Short Takes: News From All Over

The Chicago Prayer Wheel Project
By Renee Prisble Una
Renee Prisble Una pedals for your prayers. The Chicagoan carts a trailer of cylinders inspired by Tibetan prayer wheels behind her bike and encourages residents to write down their wishes, slip them into the canisters, and spin the contraption. The motion ‘radiates’ the prayers into the city and beyond. Una transcribes all the wishes, which range from funnel cake and better recycling to the more profound: ‘May we be granted a mild winter, forgiveness for our segregation, and enough street parking for everyone.’ (Thanks, In These Times.) — Elizabeth Ryan.

40 Essential Songs of Resistance
By Mason Wright, Blog This of This Magazine
There is but one theme that can unite artists as diverse as James Brown, Joni Mitchell, N.W.A., and the Sex Pistols: Vive la résistance! For the past 40 years, these 40 songs have provided the soundtrack to the fight for revolution, nonconformity, equality, solidarity, peace, and freedom. Watch videos of the artists performing their powerful battle hymns, and you’ll be fired-up and ready to take to the streets. — Elizabeth Oliver

Think of a Concept, Taste It on Your Tongue
By Alison Motluk,
Would a rose by any other name taste as sweet?  People with a condition known as lexical-gustatory synaesthesia experience a specific taste associated with each word. ‘Gramophone’ might taste like Dutch chocolate, while ‘mountain’ tastes like cold bacon. A new study shows that even when an exact word cannot be recalled for an object, synaesthetes may still taste the word. That’s led researchers to conclude that meaning alone, not just its sound, can evoke a word’s flavor. — Evelyn Hampton

The Body Beautiful
By Mara Altman, Village Voice
Whether it’s because of random assignment, lack of options, or an attempt to stick with school friends, girls are ending up at Brooklyn’s Automotive High School for myriad reasons other than mechanical inclination. Outnumbered 15:1, female students are taking away more than oil changes after four years. They’re learning how to survive in a man’s world, developing a confidence that, as Mara Altman puts it, will ‘help them overcome the challenges that await in the real world.’ — Rachel Anderson,altman,75100,15.html

Zambian Widow Defies Custom and Life Amid Graves
By Carlyn Hambuba, Women’s e-News
Sexual cleansing, a Tongan tradition in which a dead man’s relative sleeps with his widow in order to ‘free’ his kin’s ghost, is meeting controversy in some African nations. Women’s e-News looks at the case of 79-year-old Zambian Theresa Chilala, whose in-laws drove her from her husband’s land and began burying their dead on her new property after she shunned the ritual. Women’s rights groups are stepping up their efforts to support women like Chilala. — Rachel Anderson

DuPont Agrees to Provide Less-Toxic Water
By Catherine Komp, The New Standard
The drinking water surrounding DuPont’s West Virginia plant has been contaminated with perfluorooctanoic acid, a chemical used to make Teflon, for years. Under a recent agreement, the Environmental Protection Agency has finally given the chemical giant a choice: Treat the polluted water or supply locals with an alternative supply. The company has already been giving some residents bottled water since 2005, under a separate agreement reached during a civil lawsuit. — Suzanne Lindgren

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