Short Takes: News From All Over

Lie By Lie: A Chronicle of a War Foretold
By Mother Jones
The stream of dire dispatches from Iraq has left many Americans wondering, ‘How did it get this bad?’ The editors of Mother Jones offer an answer with this extensively sourced and cross-referenced interactive timeline of political swindle. Tags, like ‘fear factor’ and ‘distraction,’ break down the daunting mass of information into more manageable parts. Contemporary history is laid bear, from then-Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney’s call to protect Kuwait’s oil from Saddam Hussein in 1990, to Colin Powell’s now-infamous speech before the United Nations, all the way to March 19, 2003, the day the United States invaded Iraq. — Bennett Gordon

War-torn Shangri-La
By Sushma Joshi, Ms. Magazine
Over the past 10 years, Maoist rebels in Nepal have violently struggled against the Royal Nepal Army in a war that has taken the lives of thousands. Women make up a remarkable percentage of those deaths, and both sides of the conflict stand accused of kidnapping, sexual assault, and torture. While there are no consequences for sexual crimes committed by soldiers, women are coming together and trying to restore human rights. Parliament has recently been reinstated, though it is not clear that the development will bring an end to the violence against women in Nepal. — Rachel Anderson

The Social Life
By Rob Dunn, SEED
Bugs: They’re just like us! Rob Dunn, a biologist who studies social insects (think ants and bees), says these critters interact in a way that’s not too different from human behavior. Prone to acts of deception, cheating, and corruption, insect societies are, Dunn claims, ‘held together not by the benefits of cooperation so much as by the ties of nepotism, policing, and dominance.’ The most important lesson is not what we can learn about humans, but that insects struggle, too. As in the human world, adds Dunn, ‘there is war, peace, agriculture, death, and by the billions, birth.’ — Rachel Anderson

Other Economies are Possible!
By Ethan Miller, Dollars & Sense
Many people dissatisfied with the current economic system already have created alternatives like worker cooperatives, community currency initiatives, community gardens, and housing collectives. Now these myriad groups are linking together, building strong networks to collectively bolster a ‘solidarity economy’ — a bottom-up alternative to both pan-capitalism and state socialism that puts social gain on par with material profit. (Thanks, AlterNet.) — Suzanne Lindgren

Conflux 2006
By Staff, Conflux
What happens where the sidewalk ends, when a bus stop shuts down, or if a new bridge is erected? For those intrigued by how city planning and other manifestations of urban landscapes affect our thoughts and behaviors, Conflux — a yearly festival of psychogeography — will investigate Brooklyn from September 14 through 17. The brainchild of Glowlab, an artist collective devoted to the musings of urban psychogeography, Conflux will rile the autumn streets with games, performances, installations, and a 24-hour road trip around the five boroughs, as well as exploratory walking, biking, and public-transit expeditions. (Thanks, InterActivist.) — Suzanne Lindgren

Stink Over Ink Cartridges
By Nick Galvin, The Age
Printer manufacturers, who sell printers on the cheap only to gouge consumers on ink cartridge refills, promote the belief that using ‘third party’ refills won’t yield the same quality or could even damage printers. Nick Galvin clears up the confusion by explaining how generic refills work and decoding some of the sneaky misinformation that comes with printers. One such tidbit: Turns out the little line in the warranty warning about damage from alternative refills doesn’t mean the warranty is voided by using compatible cartridges — the printer manufacturer would have to prove that the other cartridge damaged the printer in order to waive the contract. — Suzanne Lindgren

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