Weekly Review — October 11, 2005, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: Lost Souls in Hell, 1875]

Lost Souls in Hell, 1875.

At least 42,000 people died in an earthquake in Pakistan,ABC Newsand hundreds of people in Mexico, Guatemala, and El Salvador were buried alive in mudslides caused by Hurricane Stan.Science DailyBritain accused the Iranian Revolutionary Guard of providing Iraqi Shiite groups with the technology to carry out bombing attacks.BBC NewsA suicide bomber in Iraq blew himself up on a bus, killing ten people,BBC Newsand the Supreme Court of Israel ordered the Israeli Army to stop using Palestinians as human shields.BBC NewsThe CIA announced that it would not punish any of its employees for intelligence failures leading up to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001,LA Timesand the FBI was thinking it might start hiring people who have admitted to using illegal drugs.Chicago Sun-TimesThe U.S. Senate passed a $440 billion defense-spending bill; the bill includes an amendment that places limits on the torture of military prisoners. President George W. Bush promised to veto the bill if it was passed containing the amendment.USNews.comBetween 470,000 and one million French workers demonstrated in support of labor rights,APand two New Orleanspolicemen were arrested for severely beating a 64-year-old man.MSNBCBoth Democratic and Republican senators were questioning the qualifications of Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers, who has never argued a case before the Supreme Court but has been often referred to as President Bush’s “work wife.”The Seattle TimesSlate.comUNICEF released a short film that shows an airstrike attack on a village of Smurfs.News.telegraph

President Bush expressed concern over bird flu and asked Congress to consider legislation that would allow the U.S. Army to enforce quarantines in case of a pandemic.IndyStar.comThe Church of England confirmed Dr. John Sentamu, who was born in Uganda, as the 97th Archbishop of York,BBC Newsand the Catholic Church of Scotland published a guide to the Bible stating that the account of creation in the book of Genesis is “symbolic.” The virgin birth of Jesus, however, is still considered to be fact.The ScotsmanIt was claimed that President Bush had told a group of Palestinian ministers in 2003 that he acted on divine orders. “God would tell me,” Bush said, “â??George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan.â?? And I did, and then God would tell me, â??George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq . . .â?? And I did.” The White House described these claims as “absurd.”BBC Press OfficeNew Zealand HeraldAl Gore gave a speech in New York City. “Something,” he said, “has gone basically and badly wrong in the way America’s fabled â??marketplace of ideasâ?? now functions.”The Mercury NewsCountry music star Chris Cagle announced the birth of a new child and asked for privacy. “Both mother and child are in good health,” he wrote on his website. “Since the birth, however, we have discovered that biologically, the child is not mine.”AZCentral.comIt was announced that Tom Cruise had impregnated Katie Holmes,Peopleand it was also announced that a great white shark named for Nicole Kidman had been tracked as it swam from South Africa to Australia and back. “We suspect,” said a scientist, “that she went for reproductive reasons.”ReutersAn Indiana lawmaker proposed a bill that would require women who want to be artificially inseminated to prove both that they are married to someone of the opposite sex and that they have participated in faith-based activities.365Gay.comAn Oregon woman was suing her doctor for trying to heal her lower back pain by having sex with her. The doctor was also in trouble for charging the state $5,000 for giving the woman the treatment.ReutersA British reverend told a group of 12-year-olds that Harry Potter was “not the only gay in the village”.CNN.com

It was revealed that during the Hurricane Katrina disaster no one actually shot at a helicopter outside of the Louisiana Superdome, and that reports of homicides and rapes at the Superdome were mostly false. The repetition of rumors by the media, it is believed, slowed the official response to the disaster.Washington PostDick Cheney’s chief of staff I. “Scooter” Libby wrote a letter to New York Times journalist Judith Miller, giving Miller permission to testify about their confidential conversations. “Out West,” wrote Libby, “where you vacation, the aspens will already be turning. They turn in clusters, because their roots connect them. Come back to work–and life.” Many felt that Libby was writing in some kind of code.Editor & PublisherA Sicilian man woke from a more-than-two-year coma and said that he had heard everything that happened around him while he was unconscious,The New York Timesand the Vatican was expected to announce that it will allow gay men to become priests if the men have lived chastely for three years.CBC NewsA new vaccine that prevents cervical cancer was found to be 100 percent effective.CNN.comA registered sex offender in Medford, Oregon, was arrested after he asked a group of four girls for a ride to the mall. The police said that the suspect was covered in feces, but the man insisted he had just been rolling in tomato paste.SFGateA Florida teacher was fired after he mistook a ninth-grade student’s beeping insulin pump for a ringing cell phone and ripped it from the boy’s body,Local6.comand two Oklahoma teens were arrested for shooting eight cows and videotaping the massacre. “Cows,” said one of the teens in the video. “I hate cows more than coppers.”KTUL.comA Cambodian couple was in trouble for biting their 12-year-old daughter so that they might drink her blood,APand in Australia a worker at a forensics laboratory was under investigation for stealing parts of human brains so that they could be injected into racehorses in order to make the horses run faster.News.com.auIn Kent, Washington, a man named Neelesh Phadnis, accused of shooting his mother and father, defended himself by claiming that the murder was carried out by a gang of obese Samoans and their girlfriends.The Seattle TimesNew York City was bracing for a terrorist attack on its subways, possibly by terrorists wielding bomb-filled strollers,Sign On San Diegoand Londoners were concerned about crack-addictedsquirrels.The RegisterAmericans celebrated Columbus Day, except in Berkeley, California, where they celebrated Indigenous People’s Day.LA Times

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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.”

At the time Marshall spoke, mere months after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, U.S. forces had sustained a string of painful setbacks and had yet to win a major battle. Eventual victory over Japan and Germany seemed anything but assured. Yet Marshall was already looking beyond the immediate challenges to define what that victory, when ultimately— and, in his view, inevitably—achieved, was going to signify.

This second world war of the twentieth century, Marshall understood, was going to be immense and immensely destructive. But if vast in scope, it would be limited in duration. The sun would set; the war would end. Today no such expectation exists. Marshall’s successors have come to view armed conflict as an open-ended proposition. The alarming turn in U.S.–Iranian relations is another reminder that war has become normal for the United States.

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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.

The best part of those days—assuming it wasn’t raining, snowing, or too cold—was the nine-block walk to Central Park after breakfast. Although he carried a cell phone and used an electronic tablet (had grown dependent on it, in fact), he still preferred the print version of the Times. In the park, he would settle on his favorite bench and spend an hour with it, reading the sections back to front, telling himself he was progressing from the sublime to the ridiculous.

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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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At Ivanwald, men learn to be leaders by loving their leaders. “They’re so busy loving us,” a brother once explained to me, “but who’s loving them?” We were. The brothers each paid $400 per month for room and board, but we were also the caretakers of The Cedars, cleaning its gutters, mowing its lawns, whacking weeds and blowing leaves and sanding. And we were called to serve on Tuesday mornings, when The Cedars hosted a regular prayer breakfast typically presided over by Ed Meese, the former attorney general. Each week the breakfast brought together a rotating group of ambassadors, businessmen, and American politicians. Three of Ivanwald’s brothers also attended, wearing crisp shirts starched just for the occasion; one would sit at the table while the other two poured coffee. 

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