Newsweek February 8, 2013

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United States
The Newsweek/Daily Beast Company LLC
37 号


the lost world

WHEN I read a week ago that Patty Andrews had died, the most shocking thing about it, of course, was that until the day before, she had still been alive. The last surviving Andrews sister was born in 1918 and had been famous during World War II. She and her sisters form one of the indelible images of that age—the trio, in their WAC outfits, saluting, marching toward the camera, smiling that smile of unbleached optimism, singing “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” reminding Americans to buy their war bonds. I got to wondering: what percentage of the people reading or hearing about her passing had the vaguest idea who she was? And of that select group, how many actually knew anything about the Andrews Sisters beyond the fact of their existence—knew anything…

georgia on their minds

ONCE UPON a time, the presidential palace perched on a hill overlooking the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, was bathed in light and its gilded halls hummed with activity as President Mikheil Saakashvili worked on his pro-Western reform plans. But last year’s election, which ele vated Saakashvili’s rival, the pro- Russian billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, to the post of prime minister, shut off that light. (The new government argued that exterior lighting of the palace was too expensive.) And Misha, as the burly, once ebullient Saakashvili is known, now toils in darkness, his famous smile having long since been replaced by gloom. The shenanigans of his enemies, he says, “do not stop surprising me.” The president, who was swept to power after the 2003 Rose Revolution, claiming an impressive 97 percent of the vote, is…

ali akbar salehi

WHEN FOREIGN Minister Ali Akbar Salehi spoke to members of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York last September, he did something unusual for an Iranian official: he referred to Israel not as “the Zionist entity”—the term its opponents sometimes use to deny the country legitimacy as a state—but simply as Israel. The context wasn’t exactly favorable; he was describing Israel as “the most significant source of instability and insecurity” in the Middle East. But the reference caught the ear of a journalist in the audience, who remarked aloud that in 20 years of covering the United Nations, she’d never heard an Iranian official utter the “I” word in public. “You want me to change the position?” Salehi responded coolly, drawing laughter. The exchange captured something noteworthy about Salehi, who…


OVER THREE years ago, as the U.S. troop surge in Afghanistan began to expel the Taliban from populated areas, a British military Provincial Reconstruction Team in Helmand province started to gear up a campaign to win the villagers’ loyalties. The team began by conducting a survey of local mosques in the province and found there were about 10,000 mullahs and muezzin attached to them. “We knew that the mullahs commanded great respect in Afghan society, even among the Taliban, so we decided to get as much support as possible for the allied eff ort and the government from the mosques’ imams,” says a British adviser to the operation who declined to be identified because he was not authorized to speak to the press. “Our aim was to let the mullahs…


AFTER ALI Swanson, an ecology researcher from the University of Minnesota, set up 225 cameras over 400 square miles of Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park, she was hit by the curse of Big Data: how do you make sense of the headspinning contents of more than a million photographs? Her cameras, triggered by sensors that measure heat and motion, were capturing an enormous number of images of prolific animals like wildebeest, stampeding through the park. Swanson was initially most interested in carnivore behavior, so she desperately needed help sifting through this tsunami of snapshots. So the research team applied to join Zooniverse, part of a larger suite of projects that allow the general public to sift through data—like searching for images of star clusters in the Andromeda Galaxy, for example—and help researchers…

what a pill

IN SIDE EFFECTS, an intense and subversive new thriller from direc tor Steven Soderbergh, Rooney Mara and Jude Law look set to do for psychiatry what Glenn Close and Michael Douglas did for infidelity in Fatal Attraction: make you think twice about brief encounters that end in an endorphin rush. But what’s even more remarkable is that depression can be portrayed dramatically on screen while being played medically straight. “Rooney’s depression, as it’s depicted, is incredibly realistic,” says forensic psychiatrist Sasha Bardey, one of the movie’s coproducers. “She really captured the complaints of someone who is depressed, the change in physical appearance, the change in nonverbal communication, the way she holds her head, her body.” Nothing seems to free Mara’s character from the “poisonous fog bank,” as she calls it, slowly suff…