Short Takes: News From All Over

By Staff and Utne.Com

Mapping the Border
By Margaret Regan, Tucson Weekly
Retired geoscience professor and former field geologist Ed McCullough wasn’t interested in the immigration debate, until he found out migrants were dying in the desert trying to reach the United States. Since then, McCullough has been trying to help migrants lost in the treacherous borderlands. Armed with a GPS device to map out common routes, McCullough applies his geologic knowledge of the desert and follows signs of human activity — like discarded water bottles, clothes, or footprints — to help volunteers find suffering migrants in need of aid. (Thanks, — Julie Dolan

Urban Camping
By Web Urbanist
“Be prepared” is the first rule of camping. But when you’re camping in the middle of a city, preparation requires creativity. With the right gear, urban campers have been able to bed down in downtown Baltimore and even in the middle of New York City’s Times Square. One specialized piece of technical equipment suggested by Web Urbanist is a car-shaped tent, so campers can mask themselves as a parked car and claim a parking space as a personal camp ground. — Brendan Mackie

Runnin’ Scared
By Adam Matthews, Village Voice
Most people who had heard of the New York Police Department’s “Hip-Hop Cops” assumed that the special task force assigned to monitor rappers was just another urban legend. But as the Village Voice reports, the fabled force recently accosted one rapper, who requested anonymity for the article, outside of a West Village night club. Although the NYPD remains silent on the special unit, Derrick Parker, a retired detective who claims to have founded the unit, went public on the matter with his 2006 book, Notorious C.O.P. — Eric Kelsey,matthews,77977,2.html

Crocheters Gone Wild
By Tasneem Paghdiwala, Chicago Reader
For months Chicagoan crocheters have been meeting in living rooms, shops, museums, and schools to recreate the Great Barrier Reef in yarn form. The Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef is already 40 feet long and it’s still growing. The project, organized by an arts and education group called the Institute for Figuring, is “both a form of collective protest and a tribute to life that’s being destroyed,” according to the Chicago Reader. The reef will be on display at Chicago’s Cultural Center beginning October 13. — Cara Binder

What to Do in Winter
By Barbara Pleasant, Mother Earth News
Gardening duties don’t end with the onset of winter, even though most folks tend to pack away their spades after a few frosts. Gardening expert Barbara Pleasant offers some tips for tending and enjoying your garden all year long. Hardy crops like spinach, Brussels sprouts, sunchokes, kale, carrots, and parsnips thrive in the cold weather. And using cover crops and compost can help build up the soil. — Cara Binder

10 Most Fascinating Tombs in the World
By Alex Santoso, Neatorama
Short histories and vivid photography illustrate this visual tour of some of the most beguiling and extravagant tombs on earth. Among Neatorama’s picks are the Capuchin Catacombs in Palermo, Italy, where for three centuries, monks mummified, interned, dressed, and displayed more than 8,000 people in the day’s latest fashion. Also included is the Sedlec Ossuary, where some “40,000 human skeletons [were] artistically arranged to form decorations, chandeliers, and furnishings.”  — Eric Kelsey

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