Weekly Review — March 22, 2011, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: All In My Eye, December 1853]

An American cattleman.

With 112 missiles fired at Libyan military targets, the United States and allies commenced Operation Odyssey Dawn. The military attack followed a United Nations Security Council resolution authorizing military action against Muammar Qaddafi’s regime and demanding that attacks against rebel troops cease immediately. “You have proven to the world that you are not civilized,” said Qaddafi, in response to the allied air strikes, “that you are terroristsâ??animals attacking a safe nation that did nothing against you.”CNNABC NewsNew York TimesThe confirmed death toll from Japan’s earthquake and tsunami rose to about 8,400, and the final death toll was expected to be more than 20,000. President Barack Obama made an unannounced visit to the Japanese embassy in Washington, D.C., to sign a condolence book. As the risk of full-scale meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant became more likely, 750 emergency staff were evacuated, leaving behind only 50 technicians, who either volunteered or were compelled to stay. “I may be a bit too callous about this due to the fact that I was really heavily exposed to radiation,” said seventy-one-year-old Kazuko Yamashita, who was five when her home in Nagasaki was destroyed by an atomic bomb, “but I don’t think this is anything to turn pale over.” New York TimesTalking Points MemoNew York TimesMSNBC

Authorities in Bahrain tore down a 300-foot sculpture in Pearl Square that had become the defining monument of the protest movement, saying the change was to “boost the flow of traffic” in the square, and security forces in Yemen opened fire on protestors, injuring more than 200 people and killing at least 40. “I actually expect more than this,” said one activist, “because freedom requires martyrs.” New York TimesNew York TimesThe Browning M1911 semiautomatic pistol was declared the state gun of Utah, and the U.S. House of Representatives ended a program (implemented when Democrats controlled the House) that had replaced plastic utensils and foam cups with compostable products in the House cafeterias. Talking Points MemoNew York TimesA New York City woman whose husband had jabbed a cyanide-filled needle into her buttocks died, as did a snake that bit an Israeli model’s fake breast, of silicone poisoning. New York Daily NewsOrange NewsPhysicists said that the Large Hadron Collider could be used as a time machine to send messages to the past or the future.Live Science

Former secretary of state Warren Christopher, 41-year-old hip-hop singer Nate Dogg, and Knut, Germany’s beloved polar bear, all died. “He was by himself in his compound, he was in the water,” said bearkeeper Heiner Kloes about Knut, “and then he was dead.” New York TimesAssociated PressNew York TimesDoctors in China were struggling to save Xin Xin, a two-month-old boy who was born with his heart growing on his stomach.Orange NewsThe most expensive dog in the world, an 11-month-old red Tibetan mastiff named Big Splash (or Hong Dong in Chinese), was sold to a Chinese coal baron for more than $1 million. “If you don’t give them enough attention they sit in front of the TV,” said Tibetan mastiff breeder James Pally.Daily MailA New York City mother sued a $19,000-a-year preschool for allowing her four-year-old daughter to play too much, claiming that the school had damaged her child’s chances of one day attending an Ivy League college, and high school students gathered online to grumble about an SAT prompt that asked test-takers to write about reality television. “I ended up talking about Jacob Riis and how any form of media cannot capture reality objectively,” one student wrote, invoking the 19th-century social reformer. “I kinda want to cry right now.”New York Daily NewsNew York TimesFour-year-old Suri Cruise was photographed holding a box of penis gummies. Daily MailAlexandra Wallace, a third-year UCLA undergraduate, apologized and withdrew from the school after creating a YouTube video in which she complained about “the hordes of Asian people” talking on cell phones in the campus library. “I swear they’re going through their whole families just checking on everybody from the tsunami thing,” she said. “You might as well go outside, because, if something is wrong, you might really freak out and you’re in the library, and everybody’s quiet.”New York Daily News

Share
Single Page

More from Claire Gutierrez:

Weekly Review May 31, 2011, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Weekly Review May 30, 2011, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Weekly Review January 18, 2011, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Get access to 169 years of
Harper’s for only $23.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

March 2020

The Old Normal

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Out of Africa

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Waiting for the End of the World

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

In Harm’s Way

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Fifth Step

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

A View to a Krill

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
The Old Normal·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

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.”

At the time Marshall spoke, mere months after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, U.S. forces had sustained a string of painful setbacks and had yet to win a major battle. Eventual victory over Japan and Germany seemed anything but assured. Yet Marshall was already looking beyond the immediate challenges to define what that victory, when ultimately— and, in his view, inevitably—achieved, was going to signify.

This second world war of the twentieth century, Marshall understood, was going to be immense and immensely destructive. But if vast in scope, it would be limited in duration. The sun would set; the war would end. Today no such expectation exists. Marshall’s successors have come to view armed conflict as an open-ended proposition. The alarming turn in U.S.–Iranian relations is another reminder that war has become normal for the United States.

Article
More Than a Data Dump·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

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.

Article
The Fifth Step·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

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.

The best part of those days—assuming it wasn’t raining, snowing, or too cold—was the nine-block walk to Central Park after breakfast. Although he carried a cell phone and used an electronic tablet (had grown dependent on it, in fact), he still preferred the print version of the Times. In the park, he would settle on his favorite bench and spend an hour with it, reading the sections back to front, telling himself he was progressing from the sublime to the ridiculous.

Article
Out of Africa·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

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.

Article
In Harm’s Way·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

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.

El Río de los Remedios, or the River of Remedies, runs through the city of Ecatepec, a densely populated satellite of Mexico City. Confined mostly to concrete channels, the river serves as the main drainage line for the vast monochrome barrios that surround the capital. That day, I was standing on a stretch of the canal just north of Ecatepec, with a twenty-three-year-old photographer named Reyna Leynez. Reyna was the one who’d told me about the place and what it represents. This ruined river, this open sewer, is said to be one of the largest mass graves in Mexico.

Cost of renting a giant panda from the Chinese government, per day:

$1,500

A recent earthquake in Chile was found to have shifted the city of Concepción ten feet to the west, shortened Earth’s days by 1.26 microseconds, and shifted the planet’s axis by nearly three inches.

An Iraqi man complaining on live television about the country’s health services died on air.

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

HARPER’S FINEST

Jesus Plus Nothing

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

By

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. 

Subscribe Today