Short Takes: News From All Over

Conservation Bid Targets World’s 100 Weirdest Creatures
By Catherine Brahic,
Although the golden-rumped elephant shrew and bumblebee bat may sound like bizarre imaginary creatures, they do exist — for now. Scientists are launching the Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered, or EDGE, campaign in an effort to save 100 delightfully sui generis — but critically endangered — animals deemed irreplaceable due to their unique genetic evolution. Sadly, it may already be too late for some, such as the Yangtze River dolphin; scientists have not located any of the 13 that reportedly remain. — Elizabeth Ryan

Judging a Book by Its Cover: The Worst of 2006
By Heather Smith, Bookslut
Anyone who’s seen the obnoxious cover of Jim Cramer’s Mad Money: Watch TV, Get Rich will surely agree with Heather Smith that the author ‘looks like if you put a knife in one hand and a fork in the other, he’d eat you like a turkey.’ And so fares the rest of this riotous critique of the year’s lousy covers. To avoid repeated pot shots at diet books (notoriously campy contenders), Smith stretches her picks across five genres, including ‘Post-Apocalyptic Dour Lit,’ ‘Arty World War II Fetishism,’ and the ever-terrifying ‘Scary Head.’ — Elizabeth Ryan

Enviros Put Wyoming Gas Drilling on
By Ray Ring, GOAT: A High Country News Blog
The environmental group SkyTruth is tapping YouTube’s clout to fight new federal proposals to expand oil and gas drilling in Wyoming. The video posted to the popular site uses striking Google Earth imagery to illustrate how such drilling already has impacted Yellowstone’s southern ecosystem. The video also showcases heart-wrenching photos of migrating big game colliding with civilization. — Jenna Fisher

What Does 200 Calories Look Like?
Most of us portion-control-challenged Americans wouldn’t recognize the difference between 50 calories of ketchup or 200 calories of the sweet stuff. But the difference is showing up on our waistlines. To help out, has put together a visual guide with photos of 200-calorie portions of everything from peanut butter to wheat flour to gummy bears. (Thanks, Neatorama.) — Jenna Fisher

Global Rich List
By Poke (a ‘creative company’ in London)
Watching VH1 or MTV, a person could be fooled into thinking that six cars and a private island are requisite identifiers of the rich. In reality, an income of $25,500 per year puts a person in the wealthiest 10 percent of the world’s population. That’s according to the Global Rich List, an interactive calculator that lets people plug in their incomes to see ‘where they stand globally’ and realize that ‘most of us (who are able to view this web page) are in the privileged minority.’ — Bennett Gordon

After the Smoke Clears
By Tess Gadwa, Dragonfire
North Carolina is known for its rolling hills of tobacco, but if farmers have their way, it might be known for its wineries too. With tobacco settlements on the rise, many North Carolina tobacco farmers are switching their crops to berries, medicinal herbs, French truffles, and grapes for wine. Says one farmer: ‘Growin’ grapes is fun. You watch the little fellers, you can see them grow… watch them turn into wine. It’s a lot of rewards.’ — Bennett Gordon

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