Week Thirty-Three

Biden’s Chaotic Withdrawal from Afghanistan Is Complete

The U.S. has extricated its military from a two-decade-long conflict, but the country, and tens of thousands of Afghan allies, have been abandoned to the Taliban.

Link: https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/bidens-chaotic-withdrawal-from-afghanistan-is-complete
A high-school teacher at an American school in Taiwan tried to fly out seven young leaders and their families. Working with others, the teacher was able to get three of the seven families out. “Only three weeks ago they were holding a conference practicing their conflict resolution and negotiation skills,” the teacher, who asked not to be named, told me. “They were the future of what was possible for Afghanistan.”

The Veterans Struggling to Save Afghan Allies

For many who served in Afghanistan, the flawed evacuation efforts have brought feelings of shame and betrayal.

Link: https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/the-veterans-struggling-to-save-afghan-allies
“Do you understand what it’s like to have people send you messages saying, ‘You promised me you’d get me out,’ ‘I’m being hunted,’ ‘You can’t get me out,’ ‘Why are you betraying me?,’ ‘You left me behind’?” Zeller said. “Imagine now it’s someone you served with and there’s nothing you can do about it.”

Can Afghanistan’s Leading Broadcaster Survive the Taliban?

Tolo came to prominence with hard-hitting news, raucous reality shows and lurid Turkish soap operas. Now there are ominous signs that a violent media clampdown is underway.

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/30/world/asia/afghanistan-tolo-taliban.html
But journalists and human rights advocates say there are ominous signs that a violent media clampdown is underway. Taliban fighters hunted a journalist from Deutsche Welle, the German broadcaster, who had already left the country, shooting dead a member of his family and seriously injuring another, according to the broadcaster.

“In Kosovo, everybody has their own truth”

Serbians and Albanians have clashed in the mountains and valleys of what is now Kosovo since the fourteenth century. In 1998, the Kosovo Liberation Army of ethnic Albanian fighters openly fought Serbian police and faced retaliation from Serbian militar

Link: https://www.cjr.org/special_report/in-kosovo-own-truth.php/
Between 2013 and mid-2016, police received sixty-two reports of threats or attacks on journalists. In 2020, someone tried to light journalist Shumbin Kajtaji’s car on fire with gasoline, and four months later, someone shot six bullets into the same car on the same street in Mitrovica, just north of Pristina.

American Purpose After the Fall of Kabul

Soldiers were told that we were champions of the rights of mankind.

Link: https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/american-purpose-after-the-fall-of-kabul
The next time that feeling comes around, remember what it wrought. 9/11 unified America. It overcame partisan divides, bound us together, and gave us the sense of common purpose so lacking in today’s poisonous politics. And nothing that we have done as a nation since has been so catastrophically destructive as what we did when we were enraptured by the warm glow of victimization and felt like we could do anything, together.

As Told To: The Flight From Kabul

Last week, the Afghan filmmaker Sahraa Karimi hastily packed a few things, made it onto a flight, and watched from the airplane window as her city got smaller and smaller.

Link: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2021/08/30/as-told-to-the-flight-from-kabul
I was running, and in the middle of my running some people made fun of me, especially the men: “Oh, the director of Afghan film is running! She is afraid of the Taliban! Ha ha ha!” I was surprised. Some girls were just walking. I said to them, “Why are you walking? The Taliban is coming!” And they started running, too.

The Spine Collector

For five years, a mysterious figure has been stealing books before their release. Is it espionage? Revenge? A trap? Or a complete waste of time?

Link: https://www.vulture.com/2021/08/stealing-books-before-release-mystery.html
Back at Norstedts, Mörk also received an email from Varotto. “Sorry Catherine,” the message read. “Could you please give me the Hushmail code?” Altrov Berg dashed off a separate message to Varotto, asking if everything was okay. Suddenly, her phone rang. “Why are you sending me this?” Varotto asked. Altrov Berg explained what was happening. Varotto was confused. She hadn’t sent any emails to Norstedts all day.

Owen Wilson Is Doing Great, Thanks

Three days with the star of 'Loki,' 'The French Dispatch,' and all those movies you know by heart.

Link: https://www.esquire.com/entertainment/movies/a37227718/owen-wilson-interview-2021/
“There was a lake in the neighborhood that we went to as kids,” Luke says. “One summer, Owen tried a thing where, in order to be in the group, everybody had to do a new trick every day at the lake. So you found yourself just going higher and higher, up into this tree, and it kept getting more and more dangerous, and I remember thinking, I’m gonna die trying to hang out with these guys.”

The World’s Largest Computer Chip

In the race to accelerate A.I., the Silicon Valley company Cerebras has landed on an unusual strategy: go big.

Link: https://www.newyorker.com/tech/annals-of-technology/the-worlds-largest-computer-chip
Cerebras produced its first chip, the Wafer-Scale Engine 1, in 2019. The WSE-2, introduced this year, uses denser circuitry, and contains 2.6 trillion transistors collected into eight hundred and fifty thousand processing units, or “cores.” (The top G.P.U.s have a few thousand cores, and most C.P.U.s have fewer than ten.)

At Lake Adelle, the Dead, the Missing and Those Left Behind

On May 28, a Jefferson County woman whom we'll call Sarah pulled her car into the driveway of her house on Lake Drive in Cedar...

Link: https://www.riverfronttimes.com/stlouis/murder-at-lake-adelle/Content?oid=36094927
Sarah had reason to be wary beyond the bizarre nature of the manic appeal. Detectives had been up and down Lake Drive over the past several weeks inquiring as to the whereabouts of a missing man, 36-year-old Jerry Crew, reportedly last seen at Legens' home. The police had even asked to look at the footage from the security cameras mounted on the house where Sarah lived in the hopes that it might prove their suspicion that Crew had entered Legens' place but never exited. According to one neighbor, Legens had kept the "routine of a vampire" since returning from jail in 2020, sleeping all day and running loud power tools in his house all night. Thoroughly freaked out, Sarah ran to a neighbor's house and hid there as the night unfolded in dramatic fashion.

Week Thirty-Three

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) fire on Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021.

Parleys Canyon Fire

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) The Parleys Canyon Fire burns, as seen from Emigration Canyon on Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021.