Weekly Review — May 28, 2013, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

Obama calls for an end to the “war on terror,” tensions grow in Europe, and a Filipino with forty-one names

"I Am Obligated to Dance a Bear"

“I Am Obligated to Dance a Bear”

President Barack Obama declared in a speech at the National Defense University that the United States must end the “boundless global war on terror” begun after the attacks of September 11, 2001. Obama called on Congress to revise and ultimately repeal the authorization of force it granted after 9/11, lifted a moratorium on transferring prisoners to Yemen from the U.S. detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, and promised new limitations on drone strikes, which Attorney General Eric Holder formally admitted in a letter to Congress had included the targeted killings of four American citizens abroad. “This war, like all wars, must end,” said Obama. “It is almost like he’s saying . . . ‘Stop me before I kill again,’ ” said Fox News analyst Brit Hume.[1][2][3] The president also visited Moore, Oklahoma, to survey damage caused by a tornado — the most destructive of 76 touching down in 10 states across three days — that killed 24 people and injured 377, and laid a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery in observance of Memorial Day. “God has a plan, but we are an instrument of his will,” said Obama in Moore. “If I knew the story of every individual who went through here,” said an army mortician, “I would probably be in a padded cell.”[4][5][6][7] In Baghdad, at least 70 people died in a series of bombings in Shia neighborhoods, and a gunman killed 12 people at a brothel.[8][9] A French soldier on patrol in La Défense, a business district west of Paris, was stabbed in the throat by a suspected Muslim extremist, and an off-duty British soldier was killed outside London’s Royal Artillery Barracks by two men with knives. Reports of Islamophobic hate crimes rose tenfold in the United Kingdom, and far-right demonstrators in Newcastle carried signs reading Taliban Hunting Club and chanted “R.I.P. Lee Rigby.”[10][11][12][13][14] Pakistan ordered its civil servants to go sockless.[15]

Rioters in Stockholm’s northern suburbs set fire to cars and buildings and threw stones at police following the shooting by officers of an elderly immigrant accused of wielding a machete in public. “Deep divisions in Swedish society can’t be bridged,” said the leader of the anti-immigrant Swedish Democratic party, “by the police grilling sausages with youths.”[16][17] A Guatemalan court overturned the genocide conviction of former dictator José Efraín Ríos Montt, and Japan’s cabinet denied that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has avoided moving into his official residence because he believes it to be haunted.[18][19] Three sisters whose mother had just died of breast cancer were ejected from a mall in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, for refusing to remove hats reading Fuck Cancer as they shopped for funeral dresses.[20] Authorities in southern China ordered a recall of rice contaminated with cadmium, Canadians were complaining that their polymer banknotes smelled faintly of maple, and European researchers identified the pathogen that caused the Irish potato famine.[21][22][23] Apple CEO Tim Cook appeared before a Senate committee to answer questions raised by a government report showing that his company used such accounting maneuvers as the “double Irish” to avoid paying taxes on at least $74 billion in profits since 2009. “We love the iPhone and the iPad,” said Senator Carl Levin (D., Mich.). “You have to be a pretty smart guy and a pretty tough guy,” said Senator John McCain (R., Ariz.). “I say that in a complimentary way.”[24][25][26] Half the city council of Ypsilanti, Michigan, abstained from a vote on a resolution to ban abstentions.[27] The power went out in Boring, Oregon.[28]

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On Mars, NASA’s Curiosity rover pierced a veiny rock named Cumberland.[29] Jupiter, Mercury, and Venus converged to form a rare glowing triangle in the western sky, a male Iago sparrow mounted his male companion shortly after their ship docked in the Netherlands to complete the species’ maiden voyage to Europe from Cape Verde, and the Boy Scouts of America ended its ban on openly gay scouts but left in place its ban on openly gay scoutmasters.[31][32][33][34] A Bosnian shepherd named Blažo Grković choked with one hand a brown bear that had clutched his other hand in a meadow.[35] Biologists listed among 2012’s top ten new species a littoral shrub that flowers magenta, the No to the Mine! snake, and the blue-balled lesula monkey.[36] A veterinarian punctured the belly of a Cornish hedgehog suffering from balloon syndrome, and conservationists in Somerset Moors placed under round-the-clock guard the egg of a common crane. “It is absolutely momentous,” said a wildlife manager, “to see this egg laid at Slimbridge.”[37][38] The day after an Englishman from Stockton-on-Tees received his final treatment for a broken arm suffered six years ago, he tripped and broke it again.[39] A University of New Hampshire instructor who worked after getting his Ph.D. as a Subway sandwich maker proved a key component of one of the oldest problems in pure mathematics, the twin-prime conjecture, by building on an advancement to the Sieve of Eratosthenes, and a boy registered for school in the Philippines under the name Ratziel Timshel Ismail Zerubbabel Zabud Zimry Pike Blavatsky Philo Judaeus Polidorus Isurenus Morya Nylghara Rakoczy Kuthumi Krishnamurti Ashram Jerram Akasha Aum Ultimus Rufinorum Jancsi Janko Diamond Hu Ziv Zane Zeke Wakeman Wye Muo Teletai Chohkmah Nesethrah Mercavah Nigel Seven Morningstar A. San Juan CCCII. “My wife did,” said the boy’s father, “have reservations.”[40][41][42]


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Addressing the graduating cadets at West Point in May 1942, General George C. Marshall, then the Army chief of staff, reduced the nation’s purpose in the global war it had recently joined to a single emphatic sentence. “We are determined,” he remarked, “that before the sun sets on this terrible struggle, our flag will be recognized throughout the world as a symbol of freedom on the one hand and of overwhelming force on the other.”

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1. In 2014, Deepti Gurdasani, a genetic epidemiologist at the Wellcome Sanger Institute in England, coauthored a paper in Nature on human genetic variation in Africa, from which this image is taken. A recent study had found that DNA from people of European descent made up 96 percent of genetic samples worldwide, reflecting the historical tendency among scientists and doctors to view the male, European body as a global archetype. “There wasn’t very much data available from Africa at all,” Gurdasani told me. To help rectify the imbalance, her research team collected samples from eighteen African ethnolinguistic groups across the continent—such as the Kalenjin of Uganda and the Oromo of Ethiopia—most of whom had not previously been included in genomic research. They analyzed the data using an admixture algorithm, which visualizes the statistical genetic differences among groups by representing them as color clusters. The top chart shows genetic differences among the sampled African populations, in increasing degrees of granularity from top to bottom, and the bottom chart shows how they compare with ethnic groups in the rest of the world. The areas where the colors mix and overlap imply that groups commingled. The Yoruba, for instance, show remarkable homogeneity—their column is almost entirely green and purple—while the Kalenjin seem to have associated with many populations across the continent.

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Ten yards was the nearest we could get to the river. Any closer and the smell was too much to bear. The water was a milky gray color, as if mixed with ashes, and the passage of floating trash was ceaseless. Plastic bags and bottles, coffee lids, yogurt cups, flip-flops, and sodden stuffed animals drifted past, coated in yellow scum. Amid the old tires and mattresses dumped on the riverbank, mounds of rank green weeds gave refuge to birds and grasshoppers, which didn’t seem bothered by the fecal stench.

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At Ivanwald, men learn to be leaders by loving their leaders. “They’re so busy loving us,” a brother once explained to me, “but who’s loving them?” We were. The brothers each paid $400 per month for room and board, but we were also the caretakers of The Cedars, cleaning its gutters, mowing its lawns, whacking weeds and blowing leaves and sanding. And we were called to serve on Tuesday mornings, when The Cedars hosted a regular prayer breakfast typically presided over by Ed Meese, the former attorney general. Each week the breakfast brought together a rotating group of ambassadors, businessmen, and American politicians. Three of Ivanwald’s brothers also attended, wearing crisp shirts starched just for the occasion; one would sit at the table while the other two poured coffee. 

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