Short Takes: News From All Over

The Sex Strike
By Alvaro Vargas Llosa, TCS Daily
Some women in Pereira, Colombia, are tired of local gang violence and won’t sleep until it stops — at least not with their husbands or boyfriends. The women of Pereira are taking advantage of the fact that, according to research cited by Alvaro Vargas Llosa, ‘violent men apparently consider sex more enjoyable than snuffing their neighbors.’ So, if men are forced to choose between sex and violence, peace becomes a more desirable option. Vargas proclaims that even if the tack doesn’t work, it is part of a larger victory: civilians actively and nonviolently working to resolve problems, rather than waiting for government and law enforcement to do it for them. (Thanks, Treehugger.) — Suzanne Lindgren

Invasion of the Foody Snatchers
By Suzi Parker, Grist
Efforts to buy locally and seasonally by patronizing farmers’ markets can seem futile when bunches of bananas sneak in among the pumpkins and squash. Indeed, the growing popularity of farmers’ markets across the United States has brought with it some negative aspects, reports Suzi Parker. Many markets mislead consumers and harm local farmers by selling produce that’s shipped in from out of state or overseas. To address the problem, some cities and states already have banned out-of-area goods at the markets. That’s an important move not only for local farmers but for consumers as well, says Parker. As the cost of transporting food across long distances skyrockets, Americans may be increasingly dependent on their local farmers. — Elizabeth Oliver

TravelSmart and a Philosophical Formula for the Urge to Drive
By Sarah Rich, Worldchanging
Even with a bike, a bus pass, or a sturdy pair of shoes at your disposal, you still might feel compelled to hop in your car for a trip to the local store. Alan Durning of the Sightline Institute calls this impulse a ‘reflexive response to most mobility needs.’ There are companies out there, however, that are willing to show you that it’s just as easy to not drive. TravelSmart, an outfit that operates in Germany, Australia, and select cities in the United States, provides personalized maps and information on biking, walking, and public transportation. To avoid overwhelming consumers with information, folks from TravelSmart will even pay people a visit to work out car-free routes around town. — Rachel Anderson

Logo RIP
By The Stone Twins
A self-proclaimed ‘Commemoration of Dead Logotypes,’ the website (and book) Logo RIP features amusing promotional relics like the Betamax ‘B’ and the Commodore ‘C’ alongside political images of the hammer and sickle and the swastika. Particularly interesting is the section titled ‘Book of Condolences,’ which blends personal musings with the thoughts of professional typographists and graphic designers as they parse the meanings behind these once-ubiquitous images. (Thanks, Cabinet.) — Elizabeth Oliver

Backpacks Appeal to the Tech-Savvy Set
By Tom Regan, Christian Science Monitor
The days when having a He-Man backpack drew the admiration of other school kids are long gone. Even wheels and a handle don’t cut it for ‘cool’ anymore. Today’s trendy backpacks require batteries and are cell phone, iPod, and Bluetooth capable, reports Tom Regan. These high-tech backpacks currently run up to $249, but one New York technology researcher told the Monitor that prices are likely to fall, ‘sooner rather than later, as new tech tools are integrated faster.’ In the meantime, parents looking to tamp down on school supply costs can just remind their kids that retro is ‘in.’ — Jenna Fisher

Left Turn
By Jason Zasky, Failure Magazine
More than a few people are rethinking their right-wing allegiances these days. Jim Derych, author of Confessions of a Former Dittohead, gives an idea why, elucidating just how the conservative rationale has failed its audience. In an interview with Failure Magazine, the ex-Rush Limbaugh follower explains that the radio demigod’s fans (they call themselves ‘dittoheads’) feel like they’re getting the ‘inside’ scoop, when they’re really only getting one side of the story. Derych also discusses differences within Rush’s demographic — proffering the possibility of converting ‘unexamined conservatives’ leftward. — Suzanne Lindgren

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