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Pope Francis…a golden opportunity for the church? A.N. Wilson writes this week’s Newsweek cover http://thebea.st/XbGI73
We’re giving away this week’s issue of Newsweek for free over on Twitter—but you don’t think we’d forget about you guys, do you!?
Click here and enter the code NWKTWEET2 to get issue totally free for your iPad. Act somewhat quickly, though, as we’ve only got about 50 left before the computers cut us off.
This week’s cover is awesomely designed—and terrifying. Will asteroids destroy earth? Professor of theoretical physics at CUNY Michio Kaku is the cover story author, diving deep into the impending asteroid apocalypse (pro tip: keep your calendars free for the year 2036).
Maybe Chicken Little was right after all.
It was an amazing spectacle, a rapid succession of giant asteroids blazing across the sky. First, on February 15, Russia was hit with the biggest asteroid in 100 years. Barely a few hours later, an even bigger one made the closest approach to Earth ever recorded for an asteroid of its size. Then the residents of San Francisco, Cuba, and south Florida looked up and saw meteors streak across the sky, rattling their nerves.
It was a historic display of nature’s cosmic firepower, something I never expected to see in my lifetime. Mother Nature was showing Hollywood who’s boss.
The city of Chelyabinsk in Russia bore the brunt of the celestial fireworks. A piece of rock, about 50 feet across and weighing more than 7,000 tons, came crashing to Earth. Traveling at a blinding speed of over 40,000 miles per hour, it created a sonic boom and shock wave that shattered windows across the city: 1,200 people were injured, mainly by the flying pieces of glass, and 52 were hospitalized, 2 of them in serious condition. Chelyabinsk, once known as one of the most polluted places in the world due to its storage of nuclear waste, will now be known as “meteor city.”
The asteroid packed a huge punch, the power of 20 Hiroshima bombs. It was a “city buster,” capable of flattening a modern metropolis and reducing it to rubble. It was a miracle that the asteroid exploded roughly 10 to 15 miles above ground: had there been a ground burst, it would have caused tens of thousands of casualties. If that asteroid had hit just a few seconds later, it would have created a tragedy on Earth.
While Russia was still reeling from the shock of this meteor impact, just a few hours later, 17,200 miles in space, an asteroid three times larger than the Russian one came within a whisker of hitting Earth. Called 2012 DA14, it actually sailed about 5,000 miles closer to Earth than our communications satellites (which orbit at 22,000 miles). If the asteroid had arrived just a few minutes earlier, it might have hit Earth, with truly cataclysmic consequences.
To see what might have happened in the case of a collision with DA14, one can study the 1908 Tunguska impact, which hit Siberia with the force of 1,000 Hiroshima bombs, giving Earth a black eye. That meteorite was about the same size as DA14, i.e., the size of an apartment building. The energy of the impact was so great that it devastated 830 square miles of Siberia, including 80 million trees. Pictures of the area show millions of trees lying on their sides, as if a giant hand came down and flattened every tree in sight. The impact was so spectacular that the blast was heard hundreds of miles away, and strange lights were seen as far away as Europe.
Fortunately, the 1908 and 2013 asteroids that hit Russia missed hitting a major metropolitan area like Moscow. However, because of the similarity with nuclear blasts, one can imagine what might happen if such an object had hit, say, New York.
Asteroid Apocalypse, Newsweek
For this week’s issue, out today, Tim Parks writes that Benedict’s exit was a quiet act of subversion, one that may just save the church from the excesses of JPII - http://bit.ly/TjJF2y
This week’s animated Newsweek cover, as seen in the iPad app, features a morphing King Richard III—from legend…to reality!
The cover story, written by historian Simon Schama, looks back at the means Richard III used to create his rock-solid center of power and loyalty—that undid him in the end.
A king, one shoulder higher than the other (an armorer’s nightmare), the golden circlet of the crown upon his helmet, is fighting for his life and his throne. Seeing the odds of a victory, which should have been his for the taking, suddenly shorten when his vanguard flounders in marshy ground, he has made a gambler’s throw: a frontal charge at the enemy with a long column of his most loyal knights behind him, meant to smash its way to his rival and kill him. The wet ground has lost him his mount, but he is cutting his way through the bodies with a swinging battle ax. He makes for the standard bearer of the enemy, fells him. Surely, the Welshman, the Tudor who wants his crown, cannot be far behind. Another swing, another knight, much bigger than his own slight frame, goes crashing down in his clanking hardware. Now Richard is within feet of his quarry when it all goes wrong. A presumed ally, his troops held in reserve, perhaps sensing the shift in the day’s fortunes, has thrown in his lot with the enemy and is attacking his rear; his scarlet-coated men throwing themselves into the fray. Everyone, all those men groaning and stumbling and hacking in the soft ground, feels the beginning of the end. Ranks of them close in on the king from whose helm the crown has ominously fallen. Defying everything and everyone, the king swings and flails, is engulfed, and a halberd slices through his helmet and into his brain. He sinks and folds and it is over. It is always finished when the leader of an army loses his life, for these thousands of men, knights and hardened men at arms, archers and gunners (for there were both cannon and harquebuses on Bosworth Field) are not fighting for an idea or a country, but for the person of the king who, in some way they don’t ask themselves, is England.
The chronicles of the late 15th and early 16th centuries have told us this, but those histories were written either by, or to please, the victors. But now we have Richard III’s story as written on his bones: a forensic romance. Not just the deep cleft in his skull where the halberd penetrated the helmet, but the marks of the subsequent indignities and mutilations inflicted on his corpse. It was always known that the new king, Henry Tudor, made sure to expose Richard’s body for either two or three days (sources differ) in Greyfriars Abbey where it was deposited, and it may have been, as one of the histories describes, half-naked, its lower half covered merely by “a poor black cloth”—the ultimate humiliation for a king who had reveled in royal costume. The skeleton shows signs of lunging stab wounds through the right buttock, another targeted indignity and, more mysteriously, the body’s feet are missing. Most dramatically of all, the backbone is curved like the blade of a scythe: the sign of “idiopathic” scoliosis, a condition that would have come upon the prince, Richard, as a boy and which would have thrust one shoulder up high enough for critics during and after his life to jeer at the deformity. Thomas More, whose unfinished biography is the first thrilling work of historical narrative—more a novel than a true history—and Shakespeare, who drew on More, may have been unjust in making Richard a monster, and there is no sign of the withered arm at the center of one of More’s most dramatic and fanciful scenes. But the bones tell us they were right to picture Richard III as deformed, and entirely of their time to imagine what effect this might have on the self-consciousness of a noble steeped in the chivalric literature of manly perfection, and on those many who feared and hated him.
The Return of Ruthless Richard III, Newsweek
Hillary Clinton’s Greatest Hits
And read Michael Tomasky’s current cover story: “The Most Powerful Woman In American History”
This morning’s memo from our editor Tina Brown announcing Dan Klaidman being named our national political correspondent. Follow him (on Twitter)!
This week’s Newsweek cover: Hil! She’s “the most powerful woman in American history,” per our coverline.
Here’s the beginning of the cover story, you can read the whole thing on the website if you’d like:
And now, as of this week, Hillary Rodham Clinton becomes something she has not been in two decades: a private citizen. A mind-boggling thought, really, rich in amusingly prosaic implications. Will she drive a car? Is she going to pop up at the Safeway (you’re supposed to bring your own bags now, Madame Secretary!) or be found standing in line at the Friendship Heights multiplex? She’ll still have Secret Service protection, and she has more than enough money to send other people out on a CVS run. But even so, she is now, for the first time in a very, very long time, just one of us.
The images amuse because, of course, she’s not just one of us. She’s been the most famous and admired woman in America for 20 years. A December Gallup poll had her as the most admired woman in the world, and No. 2 on the list (Michelle Obama) wasn’t remotely close. Not everyone is in on this love-fest, as we well know, by a long shot. But even the seething hatred has, over the years, embroidered her legend—debates about Clinton have somehow always ended up really being about us as a nation, who we are and who we want to be, in such a way that even those who dislike her are implicitly acknowledging that, yes, she is the touchstone.
She’s the most important woman in America. More: she is almost certainly the most important woman in all of our political history. Already, even if this retirement proves to be permanent, which few people think it will be. No? Well, who, then? Who has been first lady, senator, secretary of state? No other woman, that’s for sure. Not many men have held as many high-profile jobs and performed them as well.
And on top of the jobs themselves—in a way, far harder than the jobs themselves—was having to be that barrier breaker, having to be The Woman; the little daughter of a starchy Republican drapery-peddler who would cash in her Goldwater chips and whom fate would eventually select to embody liberation and insolence and cultural transformation, transformation that millions of Americans embraced but that a different set of millions found ruinous, repulsive; having to carry all that on her shoulders, year after year after year, watching people call her all kinds of names and accuse her of all manner of treachery (up to and including criminal behavior and sympathy with terrorists), all that on top of just the normal run-of-the-mill sexism, and knowing that she had to stay above it all and smile, smile, smile, and never take the bait? An impossible job. Who else has had to do all that?
David Mamet writes this week’s cover story on GUNS. Here’s an excerpt:
Karl Marx summed up Communism as “from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” This is a good, pithy saying, which, in practice, has succeeded in bringing, upon those under its sway, misery, poverty, rape, torture, slavery, and death.
For the saying implies but does not name the effective agency of its supposed utopia. The agency is called “The State,” and the motto, fleshed out, for the benefit of the easily confused must read “The State will take from each according to his ability: the State will give to each according to his needs.” “Needs and abilities” are, of course, subjective. So the operative statement may be reduced to “the State shall take, the State shall give.”
All of us have had dealings with the State, and have found, to our chagrin, or, indeed, terror, that we were not dealing with well-meaning public servants or even with ideologues but with overworked, harried bureaucrats. These, as all bureaucrats, obtain and hold their jobs by complying with directions and suppressing the desire to employ initiative, compassion, or indeed, common sense. They are paid to follow orders.
Rule by bureaucrats and functionaries is an example of the first part of the Marxist equation: that the Government shall determine the individual’s abilities.
As rules by the Government are one-size-fits-all, any governmental determination of an individual’s abilities must be based on a bureaucratic assessment of the lowest possible denominator. The government, for example, has determined that black people (somehow) have fewer abilities than white people, and, so, must be given certain preferences. Anyone acquainted with both black and white people knows this assessment is not only absurd but monstrous. And yet it is the law.
President Obama, in his reelection campaign, referred frequently to the “needs” of himself and his opponent, alleging that each has more money than he “needs.”
But where in the Constitution is it written that the Government is in charge of determining “needs”? And note that the president did not say “I have more money than I need,” but “You and I have more than we need.” Who elected him to speak for another citizen?
It is not the constitutional prerogative of the Government to determine needs. One person may need (or want) more leisure, another more work; one more adventure, another more security, and so on. It is this diversity that makes a country, indeed a state, a city, a church, or a family, healthy. “One-size-fits-all,” and that size determined by the State has a name, and that name is “slavery.”