Weekly Review — June 1, 2010, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: The Wire Master and his puppets, 1875]
The wire master and his puppets, 1875.

Forty days after its rig started gushing oil into the Gulf of Mexico, BP announced that the “top kill” effort, in which mud was used to try to plug the leak, had failed. CEO Tony Hayward said, “I’m sorry,” and, “There aren’t any plumes,” insisting that the leaked oil is all on the water’s surface despite scientists’ sightings of several underwater plumes, including one 22 miles long, six miles wide and more than a thousand feet deep. BP planned to contain the leak by placing a cap over the well, but expected that oil would continue to spill until two relief wells are completed in August. The company, which will pay a penalty based on the size of the spill, estimated that 210,000 gallons of oil were flowing into the ocean daily, though government scientists suspected the number is closer to 800,000 gallons. The Obama Administration, which called the spill “the biggest environmental disaster we’ve ever faced in this country,” struggled with the growing perception that it was not being forceful enough in its dealings with BP, and James Carville suggested that “the president needs to tell BP ‘I’m your daddy, I’m in charge, you’re going to do what we say.’”AP via Huffington PostHuffington PostCNNCNNThe Pakistani Taliban carried out coordinated attacks on two mosques in Lahore that killed more than 80 members of a minority Muslim sect.New York TimesA New York community board overwhelmingly approved a controversial plan for an Islamic cultural center and mosque two blocks from the World Trade Center site, and a South African newspaper apologized for publishing a cartoon that depicted the Prophet Muhammad lying on a psychiatrist??s couch saying, “Other prophets have followers with a sense of humor!”AFPNew York TimesGary Coleman died, as did Dennis Hopper and Art Linkletter.CNNCNNWashington Post

Eighty Jamaicans were killed by government forces during an unsuccessful operation to capture drug lord Christopher “Dudus” Coke and his infamous Shower Posse, as well as Pepsi, Fidel, Tel Aviv, Prince Pow, Cutter, and Alcapone, gang leaders who also control large parts of Kingston.The GuardianA Cambodian “jungle girl,” who spent 20 years living alone in the forest before being reunited with her family three years ago at the age of 29, fled back to the wild after her family’s attempts to integrate her into society failed. The father of the girl (who never learned language and preferred to crawl rather than walk), said “she took off her clothes and ran away from the house without saying a word to any of our family members.”New York Daily NewsAfter 125 years, the American Kennel Club announced that it will let mutts, or “All Americans,” compete in shows and be judged on agility, rally, and obedience.DiscoveryA 19-year-old became the ninth worker to commit suicide this year at the Chinese factory that manufactures the Apple iPad, and the U.S. was running out of both IP addresses and the paint used for highway divider stripes.Christian Science MonitorCNNYahoo NewsA new study found that nearly half of the 500 most popular sunscreens may increase the speed at which malignant cells develop and spread skin cancer because they contain vitamin A, an antioxidant that slows skin aging but is also thought to be carcinogenic when exposed to sunlight.AOL NewsA South Korean couple whose baby starved to death while they spent 12 hours a day raising a virtual child in an online fantasy game was sentenced to two years in prison, and video surfaced of an Indonesian two-year-old smoking and propelling himself around on a toy truck because he is too out of shape to toddle.CNNDaily MailThe Hubble Space Telescope captured images of a sun-like star eating a nearby planet.BBC

Thousands of people fled volcanoes in Ecuador and in Guatemala, where a television reporter was killed while covering an eruption.BBCTwo men died while trying to climb a frozen waterfall below the rim of the Grand Canyon.New York TimesAn Oregon man found a 4.5-billion-year-old meteorite on the side of the road.KGW NewsBritain reported that it has a stockpile of 225 nuclear warheads (its first public accounting of its total nuclear arsenal) after the U.S. revealed that it has 5,113 such warheads.New York TimesScientists discovered that male antelopes trick females into having sex with them by pretending a predator is in the area; when a female appears to be leaving, the male will run in front of her, freeze in place, stare in the direction that she is going and fake a snort that indicates a predatory lion or cheetah was spotted. Once the female retreats back into the male??s territory, he attempts to mate with her right away.New York TimesResearchers found that pond snails on crystal meth had awesome memories.Journal of Experimental BiologyA library book borrowed by George Washington was returned to New York City’s oldest library 221 years late, and the country’s oldest restaurant, opened in Pennsylvania in 1681, closed. “Unfortunately,” lamented its owners, “the King George Inn has not escaped this severe economic downturn.” ReutersBucks Local News

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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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