Guess who audits the Chicago Public Schools? “A request for copies of all audits performed by [Arthur] Andersen since 1995 has been made under the Freedom of Information Act and ignored this year, as it has been for the past five years,” writes Tom Sharp in Substance (February). Sleep well.

Eeeyuuuuukkkk! How does University of Chicago professor and Bush National Bioethics Commission chairman Leon Kass defend his hostility toward stem-cell research and cloning? “With a doctrine that he calls ‘the wisdom of repugnance,'” writes Jerome Groopman in the New Yorker (February 4), “which states, basically, that if you find something repugnant–if you just don’t think it’s right–then it must be wrong. The problem with this argument is that it is impervious to reason and severely constrained by time and place. Whether repugnance really offers wisdom depends, of course, on what you find repugnant. The practice of autopsy, which made modern medicine possible, was for centuries widely considered repugnant.”

Have you seen this lake? From a Web site promoting far southern Illinois ( “Because of its rolling hills, unmolested forests and wandering lakes, the area is unlike any other in Illinois.”

Two grass-fed Whoppers, please. Purdue University professors Bruce Watkins and Loren Cordain (ScienceDaily, February 5) have found that “wild game, such as venison or elk meat, as well as grass-fed beef, contain a mixture of fats that are actually healthy for you, and…lower cholesterol and reduce other chronic disease risk.” Not coincidentally, these–as opposed to grain-fed domesticated animals–are the meats eaten by the vast majority of our ancestors.

Martin Luther in the middle of the road. “The loudest voices in science” tend to present it from an atheistic viewpoint, said Lutheran research astronomer Grace Wolf-Chase of the Adler Planetarium and the University of Chicago at a January church “consultation on faith and science,” according to a February 1 press release from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. She also said that many prominent Christians portray science as their enemy, but scientists who have no problem practicing both their science and their faith are rarely heard from.

“Being a boy is not a disease,” University of Michigan epidemiologist Wilfried Karmaus tells the Canadian National Post (January 29) after publishing a study in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine that seems to show that men with high blood levels of PCB are somewhat more likely to have sons than daughters.

Keeping score: Chicago wasn’t number one in the 20th century, but it was close enough. Urbanologist Pierre deVise on how Chicago rated over the past 100 years (“The 2000 Census and Social Change in Chicago,” Chicago Regional Inventory): “Among the top ten cities in 1900, Chicago’s population grew by 71% in the 20th century, a rate exceeded only by New York and San Francisco. Only New York, Chicago and Philadelphia remained in the top ten every decade of the 20th century. Chicago’s archrivals for midwest dominance, the river cities of Saint Louis and Cincinnati, slid from fourth and tenth place, respectively, to 50th and 55th place in 2000….A dozen of the nation’s top ten cities in one or more decades of the 20th century reached their peak population in the 1950 Census and lost population since then. Among the dozen, Chicago fared best, retaining, in 2000, 80% of its peak 1950 population, compared, among its Great Lakes and river port rivals, to a retention of 51% of peak population in Detroit, 50% in Buffalo, 52% in Cleveland, and 40% in Saint Louis.”