Where is the “Planet of the Arthropods”? Free-lance photographer Jim Rowan has found a planet where there are four times as many species of spiders, grasshoppers, butterflies, cicadas, and other arthropods than there are species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish combined. Rowan’s pictures of the earth’s most successful animal phylum may be seen starting September 26 at the Chicago Academy of Sciences.

In 1970 the south-side lakefront community of Oakland was the poorest neighborhood in Chicago, with 42.7 percent of its residents below the poverty line. In 1990 that percentage wouldn’t even put it among the ten poorest city neighborhoods; Oakland remains the poorest, but now 72.3 percent of its people are below the poverty line (Chicago Reporter, July).

Hey, man, it’s a question of priorities. Writing in the Chicago-based Christian Century (February 5-12), Jon D. Levenson recalls chatting with a professor from a “prominent liberal seminary”: “‘Are there, then, any beliefs or practices required of the faculty or students now?’ asked one of the company. ‘No,’ replied the seminary professor firmly. But then, as an afterthought and in an undertone, he added, ‘except the requirement to use inclusive language.’ ” In other words, muses Levenson, at this seminary “one can deny with utter impunity that Jesus was born of a virgin or raised from the dead. But if one says that he was the son of God the father, one runs afoul of the institution’s deepest commitments.”

Still going, still toxic…nothing stops the Energizer! Percentage of used dry-cell batteries in municipal garbage, by weight: .09. Percentage of toxic cadmium in municipal garbage from dry-cell batteries: 54. Of mercury: 88 (U. of I. Solid Waste Management Newsletter, July).

“When I started investing in buildings a friend and I would travel to the North Side of Chicago, put on hard hats, and walk into buildings that were being renovated to see how they did things,” says veteran South Shore rehabber and property owner Keith Banks in Targeted Investment (July/August). “That’s how I learned. I wanted buildings to look beautiful by sanding and staining wood floors, stripping old wallpaper and putting wrought iron fences around them. In the neighborhoods where I was investing, the rehabbers were painting floors with brown paint, papering over old wallpaper and installing Cyclone fences. It looked really ugly.”

Yeah, but I had more energy back then. This from the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation in Evanston: “The world was created in six days. Surely you can learn to read Hebrew in seven hours!”

“The state is behaving like a family that, hearing that the bank plans to foreclose on the house, cancels its subscription to Newsweek to improve their cash flow,” writes James Krohe Jr. on the Edgar administration’s cuts in Illinois’ four scientific surveys (Illinois Times, July 30-August 5). Dr. Glen Sanderson of the Natural History Survey, who just won the National Wildlife Society’s Aldo Leopold award, “has devoted much of his working life to the study of raccoons. Raccoons are of course intelligent and adaptable creatures. A General Assembly filled with raccoons instead of humans would be an improvement in courage as well, although they would be hard on the furniture. Yet a man who studies raccoons must often be met with a giggle at parties, while the man who makes himself expert in sheltering from taxation the income of the rich will be deferred to as a serious scholar.”

“Half price” are two of them. A local sales-support organization sells a “Persuasive Advantage System,” which contains, among other things, “categorized lists of over 1,000 persuasive words, including the ten most persuasive words in the English language (as identified by researchers at Yale University).”

If at first you don’t succeed, the government will let you try again. The Safe Energy Communication Council reports that several of the firms that created leaky nuclear-waste dumps–U.S. Ecology at downstate Sheffield, for one–are now involved in the new generation of above-ground disposal facilities.

“The Rookery was first and foremost a privately owned vehicle for making money, but, like other big office buildings of its day, because it was so big and so prominent, it also had a major civic function,” according to Robert Bruegmann in Inland Architect (July/August). “With all of its variety of tenants and services and the vast number of visitors coming and going to offices and shops, it had to operate like a small city within a city. The light court served as a kind of public square at the confluence of the corridors leading in from LaSalle and Adams streets.”

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration/Carl Kock.