NYT:

Once the helicopter lifted away, he ran back to his vehicle, ready to treat anyone else. He was thinking about the marine he had already treated.

“If I had gone with him,” he said, and glanced to where the helicopter had flown away, over the line of date palms at the end of a field. His voice softened. “But I’m not with him,” he said.

He turned, faced a reporter and spoke loudly again. “In situations and times like this, I am bound to start yelling and shouting furiously,” he said. “Don’t think I am losing my mind.”

He held his bloody hands before his face, to examine them. They were shaking. He made fists so tight his veins bulged. His forearms started to bounce.

“His name was Lance Cpl. Colin Smith,” he said. “He said a prayer today right before we came out, too.”

Here.

NYT:

The slide includes a color-coded bar chart that is used to illustrate an “Index of Civil Conflict.” It shows a sharp escalation in sectarian violence since the bombing of a Shiite shrine in Samarra in February, and tracks a further worsening this month despite a concerted American push to tamp down the violence in Baghdad.

In fashioning the index, the military is weighing factors like the ineffectual Iraqi police and the dwindling influence of moderate religious and political figures, rather than more traditional military measures such as the enemy’s fighting strength and the control of territory.

The conclusions the Central Command has drawn from these trends are not encouraging, according to a copy of the slide that was obtained by The New York Times. The slide shows Iraq as moving sharply away from “peace,” an ideal on the far left side of the chart, to a point much closer to the right side of the spectrum, a red zone marked “chaos.” As depicted in the command’s chart, the needle has been moving steadily toward the far right of the chart.

Here.

NYT:

On a recent sunny afternoon, the ramp’s owner, Bob Burnquist, a renowned 30-year-old professional skateboarder from Brazil, peered over the side to treetops below and said: “I’m not afraid of falling. I’m afraid I might jump.”

That mind-set helps on the Mega Ramp, where skaters reach speeds of up to 55 miles an hour and soar like stuntmen.

Approximately 360 feet long, the ramp is 75 feet high at its apex. That is where riders begin their run, speeding down a 180-foot-long roll-in to a ramp that launches them across a 70-foot gap with trapeze netting below. Landing on a 27-foot sloped section, they then boost up to 50 feet above the ground from a 30-foot quarterpipe. A shorter route begins with a 55-foot-tall platform leading to a 50-foot gap, and the 30-foot quarterpipe.

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Wired:

Baker forwarded me this pic, and I’m all, “what?” Why on earth would there be a need for a Guitar Hero controller with ten buttons? Even if it’s in the coveted Flying-V shape that the kids keep asking for?

Well, as it turns out, the extra buttons are there for showoffs who want to “pull in tight to the base of the guitar for a rocking solo,” says The Ant Commandos, maker of the Double Range controllers. Wired and wireless versions are available starting today from their website at $60 and $50 respectively.

Here.

The New Yorker:

At a certain point in the performance, the crazy ambition of Spore became clear: Wright was proposing to simulate the limitless possibility of life itself. The simulation falls between Darwinism and intelligent design, into new conceptual territory. Wright had worked out the algorithm for life, as described by the philosopher Daniel C. Dennett, in “Darwin’s Dangerous Idea.” Dennett writes, “Here, then, is Darwin’s dangerous idea: the algorithmic level is the level that best accounts for the speed of the antelope, the wing of the eagle, the shape of the orchid, the diversity of species, and all the other occasions for wonder in the world of nature. . . . Can it really be the outcome of nothing but a cascade of algorithmic processes feeding on chance?” The old dream of the M.I.T. hackers who came up with Spacewar—to re-create life on a computer—was coming true forty years later, right here in the Spore Hut, in the form of a spindly, striped creature that looked a little like Will Wright himself.
After Wright’s encounter with the other planet, he pulled back to reveal a vast galaxy of other worlds, some computer generated, some created by other players in the game who had reached the status of intergalactic gods—“more worlds than any player could visit in his lifetime,” he said. As people in the audience gasped at the vastness of the possibility space, Wright’s spaceship zoomed into the interstellar sandbox, looking for an uninhabited planet to colonize, just as young Will had promised his father he would.

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NYT Magazine:

As we rambled back down under the noonday sun, exhausted and thirsty, plucking apricots, almonds and mulberries off the trees, I remembered the Afghans I’d met complaining about Americans pillaging their harvest. It wasn’t hard to see how a few apricots could transmute into theft or how speaking to a woman after you have rounded up all the men could transmute into “Americans are abusing our women.” One afternoon, I had a car accident in Zabul. Within minutes, some 100 men pulled over and began heaving the wreck out of the ditch. As I crouched in the dirt wrapped in a tentlike Kuchi shawl, not a single man glanced my way. Rather, they asked my wounded translator if his wife was O.K. Someone must have sensed a foreigner, however, because 10 minutes after we left for the hospital, the Taliban showed up. They pummeled the driver, demanding to know what happened to the foreigner. He lied and saved his life. But that moment, when not one person glanced my way, offered a window into how seriously they abide by rules that are utterly alien to a 19-year-old American soldier. Sturek constantly struggled with pushing “cultural sensitivity” down the chain of command. It was nearly impossible.

Here.

Ed Vulliamy, in The Observer:

Within 17 days, another six people had been killed across the city, some murders so savage as to defy the imagination. A 23-year-old woman was strangled to death in a church by the sacristan, from Sri Lanka, while trying to light a candle to the Madonna – her corpse hidden behind a pulpit while Mass continued over two days. Next day, a renowned Lombard painter was stabbed to death by a youth from Morocco, whom he had admitted into his home. A Pakistani man was knifed to death in the street and an entire family – father, mother and son – was ritually tortured and executed, the woman and child having their throats cut in front of the father who was left to die slowly from a slash to his own throat.

Brescia was cast into, and remains in, a state of stupefaction; a vortex swirls around the charged themes of immigration, racism and organised crime; political leaders turn up the volume while demonstrators take to the streets. But the alarm bells ring beyond the ancient walls of Brescia.

The themes of immigration and integration – or lack of integration – are coming to dominate the lexicon of electoral politics across Europe, along with the advance of organised crime, and Brescia’s bloody summer is a distillation of that debate – both on the right, which has seized on the violence to try to connect immigration with crime, and on the left, as Brescia’s mayor endeavours to usher in a new approach to immigration and identity.

Here.

Observer:

And then she takes us – Steve, my travelling companion, and me – into a cafe where we have a bit of cake.

‘What’s it called?’ I ask.

‘The cake? It is known as “nigger in the foam”.’

So, you see, wrong, wrong, wrong. Or, perhaps, just a little bit right. And although the sequences in Sacha Baron Cohen’s new film, Borat: Cultural Learnings Of America For Make Benefit Glorious Nation Of Kazakhstan, that purport to be in Kazakhstan were filmed in Romania, he didn’t pick Romania, or Belarus, or Uzbekistan. He picked Kazakhstan.

Poor Kazakhstan. First Stalin, now Borat. It’s almost enough to make you feel sorry for the government and its blundering attempts to first sue Cohen and then hire a Western PR firm and launch a debunking marketing offensive – although the fact that Nazarbayev is alleged to have stashed $80m in an offshore account goes some way to mitigating my feelings in this.

Here.

Washington Post:

Locked in a prison here, for now, is a desert bandit dubbed the “Bin Laden of the Sahara,” whose capture was secretly orchestrated by U.S. forces after a long chase across some of the most forbidding terrain on Earth.

Amari Saifi, 37, a former Algerian army paratrooper, was caught in 2004 after he and a band of rebel fighters kidnapped 32 European tourists in the Algerian Sahara and ransomed them for about $6 million.

Here.

PDN:

Todd Heisler, a Rocky Mountain News photographer who won the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for feature photography for his “Final Salute” photo essay, will join the photo staff of The New York Times.

Heisler, who starts in December, fills one of two staff photography openings at the Times. Recently, Ting Li Wang left to work in China and Paul Hosefros retired, according to New York Times assistant managing editor for photography Michele McNally.

Here.

The Moscow Times:

Sosnina said she had been particularly intrigued by the bottle of Yuzhny, or Southern, cologne sent to Stalin in 1949 by a resident of Kherson province in Ukraine. Now dried up to a thick sediment, but still fragrant when opened, the perfume was carefully stored in the Russian Ethnographic Museum in St. Petersburg. It was sent to Stalin with a message full of spelling mistakes, written with a sort of ink pencil that had to be licked in order to keep writing.

Sosnina speculated that the giver must have thought that Stalin would like the perfume and “maybe he would dab some on.”

She also expressed amazement at the way the humble present was treated by museum workers. “They didn’t burn it, they didn’t throw it away. They preserved it all these years,” she said.

So why did people send gifts to a faraway leader? “There are very few things that you could say were made under orders,” Ssorin-Chaikov said. “They are voluntary gifts, on the one hand. On the other hand, a lot of people were specifically thinking about a return gift.”

Among the gift-givers who had self-interested motives, few were as blatant as one Moscow hairdresser named Grigory Borukhov. In the early 1930s, Borukhov collected hair from his clients and used it to make a portrait of Lenin. After donating it to the Institute of Marx, Engels and Lenin, he began corresponding with Kliment Voroshilov, a member of the Party’s Central Committee, about his invention of portraiture using human hair.

Here.

Magnum Photos:

What happened in Manhattan in September of 2001 sparked a monumental response that affected the lives of most of the world’s inhabitants and continues to do so still today. Since that moment Paolo Pellegrin began a journey through the Muslim world and into the lives of it’s people, beginning, backwards, in Marseille: the historical entry port of Arabs bound for France and Europe, through to Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Darfur in Sudan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran and perhaps most importantly, Israel and Palestine. He also covered the recent month-long war between Israel and Hezbollah. The Eugene Smith Fund will help with the next chapters of this ongoing project.

Here.

PDN:

“Paolo Pellegrin brings a passion and extraordinary eye to a story that has consumed the Western world since 9/11,” said Helen Marcus, president of the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund, in a press release. “He follows in Gene Smith’s footsteps bringing the world’s attention to a furious debate of historic proportions.”

A second award, the $5,000 Fellowship Grant, is being awarded to photographer Teru Kuwayama for his project, “No Man’s Land: Survival at the Ends of Empire,” an ongoing study of the Hindu Kush region of Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Pakistan, including Kashmir. Kuwayama is a freelancer based in New York.

The grants will be given out Thursday night at a ceremony in New York.

Also to be awarded Thursday is the Howard Chapnick Grant for the Advancement of Photojournalism, which is going to New York-based photographer Michael Itkoff. The $5,000 grant will support the publication of the sixth issue Itkoff’s Daylight magazine.

Here.


Magnum Photos:

Paolo Pellegrin went to Haiti in February 2006, during the elections, to see the situation at firsthand.

Here.

Guardian:

Sheik Taj Aldin al-Hilali delivered his comments in a religious address on adultery to around 500 worshippers in Sydney last month, but they only came to the attention of the wider public when they were published in the Australian paper today.

Sheik Hilali was quoted as saying: “If you take out uncovered meat and place it outside … without cover, and the cats come to eat it … whose fault is it, the cats’ or the uncovered meat’s? The uncovered meat is the problem. If she was in her room, in her home, in her hijab [the headdress worn by some Muslim women], no problem would have occurred.”

Here.

Mekanism:

After their collaboration in 2005, Mekanism and Invader joined forces again. This time Invader created three original and unique skateboards for Mekanism. Each deck is covered by a mosaic made of real tiles and is signed, titled, dated and comes with a certificate of authenticity signed by the artist.

Here.

NYT Magazine:

With the Americans on their way out and the NATO force not yet in control, the Kandahar Police were left on the front line: underfinanced, underequipped, untrained — and often stoned. Which is perhaps what made them so brave. One afternoon I ran into a group who said their friends had just been killed when a Talib posing as a policeman served them poisoned tea. A shaggy-haired officer in a black tunic was standing by his pickup, freshly ripped up by a barrage of bullets, and staring at my feet. “I envy your shoes,” he said, looking back at his own torn rubber sandals. “I envy your Toyota,” he said and laughed. And then looking at my pen and notebook, he said, “I envy you can read and write.” It’s not too late, I offered feebly, but he tapped his temple and shook his head. “It doesn’t work anymore,” he said. “I smoke hash. I smoke opium. I’m drinking because we’re always thinking and nervous.” He was 35. He had been fighting for 20 years. Four of his friends had been killed in the fighting the other night. He had to support children, a wife and parents on a salary of about $100 a month. And, he said, “we haven’t been paid in four months.” No wonder, then, that the population complained that the police were all thieves.

At Kandahar’s hospital I met a 17-year-old policeman (who had been with the police since he was 14) tending to his wounded friend. He was in a jovial mood, amazed he wasn’t dead. He said they had been given an order to cut the Taliban’s escape route. Instead they were ambushed by the Taliban, ran out of bullets and had no phones to call for backup. “We ran away,” he said with a nervous giggle. “The Taliban chased us, shouting: ‘Hey, sons of Bush! Where are you going? We want to kill you.”’

Here.

Washington Post:

Wooden miniatures celebrate the start of Shining Path’s war with the burning of ballot boxes in 1980, as Peru returned to democracy after more than a decade of military dictatorship.

A pair of Abimael Guzman’s thick, trademark spectacles and his collection of lapel pins of China’s Communist leader Mao Zedong, Shining Path’s inspiration, form the centerpiece of the museum, created by police after raids on rebel hideouts.

Including communist paintings, sculptures and flags given to Guzman by his followers, the artifacts show the now gray-haired 71-year-old as a heroic figure leading a war against Peru’s coastal elite, European descendants who have dominated the country since the 15th-century Spanish conquest.

“In the paintings, Guzman never holds a gun, only a book, even as he celebrates bomb attacks,” said museum curator Ruben Zuniga, a police officer who helped capture Guzman.
Here.

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Issue Two artists: Andres Ramirez, Ape Fluff, Arm, AST, Azzwoopin, Billy Simpson, Bonker, Bytedust, Canukistan, Chris Dent, Chuck Trunks, Claudio Parentela, Clay, Clayton Junior, Creep, Dashtou, Earsofa, Eduardo Bertone, Elider Elizondo, Enemy 808, Eno Kruger, Fai1ure, Fenom, Fiodor, Gilbert Wadsworth, Guillo, Ipxls, Iro Iro, Jessica Hobdell, Jim Holyoak, Jimbo, Jizzie Halifax, Kegr, Kenyon B, LET, Lerk, Lick, Lorin Brown, Lune, Madone, Matt Burden, Maybe, Miguel, Mojo Hand, Monica Naranjo, Monsieur G, Mr. 13, Munk, MWM, Mythos, Nicole Andujar, Rehybrid, REone, Revereeh, Rockabilly, Rtyz, Sato Ayami, Stefdem, Street Value, Swrl, Syphos, Vageen, Vector Brigade, Vonster, Wetlands, Zew.

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Daily Sun, Nigeria’s King of the Tabloids:

What did I hear you say? This guy, you are very funny o! Kemi, come and hear. Repeat what you just said. He wants to know if you make love with that your whitie guy under bright light or in the dark (laughter). Tell him now, yeye girl.

Here.

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