Short Takes: News From All Over

MercedCollegeUsing Foto-novelas to Attract Latino Culture to Campus
By Victor A. Patton, MercedSun-Star
California’s Merced College is trying to attract male Latino students with an unusual promotion. The college plans to distribute several free ‘foto-novelas’ illustrating the benefits of a college education to area churches, clinics, and grocery stores. In the comic book-style stories, bubble captions narrate photographic tales of young Latino men grappling with the choice between a life of toil in the fields or restaurant kitchens and following their professional dreams. The novelas encourage the young men — who are underrepresented on the college’s campus — to see the practical payoff of going after their dreams. (Thanks, Racialicious.) — Eric Kelsey

Sportswomen Find Place in Halls of Their Own
By Kristin Bender, Women’s eNews
The accomplishments of female athletes have long been overlooked by the public eye. While men’s athletic triumphs grace the walls of countless halls of fame, tributes to women’s sports have been hard to come by. Recently, though, recognition has been popping up around the country. Kansas is opening an Independent Women’s Football League Hall of Fame and the National Sports Museum in Manhattan is constructing a hall of fame devoted to individual female athletes, teams, and coaches. — Cara Binder

The Most Powerful People You’ve Never Heard Of
By Adam K. Raymond, Radar
You may have never heard of Sessalee Hensley, but it’s possible that the woman determines what books make it to your bedside table. Hensley is the fiction buyer for the behemoth Barnes & Noble and one of the many names on Radar‘s list of the most powerful people you don’t know. Others honorees include: Erik Prince, founder and CEO of the contract troop supplier Blackwater; Bob Perry, the man whose political maneuvers introduced ‘swiftboating’ into the American vernacular; and China’s Wu Yi, the burgeoning superpower’s ‘Iron Lady’ vice premier who’s regularly tapped to handle the country’s relations with the United States. Chris Gehrke

The Hidden Half: A Photo Essay on Women in Afghanistan
Photos by Lana ?lezi?, Text by Elizabeth Gettelman, Mother Jones
Canadian photojournalist Lana ?lezi? spent two years traversing through Afghanistan getting to know the women of the country and discovering the largely buried realities of their harsh lives. Afghan women suffer domestic violence at a disturbingly high rate, widows are being forced into selling their bodies, and girls as young as 9 are setting themselves on fire with cooking oil. ?lezi?’swork delves into these issues in a beautifully painful manner, allowing a US audience to be witness to what is occurring in these women’s lives. — Cara Binder

By The NewPR
To tap the street cred of grassroots buzz, public relations firms have adopted the new tactic of ‘astroturfing.’ Taking its name from the fake grass, the strategy masks marketing campaigns as populist, spontaneous sentiments. From people in bars who seem a little too excited about their Bacardi and colas, to posts on internet message-boards touting stocks, astroturfing is the savvy new marketing craze. In an attempt to stem the tide, the NewPRWiki has set up an anti-astroturfing website to track astroturfers and encourage PR firms to pledge against the practice. — Brendan Mackie

Tales Of Future Past
By David H. Szondy,
A constant source of disappointment in the modern world is the fact that normal people still don’t have jet packs, personal robots, or flying cities. Tales of Future Past is a labyrinthine, obsessive website that charts a time when the future represented hope and came equipped with tailfins and ray-guns. Ever wondered what people back in 1939 thought the future would look like? Or what a Theremin is? Well, look no further. (Thanks, Neatorama.) — Brendan Mackie

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