Dispatches > Quick Takes

Quick Takes

"Quick Takes" Continued...

Issue: "The new urban frontier," March 9, 2013

Bunch of bears

Once an emblem of global warming’s collateral damage, arctic polar bears face a new threat: overpopulation. According to a report by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, some 20,000 to 25,000 polar bears live in the Arctic Circle today—four times as many as 40 years ago. Experts like author Zac Unger, who recently traveled to the Arctic to tell the story of polar bears’ plight, have changed their attitude toward the animals. “My humble plan was to become a hero of the environmental movement,” Unger told NPR on Feb. 2. “I was going to write this mournful elegy for the polar bears.” Instead, he saw a landscape bustling with bear activity. “Polar bear populations are large, and the truth is that we can’t look at it as a monolithic population that is all going one way or another.”

Fake raise

Employees of Kalispell Public Schools in Montana were shocked to find they had earned so much when they received an email copy of the W-2 tax forms on Jan. 31. According to a clerk with the school district, new software caused a glitch showing that district employees had made four times as much income as they had. The mistake was quickly corrected, but not before several school employees printed out the mistaken W-2s for framing.

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