Short Takes: News From All Over: February 9, 2006

By Staff and Utne.Com

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<strong>One Family, One Month, 50kg of packaging. Why?</strong>
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By Lucy Siegle, <em>The Observer</em>
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Why on earth would anyone shrink-wrap a coconut? Today’s pre-packaged economy has created an enormous amount of unnecessary waste, and the British newspaper <em>The Observer</em> set out to find just how much. They recruited four families to save all of their waste for one month; experts then weighed and analyzed it. The tallies ranged from 16 kg to 42 kg, with an ecological “overburden” — the energy and resources used and waste generated to make the “skin of commerce” — topping out at 76 kg. — <em>Bennett Gordon</em>
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<a href=”http://observer.guardian.co.uk/magazine/story/0,,1696638,00.html”>http://observer.guardian.co.uk/magazine/story/0,,1696638,00.html</a>
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<strong>NYU Student Fired Over Copyright Beliefs</strong>
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By Jake Dobkin, <em>Gothamist</em>
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A New York University student and president of the school’s Free Culture chapter was fired from her job at an intellectual property law firm for “holding beliefs that were incompatible with the work of the firm.” While this seems absurd, <em>Gothamist</em>, a New York culture blog, makes a good point: Why was the president of a Free Culture chapter working at a firm dedicated to protecting corporate copyrights anyway? — <em>Bennett Gordon</em>
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<a href=”http://www.gothamist.com/archives/2006/02/01/nyu_student_fir.php”>http://www.gothamist.com/archives/2006/02/01/nyu_student_fir.php</a>
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<strong>Organic Valentine’s Day</strong>
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By Staff, <em>Organic Consumers Association</em>
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If your love likes red, red roses, why not make sure they’re organic? The Organic Consumers Association has put together a helpful guide to the day of love, including a rundown of the environmental effects of conventional flower and chocolate production, a Valentines Buying Guide, and a flash video that shows what can happen (and what won’t) if you don’t buy organic. — <em>Nick Rose</em>
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<a href=”http://www.organicconsumers.org/valentines/#buyguide”>http://www.organicconsumers.org/valentines/#buyguide</a>
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<a href=”http://www.organicconsumers.org/valentines/slammed.htm”>http://www.organicconsumers.org/valentines/slammed.htm</a>
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<strong>PLUG: Independent Music Awards</strong>
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By Staff, <em>PLUG</em>
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Are you drowning in a sea of over-produced pop music? Or perhaps you have decided to

<del>abscond</del> forgo the pleasures of new music for the time-tested classics. <em>PLUG</em>, a “collection of music lovers,” will have you singing a different tune. The <em>PLUG</em> Independent Music Awards help you filter through the noise with creative categories like “Best Music Festival of the Year” (Coachella), “Zine of the Year” (<em>Wax Poetics</em>), and “Live Act of the Year” (Arcade Fire). It’s a welcome change from the out of touch Grammies or MTV Video Music Awards. (Thanks, <a href=”http://www.coolhunting.com/”>
<em>Cool Hunting</em>
</a>) — <em>Bennett Gordon</em>
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<a href=”http://www.plugawards.com/homepage_winners.php”>http://www.plugawards.com/homepage_winners.php</a>
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<strong>2006 Drug Policy Reform Congressional Voter Guide</strong>
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By Staff, <em>Drug Policy Alliance</em>
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The “war on drugs” may have taken a back seat to the war in Iraq, but it continues to rack up casualties. The Drug Policy Alliance, a nonprofit dedicated to drug policy reform, has released its 2006 Drug Policy Reform Congressional Voter Guide, tracking legislators’ votes on issues like medical marijuana and banning racial profiling by local narcotics taskforces. The report names Rep. <a href=”http://opensecrets.org/politicians/summary.asp?CID=N00005818&cycle=2006″>Sheila Jackson Lee</a> (D-TX) a “champion” and Rep. <a href=”http://opensecrets.org/politicians/summary.asp?CID=N00004291&cycle=2006″>James Sensenbrenner</a> (R-WI) a “villain” and analyzes germane bills before Congress according to how they would “protect the sovereignty of individuals over their minds and bodies” — <em>Bennett Gordon</em>
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<a href=”http://www.drugpolicy.org/library/voterguide013106.cfm”>http://www.drugpolicy.org/library/voterguide013106.cfm</a>
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<strong>New York Schools Are Most Highly Segregated in Entire US</strong>
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By Susan McGregor, <em>Amsterdam News</em> (Via <em>Voices that Must Be Heard</em>)<br />
A recent Harvard report shows that New York’s schools are the most highly segregated in the country. But the problem goes deeper than the schools themselves. Gary Orfield, a co-author of the report, claims “[t]he underlying problem is housing. We have done almost nothing about residential segregation, and that is the fundamental issue that we should be addressing.” — <em>Nick Rose</em>
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<a href=”http://www.indypressny.org/article.php3?ArticleID=2479″>http://www.indypressny.org/article.php3?ArticleID=2479</a>
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