Weekly Review — July 30, 2013, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

Egypt teeters precariously, cat zombies and zonkeys live, and a hexapus dies

EARLY LESSONS IN SELF-GOVERNMENT (March 1876)

EARLY LESSONS IN SELF-GOVERNMENT (March 1876)

In Cairo, security forces loyal to General Abdul Fatah al-Sisi opened fire on supporters of deposed Egyptian president and Muslim Brotherhood party leader Mohamed Morsi, killing at least 83 people. Police detained 73 protesters and two Islamist political leaders, and the Muslim Brotherhood called for a million people to march in Cairo on Tuesday. Egyptian officers, said interior minister Mohamed Ibrahim, “have never and will never shoot a bullet on any Egyptian.”[1][2][3][4] In a suburb of Tunis, two gunmen assassinated People’s Party leader Mohamed Brahmi in front of his wife and children.[5] In Benghazi, Libya, more than 1,000 prisoners escaped the Kuafiya prison and pro-democracy activist Abdelsalam al-Mismari was shot and killed as he left a mosque.[6] Syrian government forces killed 19 children and 10 adults in a missile attack on Aleppo, and the United Nations announced that more than 100,000 people have now died in the Syrian civil war. “It is thus imperative,” said Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, “to have a peace conference in Geneva.”[7][8] The Obama Administration announced plans to repatriate two Algerian prisoners being held at Guantánamo Bay.[9] Neuroscientists at MIT gave mice false memories of having had their feet shocked inside a box.[10] George H. W. Bush shaved his head.[11] Attorney general Eric Holder announced that the United States would not seek the death penalty against Edward Snowden for leaking information about the National Security Agency’s spying programs, and the NSA asked a reporter from ProPublica to modify a Freedom of Information Act request because it has “no central method to search an email.”[12][13] Turkey exonerated a kestrel accused of spying for Israel, and Indian scientists confirmed that bright lights detected over Indian airspace and suspected of being Chinese drones were in fact Jupiter and Venus.[14][15]

Spanish authorities filed 79 charges of negligent homicide against the driver of a train that crashed while reportedly traveling 121 mph along a tight curve near Santiago de Compostela.[16] Pope Francis celebrated World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro by donning a ceremonial headdress given him by a shirtless man from the Pataxo tribe, visiting the impoverished Varginha favela, and speaking on Copacabana Beach before crowds estimated at 1.5 million and 3 million. “Possessions, money, and power can give a momentary thrill, the illusion of being happy, but they end up possessing us,” said the Pope. “I’m pretty surprised that people who call themselves Christians would throw away all this food,” said a bottle-picker.[17][18][19][20] A New York Times investigation found that U.S. investment banks were causing consumer-price increases by stockpiling such commodities as aluminum, coffee, cotton, oil, and wheat, and that Goldman Sachs was shuffling aluminum among warehouses outside Detroit in order to delay the metal’s entry to market. “It’s a merry-go-round of metal,” said a forklift operator.[21] Parisian gendarmes seized 60 tons of tin Eiffel Tower replicas, and a gunman stole $136 million worth of jewels from the Cannes hotel featured in the Alfred Hitchcock film To Catch a Thief.[22][23] A wrongful-death lawsuit was filed against a Michigan man who wrote “Kill Kathie Kill Kathie Kill Kathie!!!!!” on a chore list before killing his wife, and a man believed to have killed five seniors in Shunan, Japan, was arrested on a mountain near his home, where police found a haiku in a window that read “Setting a fire/ smoke gives delight/ to a country fellow.”[24][25] The London Fire Brigade speculated that the erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey might be responsible for a rise since 2010 in emergency calls from people needing to be freed from restraints.[26]

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New Jersey hospitals were preparing for a 20 percent increase in births, anticipated because of a rise in conceptions during October’s Hurricane Sandy. “People just love hurricanes and sex,” said an economics professor.[27] Virginia E. Johnson, co-author of the pioneering 1966 book Human Sexual Response, died at 88, and New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner was revealed to have exchanged graphic messages and photographs on the Internet under the pseudonym Carlos Danger following his resignation from Congress for similar activities in 2011. “He’s really not a changed man,” said the editor who broke the story. “He’s Carlos Danger.”[28][29] A Greek teenager shot himself in the foot to impress a girl.[30] Peahens were found to evaluate peacocks by the width and motion, not the ornamentation, of their trains.[31] Officials in Los Angeles closed three campgrounds after diagnosing a squirrel with plague, and six feral cats knocked down a woman in Belfort, France, and pierced one of her arteries. “Cats are not new zombies of the apocalypse,” said a veterinarian.[32][33] A zonkey named Ippo was born in Florence, an albino African hedgehog gave birth to triplets in a Moscow zoo, and Prince William and his wife, the Duchess of Cambridge, named their newborn son George Alexander Louis.[34][35][36] A spectator threw a banana at Cécile Kyenge, Italy’s first black cabinet minister, while she spoke at a rally, and an American family vacationing in Greece caught the second hexapus ever seen in the wild, then ate it with tomato and lemon. “It tasted just like a normal octopus,” said the father, “but now I feel really bad.”[37][38]


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The second-worst thing about cancer chairs is that they are attached to televisions. Someone somewhere is always at war with silence. It’s impossible to read, so I answer email, or watch some cop drama on my computer, or, if it seems unavoidable, explore the lives of my nurses. A trip to Cozumel with old girlfriends, a costume party with political overtones, an advanced degree on the internet: they’re all the same, these lives, which is to say that the nurses tell me nothing, perhaps because amid the din and pain it’s impossible to say anything of substance, or perhaps because they know that nothing is precisely what we both expect. It’s the very currency of the place. Perhaps they are being excruciatingly candid.

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Every year in Lusk, Wyoming, during the second week of July, locals gather to reenact a day in 1849 when members of a nearby band of Sioux are said to have skinned a white man alive. None of the actors are Native American. The white participants dress up like Indians and redden their skin with body paint made from iron ore.

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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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