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As others see us. The authors of the new book Place Matters: Metropolitics for the Twenty-first Century note that the massive public-housing developments just outside Paris often contain large concentrations of North African immigrants. "In recognition of their similarity to American ghettos, they have been called 'Little Chicagos.' Like concentrated poverty areas in the United States, they are associated with poverty, crime, and social disorganization. Living in a Little Chicago stigmatizes a person as a loser; employers shun such residents, and mothers even warn their daughters against going out with boys who live there."

The kids just think they're all right. According to an October 15 press release on San Diego State psychologist Jean Twenge, coauthor of a research report being published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Review, "College students' self-esteem has increased substantially [from 1968 to 1994], but this happened at the same time that SAT scores declined and anxiety increased. Thus college students' high self-esteem seems to be built on a foundation of sand."

Help not wanted. Paul Street writes in Dissent (summer): "Project STRIVE, an established job-placement program that mainly serves younger minority males in inner-city Chicago, reports that it placed thirty-seven of fifty ex-offenders in jobs last year, leaving a 26 percent unemployment rate even for people who went through an especially successful program."

Do they sing their national anthem too? Caterpillars of the common hook-tip moth drive intruders away from the leaves where they've built nests by drumming with their mandibles, report several biologists, including Patrick Weatherhead of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. According to an October 1 university press release, researchers put a second caterpillar on a leaf where another caterpillar had already constructed a nest of silk, repeating the experiment 52 times. "The intruding caterpillar approached the resident, who stopped feeding, backed into its nest and began signaling by dragging or striking its mandibles against the leaf....Resident caterpillars turned away the intruder in 87 percent of the tests, usually within one to five minutes. Intruders that were larger than the residents won 7.5 percent of the time. Three times, the intruder and resident both stayed; the intruder simply built a new nest on the same leaf. In 39 percent of the experiments, both the resident and intruder produced the drumming sound, creating what the researchers called acoustic duels. These duels...frequently ended with intruders damaging the residents' nests by biting through the silk strands."

I've often wondered why there are no restaurants or hotels anywhere near 646 S. State. From a front-page story in the Near West/South Gazette (October 5) saying that Pacific Garden Mission, a homeless shelter and service center that's more than 100 years old, will indeed be displaced by the expansion of its neighbor, Jones Academic Magnet High School: "Pacific Garden Mission needs to relocate to a more compatible site near restaurants and hotels, which offer mission residents job opportunities."

"Child care for a four-year-old in a child care center in an urban area averages $5,304 a year," according to the Children's Defense Fund publication 2001 Children in the States. "This is more than the cost of public college tuition in Illinois--$3,845 per year." The average cost of infant care is $8,840 a year.

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