Around the web: Traffic circles, skateboarding, exorcism, Whole Foods lawsuits

A roundup of stuff that wouldn’t necessarily make it on the blog, but is worth noting:

• Traffic circles, or roundabouts, are one of the most annoying highway design features ever invented. We don’t have too many of them here (Hwy. 377 in west Fort Worth may be the closest), but if you have negotiated one elsewhere, you know how dangerous they are. So what do traffic engineers want to do? Build more. And why? “[T]hey are also more fuel efficient. Drivers use about 30 percent less gas when using a roundabout compared with a traffic signal.”
• What do you do with a foreclosed home with a swimming pool? Use it for skateboarding. One California man “travels with a gas-powered pump, five-gallon buckets, shovels and a push broom, risking trespassing charges in the pursuit of emptying forlorn pools and turning them into de facto skate parks.” Skaters are flocking from around the world to northern California, which has seen many foreclosures, to use the pools.

• Does the First Amendment protect a church which forced a woman to have an exorcism? The U.S. Supreme Court has been asked to decide that issue. A former Colleyville woman says that a forced exorcism left her so physically bruised and emotionally scarred that she later tried to commit suicide, and wants to sue the church.

• Whole Foods, the natural grocery store chain, has had its share of legal troubles over the past couple of years. The company has another one – suing a smaller Portland, Ore., competitor to obtain the latter’s confidential financial records. The case is very complicated, and tied to Whole Foods’ purchase of Wild Oats in 2007. The grocer being sued, New Seasons, has been blogging about the case.


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