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In Other News . . .

So while the third lady was having a public spat with the president’s first wife and the president was mocking the height of a Republican senator and challenging the secretary of State to an IQ contest and the nation turned its weary eyes to Eminem, there was a little other news: American researchers used disabled HIV to insert new genes into the cells of children suffering from a rare brain disease, to apparent success. And, as usual, Americans won the Nobel Prize for Basically Everything: economics, medicine, physics, chemistry.

The New York Times offers an account of how that brain-disease research got rolling: “The research began with a determined mother, Amber Salzman, who was an executive with a Ph.D. in mathematics at GlaxoSmithKline.” It has not always been the case that the world enjoyed the services of determined mothers who are also powerful corporate executives with doctorates in mathematics.

The Nobel prize for literature went to Kazuo Ishiguro, who, as the committee put it, “has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world.” I wonder if they read him in Washington.

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