What's new out there
Accounting by Enron?
Total dollar amount of 'unsupported accounting entries' in the Pentagon's 2000 financial statements: $1.1 trillion.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company has demolished the first of three dams on the Mokelumne River in northern California, reports High Country News (August 18, 2003). Sediment buildup had rendered the dams useless, and the utility tore them down as part of the process required to renew its federal hydropower license for other dams on the river. The project will restore more than 40 miles of salmon habitat.
Milking Every Ad Opportunity
A Swiss firm has been launched to help companies advertise their wares on the sides of cows, reports The Ecologist (June 2003). The Cow Placard Company uses car paint on the grazing animals to market their clients' goods and services.
Breathe, Smile, Be Happy
For thousands of years, Buddhists have been talking up the benefits of a rigorous meditation practice. Now Western scientists may know why, notes New Scientist (May 24, 2003). Research by neuroscientists at the University of Wisconsin and the University of California San Francisco Medical Center indicates that meditation actually stimulates the brain's left prefrontal lobes, home of positive emotions and good moods, and quiets the amygdala, creator of, among other things, irrational fears.
Not In My Shed
Wind power advocates, conservationists, and power companies currently face stiff opposition from homeowners in West Virginia, Minnesota, Vermont, and elsewhere who oppose installation of giant turbines for aesthetic reasons. The turbines disrupt their view. In a discussion of the issue, Minnesota Conservation Volunteer (Nov./Dec. 2003) reports on the use of a new word that's been coined for the area you can see: viewshed. The term didn't make it into the latest edition of The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, but rates over 18,000 hits on google.com.
Lessons in Leisure
The international 'slow food' movement is launching the world's first University of Gastronomic Sciences this fall on campuses in Italy. The school will offer degrees in Food and Gastronomy Communications as well as in Food Management. The first class of 60 students will gather on campuses in Pollenzo and Colorno next October. For more information, visit www.unisg.it
Policies Worth Copying
Kinko's, the nationwide chain of copy shops, announced it will no longer buy paper from suppliers using wood logged from old-growth or endangered forests, reports Enough! (Summer 2003). The company will also avoid suppliers that use genetically modified organisms, and will make more 100-percent post-consumer recycled and chlorine-free paper available to its customers.
Top 10 Activist Campuses
Source: Mother Jones (Sept./Oct. 2003) www.motherjones.com/news/outfront /2003/09/ma_508_01.html
Car Insurance Gets Greener
Oregon has become the first state to encourage insurance companies to offer so-called 'pay as you drive' car insurance policies. The move could reward automobile owners who drive less, writes Elisa Murray for the online magazine Grist (www.gristmagazine.com), as well as cut congestion, collisions, and pollution.
Great Moments in Lawmaking
Source: This Abundant Life (July 2003)