Weekly Review — February 6, 2007, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

“Into the palace parlor they stepped; her hand in his paw the old bruin kept,” 1875

The U.S. director of national intelligence released a declassified version of a new National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq; the report found that “the term ‘civil war’ accurately describes key elements of the Iraqi conflict” and that “widespread fighting could produce de facto partition.”Office of the Director of National IntelligenceIraqi refugees were flooding Syria and Jordan, where they now account for 5 and 12 percent of those countries’ total populations,AP via Yahoo!NEWSand a massive bombing in a Shiite neighborhood in Baghdad killed 130 people, making the attack the second deadliest in the country since the March 2003 invasion. The News (Pakistan)In Hillah, where a further 45 people were killed, a police officer attempted to smother the blast from a suicide bomber. “He hugged him” said a witness, “and the explosives tore apart both bodies.”Los Angeles TimesThe U.S. military announced that insurgents had shot down four helicopters in the past two weeks in Iraq,.Al Jazeeraformer National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski warned that the White House was looking for an excuse to attack Iran,World Socialist Web Siteand President George W. Bush asked for an additional $100 billion to fund the United States’s wars through the end of the current fiscal year.Reuters via Boston GlobeDetainees at Guantánamo Bay complained of “infinite tedium and loneliness,”AP via Yahoo!NEWSand a German court issued an arrest warrant for 13 CIA operatives involved in the abduction and torture of a German citizen.New York TimesFormer U.S. Vice President Al Gore was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. “Al Gore,” said a Norwegian lawmaker, “has made a difference.”AP via BREITBART.COMPresident Bush staged an impromptu visit to the Sterling Family Restaurant in Peoria, Illinois, but few of the diners wanted to talk to him. “Sorry to interrupt you,” said Bush. “How’s the service?”Newsweek via MSNBC

Taliban forces were on the rise in Afghanistan,.BBCMaoist rebels were taking over coffee plantations near Ooty, India,andhracafe.comand Moro rebels in Jolo captured a number of senior Philippine military officers including General Dolorfino, Colonel Ramon, and Colonel Baboon.Sun.Star DavaoDelawareSenator Joseph Biden praised Illinois Senator Barack Obama. “I mean, you got the first mainstream African American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy,” said Biden. “I mean, that’s a storybook, man.”salon.comThe Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change announced that global warming was expected to heat up the atmosphere by 4 to 7 degrees within the next century,New Scientistand the Bush Administration suggested that scientists find ways to counteract greenhouse-gas emissions by blocking out the sun. “Possible techniques include putting a giant screen into orbit,” read one newspaper’s paraphrase of the suggested U.S. recommendations. “[Or] thousands of tiny, shiny balloons.”Guardian“Hot” patients who had recently received medical treatment using radioisotopes were setting off Homeland Securityradiation detectors,Reuters via Yahoo!NEWSand the U.S. market for female-arousal liquids continued to grow.Advertising AgeA mob of Orthodox Jews in Jerusalem overpowered policemen and stole a woman’s corpse to prevent an autopsy but later gave it back.news24.comJapanese Health Minister Hakuo Yanagisawa apologized for calling women “birth-giving machines,”AP via International Herald Tribunehospital staff in Yekaterinburg, Russia, were gagging crying babies,BBCand in Cambodia a Briton named Bowel Anpaul was arrested on charges of pedophilia.Phnom Penh PostRubber genitals were stolen from the set of the new “Hannibal” movie,Sunan Argentinesoccer fan who asked for a tattoo of his team’s logo received instead a tattoo of a large penis,TheDenverChannel.comand a Chinese man whose genitals were eaten by a dog when he was a child was said to be happy with a new penis built from his chest muscles and hip bones.XinhuaWang You-theng, a fugitive Taiwanese tycoon, was seized by U.S. immigration officials.China PostHIV, said scientists, can avoid destruction by hiding out in the testicles.BBC

Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan was awarded France’s highest civilian honor, the Legion d’Honneur, and was kicked in the head by a camel. AP via CHINAdailyReuters via iol.co.zaTerri Irwin, the widow of Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin, urged her late husband’s fans to respect stingrays, which she described as “cute little pancakes in the ocean.”contactmusic.comBritain’s top female paraglider was mauled by eagles. “Eagles,” said a colleague, “are the sharks of the air.”NZPA via stuff.co.nzThe IndianArmy was preparing to hunt down man-eating leopards in Kashmir,Mumbai Mirrorand elephants in Thailand were head-butting and robbing trucks.Reuters via iol.co.zaNew Jersey warned its residents against eating heavy metal-contaminated squirrels,AP via ThePittsburghChannel.comroboticists announced the creation of a teddy-bear robot that will help men meet women,Gizmodoand an Australian man sold his life on eBay.AFP via Yahoo!NEWSNew York Governor Eliot Spitzer told Republican Assemblyman James Tedisco, “I am a fucking steamroller and I’ll roll over you or anybody else,” Reutersand James Taylor was about to go on tour.jamestaylor.comAfter it ransacked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Washington, D.C., residence, a small black bird was captured in a brown bag and released. “She kept thinking to herself,” said a spokesman, “??Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”??Washington Post

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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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