Short Takes: News From All Over

The Yes Men Snafu Oil Giants at Largest Petrol Industry Trade Show in Canada
By Marisa Olson, Art Threat
Forget ethanol, the new alternative energy source is Vivoleum, a biofuel made from dead people. The protest/performance group the Yes Men presented their idea for Vivoleum on June 15 while posing as execs from ExxonMobil and the National Petroleum Council at Canada’s largest oil trade show. To demonstrate the viability of this Soylent Green of biofuels, operatives of the Yes Men handed out candles, supposedly made of the substance, and showed a video of Reggie, the company janitor from whom the candles were made. — Bennett Gordon

Bear Carcasses Spark Alarm
By Kara Hansen, The Daily Astorian
In the spring, along the northern coast of Oregon, bears awaken from their winter hibernation and hungrily seek out sapwood treats by peeling bark from trees. Recently, locals discovered that many of these tree-peeling bears are being snared and killed by timber companies — which are allowed to hunt the bears on private timberland during what is called ‘bear damage season’ — and then dumped in a ‘bone pit’ on a state wildlife area. The bears can harm and even kill trees, but critics of the policy say taking aim at the bears’ already dwindling population causes the greater damage. (Thanks, Goat: A High Country News Blog.) — Natalie Hudson

Build Your Own Natural Swimming Hole
By Douglas Buege and Vicky Uhland, Grit
Douglas Buege and Vicky Uhland offer an intriguing alternative to pouring tens of thousands of dollars into a conventional in-ground pool. A thorough DIY guide outlines the steps to ditching concrete and fiberglass for stone and clay, nixing expensive filtration systems in favor of the natural filtering abilities of aquatic plants, and creating a dragonfly-friendly environment that wards of pesky black flies. Besides being aesthetically pleasing, these natural pools also offer a safe haven for many organisms, transforming backyards into ecologically diverse oases. — Cara Binder

Ripened Yet Rocking
By Anna Weggel, The Riff Blog from Mother Jones
The ultimate cover band may be a rockin’ cadre of senior citizens. The choral and dance group Young @ Heart has been touring the country and entertaining audiences with the latest pop hits since 1982. Check out their renditions of songs by Sonic Youth, the Ramones, and Cold Play. — Eric Kelsey

Moroccan Women’s Rights Wear Royal Robes
By Leela Jacinto, Womens eNews
Under King Mohammed VI, Morocco has led Arab nations in improving the status of women with progressive legal codes. But despite their newly acquired rights, women still face plenty of obstacles to equality. Though 30 seats in parliament are held for women, they struggle to get into important positions or committee placements. Advocates hope that in the upcoming September elections, women will make further gains in reaching the country’s goal of boosting female representation in parliament from its current 10 percent to 30 percent by 2015. — Julie Dolan

Carolina‘Gullah Tours’ Highlight Black Culture
By Bruce Smith, the Associated Press via
Isolated along the sea islands of the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida, the little-known Gullah were former slaves who managed to preserve a language and culture that dates back to the Civil War. Now the culture is fast becoming the centerpiece for tourists in search of Southern authenticity. Members of Gullah communities in Charleston, South Carolina, lead ‘Gullah Tours,’ which showcase the distinctiveness of a hidden Southern culture with visits to restaurants, museums, and art galleries. — Eric Kelsey

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