Weekly Review — December 2, 2008, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: All In My Eye, December 1853]
An American cattleman.

Gunmen terrorizedMumbai for more than two days, killing at least 180 people during attacks at a train station, a restaurant, two five-star hotels, a movie theater, a hospital, a police station, and a Jewish center. At the peak of the violence more than one tweet per second with the word “Mumbai” was being posted to Twitter.com. Indian authorities claimed there were only ten attackers, with nine killed and one captured, but others, including the captive gunman, suggested that many others were involved in the attacks. Evidence suggested that the Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistani militant group that has fought with India for control of Kashmir, was responsible for the violence, though the Deccan Mujahideen, a little-known group that may not exist, claimed responsibility. Several Americans were killed, including a father and daughter on a pilgrimage to learn about the roots of the meditation foundation Synchronicity, and Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife, Rivka, who managed the local Chabad-Lubavitch center. Gary Samore, on vacation with his family, survived by hiding in his hotel room at the Taj Mahal Hotel until the American Consulate reached him via BlackBerry to say that the hotel was on fire and he and his family needed to get out. “My BlackBerry,” Samore said, “may have saved our lives.” New York TimesNew York TimesNew York TimesNew York TimesNew York TimesOsama bin Laden’s former chauffeur Salim Ahmed Hamdan was released from Guantanamo Bay after spending more than five years at the detention camp,New York Timesand after ten days of deliberations, the Iraqi parliament ratified a security agreement that requires American troops to leave the country by the end of 2011. “What I saw today,” said journalist Alaa Mohammad of the ratification vote, “made me feel I want the forces to stay longer, because without these forces we will eat each other.” New York Times

President-elect Barack Obama announced his national security team, which includes Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, Robert Gates as defense secretary, and James Jones, a retired four-star general who bikes nine miles to work twice a week, as national security adviser.New York TimesNew York TimesResearchers learned that ants that perform specific tasks are no more efficient than regular ants. “It turns out,” said scientist Anna Dornhaus, “that the ones that are specialized on a particular job are not particularly good at doing that job.”Science DailyAnn Coulter had her mouth wired shut.Huffington PostGeorge Bush pardoned 14 people, including Leslie Collier, who poisoned three bald eagles, and commuted the sentence of John Forte, a Grammy-winning rapper and backup singer for Carly Simon.Washington PostWo Weihan, a 59-year-old biomedical researcher convicted of espionage by a Chinese court, was executed by a gunshot to the head. “I don’t want people to think we hate China,” said his daughter. “We’re just really disappointed and shocked by the criminal justice system.”` New York Times

Evangelical pastor Ed Young, of Fellowship Church in Texas, challenged married couples in his congregation to have sex seven days a week.New York TimesA 56-year-old British man was sentenced to 25 life sentences for repeatedly raping his two daughters over 27 years, resulting in 19 pregnancies and seven children, all of whom suffer from genetic deformities. CNNPlanned Parenthood of Indiana announced plans to offer holiday gift certificates that can be applied toward the cost of checkups, contraception, or abortions. “They deserve coal in their stockings,” said Sister Diane Carollo of the Indianapolis Archdiocese. New York TimesQuixing Park Zoo panda Yang Yang bit a college student. “I just wanted to cuddle him,” said the 20-year-old, “I didn’t expect he would attack.” CNNA survey found that among adult Britons sex was the most popular zero-cost activity,BBCand a survey by a wealth-research firm found that 82 percent of male multimillionaires were cutting back on expenditures for their mistresses.Wall Street JournalThe National Bureau of Economic Research announced that the U.S. economy is officially in recession.The Wall Street JournalOfficials in Rochester, Minnesota, said that the city’s economic woes were relieved for the year after an eight-day visit by Saudi King Abdullah and hundreds of his family members, who spent up to $2.5 million during their stay.Local 6A three-bedroom house in northern Virginia was reportedly rented for $57,000 for inauguration week.The New York TimesA crowd of 2,000 shoppers in search of Black Friday bargains gathered in front of a Long Island Wal-Mart at 5 a.m., shattered the store’s sliding-glass double doors, and rushed into the store, killing 34-year-old Jdimytai Damour, a temporary worker hired for the holiday season, in the stampede. “It was crazy,” said a worker in the electronics department. “The deals weren’t even that good.” 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.

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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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