Africans Cross Deserts and Brave Razor Wire to Enter Small European Enclave

(p. A10) About 600 Africans tried to breach a border fence between Morocco and the Spanish enclave of Ceuta early Monday, Spanish news organizations reported, three days after hundreds of migrants used wire cutters and other implements to storm the 20-foot-high barrier.
Ceuta and Melilla, territories of Spain on the North African coast, have the only two land borders between the European Union and Africa, and they have become a magnet for sub-Saharan migrants willing to cross deserts, brave razor wire and endure perilous conditions in search of a better life.
Eleven migrants were injured while attempting to cross the five-mile barrier on Monday and have been hospitalized, the Red Cross said.

For the full story, see:
DAN BILEFSKY. “More Migrants Storm Into Spanish Enclave in Africa.” The New York Times (Tues., FEB. 21, 2017): A10.
(Note: ellipsis, and bracketed date, added.)
(Note: the online version of the story has the date FEB. 20, 2017, and has the title “More Migrants Storm Fence to Enter Ceuta, Spanish Enclave in Africa.”)

In Spite of Anxiety about Fatal Mistakes, Starzl Persevered

(p. A10) As he completed his medical training in the late 1950s, Thomas Starzl searched for a way to make his name in the annals of medicine. In an interview late in his life, he recalled asking himself: “What’s out there that needs development but looks impossible?”
The choice seemed obvious to him: transplanting organs.
He became the first surgeon to transplant a human liver successfully in 1967 and went on to do hundreds more, in dicey operations that could last as long as 20 hours. Tall, lean and cerebral, he pioneered drug therapies to fight the body’s rejection of foreign tissue. Though less famous than Christiaan Barnard, who in 1967 was the first to transplant a heart, Dr. Starzl was often called the “father of transplantation.”
. . .
In Miami, crime furnished more than enough gunshot wounds to train a young surgeon. He learned the arts of replacing blood vessels. In his spare time, he experimented on dogs, devised a technique for removing livers and began thinking about how to “install” new ones.
As his surgical skills improved, his anxieties about making potentially fatal mistakes worsened. “With growing concern, I came to believe that I was not emotionally equipped to be a surgeon or to deal with its brutality,” he wrote. “I did not like doing the one thing for which I had become uniquely qualified.” He also felt it was too late to turn back.

For the full obituary, see:
James R. Hagerty. “‘Father of Transplantation’ Defeated His Own Doubts.” The Wall Street Journal (Sat., MARCH 18, 2017): A10.
(Note: ellipsis added.)
(Note: the online version of the obituary has the date MARCH 17, 2017, and has the title “‘Father of Transplantation’ Defeated His Own Doubts and Fears.”)

Large Indian Tribes Hurt by Obama Regulations on Coal

(p. 1) . . . some of the largest tribes in the United States derive their budgets from the very fossil fuels that Mr. Trump has pledged to promote, including the Navajo in the Southwest and the Osage in Oklahoma, as well as smaller tribes like the Southern Ute in Colorado. And the Crow are among several Indian nations looking to the president’s promises to nix Obama-era coal rules, pull back on regulations, or approve new oil and gas wells to help them lift their economies and wrest control (p. 14) from a federal bureaucracy they have often seen as burdensome.
The president’s executive order on Tuesday [March 28, 2017], which called for a rollback of President Barack Obama’s climate change rules, is a step toward some of these goals.
At the tribes’ side is Ryan Zinke, who as the new interior secretary is charged with protecting and managing Indian lands, which hold an estimated 30 percent of the nation’s coal reserves west of the Mississippi and 20 percent of known oil and gas reserves in the United States.
In a recent interview, Mr. Zinke noted that he was once adopted into the Assiniboine and Sioux tribes and said he would help native nations get fossil fuels to market.
“We have not been a good partner in this,” he said. “The amount of bureaucracy and paperwork and stalling in many ways has created great hardship on some of the poorest tribes.
“A war on coal is a war on the Crow people,” he continued. “President Trump has promised to end the war.”

For the full story, see:
JULIE TURKEWITZ. “Tribes That Live Off Coal Hold Tight to Trump’s Promises.” The New York Times, First Section (Sun., APRIL 2, 2017): 1 & 14.
(Note: ellipsis, and bracketed date, added.)
(Note: the online version of the story has the date APRIL 1, 2017, and has the title “Tribes That Live Off Coal Hold Tight to Trump’s Promises.”)

“The Data Run Counter to Your Anecdotes”

(p. A13) “Shattered,” by campaign reporters Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes, narrates the petty bickering, foolish reasoning and sheer arrogance of a campaign that was never the sure thing that its leader and top staffers assumed. The authors, in a mostly successful attempt to get their sources to talk candidly, promised them that they wouldn’t be identified.
. . .
The juicy quotes would mean more if they were on the record, but mostly it works: You can’t pinpoint the identity of any one “top aide” or “close Hillary ally,” but the authors’ language leads you to believe they include the most senior Clinton advisers–Mr. Podesta, longtime Clinton confidante Huma Abedin, campaign manager Robby Mook, speechwriter Dan Schwerin, policy adviser Jake Sullivan –and probably the candidate herself.
. . .
Successful politicians must have a tacit sense of what voters want to hear and how they might be persuaded. Mrs. Clinton–in stark contrast to her husband–was never interested in that component of campaigning. You got the feeling she didn’t like people all that much.
Mr. Mook’s scientific “model” of how the campaign should run emphasized demographics, constituents’ voting histories, regional electoral patterns, and so on. When staffers objected to his directives, the authors record, the response was always the same: “The data,” as Mr. Mook at one point put it to former President Bill Clinton, “run counter to your anecdotes.”

For the full review, see:
Barton Swaim. “BOOKSHELF; Hillary the Unready.” The Wall Street Journal (Tues., April 18, 2017): A13.
(Note: ellipses added.)
(Note: the online version of the review has the date April 17, 2017, and has the title “BOOKSHELF; How Hillary Lost the White House.”)

The book under review, is:
Allen, Jonathan, and Amie Parnes. Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign. New York: Crown, 2017.

Rain and Snow End California Drought

(p. A18) After six years of a prolonged drought in California, it is all but over. On Friday [April 7, 2017], Gov. Jerry Brown ended the drought emergency for the vast majority of the state. The drought had reduced Folsom Lake, a major reservoir in Northern California, to less than a third of its capacity in 2015, and all but wiped out the Sierra Nevada snowpack.
. . .
But the state’s hydrologic picture brightened significantly beginning in October 2016, when a series of massive storms drenched Northern California. The rain and snow continued through the winter, swelling major reservoirs to the point that officials were forced to make releases.
Meanwhile, the state’s snowpack made an impressive recovery. As of Friday, the water content in the state’s snowpack was about 160 percent of what is considered normal for this time of year. By comparison, the snowpack was reported as about 5 percent of average the day Mr. Brown stood on the barren field and ordered mandatory water conservation.

For the full story, see:
MATT STEVENS. “Drenched by Winter Rain, California Is Told ‘Drought’s Over’.” The New York Times (Sat., APRIL 8, 2017): A18.
(Note: ellipsis, and bracketed date, added.)
(Note: the online version of the story has the date APRIL 7, 2017, and has the title “California, Drenched by Winter Rain, Is Told ‘Drought’s Over’.”)

94-Year-Old Applies for Patent on Slow-Hunch Solid State Battery

(p. 7) In 1946, a 23-year-old Army veteran named John Goodenough headed to the University of Chicago with a dream of studying physics. When he arrived, a professor warned him that he was already too old to succeed in the field.
Recently, Dr. Goodenough recounted that story for me and then laughed uproariously. He ignored the professor’s advice and today, at 94, has just set the tech industry abuzz with his blazing creativity. He and his team at the University of Texas at Austin filed a patent application on a new kind of battery that, if it works as promised, would be so cheap, lightweight and safe that it would revolutionize electric cars and kill off petroleum-fueled vehicles. His announcement has caused a stir, in part, because Dr. Goodenough has done it before. In 1980, at age 57, he coinvented the lithium-ion battery that shrank power into a tiny package.
We tend to assume that creativity wanes with age. But Dr. Goodenough’s story suggests that some people actually become more creative as they grow older. Unfortunately, those late-blooming geniuses have to contend with powerful biases against them.
. . .
Years ago, he decided to create a solid battery that would be safer. Of course, in a perfect world, the “solid-state” battery would also be low-cost and lightweight. Then, two years ago, he discovered the work of Maria Helena Braga, a Portuguese physicist who, with the help of a colleague, had created a kind of glass that can replace liquid electrolytes inside batteries.
Dr. Goodenough persuaded Dr. Braga to move to Austin and join his lab. “We did some experiments to make sure the glass was dry. Then we were off to the races,” he said.
Some of his colleagues were dubious that he could pull it off. But Dr. Goodenough was not dissuaded. “I’m old enough to know you can’t close your mind to new ideas. You have to test out every possibility if you want something new.”
When I asked him about his late-life success, he said: “Some of us are turtles; we crawl and struggle along, and we haven’t maybe figured it out by the time we’re 30. But the turtles have to keep on walking.” This crawl through life can be advantageous, he pointed out, particularly if you meander around through different fields, picking up clues as you go along. Dr. Goodenough started in physics and hopped sideways into chemistry and materials science, while also keeping his eye on the social and political trends that could drive a green economy. “You have to draw on a fair amount of experience in order to be able to put ideas together,” he said.

For the full commentary, see:
Kennedy, Pagan. “To Be a Genius, Think Like a 94-Year-Old.” The New York Times, SundayReview Section (Sun., APRIL 9, 2017): 7.
(Note: ellipsis added.)
(Note: the online version of the commentary has the date APRIL 7, 2017.)

Fed Throws Seniors Under Bus

(p. A1) The average one-year CD hasn’t paid more than 1% since 2009, according to Bankrate.com.
The drop in interest rates since the financial crisis cost U.S. savers almost $1 trillion in lost income from savings accounts, CDs and bonds from the start of 2008 through 2015, taking into account money saved on debt costs, according to April 2016 research (p. A2) by insurer Swiss Re.
There are few signs of imminent improvement. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note has risen since the election to nearly 2.6%, but it is still below the 2.9% it yielded when U.S. stocks hit their low on March 9, 2009.
. . .
Lawmakers such as House Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) have criticized the Fed’s low-rate policy as harmful to savers. Sen. Bob Corker (R., Tenn.) in 2013 said it amounted to “throwing seniors under the bus.”

For the full story, see:
Corrie Driebusch and Aaron Kuriloff. “Stocks Have Tripled Since Crisis, but Low Rates Are Still Squeezing Savers.” The Wall Street Journal (Thurs., MARCH 9, 2017): A1-A2.
(Note: ellipsis added.)
(Note: the online version of the story has the date MARCH 8, 2017, and has the title “Stocks Have Tripled Since Crisis, but Low Rates Are Still Squeezing Savers.”)