Newsweek October 4, 2013

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United States
The Newsweek/Daily Beast Company LLC
37 号


to live and die in damascus

A lot of Syrians would call Fatima lucky. And in some ways, at least, she would have to agree. The mother of four and her family fled their hometown a year ago, making their way from the embattled Damascus suburb of Moadamiyeh to the comparative safety of the capital itself. There they found a basement apartment in the building where Fatima’s husband now works as a superintendent. Schools are in session here, and there’s food in the shops. That’s more than the friends and relatives who stayed behind in Moadamiyeh can say. Fatima and her family got out just in time. Even as they left, Bashar al-Assad’s government was in the process of laying siege to the town. Today it’s surrounded by heavily armed soldiers who allow no food, medicine, or…

rt: @twitter: we’re rich! #ipo

In his latest movie, Ashton Kutcher plays Apple billionaire Steve Jobs. Some time before Thanksgiving, thanks to Twitter, he’ll be a high tech & nbsp;multimillionaire in his own right. Richard Branson, the billionaire aviator and space-travel pioneer, will also be adding a few more millions to his net worth thanks to taking an early slice of Twitter when it was in need of cash. As the market awaits Twitter’s IPO, scheduled to take place before November 28, the 140-character social network is about to make a whole host of early investors - both known and unknown - very rich or even more comfortably well off. Many of the names of the lucky few overnight-Rockefellers are not known, thanks to the Jobs Act, which lets the company keep them secret. But as Twitter…

the woman who knows the nsa’s secrets

Long before Edward Snowden leaked documents showing that the government was collecting every American’s phone records, Marcy Wheeler knew something fishy was going on. She was one of just a handful of people who in 2009 suspected that the government was using the USA Patriot Act to collect Americans’ personal records in bulk. On June 5, 2013, Snowden proved her right. You’ve probably never heard of Wheeler, a Michigan blogger who plies her trade far away from the closed world of Washington, D.C., but her work enables journalists, lawyers, advocates and experts to unmask the government’s secret spying apparatus. “She’s really a wealth of knowledge,” said Amie Stepanovich, who does policy and litigation work on domestic surveillance for the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a privacy group. As a resource Wheeler’s blog is…

car thieves sink the titanic

The video game Grand Theft Auto is on target to become the most profitable entertainment franchise of all time. The fifth episode of the urban-bandit adventure series, in which players steal a car and escape before the police arrive, made a staggering $800 million on its first day. By day three it had grossed $1 billion. Latest figures from games industry site suggest that this incarnation, set in Los Angeles, has now sold 17,520,000, grossing $1.54 billion. Take-Two, the New York company that owns the franchise, reported that by November of last year 125 million copies of Grand Theft Auto had been sold in its first four outings, which are set in London, New York, Miami, and San Francisco. At an average of $35 per copy, the series has so far…

what they don’t teach you at oxford

When he isn’t advancing our understanding of black holes, quantum mechanics and relativity, Stephen Hawking writes books, like A Brief History of Time, that explain the origin of the universe. That book spent 147 weeks on the New York Times Best Seller List and has sold 10 million copies. He is, most agree, wicked smart. In his recently published autobiography My Brief History, Hawking—who has a motor neuron disease that has left him almost completely paralyzed and communicating through a speech-generating device—offers five life lessons on how to become a genius. They are not exactly scientific, but you can take that up with him. 1) Don’t work too hard at school. Hawking says the prevailing attitude among undergraduates at Oxford University, when he studied there, was anti-work: “I once calculated that I did…

the phantom menace

While he was vice president in the previous administration, Dick Cheney repeatedly insisted America needed to bomb the Iranians to snuff out their nuclear ambitions; so did Senator John McCain and innumerable other politicians – Republican and Democrat, domestic and foreign. But what if it’s all hysteria? Could Iran be little more than a phantom menace? Interviews with military strategists and foreign and domestic intelligence officers, and a review of the 34 years of warnings about the Iranians’ threat to America’s vital interests, all show that the doomsaying is based on suspicion, supposition and precious little hard data. It is, in many ways, a repeat of the supposed threat from Iraq that led to war – except this time, the intelligence world knows there are no weapons of mass destruction. Now, with signs…