Weekly Review — August 16, 2005, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: A Humbug, December 1853]

The United Nations warned that 2.5 million people will die of hunger in Niger if the country does not receive foreign food aid immediately. President Mamadou Tandja responded that “the people of Niger look well-fed.”AlertNetBBC NewsMauritania, Burkina Faso, and Mali were also facing major food shortages.BBC NewsA study found that the worldwide percentage of land stricken by drought has doubled within the last 30 years.Vail DailyThe Space Shuttle Discovery landed safely in California.BBC NewsIran decided to start producing enriched uranium,Reutersand the Environmental Protection Agency was working on ways to limit the radioactivity of the planned Yucca Mountain, Nevada, nuclear-waste dump for the next 1 million years.FOX NewsWildfires were burning all across Europe.BBC NewsClimate Ark/APIn the south of France, fire-fighting helicopters woke an eighty-one-year-old man from his nap; the man opened fire on the aircraft with a rifle and, when police came to arrest him, he beat them with saucepans.BBC NewsJeanine F. Pirro, the wife of Republican fund-raiser and convicted tax evader Albert J. Pirro, Jr., announced that she would run against New YorkSenatorHillary Clinton in 2006.NewsdayPresident George W. Bush approved a $286.4 billion transportation bill containing 6,371 separate projects,KansasCity.comand 39 people in China died after eating contaminated pork.Reuters

A suicide car bombing in Baghdad killed 4 people,BBC Newsand the mayor of Baghdad was ousted by Shiite militants.BBC NewsIn Jerusalem the biblical Pool of Siloam, where Jesus cured a blind man, was discovered by sewer workers.Post-Gazette.comThousands of Israelis rallied against the Gaza pullout in Tel Aviv. “God will hear us,” a rabbi told the crowd. A few days later, Israel began its withdrawal from Gaza, lowering a road barrier at the Kissufim Crossing as 200 people looked on. The barrier didn’t work, so Israeli authorities finally rigged it shut with some wire.BBC NewsAPPresident Mahmoud Abbas announced that the Palestinian general election will be delayed until January 2006,BBC Newsand Palestinian authorities forced hundreds of volunteers to stop making a 2,460-foot sandwich.ReutersThe U.S. Army fired four-star General Kevin Byrnes, head of the Army Training and Doctrine Command, for adultery.Chicago TribuneCream puffs with 560 calories and 47 grams of fat were selling briskly at the WisconsinState Fair.AZCentral.comPfizer patented a drug that cures premature female orgasm.All Headline NewsTwelve headless kangaroos were discovered on a golf course near Melbourne, Australia.Sky NewsIn Brazil thieves tunneled 656 feet into a bank in order to steal up to $65 million,BBC Newsand police in New Hampshire found 10 stolen Segway scooters in a garage; apparently the thieves had been unable to sell them.TheWMURChannel.com

In Baghdad, U.S. troops were being killed or maimed by a sniper they had nicknamed “Juba.”The GuardianA British puppeteer was ordered to stop using a Saddam Husseinpuppet as the sausage-stealing villain in his Punch and Judy show,BBC Newsand an Air Force colonel in Denver, Colorado, was in trouble for vandalizing cars that sported pro-Bush bumper stickers.APApproximately 2,000 dolphins gathered off the coast of Wales, but no one knew why.BBC NewsA study found that 1 in 25 fathers was unknowingly raising another man’s child, a situation referred to as “paternal discrepancy,” LATimes.comand a Chinese artist was criticized for grafting the head of a human fetus onto a bird’s body. “I thought putting them together like this,” he said, “was a way for them to have another life.”Chinese Artist Defends Fetus ArtworkWomen in Sudan were committing adultery so that they could be arrested and thus obtain a divorce; Sudanese men are often resistant to divorce because it requires them to return a bride’s dowry. “He wasn’t caring for me,” said Ding Maker, an imprisoned woman whose dowry was 90 cows. “I don’t mind staying here.”Washington PostA Florida man was cited for painting “die you miserable bitch” on the side of his house; the words were directed at his seventy-three-year-old neighbor, who has cancer.The St. Petersburg TimesA South Korean man played video games for 50 straight hours, then died,Reutersa man in Australia was charged with bestiality with a rabbit,Sydney Morning Heraldand a man wearing an AC/DC T-shirt was criticized for dancing on Ronald Reagan’s grave.World Net Daily

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Nobody in academia had ever witnessed or even heard of a performance like this before. In just a few years, in the early 1950s, a University of Pennsylvania graduate student — a student, in his twenties — had taken over an entire field of study, linguistics, and stood it on its head and hardened it from a spongy so-called “social science” into a real science, a hard science, and put his name on it: Noam Chomsky.

At the time, Chomsky was still finishing his doctoral dissertation for Penn, where he had completed his graduate-school course work. But at bedtime and in his heart of hearts he was living in Boston as a junior member of Harvard’s Society of Fellows, and creating a Harvard-level name for himself.

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