Weekly Review — August 16, 2011, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

An angry-looking, monkey-like creature showing its teeth.

A kinkajou, 1886.

A cholera epidemic struck refugees fleeing a famine in southern Somalia that has killed an estimated 29,000 children so far. Banadir Hospital in Mogadishu reported 181 deaths as well as symptoms in more than 4,000 people, three quarters of them under the age of five.New York TimesIRIN NewsActivists said that Syrian government forces had killed at least 50 people in five cities, antigovernment militias in Libya advanced into the cities of Zawiya and Gharyan, and hundreds of thousands of Israelis demonstrated against such social injustices as inadequate housing, despite government approval of 1,600 new units in an East Jerusalem Haredi neighborhood and 277 homes in a West Bank settlement. “If there was a project for Arabs in East Jerusalem, we’d approve that too,” said Interior Minister Eli Yishai of the Shas party.AP via Globe and MailAPAPNew York TimesAPAPGuardianJerusalem PostJersualem PostReuters via Daily StarLondon police charged nearly 600 people in conjunction with riots that took place across four nights in the U.K. capital.APThe U.S. Army reported that 32 soldiers committed suicide during the month of July, the highest number since figures started being released in 2009.Washington PostA series of explosions in more than 15 Iraqi cities killed at least 60 people, six suicide bombers killed 22 people in an attack on a provincial governor’s compound in Afghanistan, and an F-16 strike wiped out the Taliban insurgents who killed 38 Afghan and U.S. troops in a rocket attack on a helicopter.AP via NOLA.comAP via Globe and MailAPOld male sparrows rap-battled in tough Ontario neighborhoods, and macaque armies gathered to fight New Delhi’s langur guard.Daily MailScience DailyTimes of IndiaIndependent

Scientists failed to differentiate DNA in sperm cocktails, Texas governor Rick Perry became the sixteenth Republican man to declare himself a candidate for president in the 2012 election, and Michele Bachmann won the Republican straw poll in Ames, Iowa. After finishing poorly, Tim Pawlenty withdrew.PLoS oneAP via Washington PostWashington PostCBCCandidate and former CEO Mitt Romney told hecklers at the state fair in Des Moines, “Corporations are people, my friend,” and a Louisiana man told police he exposed his penis to a Ford because he’s aroused by Walmart. The Dow Jones fell 635 points on Monday, rose 430 on Tuesday, fell 520 on Wednesday, and rose 423 on Thursday. Apple was briefly the world’s most valuable publicly traded company before falling back to second, and narcissists were found to make poor business leaders.New York TimesSmoking GunBarron’sCNETLiveScienceFormer Russian president Vladimir Putin went scuba diving in Phanagoria, site of the “Russian Atlantis.” After finding the remains of two urns at a depth of two meters, he toured a nearby excavation. “Can I take it?” he asked archaeologists upon filching an ancient amphora fragment. “It might be useful in my household.” Critics said the urns had been planted.Ria NovostiGuardianA federal appeals court struck down the requirement in U.S. health-care legislation that all Americans be insured, Barack Obama‘s approval rating dropped below 40 percent for the first time in his presidency, and leftists in Denmark beat up Shepard Fairey, creator of the Obama “HOPE” poster, after calling him “Obama Illuminati.” Fairey declined to file a police report, explaining, “The only thing I could see coming out of it was further media commentary like ‘Street artist whiner Shepard Fairey can’t hold it down in a fight so he snitches to the cops.'”USA TodayLos Angeles TimesGuardian

The Pacific island of Niue announced it would issue coins bearing the images of Star Wars characters, and King Abdullah II of Jordan unveiled plans for a $1.5-billion Star Trek resort.BBCCNETCuba held its first wedding of a gay man and a transgender woman, Prague held its first gay-pride march, “Sesame Street” denied that Bert and Ernie were a couple, and Phillip Hinkle, an antigay Republican state representative from Indiana, was discovered to have offered cash to an 18-year-old man in exchange for spending the night, plus a tip for a really good time.BBCBBCNew York PostIndianapolis StarRaw StoryA Texas jury sentenced religious fundamentalist Warren Jeffs to life in prison for sexually assaulting two girls, aged 12 and 15, who numbered among his 78 wives. A prison guard said Jeffs has been masturbating continuously when not in court, despite eating “[barely] enough to stay alive.”Salt Lake TribuneDailyThe Alaskan coastal hamlet of Kivalina pondered the origins of orange goo, grease devils besieged rural Sri Lanka, and two California nursing-home workers were jailed for pranking coworkers by covering dementia patients with slippery ointment.IndependentReuters via Yahoo!AZCentralIllinois ran out of money for pauper funerals, and the Edgar Allan Poe House in Baltimore faced closure due to inadequate funding.NBC ChicagoNew York TimesSoviet spies were accused of killing Albert Camus, researchers declared that spoilers enhance the enjoyment of reading, and the United States named as its poet laureate Philip Levine, “A tiny wise child who this time will love/his life because it is like no other.”AFP via Raw StoryBBCNew York ObserverMorehead State University

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In 1973, when Barry Singer was a fifteen-year-old student at New York’s Yeshiva University High School for Boys, the vice principal, Rabbi George Finkelstein, stopped him in a stairwell. Claiming he wanted to check his tzitzit—the strings attached to Singer’s prayer shawl—Finkelstein, Singer says, pushed the boy over the third-floor banister, in full view of his classmates, and reached down his pants. “If he’s not wearing tzitzit,” Finkelstein told the surrounding children, “he’s going over the stairs!”

“He played it as a joke, but I was completely at his mercy,” Singer recalled. For the rest of his time at Yeshiva, Singer would often wear his tzitzit on the outside of his shirt—though this was regarded as rebellious—for fear that Finkelstein might find an excuse to assault him again.

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About fifteen years ago, my roommate and I developed a classification system for TV and movies. Each title was slotted into one of four categories: Good-Good; Bad-Good; Good-Bad; Bad-Bad. The first qualifier was qualitative, while the second represented a high-low binary, the title’s aspiration toward capital-A Art or lack thereof.

Some taxonomies were inarguable. The O.C., a Fox series about California rich kids and their beautiful swimming pools, was delightfully Good-Bad. Paul Haggis’s heavy-handed morality play, Crash, which won the Oscar for Best Picture, was gallingly Bad-Good. The films of Francois Truffaut, Good-Good; the CBS sitcom Two and a Half Men, Bad-Bad.

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For time ylost, this know ye,
By no way may recovered be.
—Chaucer

I spent thirty-eight years in prison and have been a free man for just under two. After killing a man named Thomas Allen Fellowes in a drunken, drugged-up fistfight in 1980, when I was nineteen years old, I was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. Former California governor Jerry Brown commuted my sentence and I was released in 2017, five days before Christmas. The law in California, like in most states, grants the governor the right to alter sentences. After many years of advocating for the reformation of the prison system into one that encourages rehabilitation, I had my life restored to me.

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.

A solid-gold toilet named “America” was stolen from Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of Winston Churchill, in Oxfordshire, England.

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