Weekly Review — April 15, 2008, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Twenty U.S. soldiers were killed last week fighting across Iraq, and 1,300 Iraqi officers and soldiers were fired for poor performance. The Bush Administration said it was optimistic that many more refugees from the estimated 4.4 million people who had fled Iraq or had been “internally displaced” would be allowed into the United States. Since the war began the United States has accepted only 5,000 Iraqi refugees. Sweden has taken 34,000.ReutersIHTHillary Clinton and John McCain accused Barack Obama of elitism after Obama commented on the bitterness of working-class people in a speech at an expensive San Francisco fund-raiser. “They cling to guns,” said Obama, “or religion, or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them, or anti-immigrant sentiment, or anti-trade sentiment, as a way to explain their frustrations.”AFPNBC11BBC NewsZombie TimesBob Dylan won a Pulitzer Prize,The New York Timesand scientists identified a group of 8,000-year-old Norway spruce trees in western Sweden, believed to be the oldest on earth. The trees, which took root after the last Ice Age, stayed at a shrublike size for most of their lives. “The past few decades we have seen a much warmer climate, which has meant that they have popped up,” said tree expert Leif Kullman.Reuters

There were riots in Haiti, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Cameroon over increasing food costs. Some blamed the rising price of corn (up 31 percent from 2005) on the burgeoning biofuel industry, pointing out that to fill up an SUV with a tank of ethanol uses as much corn as can feed a person for a year. World Bank President Robert Zoellick called for more contributions to the $500 million World Food Program. “We have to put our money,” he said, “where our mouth is.”The AgeThe 2008 Summer Olympics torch relay, a tradition that began in 1936 as a celebration of Nazi ideology, traveled to Dar es Salaam, guarded by China’s 30-person paramilitary Sacred Flame Protection Unit; onlookers chanted “Tanzania is a peaceful country” as a police helicopter hovered overhead.The GuardianThe Washington PostTimes OnlineAll AfricaBBC NewsTwo Arizona chemists published a paper expressing concern over the uncontrolled use of odor-fighting socks, which may, when washed, pollute aquatic ecosystems with nanoparticle silver.Science DailyResearchers in Virginia found that due to pollution the scent of flowers, which could travel up to 4,000 feet during the nineteenth century, now travels not even a quarter of that distance.Live ScienceKiller bees attacked Mexican policemen after one officer shot up their hive,New York TimesEuropean scientists used lasers to stimulate electrical activity in thunderclouds,Scientific Bloggingand geneticists were reportedly impressed by a new cloning technique that, according to the chief scientific officer of U.S. firm Advanced Cell Technology, “can actually produce a child.”A poll by the science journal Nature found that 20 percent of its readers use brain-enhancing drugs.The Globe and Mail

In the Indian city of Bhubaneshwar, Biranchi Das, former coach of six-year-old marathon runner Budhia Singh, was shot dead after a dispute with a gangster over a small-time actress,NDTV.comand villagers in northern India began worshipping a newborn girl with two faces as the reincarnation of Durga, Hindu goddess of valor. “She drinks milk from her two mouths,” said a hospital director, “and opens and shuts all the four eyes at one time.”AP via BreitbartThe U.K. Privy Council approved reforms that allow Sark, a small island off the coast of Normandy, its own parliamentary government. “These moves are intended to be a step away from a feudalist system,” said the seneschal of Sark.The IndependentFrench and Canadianastronomers announced the discovery of the coldest brown-dwarf star on record, 40 light-years away,AP via Google Newsand Russia was considering sending monkeys to Mars.BBC NewsJohn Wheeler, a physicist who coined the term “black hole,” died at age 96. In his 1999 autobiography he explained what can be learned by studying black holes: “That space can be crumpled like a piece of paper,” he wrote, “into an infinitesimal dot.”New York Times

Share
Single Page

More from Paul Ford:

From the May 2010 issue

Just like heaven

Weekly Review March 23, 2010, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Weekly Review November 24, 2009, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Get access to 167 years of
Harper’s for only $45.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

December 2017

The Year of The Frog

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Dead Ball Situation

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Document of Barbarism

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Destroyer of Worlds

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Crossing Guards

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“I am Here Only for Working”

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
Destroyer of Worlds·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

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
Article
Crossing Guards·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

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.

Illustration by Richard Mia
Article
“I am Here Only for Working”·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

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
Article
The Year of The Frog·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

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
Article
Dead Ball Situation·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

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.

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!

HARPER’S FINEST

Report — From the June 2013 issue

How to Make Your Own AR-15

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

By

"Gun owners have long been the hypochondriacs of American politics. Over the past twenty years, the gun-rights movement has won just about every battle it has fought; states have passed at least a hundred laws loosening gun restrictions since President Obama took office. Yet the National Rifle Association has continued to insist that government confiscation of privately owned firearms is nigh. The NRA’s alarmism helped maintain an active membership, but the strategy was risky: sooner or later, gun guys might have realized that they’d been had. Then came the shootings at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, and at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, followed swiftly by the nightmare the NRA had been promising for decades: a dedicated push at every level of government for new gun laws. The gun-rights movement was now that most insufferable of species: a hypochondriac taken suddenly, seriously ill."

Subscribe Today