Weekly Review — July 17, 2018, 12:51 pm

Weekly Review

Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin puzzle out cybersecurity in Helsinki, John Kelly didn’t like his breakfast in Brussels, and a family of woodchucks ate the wiring in Paul Ryan’s car

During an interview at Trump Turnberry, a golf resort that has not turned a profit since Donald Trump assumed ownership, the US president stated that the European Union was a “foe” and Russia a “foe in certain respects,” and that he “hadn’t thought” about asking Russian president Vladimir Putin about extraditing to the United States 12 Russian military officers, one of whom operated under the username Guccifer 2.0, for their role in the hacking and distribution of Democratic National Committee emails during the 2016 presidential campaign, which occurred “on or about” the date that then-presidential nominee Trump publicly suggested that hackers should try to find “the 30,000 missing emails” from his opponent’s private email server.[1][2][3] At a joint summit in Helsinki held the day after the interview, Putin suggested that US and Russian investigators work together to improve US cybersecurity, and Trump said that he holds “both countries responsible. I think the United States has been foolish. I think we’ve all been foolish.”[4] At press events during a NATO conference in Belgium, Trump exaggerated the portion of NATO funding that is provided by the United States by almost 500 percent, took credit for NATO military spending increases that member countries agreed to in 2014, and described a speech by French president Emmanuel Macron as “beautiful” but admitted that he had no idea what Macron was saying.[5][6] Trump’s chief of staff, John Kelly, who also attended the talks, was “displeased” by an early meeting “because he was expecting a full breakfast and there were only pastries and cheese.”[7] The US Embassy advised Americans in London to “keep a low profile” during Trump’s state visit to the UK.[8]

A 75-year-old man currently serving life in prison for two murders announced his run for US Senate in Minnesota, a state that only forbids inmates from running for state-level offices; and a Republican congressional candidate in California, who stated on a radio show that his campaign is dedicated to exposing the Holocaust as a fiction, distanced himself from robocalls about the “Jewish takeover of America” made on his behalf.[9][10] A white woman in Memphis, Tennessee, was fired for calling the police on a black man who was wearing socks while swimming in a pool; police in Ohio pulled over an 11-year-old black boy who was delivering newspapers on his route; a police officer was filmed passively observing the abuse of a woman who was labeled “not an American” for wearing a shirt bearing the flag of Puerto Rico, which has been a territory of the United States since March 2, 1917; and protesters in Chicago clashed with police after a white officer shot and killed a black man.[11][12][13][14] Video was released that showed police officers in Georgia using a smartphone coin-flip app to decide whether or not to arrest a woman who was pulled over for speeding; and a congressman in Arizona told police he was allowed to break the speed limit because of his “immunity as a government official.”[15][16] A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by the family of an unarmed black man fatally shot by an Ohio police officer because the victim’s civil rights had not been violated, and a federal court ruled that Transportation Security Administration agents cannot be sued by passengers for abusing them during searches because they are more akin to meat inspections than law enforcement.[17][18] The US government missed its deadline to reunify all 98 immigrant children under five years old with parents from whom they were separated at the border, and a “spiritual adviser” to President Trump said that Jesus “would not have been our Messiah” if he had broken immigration laws.[19][20]

A woman and her mechanic died from carbon monoxide poisoning while having intercourse inside a car that was running in her garage, and a woman was found alive in her car seven days after it plunged 200 feet off a cliff in Big Sur, California.[21][22] Scientists isolated a “ghost particle,” a subatomic particle that can travel through solid matter, inside a cubic kilometer of ice in Antarctica.[23] Thirty-three people have been evacuated from a seaside village in Greenland because of an 11-million-ton iceberg got close to shore.[24] Studies revealed that rats were depriving coral reefs of bird droppings; and, as they were being transported to a new wildlife reserve in Kenya, eight endangered black rhinos died.[25][26] A jaguar escaped its enclosure at a New Orleans zoo and killed four alpacas, an emu, and a fox; a mob in Indonesia slaughtered nearly three hundred crocodiles at an animal sanctuary after a man was killed near the reptiles’ breeding pond; and a family of woodchucks ate the wiring in US House Speaker Paul Ryan’s car, rendering it useless.[27][28][29] A new study found that penis size does not matter to mice.[30]Matthew Hickey

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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.”

At the time Marshall spoke, mere months after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, U.S. forces had sustained a string of painful setbacks and had yet to win a major battle. Eventual victory over Japan and Germany seemed anything but assured. Yet Marshall was already looking beyond the immediate challenges to define what that victory, when ultimately— and, in his view, inevitably—achieved, was going to signify.

This second world war of the twentieth century, Marshall understood, was going to be immense and immensely destructive. But if vast in scope, it would be limited in duration. The sun would set; the war would end. Today no such expectation exists. Marshall’s successors have come to view armed conflict as an open-ended proposition. The alarming turn in U.S.–Iranian relations is another reminder that war has become normal for the United States.

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Last fall, a court filing in the Eastern District of Virginia inadvertently suggested that the Justice Department had indicted WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and other outlets reported soon after that Assange had likely been secretly indicted for conspiring with his sources to publish classified government material and hacked documents belonging to the Democratic National Committee, among other things.

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Harold Jamieson, once chief engineer of New York City’s sanitation department, enjoyed retirement. He knew from his small circle of friends that some didn’t, so he considered himself lucky. He had an acre of garden in Queens that he shared with several like-minded horticulturists, he had discovered Netflix, and he was making inroads in the books he’d always meant to read. He still missed his wife—a victim of breast cancer five years previous—but aside from that persistent ache, his life was quite full. Before rising every morning, he reminded himself to enjoy the day. At sixty-eight, he liked to think he had a fair amount of road left, but there was no denying it had begun to narrow.

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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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