• Carl Ballantine, Slapstick Magician, Dies at 92: “He is survived by a sister, Esther Robinson, of Chicago, and two daughters, whom Mr. Ballantine, an inveterate horse player, named for his favorite racetracks: Saratoga Ballantine, of Hollywood, and Molly Caliente Ballantine, of Pacific Palisades, Calif.”
  • Trucks, Trains and Trees: “That is why we need to make sure that whatever energy-climate bill comes out of the U.S. Congress, and whatever framework comes out of the Copenhagen conference next month, they include provisions for financing rainforest conservation systems like those in Brazil. The last 38 percent of the Amazon is still up for grabs. It is there for us to save. Your grandchildren will thank you.” Yes, but what if it comes at the expense of emissions reductions in the U.S., i.e., by way of offsets?
  • The Costly Compromises of Oil From Sand: Canadanians on their way to becoming the bad boys of the 21st century 🙂
  • Red Nose Day: Do something funny for money.
  • Fossil Fuels’ Hidden Cost Is in Billions, Study Says: “Burning fossil fuels costs the United States about $120 billion a year in health costs, mostly because of thousands of premature deaths from air pollution, the National Academy of Sciences reported in a study issued Monday.

    The damages are caused almost equally by coal and oil, according to the study, which was ordered by Congress. The study set out to measure the costs not incorporated into the price of a kilowatt-hour or a gallon of gasoline or diesel fuel.” [Note that these are what economists call external costs.]

  • Gloomy Energy Report Sets the Stage for Climate Talks: “The report says that without a new climate pact, half of new carbon emissions would come from China.”
  • The Betrayal: There was once a political party that came out against concentration of wealth. They called for regulation of food, drugs, and big corporations. Called for “square deal” for the average American. And their robust spokesman, the leader of their party, said this of his countrymen:

    “There is not in the world a more ignoble character than the mere money-getting American, insensitive to every duty, regardless of principle, bent only on amassing a fortune.”

    That party was the Republicans, a bit more than century ago, led by Teddy Roosevelt.

  • Stuff from the 1990s Microsoft antitrust trial: A list of documents (search this Bill Gates transcript for the sentence “I wanted to be forever free”), highlight #1 from the Bill Gates deposition (forward to right before 9:27am for the discussion of the definition of “web browser”), highlight #2 from the Bill Gates deposition (forward to right before 10:00am for the discussion of Windows being a “unique and valuable asset, and continue if desired on the next segment).
  • A Shtick With a Thousand Lives: I [Carl Reiner] turned to Mel [Brooks] and I said, “Here’s a man who was actually seen at the crucifixion 2,000 years ago,” and his first words were “Oh, boy.” [He sighs.] We all fell over laughing. I said, “You knew Jesus?” “Yeah,” he said “Thin lad, wore sandals, long hair, walked around with 11 other guys. Always came into the store, never bought anything. Always asked for water.”
  • Turtles Are Casualties of Warming in Costa Rica
  • Dallas Basketball Player Is Hero in Europe. Dateline Tbilisi! Byline Nathan Thornburgh, who I went to high school with! (Also went to high school with Aster Chin, currently a colleague teaching at Lakeside. No offense to the Lakeside Lions, but… Go Lowell!!! 🙂