Weekly Review — September 28, 2010, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: Caught in the Web, 1860]

Caught in the Web, 1860.

Republican senators blocked a $726 billion defense bill containing provisions to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and provide U.S. citizenship to some foreign-born children of undocumented immigrants.WSJLady Gaga lobbied senators to support the legistlation, arguing that it made more sense to ban U.S. soldiers who do not believe in equality; the new ban, she suggested, could be called “If You Don’t Like It, Go Home.” ABCStephen Colbert testified before Congress in support of migrant workers. “I like talking about people who donâ??t have any power,” he said. NYTCuba detailed plans to license private entrepreneurs in 178 professions, including music and clowning. NYTIn the Gulf of Mexico, scientists speculated that an underwater “blizzard” of gooey organic matter (commonly known as marine snow or sea snot) was an effect of the BP oil spill. “I suspect,” said sea-snot expert Alice Alldredge, “the bottom-dwelling organisms might not be so happy.” National GeographicHBO released a previously unaired 1998 television clip of Christine O’Donnell, now a Republican U.S. Senate candidate in Delaware, in which she said evolution is a myth. “Why aren’t monkeys still evolving into humans?” she demanded to know. HBO via ThinkprogressScientists announced the discovery of two new dinosaur species in Utah. One had fifteen horns on its large head and has been named Kosmoceratops; the other, with no remarkable features, has been named Utahceratops. CSM

Computer worm Stuxnet was reportedly targeting Iranian nuclear facilities. Exploiting security flaws in Microsoft Windows, it is the first known worm designed to infect industrial-control systems. Computer-security experts said the complexity of the worm suggested it was probably made by a government agency. SymantecPC MagNYTCSMCSMGuardianJames Heselden, owner of the Segway company, died in a mysterious Segway accident; his body was found in a river along with his Segway. CNNThe Justice Department “reluctantly” invoked “state secrets” in asking a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit on behalf of U.S. citizen Anwar al-Aulaqi, a cleric now living in Yemen who was targeted for assassination by the CIA,WPWPand it was revealed that the CIA was maintaining an elite paramilitary force of 3,000 soldiers known as “Counterterrorism Pursuit Teams” for use in the war in Afghanistan and the “secret” war in Pakistan.WPThe Justice Department reported that “a significant number” of FBI employees had conspired with supervisors to cheat on a skills-assessment exam, TPMand the University of Illinois denied emeritus status to retired professor and former Weatherman William Ayers, after university trustee Christopher Kennedy complained that Ayers had once dedicated a book to Sirhan Sirhan.Chicago Tribune

Eight thousand laptops sent by the United States to the children of Babil, Iraq, were missing; at least half had been auctioned off by Iraqis for about $10 each. NYTThe United Nations was $180 million short of funds needed to feed 6 million Pakistani flood victims through the end of this year.AFP via GoogleNewly released documents itemized the more than $1 billion that Canada spent to host the G-8 for three days in June, including $60 million for lodging and food, $4 million for a steel fence, and $42,000 for a harpoon system to disable speedboat attackers. NYTIt was estimated that the costs of dementia worldwide would reach $604 billion this year, or one percent of global GDP,Reutersand scientists confirmed that four-year-olds can understand irony.TelegraphVideo-rental chain Blockbuster declared bankruptcy,Newsweekand Brooklyn beekeepers fought in vain to save a bee colony after its hive was wrecked by a tornado, but all its honey had already been stolen by “robber bees” from other colonies . NYTFrench chocolatier Georges Larnicol launched a boat made out of chocolate in the port of Concarneau. BBCA poorly designed luxury hotel in Las Vegas, covered in reflective glass, condensed the rays of the sun and beamed them down on the resort’s swimming pool, causing plastic in the vicinity to melt. One hotel guest said that his hair had been scorched, and that hotel employees laughed at him, saying “Yes, we call it the death ray.” Las Vegas Review-Journal

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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.

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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.

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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

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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
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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.

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