Weekly Review — March 29, 2011, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: A Humbug, December 1853]

Libyan antigovernment forces, whose swift advance under coalition air strikes was slowed fifty miles outside Muammar Qaddafiâ??s home city of Sirte, signed an oil deal with Qatar, which officially recognized them as Libyaâ??s new leadership. Four New York Times journalists were released after spending six days in Libyan custody, during which time they were beaten by pro-Qaddafi forces and shot at by rebels before being moved to a quiet detention center furnished with the plays of Shakespeare. Al JazeeraGuardianNYTA referendum in Egypt showed that three quarters of voters supported changes to the countryâ??s constitution, while civil unrest continued in Bahrain, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Yemen.GuardianGOP presidential hopeful Donald Trump, touting his foreign-policy credentials, bragged of swindling Muammar Qaddafi on a multimillion-dollar real-estate deal. “I donâ??t want to use the word â??screwed,â??” said Trump, “but I screwed him.”The HillMasataka Shimizu, the president of Tokyo Electric Power Co., remained in self-imposed seclusion, citing overwork, while two of his employees at the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant were hospitalized for beta-ray burns to their feet.KyodoBloombergKyodo News

In South Dakota, where the waiting period to purchase a handgun is two days, Governor Dennis Daugaard signed a law compelling women to wait three days before getting an abortion. “Women need to just be reminded of the fact there is a natural, legal relationship between them and their child,” said state representative Roger Hunt.HuffPostNYTElizabeth Taylor and Geraldine Ferraro died, as did the inventors of cinĂ©ma vĂ©ritĂ© and Super Glue. NYTChicago TribuneLATHuffPostAfter eight minutes of deliberation, a “jury” supervised by Florida preacher Terry Jones found the Koran guilty of “crimes” and sentenced it to death by burning. “I hate these people,” said observer Jadwiga Schatz, referring to Muslims.AFPJurors in the perjury trial of former baseball star Barry Bonds listened to a taped conversation about his steroid injections. “Is that why Barry didnâ??t just shoot it into his butt all the time?” asks Bondsâ??s manager in the recording. “Oh no, I neverâ??I never just go there,” replies his trainer, “I move it all over the place.”AFPThe University of Bristol acquired two Breedâ??n Betsy bovine rectal simulators, allowing veterinary students greater freedom to learn cow anatomy and practice insemination techniques. “The first rectalling class with a new group of students is much more successful,” said teaching fellow Mike Steele. “No student is in a cow for more than five minutes now.”Bristol University

The royal wedding fruitcake began its month-long maturation, Buckingham Palace declined to divulge the dimensions of its dinner napkins, MPs debated the allowability of tweeting in Commons, and the editors of the OED traced OMG back to 1917.PeopleWSJGuardianOEDPaleontologists uncovered the bones of a giant short-eared rabbit incapable of hopping, and Newt Gingrichâ??s Twitter posts on chocolate Easter bunnies inexplicably disappeared.DiscoveryVanity FairA San Antonio man was embroiled in a three-hour armed standoff with police after he discovered that the price of a Taco Bell Beefy Crunch Burrito had risen from 99 cents to $1.49. “They did used to be 99 cents, but that was just a promotion,” said restaurant manager Brian Tillerson.mySAA whistling President Obama found the French doors to the Oval Office locked on his return from Latin America.ABCA SWAT team in Maricopa County, Arizona, served a search warrant on a suspected cockfighter by first flattening his farmhouse gate with a tank. Action-movie star and martial artist Steven Seagal, a passenger in the tank, later told reporters, “Animal cruelty is one of my pet peeves.” A hundred roosters were euthanized at the scene.GuardianKPHO

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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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