The Saddest Paragraphs I Read Today

The first stop of Jimmy Carter’s four-nation African trip was Ghana, where he visited his projects to wipe out the Guinea worm, a horrendous two-foot-long parasite that lives inside the body and finally pops out, causing excruciating pain.

Mr. Carter was shaken by the victims he met, including a 57-year-old woman with a Guinea worm coming out of her nipple.

“She and her medical attendants said she had another coming out her genitals between her legs, and one each coming out of both feet,” Mr. Carter added. “And so she had four Guinea worms emerging simultaneously.”

“Little 3-, 4- and 5-year-old children were screaming uncontrollably with pain” because of the worms emerging from their flesh, Mr. Carter said. “I cried, along with the children.”

Nick Kristof’s column in the New York Times (subscribers only).

Elsewhere in the NYT:

  • Jim Holt, the clearest writer on philosophy I’ve read, reviews The Human Touch: Our Part in the Creation of the Universe
  • Jagdish Bhagwati (of In Defense of Globalization) reviews a book that says "not so fast" on China’s inevitable rise, and concludes that we’ll have to wait and see how the country evolves.
  • The "Fiction Chronicle" notes what appears to be a fascinating forthcoming book by a San Francisco artist: a collection of photographs taken by blind teenagers.
  • David Brooks, in his infinite wisdom, notes ($) that the "Tragic Vision" (Pinker) or the "Constrained Vision" (Sowell) has won: "The idea that there is a universal human nature; that it has nasty, competitive elements; that we don’t understand much about it; and that the conventions and institutions that have evolved to keep us from slitting each other’s throats are valuable and are altered at great peril."

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