Weekly Review — July 13, 2010, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: All In My Eye, December 1853]

An American cattleman.

In one of the largest spy swaps since the Cold War, ten Russian agents who pleaded guilty to espionage in the United States were flown to Vienna, where they were exchanged for four men who had been found guilty of spying for America and Britain. Asked whether the United States has any spies as “hot” as 28-year-old agent Anna Chapman, who was included in the swap, Vice President Joseph Biden said, “Let me be clear, it wasn’t my idea to send her back.”BBCBBCPresident Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met in Washington, D.C., where they agreed that, after repeated visits by Netanyahu to the United States, Obama would soon travel to Israel to “redress the balance.” The two men also said that peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians would resume before the current moratorium on settlement construction expired in September, though they did not offer a specific date.New York TimesNetanyahu’s security officials lost a suitcase at New York City’s JFK airport; it was found in Los Angeles, but four Glock 9mm handguns had disappeared. NBC New YorkNATO pilots mistakenly launched an air strike against Afghan soldiers who were trying to capture Taliban militants, killing five, and Iraqi government officials said that some 58,000 stray dogs in Baghdad had been poisoned or shot.New York TimesWashington PostA park in Los Angeles was closed after a squirrel tested positive for the Plague. All Headline News

Tar balls from BP’s exploded wellhead in the Gulf of Mexico washed onto a beach in Texas, the last of the five Gulf states to be affected by the spill, and oil kept gushing from the well as underwater robots worked to affix a new containment cap that BP claims will capture all the oil. “At this point,” said Louisiana charter-boat captain Keith Kennedy, “there have been so many ups and downs, disappointments, that everybody down here is like, ‘We’ll believe it when we see it.'”Time MagazineTalking Points MemoVisitors to the 150th anniversary exhibit of the Gloucester City Museum & Art Gallery lined up to see 1,000-year-old human feces, and a London art gallery was selling jars of jelly made from a strand of Princess Diana’s hair.GadlingOrange NewsScientists learned that the “mustache” worn by the male Molly fish in Mexico attracts females, who are sexually stimulated when the mustache is rubbed against their genitals, and that the erect penis of the giant squid is almost as long as its entire body.BBCA Georgia man was arrested for holding his mother hostage at gunpoint for six hours after she refused to do his ironing.Orange NewsPrince released his new album for free in the Saturday edition of Britain’s “Daily Mirror” to protest illegal downloads on the Internet. “The Internet’s like MTV,” said Prince. “At one time MTV was hip and suddenly it became outdated.”Daily MirrorThe Chinese Goat Horn Tree, in Saintfield, England, bloomed for the first time in 91 years.BBC

Spain defeated the Netherlands 1â??0 in overtime to become the 2010 World Cup champions. Paul, a psychic octopus housed in a German aquarium, correctly predicted the outcome by eating a mussel from a box marked with the Spanish flag. “We’re so proud of him,” said the aquarium’s manager. Police in Colombia seized a 14-inch World Cup trophy replica made from cocaine, and the United Arab Emirates’ General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments released a fatwa decreeing that, above 100 decibels, vuvuzelas are haraam.New York TimesThe GuardianTime MagazineBBCThe NationalLarge bombs exploded at a restaurant and a rugby club in Kampala, Uganda, killing at least 74 people watching the World Cup; a Somalian militia with links to Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for the attacks. WPIran’s Ministry of Culture released a catalogue of acceptable male hairstyles and warned barbers not to pluck men’s eyebrows. Christian Science MonitorWorkers in downtown Cleveland removed a 100-foot-tall billboard of LeBron James after the basketball player announced that to win a championship ring he would leave the Cavaliers to play for the Miami Heat. “Some people think,” wrote Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert in an open letter following the announcement, “they should go to heaven but NOT have to die to get there.”WJACTVChicago Sun-TimesA 4′ 11” 31-year-old woman was arrested in Ohio after posing as Matt Abrams, a 14-year-old boy, to woo a teenage girl; scientists discovered that by deleting the FucM gene in female mice they could make the mice lesbians; and the British Supreme Court ruled that foreign homosexuals who cannot live openly in their home countries are entitled to asylum in the United Kingdom. “Just as male heterosexuals are free to enjoy themselves playing rugby, drinking beer, and talking about girls with their mates,” said the judge, “so male homosexuals are to be free to enjoy themselves going to Kylie concerts, drinking exotically colored cocktails, and talking about boys with their straight female mates.”New York Daily NewsThe TelegraphVoice of AmericaDaily Express

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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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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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