Weekly Review — June 28, 2011, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: All In My Eye, December 1853]

An American cattleman.

Revelers at New York Cityâ??s gay pride parade waved signs reading “Thank You Governor Cuomo” and “Promise Kept!” after New York became the sixth and largest U.S. state to legalize same-sex marriage. The state senate vote marked the culmination of an intensive lobbying campaign by gay-rights advocates and Governor Andrew Cuomo, backed by three wealthy Republican businessmen. “We were outgunned,” said Dennis Poust of the New York State Catholic Conference, which opposed the bill. “That is a lot to overcome.” Republican congresswoman and presidential candidate Michele Bachmann said she would support a constitutional amendment limiting marriage to heterosexual couples. “After all,” said Bachmann, “the family is the fundamental unit of government.”NY TimesChristian PostNY TimesTwenty Kurdish activists were applauded when they stumbled into Istanbulâ??s gay pride parade after fleeing tear gas fired by police at a nearby political demonstration, thousands of Libyans celebrated on the streets of Misrata after the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Muammar Gaddafi, and the Ukrainian activist group Femen demonstrated in Kiev on behalf of Saudi women, who are prohibited by law from driving. Covering their faces and baring their breasts, female protesters drove past the Saudi embassy chanting “cars for women, camels for men.”The GuardianRadio Free EuropeCNN

Walesâ??s Cardiff Royal Infirmary issued an apology for making elderly patients use tambourines to attract nurses’ attention. “Patients should never have to use a tambourine,” said Steve Allen, the hospital’s chief officer. “I also understand anecdotally that maracas were used, which was unacceptable.”BBCThe United Kingdomâ??s Health Protection Agency warned that “too much alcohol, drugs, sex and less than ideal hygiene” at summer music festivals could cause illness, and a man was discovered hiding in the tank of a portable toilet at the Hanuman Yoga Festival in Boulder, Colorado; according to police, festival security “tried to detain the suspect, but he ran away, covered in feces.”Yahoo News/ReutersWales OnlineThe town of Greenwood, Maine, voted not to rename Alcohol Mary Road, while a woman driving down Vroom Street in Jersey City fell asleep at the wheel and crashed into a mattress store.nj.comSun JournalDutch airline KLM announced plans to recycle used cooking oil into biofuel for its flights to and from France, and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sent an open letter to the Vatican asking that a proposed hybrid-fuel “popemobile” be made without leather, which the letter said was “hell for cows.”Huffington PostFox BusinessA man in Hawaii was fined $100 for slapping a monk seal. Maui News

Britain’s National Marine Aquarium announced plans to slather an epileptic loggerhead turtle named Snorkel in petroleum jelly and transport her to an MRI machine to check for a brain tumor. BBCIn New Zealand, a lost emperor penguin was sent from Peka Peka Beach to the Wellington Zoo for veterinary care after it was seen eating sand and driftwood twigs, which it then tried to regurgitate.Associated PressManagers at a German chemical company began storing their cell phones in biscuit tins in order to guard against industrial espionage, researchers from Texas found that ground-dwelling songbirds avoid building nests near sites where they overhear chipmunk trills, chips, and chucks, and researchers from Ohio found that woodchucks pay less attention to chipmunk distress signals than chipmunks pay to woodchuck signals. “Maybe the woodchucks are just desensitized to the chipmunk alarm calls,” said one scientist. “Chipmunks are really chatty.” BBCWiredAFP via GoogleThe Chinese government released dissident artist Ai Weiwei from prison but banned him from using Twitter. Prior to his arrest, Ai had posted 60,162 tweets. “The country will continue to stride forward,” reported the state-run Global Times newspaper, “and it will not pay heed toward this inane chatter.”UK Telegraph

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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.

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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

Minimum square footage of San Francisco apartments allowed under new regulations:

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A Disney behavioral ecologist announced that elephants’ long-range low-frequency vocal rumblings draw elephant friends together and drive elephant enemies apart.

The judge continued to disallow the public release of Brailsford’s body-cam footage, and the jury spent less than six hours in deliberation before returning a verdict of not guilty. The police then released the video, showing Brailsford pointing his AR-15 assault rifle at Shaver while a sergeant asked him if he understood that there was “a very severe possibility” he would “get shot.”

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"Gun owners have long been the hypochondriacs of American politics. Over the past twenty years, the gun-rights movement has won just about every battle it has fought; states have passed at least a hundred laws loosening gun restrictions since President Obama took office. Yet the National Rifle Association has continued to insist that government confiscation of privately owned firearms is nigh. The NRA’s alarmism helped maintain an active membership, but the strategy was risky: sooner or later, gun guys might have realized that they’d been had. Then came the shootings at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, and at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, followed swiftly by the nightmare the NRA had been promising for decades: a dedicated push at every level of government for new gun laws. The gun-rights movement was now that most insufferable of species: a hypochondriac taken suddenly, seriously ill."

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