Weekly Review — July 12, 2011, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: Babylonian lion, 1875]

The “News of the World,” a British tabloid, was shuttered amid a police investigation into allegations its journalists had hacked into the cell phones of as many as 7,000 people, including politicians, celebrities, and murder victims. Two former editors were arrested, owner Rupert Murdoch called the scandal “deplorable,” and a disgruntled staffer told the paperâ??s former editor in chief, Rebekah Brooks, that sheâ??d “toxified” the publication. Crossword clues in the paperâ??s final edition included the terms “Brook,” “stink,” “catastrophe,” “criminal enterprise,” “string of recordings,” “will fear new security measure,” “digital protection,” and “mix in prison.”CNNGuardianAtlanticTelegraph (London)A computer virus attached to a post claiming to show Casey Anthony confessing to her lawyer circulated on Facebook after Anthony was acquitted in Florida of the murder of her two-year-old daughter, Caylee. In letters to a fellow inmate, Anthony told of wanting to shop at Target and have more children upon her release. “Iâ??ve thought about adopting, which even sounds weird to me saying it, but there are so many children that deserve to be loved,” Anthony wrote. “Letâ??s make a deal? Letâ??s get pregnant together?”SnopesCNNFox NewsRepublican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann signed a pledge to defend traditional marriage values, fight pornography, and find a cure for homosexuality, and in Mexico, a woman on a conjugal visit was caught attempting to smuggle her husband out of prison in a wheeled suitcase.Daily BeastBBC

ABC announced that its recently canceled soap operas “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” will continue online; the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that the national unemployment rate had risen to 9.2 percent, its highest level this year; and Interim Superintendent Erroll B. Davis Jr. announced that Atlanta schools would create a “more open, transparent and empowering culture” after educators across the city were found to have been complicit in changing wrong answers on standardized tests.Wall Street JournalWashington PostCNN.comChinese authorities blocked Web searches for the Yangtze River, and a 50-mile-wide haboob blacked out the sky over Phoenix.Wall Street JournalHuffington PostA boat sank off the coast of Sudan, killing some 200 migrants; a riverboat sank on the Volga River in Russia, killing at least 125 people; and in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, one train collided with a bus returning from a wedding party, killing at least 35, while another derailed, killing at least 65. Militants bombed a train in the Indian state of Assam, injuring at least 90, and in Pakistan, nearly 100 Karachi residents were killed in politically and ethnically targeted assassinations.BBCNew York TimesGuardianNew York TimesTelegraph (Calcutta)Washington PostFollowing decades of civil war, the oil-rich region of South Sudan split off from the North to form the worldâ??s newest country. “There is nothing bad in the future,” said Gabriel Yaac, a Southerner, while Mariam al-Mahdi, a spokeswoman for the UMMA party in the North, said, “This overwhelming of sorrow, of sadness is wrapping around us. I cannot put my feelings into words. It is beyond expression. I am in a vacuum. I want to go into hibernation.”Reuters via Globe and Mail

A stolen Slovenian bear cub named Lucky was recovered and sent to a Romanian orphanage, the lineage of polar bears was traced back to a female brown bear who lived 20,000 to 50,000 years ago in Ireland, and a man was killed by a mother grizzly in Yellowstone National Park. The U.S. government said it would stop protecting Wyoming wolves, and rangers at Yosemite National Park cracked down on campsite scalping.BBCWiredNew York TimesNew York TimesNPR.orgPyeongchang, South Korea, won the 2018 Winter Olympics, and the countryâ??s prosecutors indicted 46 soccer players on charges of match-fixing.Washington PostNew York TimesAstronomers analyzed photos of Saturn from NASAâ??s “Cassini” probe, which showed a storm whose surface area was eight times that of Earth, as well as other unique, long-lasting weather patterns. “Cassini,” said one of the scientists, “shows us that Saturn is bipolar.”NASAIn Belarus, a one-armed protester was arrested for clapping. Svetlana Kalinkina, a Belarusian newspaper editor, said the case is not the first of its kind: “There was one case where a deaf and mute person was accused of shouting antigovernmental slogans. Miracles happen in our courts.”Christian Science Monitor

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Progress is impossible without change,” George Bernard Shaw wrote in 1944, “and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” But progress through persuasion has never seemed harder to achieve. Political segregation has made many Americans inaccessible, even unimaginable, to those on the other side of the partisan divide. On the rare occasions when we do come face-to-face, it is not clear what we could say to change each other’s minds or reach a worthwhile compromise. Psychological research has shown that humans often fail to process facts that conflict with our preexisting worldviews. The stakes are simply too high: our self-worth and identity are entangled with our beliefs — and with those who share them. The weakness of logic as a tool of persuasion, combined with the urgency of the political moment, can be paralyzing.

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On a balmy day last spring, Connor Chase sat on a red couch in the waiting room of a medical clinic in Columbus, Ohio, and watched the traffic on the street. His bleached-blond hair fell into his eyes as he scrolled through his phone to distract himself. Waiting to see Mimi Rivard, a nurse practitioner, was making Chase nervous: it would be the first time he would tell a medical professional that he was transgender.

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In 1899, the art critic Layton Crippen complained in the New York Times that private donors and committees had been permitted to run amok, erecting all across the city a large number of “painfully ugly monuments.” The very worst statues had been dumped in Central Park. “The sculptures go as far toward spoiling the Park as it is possible to spoil it,” he wrote. Even worse, he lamented, no organization had “power of removal” to correct the damage that was being done.

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