Weekly Review — September 9, 2008, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: All In My Eye, December 1853]

The Treasury Department seized control of mortgage and loan giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, firing the companies’ chief executives and promising to provide as much as $200 billion to prevent insolvency.New York TimesThe jobless rate rose from 5.7 percent to a five-year high of 6.1 percent, with more than 84,000 jobs lost in August,Yahoo and Senator John McCain accepted the Republican Party’s nomination for the presidency.KTLA.com“This campaign is not about issues,” said McCain’s campaign manager, Rick Davis. “This election is about a composite view of what people take away from these candidates.”Washington PostIt emerged that McCain did not properly vet Alaska governor Sarah Palin in selecting her as his running mate, and that he interviewed her in person only on the same day he offered her the position. Despite McCain’s opposition to earmarks, Palin, when mayor of the 6,700-resident town of Wasilla (known to state troopers as Alaska’smeth capital”), hired lobbyist Steven Silver to help win federal earmarks totaling $27 million. It also emerged that Palin, 44, received her first passport in 2006.Washington PostBoston GlobeJuneau EmpireTalking Points MemoXiguang, an elephant undergoing treatment on the Chinese island of Hainan, was off heroin and headed home.MSNBC

American commanders returned control of Anbar Province to the Iraqi army and police, celebrating with a large parade during which soldiers marched along a newly paved street without their body armor, helmets, or guns.New York TimesThe United States promised $1 billion in aid to Georgia, and Vice President Dick Cheney visited Tbilisi to pledge continued support. “It’s Cheney,” said Russian politician Konstantin Kosachyov, “who was behind all the recent events on the former Soviet turf.”Washington PostAmerican missiles struck a seminary in Pakistan, killing twenty people, including two children, but not Taliban commander Jalaluddin Haqqani,Washington Postand Paris Match published a glossy eight-page spread of Taliban fighters wearing the uniforms of the French soldiers they had killed.TelegraphTropical storm Hanna struck Haiti for four days, felling fruit trees and bridges, flooding the city of Gonaives, forcing 54,000 people into shelters, and killing 137 people.New York TimesDetroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick pleaded guilty to two felonies, including lying under oath, and agreed to spend four months in jail, pay $1 million, and resign from office. “I want to tell you, Detroit,” he said, “that you have set me up for a comeback.”Washington PostVirginia Tech students were falsely told by the local registrar of elections that if they voted at college their parents would no longer be able to claim them as dependents on their tax returns, and that they could lose their scholarships and their health- and car-insurance coverage.New York TimesCambridge University, seeking to attract a more diverse student body and to shed its elitist image, asked the producers of leading Britishsoap operas to mention the school in their storylines. Southeast MissourianA federal judge, responding to Jack Abramoff’s pleas for mercy, gave the former lobbyist only four years in prison instead of the maximum 12.5 years. “My name,” said Abramoff, “is the butt of a joke.”New York TimesFor the first time in a century, a month passed without a visible spot on the sun. An ice age, said scientists, may be forthcoming.Daily Tech

Satellite images revealed that global-warming-induced melting had left the North Pole an island.TelegraphTens of thousands of copies of a Swedish food magazine were recalled after an error in a recipe for apple cake sent four readers to hospitals with nutmeg poisoning,New York Timesand a British teenager’s head swelled to the size of a soccer ball after she consumed a Baileys-chili-tequila-absinthe-ouzo-vodka-cider-and-gin cocktail.BBCA new biography of writer Roald Dahl revealed that Dahl, in his work as a British spy, seduced many American women. “I think,” said Antoinette Haskell, whose father, Charles Marsh, introduced Dahl to influential Americans, “he slept with everybody on the east and west coasts that was worth more than $50,000 a year.”TelegraphThe U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that it would not spend the $300,000 needed to correct cards that mistakenly list the number of a phone-sex company (1-800-TRAMP24) in place of the number of the agency (1-800-STAMP24). “That’s a lot of money,” said a spokesperson, “we can be using for wildlife conservation.”TimeThe Victorian Aboriginal Education Association warned Australian girls not to play the didgeridoo because it was “men’s business” and could lead to infertility;Yahoopolice in Florida checked for fingerprints on a water-filled condom that had been used as a fake breast by a cross-dressing thief who snatched the purse of a 74-year-old woman;New York Timesand a murder investigation in Japan ended when pathologists discovered that the decomposing corpse was actually a life-sized sex doll.The GuardianThe author of the book 100 Things to Do Before You Die, having completed about 50 of the things on his list, fell, hit his head, and died.Telegraph

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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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Last fall, a court filing in the Eastern District of Virginia inadvertently suggested that the Justice Department had indicted WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and other outlets reported soon after that Assange had likely been secretly indicted for conspiring with his sources to publish classified government material and hacked documents belonging to the Democratic National Committee, among other things.

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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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