One more endangered skill. Michael Bordenaro quotes Bill Rodon Hornof of Chicago’s 2RZ Architecture on the way parametric design software is changing personnel needs in architects’ offices (Focus, April): “We can’t have drafters because we rarely draw sections and perspectives anymore, the program does that. We need trained architects who can look at a design and react to it in an informed manner. So we now have fewer people at higher salaries.”

One reason liberals have trouble winning elections, according to Sam Smith, longtime editor of the Washington-based “Progressive Review” (March 30 “Undernews”): “NPR [actually PRI] has a program called ‘Marketplace’ but it does not have one called ‘Workplace.'”

The rural drug problem. From preliminary research on widely used farm chemicals conducted by University of Missouri’s Shanna Swan and published in Environmental Health Perspectives (Environmental News Network, April 2): “Men with high levels of the herbicide alachlor [in their urine] were 30 times more likely to have diminished sperm quality. Men with high levels of the insecticide diazanon or the herbicide atrazine were 16.7 or 11.3 times more likely to have poor sperm quality, respectively.”

In a sentence. Education scholar Diane Ravitch writes in OpinionJournal (February 13), “A college professor informed me that a new textbook in human development includes the following statement: ‘As a folksinger once sang, how many roads must an individual walk down before you can call them an adult.'”

“The leaders of the [conservative] backlash may talk Christ, but they walk corporate,” writes Tom Frank in Harper’s (April). “Values may ‘matter most’ to voters, but they always take a back seat to the needs of money once the elections are won….The trick never ages, the illusion never wears off. Vote to stop abortion; receive a rollback in capital-gains taxes. Vote to make our country strong again; receive deindustrialization. Vote to screw those politically correct college professors; receive electricity deregulation. Vote to get government off our backs; receive conglomeration and monopoly everywhere from media to meatpacking. Vote to stand tall against terrorists; receive Social Security privatization efforts. Vote to strike a blow against elitism; receive a social order in which wealth is more concentrated than ever before in our lifetimes.”

By the numbers. According to a February 26 press release from the Worldwatch Institute: “Amount of water it would take, per day, to support 4.7 billion people at the UN daily minimum–2.5 billion gallons. Amount of water used, per day, to irrigate the world’s golf courses–2.5 billion gallons.”

On the drawing board. According to “Bike Traffic” (March), the Illinois Tollway Authority is considering incorporating a bike path into the reconstruction of the Lincoln oasis at the south end of the Tri-State Tollway.

Still separate and unequal. According to figures dredged from the Illinois State Board of Education’s 2002 “Report Card” by the Institute for Latino Studies at Notre Dame, “More than half (54.5 percent) of the [Chicago] region’s public schools exhibit extreme racial isolation, in that their enrollment is made up of either almost all minority students (90-100 percent) or almost none (0-9.9 percent). There is not much middle ground in the form of racially mixed schools.”

“It is sometimes difficult for a modern person, who associates love with uncontrollable feelings, to understand how the Bible can command love of God, neighbors, even enemies,” writes Ben Witherington III in Bible Review (December), quoted in Martin Marty’s “Context” (March). “But in the Bible the many terms translated as ‘love’ do not refer primarily to feelings. They refer to decisions of the will. This voluntaristic notion of love is recalled in modern wedding services, where the bride and groom say ‘I do’ and ‘I will’ when they are asked to make their vows, not ‘I feel like it.'”