Sneak Peek #7: Heating Your Home With Bunnies

The new issue's almost here (stay tuned for the big cover unveiling later today!), but we can't stop the show and tell just yet! Here's a sneak peek at our Spinning the Globe tour of Sweden. The story covers so many things, from how Sweden's socialism actually works, to why Swedes don't really like ABBA, to why 1950's nostalgia is taking the country by storm.

Of course, one of the other things we cover is how the nation is way ahead of the rest of the world in terms of green living. But they've angered quite a few people with one of their new policies. Here's the scoop:

Bleeding Green

Screen shot 2009-11-17 at 6.07.27 PMA big part of Sweden's national identity is a deep commitment to protecting the environment. Every year, Sweden pours millions of kronor into environmental programs, far exceeding European Union targets for cutting carbon emissions and recycling. For citizens, that means much more than just sorting paper from plastic. For example, in the early '90s, officials in Stockholm decided to turn the industrial area of Hammarby Sjöstad into the greenest neighborhood in Sweden. Today, residents of Hammarby use half the water as other citizens in Sweden, and the little water they waste goes toward generating power. Their garbage is collected through vacuum tubes that send it to treatment plants, where it is recycled or turned into fuel. Hammarby is 40 percent more eco-friendly than your average Swedish suburb.

Of course, some believe that these greening strategies go too far. Recently, the city of Stockholm was having trouble with rabbits, which were overwhelming the green spaces and plant life. So, the city hired teams of sharpshooters to pick off the bunnies. Ever waste-not, want-not, the government had the bodies frozen and shipped to a heating plant, where they were converted into biofuel. The dead bunnies now heat Swedish homes "“ and animal rights activists are protesting.
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Why Tiny 'Hedgehog Highways' Are Popping Up Around London

Hedgehogs as pets have gained popularity in recent years, but in many parts of the world, they're still wild animals. That includes London, where close to a million of the creatures roam streets, parks, and gardens, seeking out wood and vegetation to take refuge in. Now, Atlas Obscura reports that animal activists are transforming the city into a more hospitable environment for hedgehogs.

Barnes Hedgehogs, a group founded by Michel Birkenwald in the London neighborhood of Barnes four years ago, is responsible for drilling tiny "hedgehog highways" through walls around London. The passages are just wide enough for the animals to climb through, making it easier for them to travel from one green space to the next.

London's wild hedgehog population has seen a sharp decline in recent decades. Though it's hard to pin down accurate numbers for the elusive animals, surveys have shown that the British population has dwindled by tens of millions since the 1950s. This is due to factors like human development and habitat destruction by farmers who aren't fond of the unattractive shrubs, hedges, and dead wood that hedgehogs use as their homes.

When such environments are left to grow, they can still be hard for hedgehogs to access. Carving hedgehog highways through the stone partitions and wooden fences bordering parks and gardens is one way Barnes Hedgehogs is making life in the big city a little easier for its most prickly residents.

[h/t Atlas Obscura]

Big Questions
Where Should You Place the Apostrophe in President's Day?

Happy Presidents’ Day! Or is it President’s Day? Or Presidents Day? What you call the national holiday depends on where you are, who you’re honoring, and how you think we’re celebrating.

Saying "President’s Day" infers that the day belongs to a singular president, such as George Washington or Abraham Lincoln, whose birthdays are the basis for the holiday. On the other hand, referring to it as "Presidents’ Day" means that the day belongs to all of the presidents—that it’s their day collectively. Finally, calling the day "Presidents Day"—plural with no apostrophe—would indicate that we’re honoring all POTUSes past and present (yes, even Andrew Johnson), but that no one president actually owns the day.

You would think that in the nearly 140 years since "Washington’s Birthday" was declared a holiday in 1879, someone would have officially declared a way to spell the day. But in fact, even the White House itself hasn’t chosen a single variation for its style guide. They spelled it “President’s Day” here and “Presidents’ Day” here.

Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Maybe that indecision comes from the fact that Presidents Day isn’t even a federal holiday. The federal holiday is technically still called “Washington’s Birthday,” and states can choose to call it whatever they want. Some states, like Iowa, don’t officially acknowledge the day at all. And the location of the punctuation mark is a moot point when individual states choose to call it something else entirely, like “George Washington’s Birthday and Daisy Gatson Bates Day” in Arkansas, or “Birthdays of George Washington/Thomas Jefferson” in Alabama. (Alabama loves to split birthday celebrations, by the way; the third Monday in January celebrates both Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert E. Lee.)

You can look to official grammar sources to declare the right way, but even they don’t agree. The AP Stylebook prefers “Presidents Day,” while Chicago Style uses “Presidents’ Day.”

The bottom line: There’s no rhyme or reason to any of it. Go with what feels right. And even then, if you’re in one of those states that has chosen to spell it “President’s Day”—Washington, for example—and you use one of the grammar book stylings instead, you’re still technically wrong.

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