Weekly Review — October 25, 2011, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

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

A kinkajou, 1886.

Libyan forces shot and killed deposed leader Muammar Qaddafi after finding him hidden in a drainage pipe in Sirte. Upon being discovered, Qaddafi reportedly raised his hands and begged, “Don’t kill me, my sons.” Video footage showed him being taunted, beaten, and sodomized with a weapon, possibly after he had been shot in the head and stomach. His body was mounted on a truck and paraded around Misrata before it was placed in a shopping-center freezer. Crowds said, “We want to see the dog!” as they lined up to view the corpse. “The dark shadow of tyranny has been lifted,” said President Barack Obama. “Wow!” said secretary of state Hillary Clinton.TelegraphAPAPGlobalPost via CBSNew York TimesBBCObama announced that U.S. troops would withdraw from Iraq by the end of the year, and Turkish troops crossed into Iraq in search of Kurds. In eastern Turkey, Kurdish fighters killed 24 Turkish soldiers, Turkish soldiers killed 49 Kurdish fighters, and an earthquake killed more than 250 people.AP via NOLA.comAPReutersBBCVoice of AmericaHamas freed Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in exchange for 1,027 Palestinian prisoners. Shalit, whose captivity had lasted five years, was interviewed on Egyptian TV immediately after his release, prompting outrage from Israelis, who said he looked exhausted and extremely pale.APAP via CBSYouTubeIn Nigeria, government forces hunted the militant Islamist group Boko Haram after it killed a TV journalist and an MP and bombed a police station, and in San Francisco, MC Hammer launched WIREDoo, a new “deep search” engine. “Generalities,” said Hammer, “tend to not be the wave of the future.”BBCBBCChristian Science MonitorInformation WeekYouTube

A boxing-glove-shaped gold nugget worth $424,000 was discovered in Russia, Occupy Wall Street said that it had raised $300,000 in donations, Communist Party U.S.A. and the American Nazi Party announced their support for the “Occupy” movement, and zombies and witches fought for economic turf in Salem, Mass.PravdaThe Smoking JacketAP via Huffington PostCommunist Party USARaw StorySalem NewsBank of America shifted $55 trillion worth of Merrill Lynch derivatives to its retail bank unit, where they would be insured by U.S. taxpayers through the FDIC.New York PostFelix Salmon via ReutersUnwarranted self-praise was found to lead to depression, and a military care package consisting of two boxes of Bill O’Reilly’s book “Pinheads and Patriots” was set on fire in Afghanistan, on orders from a unit commander. “I won?t say I didn?t take pleasure in removing a few copies of this bigoted twerp?s writings from circulation,” the soldier who burned the books wrote on his blog, Everqueer, “but the reason for doing so was military necessity.”Science DailyGawkerEverqueerEverqueerThree U.S. Marines were imprisoned in San Diego for entering into fraudulent heterosexual marriages to get housing-allowance money for one of the Marines and her female partner, and American researchers demonstrated that people with strong physiological responses to unpleasant images, such as a man eating live worms, are more likely to oppose gay marriage.Los Angeles TimesPLoSChristian Louboutin fought Yves Saint Laurent over red-soled shoes, and Patrizia Reggiani, who has been in prison 13 years for contracting the murder of her ex-husband, the heir to the Gucci fortune, turned down work release, telling an Italian court, “I’ve never worked in my life.” Reggiani said she would prefer to live in her cell, which she shares with other prisoners, two evergreens, and a replacement ferret for her first, Bambi, who was hanged. “Living with her cellmates is not easy,” said her lawyer.Women’s Wear Daily via New York MagazineLa Stampa via WorldcrunchGuardian

A Zanesville, Ohio, man freed 56 exotic animals from his private zoo and then committed suicide. As townspeople hid indoors, deputies captured or shot lions and tigers and bears. “There was a loss of life here, and we thank God it was not human life,” said Columbus Zoo director emeritus Jack Hanna. “It was animal life, and that’s my life.” A herpetic macaque remained at large, but was presumed eaten by a big cat.Columbus DispatchCNNTwenty-three Swedish women, aged 38 to 70, were convicted of possessing child pornography; the hacker collective Anonymous outed 1,500 pedophiles following a siege of Lolita City; and a hacker redirected video links on the “Sesame Street” YouTube channel to a clip from “First Anal Quest: Angelica.”AFPExaminer.comE! OnlineA California court dismissed a lawsuit brought by a former business partner of retired NBA player Shaquille O’Neal, which alleged that O’Neal had hired the Main Street Mafia Crips to kidnap the plaintiff in order to retrieve a sex tape.Hollywood ReporterResearchers announced that junk food weakens young men’s sperm and that cell phones do not cause cancer, and journalists investigated the testicles of a 34-year-old Taiwanese woman and the 100-pound scrotum of Wesley Warren Jr., a Las Vegas man seeking donations for an operation to save his genitals. “It’s not something people have seen before,” said Warren. “I doubt if they can even imagine it.”news.com.auArs TechnicaStraits TimesLas Vegas Review-Journal

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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.

Yet we know that people do change their minds. We are constantly molded by our environment and our culture, by the events of the world, by the gossip we hear and the books we read. In the essays that follow, seven writers explore the ways that persuasion operates in our lives, from the intimate to the far-reaching. Some consider the ethics and mechanics of persuasion itself — in religion, politics, and foreign policy — and others turn their attention to the channels through which it acts, such as music, protest, and technology. How, they ask, can we persuade others to join our cause or see things the way we do? And when it comes to our own openness to change, how do we decide when to compromise and when to resist?

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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.

By the time he arrived at the Equitas Health clinic, Chase was eighteen, and had long since come to dread doctors and hospitals. As a child, he’d had asthma, migraines, two surgeries for a tumor that had caused deafness in one ear, and gangrene from an infected bug bite. Doctors had always assumed he was a girl. After puberty, Chase said, he avoided looking in the mirror because his chest and hips “didn’t feel like my body.” He liked it when strangers saw him as male, but his voice was high-pitched, so he rarely spoke in public. Then, when Chase was fourteen, he watched a video on YouTube in which a twentysomething trans man described taking testosterone to lower his voice and appear more masculine. Suddenly, Chase had an explanation for how he felt — and what he wanted.

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In the summer of 2016, when Congress installed a financial control board to address Puerto Rico’s crippling debt, I traveled to San Juan, the capital. The island owed some $120 billion, and Wall Street was demanding action. On the news, President Obama announced his appointments to the Junta de Supervisión y Administración Financiera. “The task ahead for Puerto Rico is not an easy one,” he said. “But I am confident Puerto Rico is up to the challenge of stabilizing the fiscal situation, restoring growth, and building a better future for all Puerto Ricans.” Among locals, however, the control board was widely viewed as a transparent effort to satisfy mainland creditors — just the latest tool of colonialist plundering that went back generations.

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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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After losing their savings in the stock market crash of 2008, seniors Barb and Chuck find seasonal employment at Amazon fulfillment centers.

Cost of a baby-stroller cleaning, with wheel detailing, at Tot Squad in New York City:

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Australian biologists trained monitor lizards not to eat cane toads.

Trump tweeted that he had created “jobs, jobs, jobs” since becoming president, and it was reported that Trump plans to bolster job creation by loosening regulations on the global sale of US-made artillery, warships, fighter jets, and drones.

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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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