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"Is it fair to ask the Inuit to give up snowmobiles and return to dog sleds or the Chinese to go back to bicycles when even the environmentalists won't give up their global gallivanting?" asks Nicols Fox in an approving review of recent alarmist books by Mark Lynas (High Tide) and Paul and Anne Ehrlich (One With Nineveh) in the Washington Post National Weekly Edition (August 9-15). "The change-our-ways-or-else option is a difficult choice for everyone--even for Mark Lynas and the Ehrlichs. All admit to traveling far more than they should. Lynas has abandoned his car but notes that the flights he took to write the book produced more than 15 tons of carbon dioxide."

By the numbers. According to an August 9 Roosevelt University press release describing a new study, "Immigrants and the Illinois Labor Force," the percentage of workers in Chicago who are foreign-born is 26. In the suburbs it's 17 percent, downstate 3.

War is worse than hell. "The majority of the people in Afghanistan--80 percent of the population--don't remember anything before 1978," former Peace Corps volunteer Betsy Amin-Arsala told a workshop at the National Peace Corps Association conference at the Palmer House Hilton on August 6. "After 25 years of nothing but war they've forgotten how to make many of their own dishes. And music. Afghanistan was a very traditional society. There was a specific way to do everything--what to say at a birth, a death, when you enter a store, all that. Many aspects of traditional culture may have seemed narrow in the 1960s [when she volunteered there]. But it had integrity." Now the extended families are shattered, and only old people remember the culture. "People under 35 there don't even know how to talk. The young apprentices in the stores are stone-faced. They don't answer you when you speak; there's no smoothing conversation. If you go to these places, keep in mind that the wounds people have suffered aren't just personal. They're social."

Most estimates of the effect of climate change on U.S. farmland aren't very reliable, write economists Olivier Deschenes and Michael Greenstone in "The Economic Impacts of Climate Change," published by the National Bureau of Economic Research in August. Using what proved to be a more robust estimating method, they found that "the benchmark change in climate would reduce the value of agricultural land by $40 to $80 billion, or 3% to 6%." But they think it's possible there'd be no net effect at all.

Research results that are not news. A Reuters headline quoted in the Centers for Disease Control's "AIDS Daily Summary" (August 18): "Many US Parents Unaware of Teen Sex, Study Finds."

The alternative 9/11 report. Sam Smith writes on his Web site ( "It is now almost three years since the World Trade Center attack. During this period we have invaded two Muslim countries and moved far closer to the apartheid regime of Ariel Sharon. We have not taken a single important step to reduce hatred of the U.S., respond to justified complaints of the Muslim world, or create forums where current conflicts can be explored instead of explode. In short, with psychotic consistency, our leaders have made matters worse, more dangerous, and more complicated to resolve."

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