Short Takes: News From All Over

The New Orleans Menu
By Tom Fitzmorris
Folks sticking around the Big Easy after Mardi Gras can get the dish on where to find all the creole and Cajun fare one can eat. Aside from food news and reviews, the New Orleans Menu offers an index of area restaurant re-openings (758 as of Feb. 19) since Hurricane Katrina. The list includes neighborhoods, contact information, types of cuisine, and ratings. Restaurant critic Tom Fitzmorris also serves up a daily e-newsletter, which promises new articles, access to recipes, archives, and more to those who can fork over a donation. (Thanks, My Table.) — Elizabeth Ryan

US Partygoers Love Fantasy Arabs
By Sandip Roy, New America Media
Imagine hitting the hookah lounge and marveling at sword swallowers at your next office soiree. Arabian-themed parties are gaining popularity in the United States, though sentiment for Middle Easterners is not exactly following suit. The growing fascination with the culture is offset by statistics highlighting the high number of Arab or Muslim American villains on television programs. Professor Sunaina Maira suggests that perhaps people feel the parties are a way of absolving racist feelings (a la, ‘After all, we are listening to Arab music’). — Elizabeth Ryan

The 5 Smallest Countries in the World
By Neatorama
Neatorama brings you a list laced with little-known facts about the world’s five smallest countries. Among the most interesting tidbits: the Vatican City is the world’s only noncommercial economy; Monaco’s natural citizens, only one-fifth of the population, are barred from casinos; Nauru got rich off of phosphates from bird droppings, but is now poverty-stricken since depleting the resource; Tuvalu’s primary income comes from renting out its domain code ‘.tv’; and, lastly, The Most Serene Republic of San Marino is the world’s oldest republic. — Natalie Hudson

A Tale of 28 Feral Dogs
By Jonathan Thompson, GOAT: AHigh Country News Blog
Jonathan Thompson offers a somewhat comedic take on the necessity of recognizing the presence of feral dogs, which he denotes as ‘an integral part of the underbelly of the rural West.’ Fed up with the traditional view that horses are the iconic western animal, he proposes that it’s time for residents to start respecting the canines, which are numerous and often neglected — as exemplified by an incident involving the rescue of 28 wild border collies from a Colorado trailer park. — Elizabeth Ryan

Growing a Brain in Switzerland
By Manfred Dworschak, Der Spiegel
Understanding how consciousness emerges from the brain’s intricate hardware has long eluded scientists, but the ‘Blue Brain’ might help. Built by a team of researchers in Switzerland, the artificial brain runs on the world’s most powerful supercomputers and is interwoven with 10,000 artificial nerve cells, allowing researchers insight into the complexities of thought. The ultimate goal is to build up the model to 100 billion nerve cells — the equivalent in a living, thinking human brain. — Evelyn Hampton,1518,466789,00.html

Trash Landings: How Airlines and Airports Can Clean Up Their Recycling Programs
By the Natural Resources Defense Council
Huge potential for helping both the environment and the airline industry may lie in the tons of trash that go un-recycled at airports around the nation. In December the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a nonprofit national environmental advocacy organization, released findings from a yearlong survey of waste-management efforts (or lack thereof) at airports nationwide. The NRDC outlined a plan for airlines and concluded, among other things, that the amount of aluminum cans the industry discards each year is enough to build more than 50 Boeings. — Jenna Fisher (pdf file)

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