Living

Homer: movie star

The Simpsons Movie reviewed

TM and © 2007 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved. I saw the Simpsons Movie Thursday night. However, I'm not going to discuss major plot details here. As we learned from Pottergate 2007, Grist readers don't like spoilers -- not even fake ones. The movie definitely has an environmental theme (one highlight was the scene where Nelson bullies Milhouse into expressing climate change skepticism, then punches him in the face, yelling, "That's for selling out your beliefs!"), but you'll have to find out on your own which of the rumors I alluded to in my last post are true.

Is the Chevy Volt just more GM greenwashing?

Sure looks that way

Back in May, I was seduced by GM's seeming sincerity in developing a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, the Chevy Volt. We must always remember, however, that GM is a master greenwasher.

Aero 101

Airliners are shaped the way they are for a reason

We took our Prius over the mountains a few weeks back. I was looking forward to testing it at the extreme end of its design envelope, with a bulky cargo carrier to boot. This gave me an opportunity to see how much highway mileage would be affected by aerodynamic drag. Yes, yes, I should have stuck to the speed limit, but by not doing so I preemptively squashed a bitching point leveled by hybrid hatas -- Prius drivers sticking to the speed limit are always getting in the way. We nailed 40 mpg on the nose for a 260-mile trip that was 95 percent highway driving. I was pleasantly surprised. Just look at that blob on top of the car. I used the cruise control religiously and pegged the speed 5 mph over the posted limit whenever traffic allowed, which was most of the time.

Congestion pricing saves more than it costs

Bloomberg’s law: Environment equals economic growth

This guest essay comes from Steven Cohen and Jacob Victor. Steven Cohen is executive director of Columbia University's Earth Institute and director of its Master of Public Administration Program in Environmental Science and Policy at the School of International and Public Affairs. Jacob Victor is an intern at Columbia's Earth Institute. After overcoming numerous obstacles in Albany, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's controversial congestion-pricing plan finally appears to be slowly moving forward. Thanks to a last-minute deal between Bloomberg and the leaders of the state Assembly, it is almost certain that New York will receive a $500 million federal grant to fund the equipment and upgrade mass transit in order to begin the program. While New York City has not been given permission to charge tolls to enter Manhattan south of 86th street, the first steps in implementing congestion pricing were authorized by New York state's famously dysfunctional state government.

Jack Bauer is going to stop global warming

The TV show 24 will reduce its carbon footprint

Fans of 24 know that if there's one person that can stop climate change, it ain't Al Gore. It's Jack Bauer. If you are not familiar with Jack, here are some of his qualifications from the site Random Jack Bauer Facts: There are two hands that can beat a royal flush. Jack Bauer's right hand and Jack Bauer's left hand. Most people would need months to recover from 20 months of Chinese interrogation. Jack Bauer needs a shower, a shave and a change of clothes. The city of Los Angeles once named a street after Jack Bauer in gratitude for his saving the city several times. They had to rename it after people kept dying when they tried to cross the street. No one crosses Jack Bauer and lives. If Jack Bauer had been a Spartan the movie would have been called "1". Some people see the glass as half full. Others see it as half empty. Jack Bauer see the glass as a deadly weapon. Yup, Jack is one tough son-of-a-gun, and he and the producers of 24 have pledged to fight climate change and take the following steps to reduce their carbon footprint:

Everyone's a critic

A quick review of Project Phin

By my lights, the world's best movie critic is Janet Maslin, hands down. She has a simple formula: she lets you know if the movie sucks or not, she doesn't give away the ending, and she is funny. Take her review of The Bridges of Madison County. The second 'graph begins like this: "Arguably the world's longest greeting card ... " Beautiful. Someday I hope to be able to slide a metaphoric shiv with such economy. Anyway, the NYT has Maslin off movies and on the book-review beat, so we are on our own when it comes to reviewing the Center for American Progress Action Fund's venture into celluloid. Raves: Some of the clips are very funny. And on clip #4, Sarah Silverman takes the cringe factor to 11. If cringing were a renewable resource, that clip alone would solve our energy problems. Pans: I'm a little underwhelmed by the call to action for "flex fuels." I get it -- it's a better tagline than say, CAFE standards. But still. Flex fuels ... really? The revolution will not be on TV, and it will not be on flex fuels. If you had access to that kind of talent, what would you do?

From Bend It to Blow It

Gooooooooooooooooal: Avoid dance parties David Beckham has long pooh-poohed ‘roo shoes, so he should feel right at home in the state that just upheld a ban on marsupialwear. But if things get tough, at least he can always count on Tom Cruise for a big sweaty hug. Photo: Robert Mora / MLS / WireImage.com What’s good for the goose is good for the Flanders Amsterdam’s Hof van Delft park wondered, “Waddle we do with this gaggle of honking, harassing geese?” Luckily, Martin “Goose Whisperer” Hof was at their beak and call. But this is no wild-goose chase; the birds flock …

Black-eyed Peas: Live Earth edition

Their eco-song doesn’t suck. Too much

I have been remiss in my music-related reportage, and I apologize. I had heard prior to Live Earth (which was three weeks ago) that, like Madonna, the Black-eyed Peas would be writing a song specifically for the spectacle. But I never updated you as to how that worked out. Then, today, thanks to my "media hound" colleague, I found out that unlike Madonna’s song, this one does not suck. As much. Check out the video for "SOS" here.

Finding a green living

Newsweek reports on green jobs

Newsweek on the growth of the green job market: Graduates of the class of 2007 are finding the job market is receptive to those who want to do good by the environment. As public awareness of global warming grows, companies are scrambling to put in place greener practices, to present themselves as more eco-friendly and to develop products and services to fill a new demand for all things green. The phenomenon is creating jobs in fields like urban planning, carbon trading, green building and environmental consulting. And our very own jobs columnist, Kevin Doyle, contributed this bit of good news: …