Short Takes: News From All Over

Into the Abyss: Reporting Iraq 2003-2006, An Oral History
By Multiple Authors, Columbia Journalism Review
In a poignant glimpse into the struggles faced by journalists in Iraq, the Columbia Journalism Review has assembled photos and anecdotes from nearly 50 reporters covering the war. The narratives tell of violence, death, and a Coalition Provisional Authority set on thwarting reporters’ inquiries. Freelance writer Patrick Graham expressed the frustration felt by many upon hearing a particularly disturbing account of torture, saying, ‘All you could do was write an interview with an Iraqi that said this happened, but is that enough? I don’t think that’s enough to get published in an American paper.’ — Elizabeth Ryan

Alert Map
By Havaria Information Service
Admit it, Homeland Security’s ‘Orange Alerts’ just aren’t doing it for a fear fix anymore. Well, fret not about not fretting: The ‘Alert Map’ can keep you up to date on emergencies and crises sweeping the globe. Stay abreast of natural disasters, power outages, biological hazards, nuclear events, and epidemics, all in real-time. As I type, a flashing red rooster in Indonesia tells me that Jakarta has had a bird flu outbreak. Meanwhile, a nuclear event blips through Nebraska. Be afraid. Be very afraid. — Elizabeth Oliver

Forking Wikipedia
By Dana Blankenhorn, ZDNet Blog
The popular Wikipedia online community encyclopedia has been subjected to a storm of criticism since its inception. The site has been described as devoid of quality control, intellectually damaging, and a conduit of corporate and government propaganda. Now, co-founder Larry Sanger is ready to create something better. He’s touting his new project, Citizendium, as a more-regulated version of Wikipedia that will forbid anonymous inputs and rely on expert contributions. The site is slated to go live by the end of the year. — Jenna Fisher

First Green Car Dealer Opens
By Staff, Green Car Journal
Many car dealerships today are hawking greener cars, but one dealership is trying to make the experience of car-buying itself more eco-friendly. The Pat Lobb Toyota dealership in Texas is the first in the country to take a stab at LEED (Leadership of Energy and Environmental Design) certification by using green-building innovations such as energy-saving glass and offering an on-site car wash that reduces the amount of water normally lost in a car wash by 66 percent. — Jenna Fisher

A Concrete Step Toward Cleaner Air
By Bruno Giussani,
Call it a bottom-up approach to reducing air pollution: ‘smog-eating’ sidewalks that neutralize pollutants like carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, and benzene. An Italy-based company, Italcementi has created a concrete that chemically decomposes common pollutants faster than nature otherwise would, leaving less-harmful byproducts such as water and nitrates. So far, self-cleaning concrete has reduced air pollutants in some congested European cities, aiding — though not replacing — other efforts to combat smog. (Thanks, Gristmill.) — Evelyn Hampton

Enron Explorer
By Trampoline Systems
In a private email written on August 25, 2000, Joe Hillings, Enron’s vice president for governmental affairs, told CEO Ken Lay of his ‘desire to seek an ambassadorship in a George W. Bush presidency.’ Unfortunately for Hillings, his dream never came true. But thanks to the software company Trampoline Systems, and a 2003 order by the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, everyone can read about the failed energy giant’s greedy highs and paranoid lows as captured in searchable archive of Enron’s internal emails. (Thanks, FutureFeeder.) — Bennett Gordon

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