The dirtiest 10 percent of 18,320 cars leaving Algonquin Road for southbound I-290 September 15-19, 1997, produced 61 percent of the carbon monoxide, 46 percent of the nitrogen oxides, and 44 percent of the hydrocarbons emitted by vehicles at that spot. That’s the news in a report from the University of Denver team that took the measurements (“On-Road Remote Sensing of Automobile Emissions in the Chicago Area: Year 1,” August 1998). At the other end of the spectrum, “the cleanest 40% of the vehicles, regardless of model year, make an essentially negligible contribution to the total emissions.”

Stop the dictionary, I want to get off! Oxford University Press is gathering more than 18,000 new English words or meanings per month to put into its “Oxford Database of World English,” according to a recent press release. Among its 1998 finds are exformation (“explicitly discarded information, i.e. knowledge that is essential to understanding a communication, but is already shared by communicating parties, and is therefore not referred to”) and meatspace (“the physical world, as opposed to the virtual world of on-line interaction”).

If your mother says there’s a railroad, check it out. “A recent check of 15 [industrial] buildings that are offered with ‘Rail Available’ revealed that with one exception, the rail spur had not been installed to the building or had not been used in many years,” writes Donald Jaffe in “Chicago Industrial Properties” (January). “In each case, the offering agent had not checked the availability of rail service or the cost to put the spur in usable condition. One agent said he had not checked because rail users are so ‘rare’ today.”

Haven’t been to the Art Institute since Monet? Get ready to be targeted. According to “A&B Voice” (Winter), newsletter of the Arts & Business Council of Chicago, many studies have examined frequent arts patrons, but “less is currently known about medium and light users, who comprise nearly half of the Chicagoland population.” An upcoming Arts Marketing Center research report is about to fill that gap.

“Pro-life women from various classes were unified in their rejection of materialist values,” according to a blurb in the University of Chicago Press’s spring catalog on the book Speaking of Abortion, to be published in March. “This group strongly believed that a reduced family income was worth the sacrifice in order to stay home with the children….Pro-choice women’s beliefs, however, were divided along class lines. Working-class women defended choice because they viewed themselves as a group whose interests are continually threatened by legal authorities. In contrast, middle-class women argued for individual rights and thought abortion necessary for those who aren’t financially ready.”

Dept. of unacceptable innovations. “We’re changing the definition of what a public school is by giving taxpayer money to traditionally private schools,” says Emily Van Dunk in the Joyce Foundation’s newsletter “Work in Progress” (January). “All of a sudden taxpayers want to know what’s going on with their money.”

“Progressives worried about sexual McCarthyism have organized a safari against a paper Tiger,” argues historian Howard Zinn in a commentary distributed electronically by “ZNet” (January 30). “They are off in the jungle to wage a war that has largely been won. And they have deserted a battlefield dominated by Clinton and the Republicans, who have joined, through all the years of his presidency, to act against the poor, to make the corporate rich richer, to maintain an enormous military apparatus, and to use it against helpless people abroad. Clinton’s major policies have had Republican support: the destruction of the New Deal’s guarantee to poor women and children, the building of more prisons and the extension of capital punishment, the refusal to sign the land mines treaty and to end nuclear testing, the continued sale of weapons all over the world, the cruel punishment by embargo of the Iraqi people and the Cuban people, the repeated bombing of Iraq, producing civilian casualties, with no rational purpose. In short, many people on the American Left have been hoodwinked (by themselves) into surrendering their historic mission as critics of the bi-partisan Establishment.”