Weekly Review — October 14, 2008, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

The world economy continued its collapse. The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 22 percent over eight days, Wall Street lost $2.4 trillion in market value, and Iceland went bankrupt.CNNBusiness WeekThe head of the International Monetary Fund warned that the world was on the “brink of systemic meltdown,”BBCand Democrats in Congress called for a $150 billion economic stimulus plan to rebuild America’s crumbling infrastructure.Yahoo! NewsBarack Obama called for firms that create jobs to be rewarded with tax credits and for a moratorium on foreclosures;AFPJohn McCain refused to answer questions about his economic plan, but was reportedly considering a cut in the capital gains tax.AP“I’m not sure anyone is FDR this time,” said one historian of Wall Street. “I don’t think either candidate has a clue what they’re dealing with here.”BloombergGeneral Motors was talking to Chrysler about a merger,The New York Timesand a yachtmaker in Snohomish, Washington, announced it would lay off 780 employees and close its doors.Komonews.comThe Britishfuneral-services industry faced a backlog of hundreds of corpses as undertakers, unable to obtain credit, refused to perform burials for the poor until the government guarantees reimbursements.The Daily MailBritain,France, Germany, and other European nations agreed to provide hundreds of billions of dollars to guarantee loans and to prop up banks, leading to a 936-point rally in the Dow,Europe Pledges Billions for Banks and the big counter in New York City that tracks the national debt ran out of digits.AP

A draft U.S. National Intelligence Estimate reported that the government of Afghanistan, plagued by corruption and at war with a resurgent Taliban, is in a “downward spiral.”The New York TimesU.S. National Park officials in Arizona, hoping to track poachers, planned to embed security microchips into saguaro cacti,The Scotsmanand Australian police tasered a ram that was blocking traffic.News.com.auAlaskan lawmakers issued a report concluding that Governor Sarah Palin broke state ethics laws when she sought to have her ex-brother-in law, a state trooper, fired from his post. Palin announced that the report cleared her of any “legal wrongdoing or unethical activity,” even though it did not.CBS NewsMost Alaskanglaciers were retreating,Science Dailyand in Nova Scotia a moose fell to its death from a helicopter sling.CBCAbsentee ballots in Rensselaer County, New York, listed “Barack Osama” as a presidential candidate,Albany Times Unionand researchers in Ohio, where polls show Obama with a seven-point lead over McCain, said that narcissists are more likely to seek–and to be granted–authority over others. “They are usually charming and extroverted,” explained a psychologist. “But the problem is, they don’t necessarily make better leaders.”Science DailyBloomberg News via Yahoo!People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals issued a statement to protest the annual Festival Gastronomico del Gato in Canete, Peru, during which people eat catburgers to ward off bronchial disease,The Sunand bathers along India’s Great Kali River were being eaten by giant goonches.The Sun

The United States removed North Korea from its list of state sponsors of terrorism after the nation agreed to provide UN inspectors full access to its nuclear program.BBC NewsConnecticut legalized gay marriage,The Washington PostAustrian politician Joerg Haider (who once praised the Third Reich for its “orderly employment policy”) died in a car crash,CNNand a Kansas man who attained notoriety because his girlfriend lived in their bathroom for two years and became stuck to a toilet seat won $20,000 in the state lottery for the second time.AP via SFGate.comMatani, a three-year-old Nepalese girl with thighs like a deer and a neck like a conch shell, a member of the Shakya goldsmith caste, was named as the “kumari,” or incarnation of the goddess Taleju, after spending a night alone with the heads of ritually slaughtered goats and buffaloes. She will wear red, and pin up her hair, and devotees will touch her feet with their foreheads, and upon menarche she will retire and then likely be spurned by all potential suitors, for the man who marries a former kumari dies young. “I feel a bit sad,” said her father, “but since my child has become a living goddess, I feel proud.”CNNThe number of dead zones in the oceans was rising by 5 percent each year,Reutersand California farmers facing severe drought were increasingly dependent on dowsers, or “water witches,” to identify the best spots for drilling wells.The New York TimesJoey Chestnut ate 45 slices of pizza in ten minutes in Times Square,CNNPaddington Bear turned 50,The Independentand Nobel Prizes were awarded to former president of Finland Martti Ahtisaari, French author Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio, and American economist Paul Krugman. “To be absolutely, totally honest,” said Krugman, “I thought this day might come someday.”CNNThe New York TimesThe New York Times

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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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