It all began with Enron

By Kennedy Maize At a pleasant Christmas dinner with friends last week, a smart diner posed a question: when should the government or the market have known that the U.S. (and the world’s, as it turns out) financial system was in life-threatening peril? After pausing to scratch my head, I proffered an idea: it all […]

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Obama, Cabinet government, and John Holdren

By Kennedy Maize Some of my friends on the left have been lamenting the Cabinet choices of president-elect Barack Obama. One of them wrote in an email recently, “As the new government was put together, brick by brick, a disturbing pattern emerged. Time and again, those who had braved the perils of the Clinton… threat […]

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Another downside to wind power

By Kennedy Maize Here’s an interesting new wrinkle on wind power, from a researcher at the University of Illinois. According to Somnath Baidya Roy, turbulence from large wind farms can harm growth of crops in the local countryside. Baidya Roy notes that in recent years, wind power has moved from small, isolated turbines to large […]

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Obama to make energy and environment picks

By Kennedy Maize The Obama administration has picked Steven Chu, currently the director of the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, to be secretary of energy. The selection was quite a surprise, as Chu’s name had not surfaced in any of the rumors circulating in Washington. Indeed, he’s not well know in Washington political […]

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It’s the name game at DOE

By Kennedy Maize It’s time for the latest round of the name game, this time focusing on who President Elect Obama will pick to head the Department of Energy. Clearly, the the DOE pick is a second-level decision, after economics and national security. In fact, DOE really doesn’t have much to do with energy. Around […]

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Methane hydrates: Gold’s predictions vindicated

By Kennedy Maize Shades of Tommy Gold. The U.S. Geological Survey this week said it has concluded that there are vast “technically recoverable” methane hydrate reserves trapped in the Arctic coastal plain that could provide some 85.4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, a significant addition to U.S. natural gas reserves. Gas hydrates, also known […]

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Power politics: Waxman v. Dingell in commerce committee

By Kennedy Maize Nothing fails like success. Already, Democrats in Congress are at each others’ throats about sharing the spoils from the Obama victory. The most serious fight so far pits Hollywood liberal Henry Waxman against the long-time chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Democrat John Dingell of Michigan. Waxman has launched a […]

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The “Name Game” begins in Washington

It’s entirely predictable. Once a new president is elected, the most popular topic in Washington becomes “the name game.” Who’s in, who’s out, who will get the political plum jobs. Indeed, there is an official government publication, called The Plum Book, that lists the 7,000 or so political jobs that an incoming administration can appoint […]

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More confounding hurricane science

More science to stir the pot on the hurricane-global warming issue appears in last Thursday’s issue of Science magazine. Three researchers fundamentally question the conventional wisdom that there is “a causal connection between warming tropical sea surface temperatures and Atlantic hurricane activity.” While many scientists – and even more environmentalists – believe global warming and […]

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Can termites chew their way to ethanol?

By Kennedy Maize Can termites lead the way to energy independence? A new study from the University of Florida in Gainsville says the tiny wood chompers and the bacteria in their gut could help turn non-edible plant parts into energetic ethanol. In a paper to be published in the journal Biofuels, Bioproducts & Biorefining, Florida […]

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