to forty-two, having offered $20,000 more for college per soldier, and having lowered its recruitment goal for this June by more than one thousand as compared to the previous year, announced that it had exceeded its June recruitment goal by 507 soldiers.CNN.comUSA TodayThe New York TimesA group of U.S. senators visited Guantánamo Bay and said that prisoners there were being treated humanely. Prisoners “even have air-conditioning,” said Senator Jim Bunning of Kentucky, “and semi-private showers.”The New York TimesScientists in Pittsburgh killed a dog, then resurrected it hours later with fresh blood,News.com.auand Sandra Day O’Connor announced that she would retire from the Supreme Court.APConservative groups immediately began fighting to keep Attorney General Alberto Gonzales from being nominated to replace her because he is not conservative enough.The New York TimesSixteen people died when a U.S. Chinook helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan,BBC Newsand a fourth American soldier in Iraq converted to Islam.Watching AmericaIt was uncertain whether Iran’s new president had been involved in taking fifty-two Americans hostage at the U.S. embassy in Tehran in 1979 or not.APA cleric in Lebanon issued a fatwa banning the shooting of guns into the air,ReutersChina decided to outlaw sexual harassment,BBC Newsand a South Korean pastor announced that he had raised enough money to send 1.2 million rabbits to North Korea.ReutersIn Kota Belud, Malaysia, a Kadazandusun Chief Bobolian urged people to stop dressing animals in costumes because doing so offends the spirits and could turn a longhouse to stone.Daily ExpressA farmer in Nicktown, Pennsylvania, was rendered immobile when he fell through a barn floor and broke his thigh bone. The loud noise of his fall scared his cows, who trampled him to death.Post-GazetteA sixty-million-year-old venomous mouse fossil was discovered by a Canadian,Hindustan Timesfifty new species of snail were discovered in Sri Lanka,CBCand a Zamboni driver in Morristown, New Jersey, was charged with drunk Zamboni driving.ABC NewsIn Indonesia, the Islamic Defenders Front unsuccessfully attempted to stop a transvestite beauty show.BBC NewsA woman in Hoogeveen, the Netherlands, turned one hundred and fifteen,Reutersa man in New Hampshire was arrested for hiding inside an outhouse tank,APand a kangaroo was loose in Indiana.ABC13

The estimated number of hedgehogs in Britain was found to have dropped 20 percent since 2001, probably because tidy gardens alienate hedgehogs.BBC NewsIt was discovered that killer jellyfish will swim away from the color redNews.com.auand that baby dolphins do not sleep.CBCTwo Brooklyn, New York, teenagers were arrested for killing a fifteen-year-old boy for his iPod.The New York TimesFrance announced that it would build a nuclear fusion reactor,BBC Newsand Canada’s parliament voted to allow gaymarriages.BBC NewsIran sentenced a man to have his eyes surgically removed,Reutersand in Muncie, Indiana, a paraplegic man was on his way to Mount Zion Baptist Church when his motorized wheelchair became stuck on some train tracks. He was thrown ten yards and killed by a thirty-eight-car freight train.IndyStarLightning struck a sleeping child’s mattress in Kansas, sparked a wildfire in Alaska’s interior,KTUU.com shocked a boy in New Hampshire through his video-game controller,The Boston Channel killed both a golfer and a prisoner in Ohio,WBNSTV and struck the offices of the National Weather Service in Iowa.TheIowaChannel.comThe Association of British Insurers estimated that global warming will result in $27 billion worth of storm damage annually by 2080.BBC NewsScientists in India warned that the Himalayan glacier that feeds the Ganges River would probably melt before the end of this century,BBC Newsand in Tobe, Japan, a panther stood on its hind legs and clasped its paws together in the posture of prayer.Mainichi Daily News

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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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A man is to carry himself in the presence of all opposition, as if every thing were titular and ephemeral but he.

I rose long before dawn, too thrilled to sleep, and set off to find my tribe. North from Greenville in the dark, past towns with names like Sans Souci and Travelers Rest, over the border into North Carolina, through land so choked by kudzu that the overgrown trees in the dark looked like great creatures petrified in mid-flight. The weirdness of this scene would, by the end of the weekend, show itself to be appropriate: my trip would be all about romanticism, and romanticism is a human collision with place that results, as Baudelaire put it, “neither in choice of subject nor exact truth, but in a way of feeling.” My rental car’s engine whined as it climbed the mountains. Day was just breaking when I nosed down a hill to Orchard Lake Campground, where tents were still being erected in the dimness.

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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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Ten yards was the nearest we could get to the river. Any closer and the smell was too much to bear. The water was a milky gray color, as if mixed with ashes, and the passage of floating trash was ceaseless. Plastic bags and bottles, coffee lids, yogurt cups, flip-flops, and sodden stuffed animals drifted past, coated in yellow scum. Amid the old tires and mattresses dumped on the riverbank, mounds of rank green weeds gave refuge to birds and grasshoppers, which didn’t seem bothered by the fecal stench.

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