Weekly Review — April 19, 2011, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: A Small Family, May 1874]

A Small Family.

While being questioned about his abuses of power, ousted 82-year-old Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak reportedly suffered a heart attack and was rushed to a hospital in the beach resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. GuardianMubarak’s sons, Gamal and Alaa, were taken for questioning from the hospital, in a police van that was pelted with stones, bottles, and flip-flops; they joined former Egyptian ministers in Tora Farm prison. “Bear in mind they are very broken,” said a prison officer of the influx of inmates, who added that Tora Farm was known as a “five-star prison” only because “those who come to it are from the elite of society.”NYTimesGBP News24 World NewsNYTimesItalian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi denied accusations that he paid a teenage runaway for sex, explaining that he gave $65,000 to a bellydancer who goes by the name of Ruby the Heartbreaker to help her escape a life of prostitution by launching a beauty parlor, and that he thought she was Hosni Mubarak’s granddaughter.GuardianHundreds of thousands of protesters in Yemen denounced President Ali Abdullah Saleh, and tens of thousands of Syrians marched in Damascus, calling for an end to President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. “If theyâ??re going to stay in power,” historian Amr al-Azm said of the Syrian government, “theyâ??ll have to either really massacre people or theyâ??ll have to get very serious about reform.”GuardianNYTimesAntigovernment forces trying to oust Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi fled Ajdabiya after a rocket attack by government forces, confessing they had insufficient weapons and were frustrated with the lack of airstrikes. “Maybe NATO took off Saturday and Sunday,” said rebel spokesman Mustafa Gheriani.NYTimesDonald Trump, who is giving “serious, serious thought” to running for president in 2012, outlined his Libya policy: “Either Iâ??d go in and take the oil,” he said, “or I donâ??t go in at all.”Financial Times

The Tokyo Electric Power Company, which plans to bring the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to the stable state of “cold shutdown” within nine months and will pay $12,000 to each household forced to evacuate because of leaking radiation, sent robots and remote-controlled helicopters into Units 1 and 3 of the plant, which brought back images revealing that the buildings were still too radioactive for workers to enter.WSJNewserNYTimesMusashi Waki of the opposition Liberal Democratic Party shouted at Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan about the slow progress. “You should be bowing your head in apology,” he said. “You clearly have no leadership at all.”AOPreviously unseen emails revealed that BP tried to control independent research into the consequences of the Gulf oil spill.GuardianBolivia prepared to pass the Law of Mother Earth, which will grant nature rights equal to those of humans, although it is not yet clear how the legislation will be implemented. WiredA “family” of tornadoes travelled from Oklahoma to North Carolina, killing at least 43 people.NYTimesHydraulic fracturing companies, an investigation revealed, injected hundreds of millions of gallons of hazardous or carcinogenic chemicals into wells in at least 13 states between 2005 and 2009, as well as salt, instant coffee, and walnut hulls, to stimulate the release of natural gas from underground reserves.NYTimesAn outbreak of Legionnaires disease at the Los Angeles Playboy mansion that left more than 70 people ill was traced to a hot tub.Telegraph

President Obama, who apparently forgot to turn off his microphone after a fundraising event, was overheard discussing his recent budget negotiations with Republicans and complaining about the White House technology to donors. “Whereâ??s the fancy buttons and stuff and the big screen comes up?” he asked.NYTimesScientists identified the part of the brain integral to embarrassment by asking subjects to listen to their own karaoke renditions of the Temptations’ 1964 hit “My Girl” played back without the musical accompaniment, and homeless men in St. Petersburg, Florida, claimed that they were paid $25 to $50 to be beaten by scantily-clad women for a website. “I’m still in a little bit of pain from a couple of weeks ago,” said a man who had taken part in one of the “beatdowns.” “I’m just trying to deal with it mentally right now.”Science DailyTampabay.com“Big Joey” Massino became the first official boss of a New York crime family to testify as a government witness, having offered his cooperation to avoid facing the death penalty after seven murder convictions and charges on an eighth. “Some people, they kill. Some people, they earn,” Massino explained. “It takes all kinds of meat to make a good sauce.”New York PostABCA retired greengrocer from Southampton, England, spent 400 hours knitting a three-tier wedding cake to celebrate the upcoming marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton. “It’s not based on a pattern,” said 74-year-old Sheila Carter. “I just made it up.”Daily Mail

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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.

Illustration by Darrel Rees. Source photographs: Kim Jong-un © ITAR-TASS Photo Agency/Alamy Stock Photo; Donald Trump © Yuri Gripas/Reuters/Newscom
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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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