Weekly Review — May 17, 2011, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: A Humbug, December 1853]

In Shabqadar, Pakistan, two men approached a group of paramilitary cadets and blew themselves up, riddling the crowd with ball bearings and killing sixty-six members of the Frontier Constabulary, many of whom had recently graduated. The Taliban took responsibility for the attack, calling it retribution for the assassination of Osama bin Laden.GuardianFive days after Israelis celebrated their independence day, Palestinian protesters in Lebanon, Syria, Gaza, and the West Bank commemorated the Nakba, or catastrophe, the displacement of Palestians from their land. In Syria, the Nakba protests briefly overshadowed uprisings against the Assad regime, which continued its campaign of violent crackdowns and mass arrests. “We donâ??t know where weâ??re going,” said one Syrian dissident. “We donâ??t know whatâ??s next.”WPNYTGuardianNYTFor the first time in nearly four decades, officials in Louisiana opened the Morganza Spillway, a network of locks and levees, hoping to prevent flooding in Baton Rouge, New Orleans, and other cities farther down the swollen Mississippi River. It was estimated that more than four-fifths of the land in Yazoo County, Mississippi, would be inundated at a time when the regionâ??s cash cropsâ??soy, cotton, corn, and riceâ??are already in the ground. “Iâ??m staying here until water comes up the driveway,” said Bob Cato, a retired civil engineer. “Iâ??m too old to start over.”AP via LATChristian Science Monitor

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the head of the International Monetary Fund and a prominent member of the French Socialist Party, was pulled off an Air France flight minutes before departure and taken to Harlem, where he was booked by the Manhattan Special Victims Unit for allegedly forcing a hotel maid to perform fellatio on him. “Iâ??m convinced of an international plot,” said Michelle Sabban, a political ally of Strauss-Kahn. “Everyone knows his weakness is seduction, women. Thatâ??s how they got him.”New YorkerNYTLe MondeAFP via Le FigaroThe Senate Ethics Committee released a report on its investigation of John Ensign, describing one case in which the former Nevada senator had to be talked out of adultery by his “spiritual advisor,” Tim Coe. “I know exactly where you are. I know exactly what you are doing,” Coe reportedly told Ensign over the phone. “Put your pants on and go home.”Las Vegas Review-JournalU.S. SenateRaj Rajaratnam, founder of the Galleon Group hedge fund, was found guilty on fourteen counts of securities fraud. The three male prosecutors, according to juror Leila Gonzalez Gorman, were “all hot,” and Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, who testified in the case, wore a “cute little smirk” and a “painted-on smile.”NYTNYTIt was reported that Iceland had entered a period of national soul-searching in the aftermath of its financial collapse. “Knitting is the opposite of idolizing money,” said Ragga Eiriksdottir, a former sex columnist who now knits professionally. “People are also making jam,” said another Icelander. NYT

The Taurus constellation experienced an intense flareup in its Crab Nebula, New Jersey scientists observed women masturbating inside MRI machines, Werner Herzog called for a holy war against yoga, and officials in Orlando made power from feces.Science DailyNew ScientistGQOrlando Sentinel via Palm Beach PostEnglish birders waited anxiously for the results of the latest bird census, hoping it would explain a baffling explosion in the number of rose-ringed parakeets, which they fear may displace native species. “I saw one have it in with a jackdaw,” said graduate student Hannah Peck. “The jackdaw lost.”NYTA pallid harrier named Victoria was one of twenty-two protected birds injured during Maltaâ??s hunting season, an annual fifteen-day spree that takes place in contravention of the European Union Birds Directive. The bird was flown to Berlin for emergency medical care.Der SpiegelIn Cologne, a seal named Henry was able to detect fish over three hundred feet away using just his whiskers, a skill scientists tested by fitting him with an eye mask and noise-canceling headphones.BBCLive ScienceIn DĂĽsseldorf, Azeri musicians Ell and Nikki won the annual Eurovision Song Contest, handily beating Finnish singer-songwriter Paradise Oskar, transsexual Israeli diva Dana International, and a gnome-hatted, unicycling Moldovan ska band called Zdob si Zdub. “The result was a little bit unfair, but it’s okay,” said the Moldovans. “The most important thing is to show everyone that we exist.”GuardianEurovision

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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.

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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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