Short Takes: News From All Over

Dear Arthur Friends
By Laris Kreslins, Arthur
So began another sad letter to readers everywhere. As of Feb. 23, Arthur magazine is the latest addition to the doleful, growing list of independent publications that have ceased to be. The bimonthly had entertained indie-minded folks since its 2002 inception, but met its demise after attempting to transition between publishers — a move that put the magazine on what current publisher Lime Publishing has dubbed ‘indefinite hiatus.’ Meanwhile, lamenting fans can still go online to snag a set of all 25 issues, while they last. — Elizabeth Ryan

Exploring the Route to Freedom
By Adventure Cycling Association
Tracing a path as rich in emotion as it is in historical importance, Adventure Cycling Association recently mapped a 2,058 mile Underground Railroad Bicycle Route. In an effort to promote healthy activity across socioeconomic backgrounds, the nonprofit bike travel organization teamed up with the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Minority Health to create the path, which stretches from Mobile, Alabama, to Ontario, Canada. Check out the website for brochures, maps, and tour info. (Thanks, — Jenna Fisher

Web Revenge
By Tim Vanderpool, TucsonWeekly
Tim Vanderpool reports that a new website devoted to ‘outing employers alleged to have undocumented workers on their payrolls’ has become a hot spot for people with petty grudges to post phony accusations. is a sophisticated website dedicated to antagonizing employers and illegal immigrants; its creator proudly claims to receive more than 750,000 visitors monthly. (For an entirely different take on ending illegal immigration — i.e., a moral solution — read Bryan Welch’s essay, ‘ Putting a Stop to Slave Labor,’ in Utne Reader‘s latest issue.) — Jenna Fisher

The Big Question
By Prospect Magazine
According to the editors at Prospect, the dichotomy of right versus left defined the last century. To figure out what’s coming next, they invited 100 writers and thinkers to muse about what division will define the coming century. Political writer Philip Bobbitt believes that ‘nation state versus market state’ will dominate our thoughts, while the novelist Alison MacLeod offers a different take: ‘My friend Jake, aged 30, is worried about his testicles.’ (Read MacLeod’s whole entry to see how Jake’s conundrum actually leads to a rather elegant point.) — Bennett Gordon

Running the Numbers: An American Self-Portrait
By Chris Jordan
The statistics that pepper the American media can be a dizzying array of numbers that confuse rather than convey meaningful information. To help the average person gain some perspective on some of these seemingly unfathomable statistics, artist Chris Jordan creates intricately detailed prints, like one of 2.3 million folded prison uniforms to represent the 2.3 million people incarcerated in 2005. The images are fashioned from thousands of smaller photos, creating in the prison uniform instance a mammoth 11 by 23-foot image filled with piles of bright orange uniforms. Other statistics undergoing Jordan’s visual translation include the images of 29,569 handguns to represent the number of US gun-related deaths in 2004, 1.14 million brown paper supermarket bags showing the number used by Americans every hour, and 125,000 $100 bills depicting the amount of funds the US government spends on the Iraq war every hour. (Thanks, Chicago Reader‘s Daily Harold blog.) — Jenna Fisher

Genes Uncover Dairy Farming Origins
By Sara Wood and John Pickrell, Cosmos Magazine
Milk may do your body good, but it wasn’t so great for early humans. In fact, before the spread of agriculture and dairy farming, humans couldn’t even digest the stuff. New DNA analysis on human skeletons has found that 8,000 year ago, a genetic mutation occurred in Europeans and some Africans that enabled people to continue processing dairy into adulthood (most modern and central Europeans are direct descendents of those people). The study’s lead author, Joachim Burger, told Cosmos Online that the research provided ‘direct evidence that natural selection is working on human populations.’ — Mary O’Regan

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