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Some articles of note from today include the following.

A piece in the New York Times reminds us that not all black Americans are, in fact, African-Americans, and argues that the former term is therefore preferable to the latter.

An article from Christianity Today reminds us that the Pew Forum’s new report on religious affiliations (mentioned on this blog here and here ) may be accurate, but that the boundaries between various forms of protestantism remain difficult to pin down.

And on a more humorous note, another piece in the Times describes a new extracurricular activity for Navadan youth: elk calling. A sample:

For Maddie, Juna Priest, Tatum Higginbotham, Carmen Hutchens, Jeremy Novak and 17 more of their fourth-grade classmates at the Jessie Beck Elementary School here in Reno — the elk-calling business offers the chance to mew, squeal, grunt, and plain old scream and consider it part of a good, if unusual, environmental education.

Mmm—eeee—eeew. The sound people make when they are audibly feeling your pain is the same plaintive sound a cow elk makes when her calf is lost. It’s a good chance to talk about a cow elk’s protection of its young. That is roughly the way Ryan Brock planned it when he was a science teacher at Jessie Beck Elementary and created an Elk Club as an after-school project.

Eee-yow. This sound, which in humans expresses surprise or pain, is part of the chatter of cow elks. Time to talk to the fourth graders about herd communication, and movement, and elk ranges and habitats.

Mmwheee wheee mmwhee. The urgent sound of a cow elk in estrus, at the height of the rutting season. Time to talk about something else.

“It depends on the year and the group how I explain that,” said Mr. Brock, who is 32 and continues to run the Elk Club although he left teaching this fall to pursue a graduate degree. “With the bull sounds, I say, ‘This is like a man flexing his muscles and saying ‘Look at me.’ ” The estrus call? He says, “She’s saying, ‘Look at me, boys.’ ”



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