The laundry bills alone would be frightening. In an ongoing controversy over the future of the smelly waste-disposal mountain next to I-94 just south of Michigan City, Indiana, mayor Sheila Brillson responded to a local newspaper article by saying, “I am not in bed with the landfill” (News-Dispatch, November 7).

How do you undeclare war? Sam Smith quotes historian Michael Howard in the “Progressive Review” (October 31): “I hate having to say this, but in six months time for much of the world that atrocity [the destruction of the World Trade Center] will be, if not forgotten, then remembered only as history; while every fresh picture on television of a hospital hit, or children crippled by land-mines, or refugees driven from their homes by western military action, will strengthen the hatred of our adversaries, recruit the ranks of the terrorists and sow fresh doubts in the minds of our supporters.”

Everything is not connected to everything else. Writing in a recent issue of the Journal of Applied Ecology, Finnish and Canadian researchers found that “at regional and local scales, urban bird communities are independent of the bird diversity of adjacent landscapes….Whatever the biodiversity quality of the periurban [suburban] landscape, site-specific actions such as shrub and tree planting, water restoration and increasing vegetation diversity can change bird diversity in towns and improve the quality of human-wildlife contacts.”

What are they putting in the water in Geneva? Headline for an article in the November/December issue of Science & Spirit magazine, based in suburban Geneva: “The Contours of Gender: Gender’s fluidity eludes biological fact and cultural classification, yet resonates with spiritual certainty.”

Where there’s sprawl there’s hope. Writing in the journal Housing Policy Debate, economist Matthew Kahn of Tufts University reports that black households in metropolitan areas with lots of sprawl (such as Chicago, Atlanta, and Detroit) “live in larger housing units and are more likely to own a home than observationally identical black households in less sprawled areas” (such as New York, Anaheim, and Portland). “In addition, as the metropolitan area’s sprawl level increases, the black/white housing gap closes for these measures of housing.”

Nothing new is good, and nothing good is new. “Urban design and architecture have failed to come up with anything good enough to replace older styles,” writes Theodore Hild in “Historic Illinois” (October). “The historicism of Postmodern architecture and movements like neo-traditional town planning are blatant admissions of the failure to develop new forms to accommodate modern life satisfactorily. Architects design buildings with cartoonish Greek temple fronts, use spray-on cement products that are supposed to look (I guess) like some sort of Renaissance style, or put stylized ornament here and there so observers have something to look at.”

Number of Latinos holding elected office (not judgeships) in Chicago in 1980: 2. In 2001: 22 (Chicago Reporter, September/October).

From garden design to saving the earth is how University of Michigan landscape architect Robert Grese describes the work of Jens Jensen and others in the summer issue of “Living Green”: “At the core of the Prairie Style movement was a desire to awaken people to the subtle natural beauties of the Midwestern landscape. Landscape design cultivated that appreciation and led people to active involvement in land conservation activities. There was a continuum from small-scale design interventions to the preservation of large blocks of natural habitat as parks and preserves.”

Prior to 9/11/01, children, these buildings contained many offices. Number of companies located in the 102-story Empire State Building as of September 11: 180. Number that have left or are seeking to move: “at least 16,” according to an October 22 BBC report.