Weekly Review — April 29, 2008, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: A grasshopper driving a chariot, 1875]

Hillary Clinton gained nine more delegates than Barack Obama in the Pennsylvania primary and challenged him to debate without a moderator. Obama, who declined, reportedly seemed “tired” and “brittle” campaigning in Indiana. “Seniors, listen up,” he said. “I’m getting gray hair myself. Running for president will age you quick.” New York TimesAPTelegraphJohn McCain’s campaign received a $1,000 discount on the rental fee for a public space for a fundraiser in Homewood, Alabama, along with $100 worth of free labor from the inmates of a local jail.Birmingham NewsAll three candidates taped messages for World Wrestling Entertainment’s “W.W.E. Raw”: Clinton declared herself “ready to rumble” for the American people; Obama, echoing former wrestler Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson, asked, “Do you smell what Barack is cooking?”; McCain, speaking with a surly tone, equated the Iraq war with a wrestling match and said that Americans “do not watch wrestling because we’re ‘bitter,'” but rather because “wrestling is about celebrating our freedom.”New York TimesIn Basra, Iraq, a 17-year-old girl, Rand Abdel-Qader, was stomped, suffocated, and stabbed to death by her father, who accused her of having an affair with a British soldier. Local police arrested the father but released him without charge after two hours. “Not much can be done when we have an honor-killing case,” said police sergeant Ali Jabbar. “You are in a Muslim society and women should live under religious laws.” Rand’s mother divorced the killer and went into hiding.GuardianC3, the firm that developed Disneyland, announced plans to build a $500 million amusement park in Baghdad.Times

Suspected Taliban assailants in Kabul killed a tribal chief, a member of Parliament, and a ten-year-old boy in an attempt to assassinate Afghan President Hamid Karzai.International Herald-TribuneTurkmenistan returned to its old calendar, meaning that months will no longer be named for the late dictator Saparmurat Niyazov, a.k.a. Turkmenbashi, his mother, a book he wrote, and the concept of neutrality; nor will the days be named for qualities such as youth, justice, spirit, and Turkmenness. BBCFifty-five sweatshop workers died in a mattress-factory fire in Casablanca, most of them women;Irish Times95 Dinka tribesmen in southern Sudan were killed in clashes over cattle theft; Al Jazeeraand a train collision killed 43 passengers in Zibo, China.Express IndiaActor Wesley Snipes was sentenced to three years in prison for not filing his taxes.New York TimesA Mexican diplomat was fired after a video-surveillance tape showed him stealing BlackBerrys belonging to White House officials at a meeting in New Orleans.Fox NewsEighty-four-year-old Ben Ami-Kadish, a retired military engineer who worked from 1979 to 1985 at the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development, and Engineering Center in New Jersey, was arrested for giving secret documents, including “atomic-related information,” to Israel.LA TimesThe United States accused North Korea of helping Syria build a nuclear reactor on a site that was destroyed last year by an Israeli air strike; TelegraphSouth Korean intelligence officials told the Japanese press that ten North Koreans working on the site were killed in the attack.BloombergThe Danish company Agroplast announced plans to market cheap plastic dinnerware made from pig urine.Cnet

A 42-year-old Austrian woman, Elizabeth Fritzl, emerged from the basement cell where her father had, since 1984, allegedly imprisoned her and three of the seven children she then bore him. According to authorities, 73-year-old electrical engineer Josef concealed his daughter and their offspring from his wife Rosemarie by forging letters from Elizabeth saying that she was running away from home, then that she was leaving three of her children at their doorstep to be raised by them.New York TimesFather Adelir Antonio de Carli, a Brazilian priest attempting to set a world record for flight with helium balloons, disappeared after he was blown over the Atlantic Ocean, leaving only a cluster of balloons in his wake.National PostA group of Oregonians unhappy with the state government announced a campaign for “Eastern Oregon” to secede and form its own state from the Cascade Mountains to the Idaho border. KATU.comTony Zirkle, a candidate for Congress in Indiana who previously proposed segregating races into different states, spoke before a neo-Nazi group at an event to commemorate the birth of Adolf Hitler. “I’ll speak before any group that invites me,” said Zirkle. “I’ve spoken on an African-American radio station in Atlanta.”Northwest Indiana and Illinois TimesBlack squirrels, which exhibit higher levels of testosterone than gray or red squirrels, were overrunning parts of England, and Guardian13 suspected sorcerers, accused of stealing or shrinking penises, were arrested in Congo after panic over penis thievery triggered a series of attempted lynchings. “It’s real,” said Kinshasa merchant Alain Kalala. “Just yesterday here, there was a man who was a victim. We saw. What was left was tiny.”Reuters

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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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