Ever increasing carbon dioxide emissions do not equal prosperity, contrary to what conservative critics of global-warming controls often claim, judging from the latest figures from the Energy Information Administration. U.S. carbon emissions from fossil fuels rose 0.4 percent in 1998, while the economy grew by 3.9 percent. Since 1990 carbon emissions have risen by 10 percent while the economy grew by 23 percent (www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/1605/sld002.html).

Suchomimus had a funny bone? Yes, says dinosaur-exhibit creator Gabrielle Lyon of the Chicago Children’s Museum, who has kids try to find one on a dinosaur forearm. “It’s a great way to teach about bones and anatomy,” she says in a July press release. “A lot of people don’t realize that we’re built on the same plan as a dinosaur.”

Northeastern Illinois’ six counties grew 7 percent in population between April 1, 1990, and July 1, 1998, according to a July press release from the Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission. But the average conceals a multitude of changes. Big winners of the 90s were faraway suburbs Lake in the Hills (up 247 percent, from 5,882 to 20,417) and Spring Grove (up 108 percent, from 1,066 to 2,219). Big losers were North Chicago (down 8 percent, from 34,978 to 32,175), Kenilworth (down 6 percent, from 2,402 to 2,266), and Oak Park (down 6 percent, from 53,648 to 50,646). Chicago itself gained less than 1 percent.

I would definitely choose winter as that time. A recent press release from the Office of the State Fire Marshal states, “Summer is a great time to have family picnics, spend hot days poolside and share happy moments with friends and family. It’s not the time you want to spend in the hospital from a fireworks injury.”

Mass transit is losing out even in trips to the area it serves best, the city’s “central area” (bounded by North Avenue, Ashland, Cermak, and the lake), reports the Chicago Area Transportation Study in “Transportation Facts” (June). In 1980 366,000 trips (61 percent) to that area were made on public transportation each day. In 1990 only 306,000 (50 percent) were. Driving alone increased in popularity over the same time, from 24 to 33 percent of central-area trips.

Corporate sniffing. The Chicago-based Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation recently reported on a study of 50 families, in which “eating Pepperidge Farm Garlic Bread reduced the number of negative family interactions by 22.7 percent and increased the number of pleasant interactions by 7.4 percent…serving Pepperidge Farm Garlic Bread with a meal clearly enhances the quality of family interaction and thus leads to greater stability in the family unit” (Harper’s, May). The study was underwritten by Campbell Soup Company, maker of the bread. We’ll stock up just as soon as the foundation undertakes another, larger study comparing various name brands of garlic bread, as well as other flavors.

Is welfare reform a full-employment program for the chattering classes? Doug Dobmeyer writes in “Poverty Issues…Dateline Illinois” (August 5): “If you missed this [August] conference [at Navy Pier on welfare reform], you can attend one of the other 85 welfare related conferences occurring in the U.S. before the end of 1999.”

“I once asked a class of juniors about whose job it is to say ‘stop’ to sexual activity at some point during a date,” author and campus minister Bob Bartlett tells the Chicago-based U.S. Catholic (August). “Everyone agreed that it was the girl’s job to stop, because she can get pregnant. Then I asked the guys: ‘If a girl were willing to go all the way, how many of you would have your own limits?’ The tension in the room was awesome. Thank God for one guy who finally said, ‘I’d stop.’ Right away a girl piped up and said, ‘What’s your phone number?'”