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Chip Giller's Posts

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New-age energy

Continuing on his energy kick, Tom Friedman devotes his Wednesday column in full to a perhaps shocking speech (pdf) given last week by Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

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Check a real person out from a Swedish library

Did anyone else spot this amazing (and amazingly to-the-point) article? STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AFP) -- If you're one of those people who thinks all lesbians are sexually frustrated or all animal rights activists aggressive, then a Swedish library project that allows you to "borrow" a real live human being rather than a book may provide some useful insight. Wow. My mind quickly jumps to bridge-building applications in the U.S.: Borrow A Conservative for a Day, Borrow a Tree Hugger, Borrow a Logger, Borrow a Freakin' Yankees Fan.

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Are there problems with the Prius?

Tucked into the business sections of newspapers today is this story: The feds are investigating claims that Toyoto Prius engines may unexpectedly stall out at highway speeds. The development may be but a hiccup interruption for Toyota, as the automaker continues to press its green advantage on American consumers while American automakers stand pat (or worse) on fuel efficiency. After all, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has received only 33 complaints about stalled engines -- a small number given the something like 75,000 Priuses on the road for the model years 2004 and 2005. On the other hand, if …

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Could there be an environmental version of the new food pyramid?

The new USDA food pyramid has arrived. In a very ownership-society type of way, the pyramid has been transformed into ... MyPyramid. The website is super-slow thus far -- I haven't been able to really dig around yet -- but the arrival of this new-fangled pyramid has made me wonder if some genius, marketing-savvy environmentalist might be able to fashion a clear graphical illustration of environmental do's and don'ts for individuals. Relatively insignificant no-nos (say, acquiring yet one more nasty plastic bag) would be weighted appropriately against much more significant evildoings (say, purchasing a clothes dryer or embarking on yet …

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The depopulation bomb, or, 40 million guys with no one to date

Not sure if anyone else noted this story in The New York Times early this week: "Fearing Future, China Starts to Give Girls Their Due." The piece says the powers that be in China just might be considering a shift from the controversial one-child policy (enacted in the 1970s to help control population growth) to a two-child policy. Why? Well, for one, there's a grave shortage of girls in the country, due to selective abortion (or worse): In early January, the government announced that the nationwide ratio had reached 119 boys for every 100 girls. Studies show that the average …

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Who knew David Brooks was a greenie?

Caught me offguard that in his ambivalent Election Day nonendorsement (New York Times policy) endorsement of George Bush for reelection, conservative columnist David Brooks cites the president's environmental record as a primary reason to be frustrated with the current administration: [Bush] came to power with good ideas on how to move the G.O.P. beyond the Gingrich stall. But time and again, he abandoned his reformist strategy to give spoils to the G.O.P. donor base. To take one small example: on environmental policy, he showed interest in moving to a flexible, market-based system that would have cleaned the environment better than …

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Declaration of dependence

Factcheck.org, the website the vice president tried to make famous, has this to say about the two presidential candidates' energy plans:  "Kerry and Bush Mislead Voters With Promises of Energy Independence." The website, a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, writes: Kerry focuses on conservation efforts, but most agree his plan is little more than an outline. Bush supports expanded drilling in Alaska to increase domestic oil supply, but the US has only about 3 percent of the world's oil reserves. At current rates of consumption that would only last 4.5 years. Factcheck.org seems …

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Once upon a time you dressed so fine

In a Rolling Stone interview with magazine founder and media bigwig Jann Wenner, John Kerry says that global warming would be his No. 1 environmental priority.  Asked whether he agrees with Al Gore that the time of the internal-combustion engine is ending, Kerry, ever the audacious fella, says, "I wouldn't make that kind of a bold pronouncement." Much as Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D) does in Grist's interview with her, Kerry endeavors to sell his environmental plan as a jobs plan. I want American workers working; I want American cars made in America; I want American cars to be able …

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In the spirit of crazy horse …

Fans of The Snow Leopard, Killing Mister Watson, At Play in the Fields of the Lord -- or for that matter, anyone who cherishes good writing and clear thinking -- might want to check out Orion Online's three-part video interview with wise man Peter Matthiessen. The interview series is entitled "Our Political Environment:  Environmental Policy, Corporate Ethics, and Global Warming."

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Post posting

In a lukewarm endorsement of John Kerry today, The Washington Post makes a fleeting, single-sentence reference to the environment and the candidates' environmental records: Where Mr. Bush ignored the dangers of climate change and favored industry at the expense of clean air and water, Mr. Kerry is a longtime and thoughtful champion of environmental protection.

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