Weekly Review — October 11, 2011, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

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

Three women were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, which has not gone to a female recipient in seven years. Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberian activist Leymah Gbowee, and Tawakkol Karman of Yemen, the “mother” of that countryâ??s rebellion, were recognized by the Nobel committee “for their nonviolent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.” Johnson Sirleaf, nicknamed the “Iron Lady,” was lauded by 1984 Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu, who celebrated his 80th birthday in Cape Town. “Who? Johnson Sirleaf? The president of Liberia? Oooh,” said Tutu. “She’s brought stability to a place that was going to hell.” Karman, nicknamed the “Iron Woman,” celebrated from a protest camp in Sanaa. “[This] will end the dictatorship of Ali Abdullah Saleh,” she said. The following day, Saleh appeared on television, calling the opposition a “dark and destructive project.”CBS NewsUK GuardianNY TimesAssociated PressThree Americans won the Nobel Prize in Physics for discovering that a mysterious dark energy was constantly accelerating the universe’s expansion, which would result in a phenomenon known as the “big rip” that would leave the cosmos covered in ice and completely dark. The universe will be “a very, very large, but very cold and lonely place,” said Charles Blue, spokesman for the American Institute of Physics.NPRRalph Steinman, one of three immunologists to win the Nobel Prize in Medicine, turned out to have died three days before the award was announced, following more than four years of experimenting on his own pancreatic cancer. “He was impatient,” said his lab director, “with data and mice.”ReutersSteve Jobs, cofounder of Apple Computers, died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 56. Demand for Jobs’s iconic black mock turtlenecks soared, and #iSad trended on Twitter. Comedian John Hodgman, who played the PC on the original Mac vs. PC commercials, tweeted his thanks. “Everything good I have done,” he wrote, “I have done on a Mac.”TimePC MagazineWashington PostCelebrity CafĂ©

In New York, an influx of college students, unions, and special-interest groups joined the Occupy Wall Street protests, sparking fears that the movement is being hijacked by opportunists. “Most of the kids are trust-fund babies. They donâ??t need to be here,” said one 40-year-old occupier. “Iâ??ve seen some making out, having sex.”Christian Science MonitorNewsCore via Fox PhoenixG.O.P. presidential candidate Herman Cain suggested that the protesters were jealous of bankers.NY PostSenate Democrats added a 5 percent surtax on millionaires to President Obama’s $447-billion jobs bill, and Republican state representative Ritch Workman of Melbourne, Florida, filed a bill to reinstate the practice of dwarf-tossing, which was banned in 1989. “All that it does is prevent some dwarfs from getting jobs they would be happy to get,” said Workman.Associated Press via MSNBCPalm Beach PostAustralian pop band Men at Work lost its appeal of a ruling that had found it copied a flute riff in the song “Down Under” from the folk song “Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree,” and Tasmanian-devil culls were found to be ineffective in stopping the spread of cancerous Devil Facial Tumor Disease.BBCScience DailyScientists in France speculated that Uranus had been struck repeatedly by Earth-sized objects, and looked forward to closer observation of Uranusâ??s moons.Discovery

Online retailers were criticized for selling Anna Rexia, a “sexy anorexia” Halloween costume printed with a skeleton and accessorized with a measuring-tape belt. “If you’re starving for attention,” read one site’s product description, “this costume will be sure to put you on top of the world.”CNN via WTAE PittsburghThe top two couples in the 12th annual North American Wife Carrying Championships in Maine won the wives’ weight in beer, and the final ten contestants in an Edinburgh “world’s hottest chili”-eating contest dropped out when they witnessed the first ten writhe in agony and vomit after consuming a curry known as the Kismot Killer. Beverly Jones, who finished nine spoonfuls, won the contest; Curie Kim, who was hospitalized twice afterward, finished second.Lewiston Sun JournalDaily MailA 44-year-old woman who thought she was suffering from food poisoning and menopause discovered she had in fact been pregnant when she gave birth on a roadside bench in Derbyshire, England.BBCA rare short-snouted seahorse was discovered in the Thames, rainbow hunters captured the elusive quadruple rainbow on film, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determined that Florida fairy shrimp and South Florida rainbow snakes arenâ??t eligible for protection under the Endangered Species Act because they may not exist.BBCBBCAssociated Press via Orlando SentinelAn oil spill off New Zealand’s Bay of Plenty threatened fairy terns, godwits, and little blue penguins, and Englishman Paul Urch was fined ÂŁ160 ($250) for failing to remove a set of garden gnomes from his deceased fatherâ??s home before selling it. “Haven’t people got better things in life to do,” asked Urch, “than moan about a gnome?”UK GuardianNews.com.au

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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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