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Celebrity hypocrisy: Scourge of ... nothing in particular

Don’t pretend to write about this stuff out of concern, please

A while back, a guy who writes for a magazine called Radar emailed to alert me of his "exclusive" discovery that Barbara Streisand is totally a hypocrite!!1! I replied, in so many words: eh. Apparently it struck a nerve, as he has now gone on to pen an opus that strains mightily to convince us that celebrity eco-hypocrisy is a Very Important Subject that we should all take Very Seriously. Eh. Look, if he wants to spend his time on this stuff, it's his business. I can see the appeal. It's a cheap way to generate traffic. The hoi polloi …

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The latest from peak oil land: ponies and lollipops!

Except not really

I don't do much writing about peak oil here. It's horrifically depressing, for one thing, and for another I doubt I could add to the comprehensive work being done at the Oil Drum and elsewhere. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. If you're like me and you only tune in to the issue occasionally, check out the latest from Michael Klare over at TomDispatch: "Tough oil on tap." It's a nice, fairly concise roundup of the latest reports and news from the peak oil world. And yeah, it's depressing. Here's the conclusion: Read from this perspective, the recent …

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McCain says climate is one of his top three issues

‘The fact is climate change is real,’ he says

John McCain says global warming would be one of three key issues in his presidency, The Aspen Times reports. That's sure to endear him to the GOP base as much as his stance on immigration.

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All So You Can Have Cheap Electricity

Three workers killed, six injured in Utah coal-mine rescue effort Three rescue workers were killed and at least six others injured when a section of Utah's Crandall Canyon coal mine caved in Thursday night. The workers were involved in the nine-day effort to reach six miners trapped deep within the mine. Seismic activity has caused the operation to halt several times; a seismic "bump" caused the latest collapse. The injured included two officials from the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration. "The seismic activity underground has just been relentless," said Bob Murray, head of Murray Energy Corp., which co-owns the …

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Three rescue workers killed in Utah mine

The tragedy grows

Two Three rescue workers were killed and at least seven six others injured when a tunnel collapsed in Crandall Canyon mine, the site of a rescue operation attempting to reach six miners that have been trapped inside for what is now 11 days without contact. Mine officials are discussing whether to shut down the rescue effort.

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Heard it through the bovine

Scientists try to reduce methane emissions by tweaking cow diets

Did you know that cows belch every 40 seconds? I did not. A recent article in The Christian Science Monitor states this fun fact, and goes on to explain how scientists are trying to manipulate bovine diets to reduce the amount of methane that they emit: British researchers have begun a $1.5 million government research program to propose ways to change cows' diets in order to reduce methane production by feeding them grasses with higher levels of sugar, which facilitate digestion. "These grasses present a better balance of nutrients to the microbial population in the rumen and are used more …

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Climate forecast: Hot, and then very hot

In nontechnical terms

For those wondering why the planet hasn't yet exceeded the 1998 El Niño-fueled temperature record, a new Science magazine article ($ub. req'd) explains why. Basically, in addition to the steady increase in anthropogenic warming from greenhouse gases, you have to add a smaller variation from climate oscillations linked to the oceans. Those oscillations have been tamping down temperatures a tad, and will keep doing so for the next couple of years, but the decade of the 2010s is going to bring a return to record-smashing temperatures: Our system predicts that internal variability will partially offset the anthropogenic global warming signal …

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Freeman Dyson, climate crackpot

Yet another one

As a physicist, I have never been a big fan of Freeman Dyson. He was, after all, one of the "geniuses" pushing Project Orion -- the absurdly impractical idea of creating a rocket ship powered by detonating nuclear bombs -- I kid you not! Dyson has written a new book, A Many Colored Glass, that you shouldn't waste your time and money on -- as this extract on global warming makes clear. Dyson has basically joined the famous-crackpot camp with Michael Crichton and Bill Gray. You can read a good debunking of Dyson here. I'll add my two cents. Dyson …

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Wanna ditch the paparazzi?

A tip from Leonardo DiCaprio

Start talking about global warming.

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Interview with Thomas Casten, part four

Making money cutting carbon

DR: There hasn't been any public pressure to change the electricity system. Most people don't even know how electricity is made. It comes out of the wall like magic. TC: You are so right. In Ontario, they did a massive peer-reviewed study to identify the health and environmental effects of making power with coal, and what they thought would be saved if they replaced the coal with gas or nuclear. They talked about being able to save $3 billion a year in health and environmental costs. When you divide that number by the kilowatt hours made from coal plants, it …