Shiny mud balls (and other miscellany)

Mud balls! Take a glob of mud, shape it, dry it, buff it and—voila—you've got one of Japan's newest trends, hikaru dorodango. Read more: a how-to, a more complicated how-to, and an academic treatise on dorodango and the "essence of play."

Government Googling: So, the government wants to search your Google records? Here's a way to do your part: Patriot Search makes your search activity public. But Bob Harris has another suggestion: make your Google search records reference this query, those seemingly ignored words from the 4th Amendment about citizen's right to be secure "against unreasonable searches and seizures." And, from the New York Times, Ogling Google: Government as Pornographer.

CEOs who make sense: Can the man called in to save the Ford Motor Company do so by inventing a recyclable car? And, by saying no to Wal-Mart, the CEO of lawnmower manufacturer Simplicity will probably lose access to the big box's 3,800 stores, but he's doing right by his 10,000 independent dealers and his business.

Living Treehouse: Treehugger's post on MIT's efforts to design houses from living ecosystems reminds me of an old book I gave my brother years ago: How to Grow a Chair: The Art of Tree Trunk Topiary.

Progressive assignment: When an Iraq War vet ripped protest signs from a group of nuns, a "weak spot in progressive arguments" became clear: "While the horrors of war can point some toward a more critical review of its purpose and necessity, it just as often forces survivors to cling to the war's legitimacy to provide meaning for the carnage." Our assignment, says Peek: "Find a message that doesn't destroy the meaning behind the carnage for those trapped in tragedy, yet doesn't legitimize the war."

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