Weekly Review — November 18, 2014, 10:43 am

Weekly Review

World leaders plan to boost GDP, the E.S.A. lands on a comet, and an artist looks for a needle in a haystack

Babylonian Lion

At the G20 summit in Brisbane, Australia, world leaders announced their plans to boost their combined GDP by $2 trillion and to reduce the gap between male and female participation in the labor force by a quarter. President Obama held a koala named Jimbelung. An indigenous dance group performed at a ceremony welcoming delegates while a separate group of indigenous protesters set fire to the Australian flag outside. “They come here, sit in our air-conditioned hotels,” said a Queenslander, “drink our chardonnay, and talk bullshit.” In his opening remarks, Australian prime minister Tony Abbott told delegates that he had been unable to balance his budget in part because Australians refused to pay a seven-dollar fee to see their general practitioners. “This was Tony Abbott’s moment in front of the most important and influential leaders in the world,” said a member of the opposing party, “and he’s whinging.”[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8] The White House confirmed that Abdul-Rahman Kassig, a 26-year-old American citizen who had changed his first name from Peter when he converted to Islam, had been beheaded by members of the Islamic State in Syria, where Kassig founded an aid group for refugees.[9][10][11] Philae, a solar-powered lander operated by the European Space Agency, landed on comet 67P, bounced off, landed again, and ran out of power. “We’re really … hugely happy,” said an E.S.A. spokesman.[12][13] An official astronomer for the Vatican, who coauthored the book Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial?, became the first member of the clergy to be awarded the Carl Sagan Medal for outstanding communication by an active planetary scientist, and in a Paris museum an Italian artist was searching for a needle that a curator had hidden in a haystack.[14][15]

Mike Arman, a resident of Ferguson, Missouri, released a video showing Darren Wilson, the officer who shot and killed unarmed black teenager Michael Brown, attempting to arrest Arman in 2013. “You wanna take a picture,” Wilson says in the video. “I’m gonna lock your ass up.”[16] A former New York City police officer who had been arrested in 2012 for exchanging online messages about cooking women alive and eating them, and for illegally accessing data about potential victims in law-enforcement databases, was sentenced to time served. “I would never,” said Gilberto Valle, “do the things I talked about on the Internet.”[17][18] A Dutch Bitcoin user injected each of his hands with an NFC Type 2–compliant NTAG216 RFID chipset on which his bitcoins are stored, and Jewish rapper Kosha Dillz reported that his website had been hacked by the Islamic State.[19] In Gouda, Holland, at least 90 people were arrested for protesting the Black Pete parade, in which a man dressed as St. Nicholas is accompanied by white men in blackface and Afro wigs.[20] Performers including One Direction and Bono took part in a new recording of the 1984 song “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” in order to raise funds to combat Ebola, and the rear door of Bono’s private Learjet detached mid-flight, causing Bono’s luggage to fall out of the plane.[21][22] A South Molton, England, man pleaded guilty to possessing fourteen cents’ worth of marijuana. “If I close one’s eyes,” said his lawyer, “and try to imagine nine hundredths of a gram, it is a very difficult thing to fasten your mind on.”[23]

In Manassas City, Virginia, police detective David Abbott brought a defamation suit against the lawyer of a teenager whose penis he had sought to photograph in a state of chemically induced erection so he could compare it with a penis in a sext.[24] Pictures of genitals in a sixth-grade Turkish biology textbook were replaced with images of ducklings, dolphins, and polar bears, and Ireland’s Animal Rights Action Network was holding a fundraiser to purchase Benjy, an abstinent gay bull, from a farmer in Mayo, and transfer him to an animal sanctuary. “Benjy had already been tested and everything was normal,” said the farmer, “so it became apparent that the problem lay elsewhere.”[25][26] A 16-year-old who drove for 35 miles at up to 118 miles per hour in the wrong direction on Interstate 93 in New Hampshire was apprehended, and it was reported that a Vancouver, Washington, man who called 911 to notify police about a shooting suspect was himself mistaken for the suspect and shot by responding officers.[27][28] A judge in Washington, D.C., ordered the release of a man who was committed to a psychiatric hospital forty years ago after being found unfit to stand trial for stealing a necklace valued at $20. “I act normal,” the man had said, “just like the average person.” [29][30] The ex-wife of oil magnate Harold Hamm announced her intention to appeal a $1 billion divorce settlement, and a new dating app was displaying users’ employment histories along with their profile photos. “If you have to choose between superficial and elitist,” said the founder, “I choose elitist.”[31]

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