Lost-and-found news bits from 2010

In the deluge of news, even the most dedicated junkie can miss a few intriguing items now and then. Occasional Planet’s sidebar feature, “Occasional bits,” tries to help fill in the gaps, with links to websites, blogs, articles, reports, charts, humor, and other attention-getters that show up in our daily ramble across the net. Here is a sampling of “bits” we’ve posted in the past few months, just in case you missed them, too

States of embarrassment: Political hi-jinks and scandals mortify some states’ citizens. Miller-McCune on-line gives us a look at embarrassment levels, state-by-state.

Smart city planners have been around since the 17th Century. Take a look at the top 20 urban-planning successes of all time, courtesy of Public Servant.

Saving words from oblivion: Thousands of words go out of style every year. At Oxford Dictionary’s Save the Words, out-of-fashion words “plead” with visitors to adopt them and bring them back into circulation. Among the many choices: lambition [licking behavior by dogs], and gracocracy [government run by an old woman]. I vote for #2.

What’s in your closet? A photo exhibit of Chinese families and everything they own makes us wonder why we have so much stuff.

Lighting up the jungle: Global Post highlights energy entrepreneurs whose low-cost solar generators bring light to candle-lit homes in the Guatemalan jungle.

Buy lipstick, support a candidate? You’re “voting” when you buy stuff, whether you know it or not. An interactive chart reveals which companies are making political contributions, and to whom. Maybe we shouldn’t be buying our paper clips at Office Depot.

To observe and protect… NYC cops go to the art museum to learn how to see better and communicate what they observe. Is this the beginning of a new art-law industrial complex?

So-called Muslim garb: Contrary to what ex-NPR commentator Juan Williams said earlier this year, you can’t always identify a Muslim by what he or she is wearing. A photo gallery called “Muslims wearing things” that may surprise you, and certainly busts a lot of myths.

Got science? Take the Union of Concerned Scientists’ quiz, to see if you can tell <a href= >the difference between science fact and science fiction.</a> Then, find out who said what.

How to talk like a non-profit pro: Lingo used by non-profit agencies hints at the frustrations and joys of trying to do the right thing. Here’s one: swedow, an acronym for Stuff We Don’t Want, referring to the trend of sending used items overseas.