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Indiana discovered by scientists. "When we ponder biodiversity, we often take our own backyard for granted," writes John Shuey in the fall newsletter of the Nature Conservancy in Indiana. "Indiana is indeed producing a rash of new species discoveries....Eric Metzler has been sampling prairie and savanna moths for years in Ohio. With the restoration of Kankakee Sands underway [in northwest Indiana's Newton County], the Nature Conservancy asked him to sample savanna and sand prairie moths for two years at the site....During the course of this work, Eric encountered something we didn't really expect in a group of insects as well known as moths: two new species--both of which are limited to very high-quality habitats," Cochylis ringsi and Aethes patricia.

Thank you, 20th century. From Pediatrics (December): "The infant mortality rate has shown an exponential decline during the 20th century. In 1915, approximately 100 white infants per 1000 live births died in the first year of life; the rate for black infants was almost twice as high. In 1998, the infant mortality rate was 7.2 overall, 6.0 for white infants, and 14.3 for black infants." Maternal mortality dropped from 582 deaths per 100,000 live births in 1935 to 7.1 in 1998.

Top ten countries sending immigrants to Chicago in 1997, according to Paul Numrich in the Park Ridge Center's "Bulletin" (September/October): Mexico, Poland, India, the Philippines, China, Ukraine, Pakistan, Russia, Vietnam, and Korea.

"Between 1995 and 1999, the percentage of students who reported being victims of crime at school decreased from 10 percent to 8 percent," according to an annual report, "Indicators of School Crime and Safety 2000," released in October by the Bureau of Justice Statistics and the National Center for Education Statistics ( pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2001017). "As the rate of victimization in schools has declined or remained constant, students also seem to feel more secure at school now than just a few years ago. The percentage of students ages 12 through 18 who reported avoiding one or more places at school for their own safety decreased between 1995 and 1999--from 9 to 5 percent."

From Constantinople to Puritanism to Buy Nothing Day. University of Illinois historian Elizabeth Pleck notes in a recent press release that Saint Gregory Nanzianzen, a fourth-century bishop of Constantinople, complained that the populace was destroying the true meaning of Christmas by "making merry. He urged Christians to commemorate the birth of Jesus in a heavenly rather than an earthly manner."

"The problem with globalization is that it isn't global enough," writes Bill Boisvert in In These Times (December 25). "Why stop with global markets? Why not global trade unions and global environmental laws? Why not turn the world into one big school district and let Nike workers in Vietnam vote for property tax millages on Phil Knight's mansion in Oregon? That would be indisputably global, yet ideas like that never make it onto the agenda of globalization's advocates....

Which means that globalization is really a code word for laissez-faire capitalism."

President W. can't stop gay and lesbian progress, Paul Varnell implies in the Chicago Free Press (November 15). "Politics has a limited and declining ability to shape society and social attitudes. Instead, it is social changes and social attitudes that shape politics....Politics and elections are like the froth on ocean waves. The froth bobs up and down and gets blown around a bit, but the real movement is the great currents moving slowly and inexorably far beneath the surface."

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