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Making roads out of toilets

It's hard to know whether the calf appreciated its ride in the backseat of the car; maybe it got to poke its head out the window and flap its tongue in the wind, in classic Fido fashion. But the animal must have looked noticeably larger than even a very large dog, because a deputy sheriff in Luna County, N.M., pulled over the Honda Civic to ask the driver a few questions. Then he arrested the three men in the vehicle for rustling the 220-pound calf that was "sharing" the backseat with one of them, reports the Carlsbad Current Argus. The men were jailed and charged with suspicion of larceny of livestock, conspiracy, lack of a bill of sale and exporting livestock. The Associated Press did not mention how the calf exited the car or whether it had to hitchhike to get home again.

Fashion Burger

OREGON: Made with frilly pink slime, perhaps?

An impatient driver in San Francisco recently received an unexpected comeuppance. After traffic in his lane ground to a halt, reports The Week, he decided to swerve around other cars and keep moving, only to find that his Porsche had entered a lane made of freshly poured cement: "The car sank about a foot and got stuck."

Now in its 20th year, the Pikes Peak Writers Conference in Colorado Springs, Colo., always attracts wannabe authors who eagerly collect advice from the writers and editors present. Invariably, one tip always gets mentioned, says Kirsten Akens of the local weekly Independent, and it has nothing to do with finding an agent. It's "Never, ever, pitch an agent or editor while in the bathroom." Someone once tried that ploy on a "famous" New York editor who was otherwise occupied in a bathroom stall. It proved anything but successful: After the manuscript was slid stealthily under her door, the editor said, "They were very lucky I didn't use it for toilet paper."

Speaking of toilets, if you took 400 of them bound for a landfill and ground them up instead, and then added the bite-size bits to concrete, you'd have a road material dubbed "Poticrete." At least that's what they're calling it in Bellingham, Wash., where poticrete was incorporated into the Meadow Kansas Ellis Trail Project. The project achieved LEED-like certification from the year-old Greenroads Foundation, based in Seattle, which means that the new road of former porcelain thrones meets a high level of sustainability.

From our friends

HCN in the outhouses of the West

From my Alaska trip: I flew into a small town that is not reachable by road, then hopped on a motorboat and drove across lakes and rivers for 2.5 hours to reach the scientists' camp way out in the boondocks -- out there they have a few rough cabins and a generator that makes electricity only in the evening and two outhouses -- and lo and behold, for reading material in the outhouses they have issues of the Economist magazines and HCN -- amazing to discover HCN readers way out there!

Ray Ring, HCN Senior Editor

Serious words from a devoted reader:

"I've been a big fan of HCN since a friend first donated a subscription to me...I've received piles of HCN on at least four continents at this point. So, you see, the printed magazine, in the past 20 years, has become part of the warp and weft of my life and I am unwilling to leave it behind..."

Paul Brockmann, constant traveler