Short Takes: News From All Over

March 22, 2007

| March 2007

Green Anger at 'Ghost Flights'
By Alex Kleiderman, BBC News
For six days a week since October of last year, British Mediterranean Airways has been flying passenger jets without a single passenger. Each empty flight from London to Cardiff released more than 5 metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The idea was to keep up traffic between the two cities, rather than sacrifice one of the airline's coveted landing slots at London's Heathrow Airport. The airline's chief executive, David Richardson, described the flights as 'cost-effective.' -- Bennett Gordon

Florida 's Forgotten Rebels
By Amy Sturgis, Reason Magazine
The story of John Horse and the Black Seminoles is as amazing as it is overlooked. Reason uncovered J.B. Bird's engaging multimedia website detailing the forgotten rebellion. The site is dedicated to remembering Horse, the rebel leader, and the Black Seminoles, slaves who fled their masters and allied with Native Americans in what Bird calls the 'largest slave rebellion in US History.' Some 385 rebels destroyed Florida sugar plantations before moving to Oklahoma and eventually obtaining land in Mexico. -- Natalie Hudson

Davidson College Says 'If You Can Get In, We'll Get You Out Debt-Free'
By Justin McHenry, Zen Personal Finance
For many people, going to college means taking on years of financial debt. Instead of offering student loans, Davidson College in North Carolina is helping students pay off tuition though grants and work-study jobs. The college's philosophy is that if students are good enough to get in, Davidson will help them get out debt-free. -- Mary O'Regan

Inner City Squalor as Home Entertainment
By Evan Rytlewski, Shepherd Express via
Ghetto Fights 3 is the latest release from Fall Thru Entertainment, a California distribution company that puts out amateur footage of street fights. Despite heavy violence and occasional gunfire, the tone of the videos is disconcertingly light-hearted and mocking. Fighters are anonymous, their motives are unaddressed, and 'as soon one brawl ends, the next begins.' Previous titles include 'Bar Brawls' and 'Cat Fights.' Viewers are encouraged to submit their own footage for payment of up to $1,000. -- Mary O'Regan

Businesses Don't Have to Cover Your Pills
By Ann Friedman,
Union Pacific's original insurance plan covered Viagra and Rogaine, but not birth control. In 2005 a district court ruled in favor of female employees who sued the railroad company for contraceptive coverage. On March 15 the decision was overturned in the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. The ruling determined that the company's failure to offer coverage for contraception did not violate the civil rights of female employees. And it gave a green light to other companies looking to nix birth control from their own plans. -- Natalie Hudson
By Ficlets
Start a story, end a story, or add some plot to a growing tale. invites writers to initiate or contribute to chain stories created all around the world. An 'inspiration page' features photos from Ficlets' flickr page, sentence starters and enders, and's word of the day. The only catch is that submissions must be between 64 and 1,024 characters long. -- Mary O'Regan

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